King Ajātaśatru Sūtras


The King Ajātaśatru Sūtra (T626; 508; 509; 510)

This publication contains four first English translations of sūtras on the theme of Ajātaśatru, his repentance, and the eventual assurance of his attainment of buddhahood.

The King Ajātaśatru Sūtra (Skt. Ajātaśatrukaukṛtyavinodana, Taishō No. 626) presents the process whereby bodhisattva Mañjuśrī helped King Ajātaśatru to see the emptiness of all phenomenal existence and the original purity of mind. Through attaining these insights, the king overcame his doubts about his fate and received assurance of his eventual buddhahood. The Sūtra on King Ajātaśatru's Questions on the Five Heinous Crimes (Taishō No. 508) presents the process whereby the king will overcome his doubts by attaining rootless faith (granted to him by the Buddha) rather than through the realisation of emptiness. The Sūtra on King Ajātaśatru's Reception of his Prediction (Taishō No. 509) sees the king receive his assurance of buddhahood not while the Buddha is in the world, but rather by offering to him after he entered nirvāṇa. It Thus emphasises the transcendent nature of the Buddha's manifestation in the world. The Sūtra on the Flower Pickers (Taishō No. 510) presents a variation on the previous sūtra where the Buddha has not yet entered nirvāṇa.

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