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Samadhiraja Sutra or Candrapradipa-Sutra (Sanskrit) is a Buddhist Sutra dated c 150CE.

Regamey (1990: pp.86–88) renders an extract from the Samadhiraja Sutra discussing the Dharmakaya thus:

...the Body of the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] should be defined as … having its essence identical with Space, invisible, surpassing the range of vision – thus is the Absolute Body to be conceived. Inconceivable, surpassing the sphere of thought, not oscillating between bliss and suffering, surpassing the illusory differentiation, placeless, surpassing the voice of those aspiring to the Knowledge of Buddhi, essential, surpassing passions, indivisible, surpassing hatred, steadfast, surpassing infatuation, explained by the indications of emptiness, unborn, surpassing birth, eternal from the standpoint of common experience, undifferentiated in the aspect of Nirvana, described in words as ineffable, quiescent in voice, homogenous with regard to conventional Truth, conventional with regard to the Absolute Truth – Absolute according to the true teaching.[1]

Chandrakirti and Shantideva quoted from the Samadhiraja Sutra in the Śikṣāsamuccaya and the Mādhyamika-vṛtti

Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

Samadhiraja Sutra, King of Meditation Sutra, King of Samadhi Sutra (Tib. ting nge 'dzin gyi rgyal po'i mdo). Candrapradīpa-Sutra.

'Moon Lamp Sutra' (Skt. Candrapradīpa Sutra, Tib. zla ba sgron me’i mdo)[2]

Prediction of Gampopa and the Karmapas

It is asserted in the Kagyu tradition that the Samādhirājasūtra predicted the dharma activity of Gampopa and the Karmapas.[3][4] Düsum Khyenpa (Dus gsum Mkhyen pa) (1110-1193), the first Karmapa, was a disciple of the Tibetan master Gampopa. A gifted child who studied dharma (Buddhist teachings) with his father from an early age and who sought out great teachers in his twenties and thirties, he is said to have attained enlightenment at the age of fifty while practicing dream yoga. He was henceforth regarded as the Karmapa, a manifestation of Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig), whose coming was predicted in the Samadhiraja Sutra[5] and the Lankavatara Sutra.[6]

Legend tells that in a previous eon, in a former life as an accomplished yogi, the Karmapa attained the eighth level or bhumi of the bodhisattvas. At this time, 100,000 dakinis (female buddhas) manifested their hair as a crown (the sambhogakaya ornamentation and antecedent of the Black Crown, the nirmanakaya), and offered it to the Karmapa as a symbol of his accomplishment. Dusum Khyenpa, the 1st Karmapa, was regarded as an emanation of that yogi and his appearance was predicted by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni in the Samadhiraja Sutra:

“A bodhisattva with the lion’s roar will appear. He will use the power he achieved in deep meditation to benefit countless beings. By seeing, hearing, touching or thinking of him, they will be led to happiness”

The Samadhiraja Sutra is established in a Kagyupa transmission known as the 'Do Tenzin Gyalpo Teaching' (The King of Samadhi Teaching).


Supushpachandra is the name of a Buddhist figure, a bodhisattva who was commanded by the king's law to abstain from teaching dharma. Supushpachandra ignored the statute, and was executed by King Shuradatta. An account of his tale can be found in the Samadhiraja sutra. He is also mentioned by Shantideva in the chapter on meditation, verse 106 in A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way Of Life.

Translations, versions, editions and recensions


The Tibetan translation is located in the ninth volume (leaves 1-273) of mDo (unknown which edition of the Kangyur). The Tibetan 'translators' (Tibetan: lotsawa) were Śailendrabodhi and Dharmatāśīla, who both lived in the 9th century CE.


There are three Chinese translations. Only one of the three Chinese translations is complete. The complete translation was made by Narendrayaśa of the Northern Tshi dynasty in 557 CE. Of the incomplete translations, one was made by Shih-sien-kuṇ of the earlier Suṇ dynasty in CE 420-479.


  • The first four chapters have been translated by John Rockwell at Naropa Institute.
  • The eleventh chapter was translated by Mark Tatz in his PhD thesis at the University of Washington.
  • Thrangu Rinpoche has given an extensive commentary on this sutra in the King of Samadhi. Boudhanath, Nepal: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1994.
  • Chapters l-4 translated in Gomez/Silk 11-88 where Gomez/Silk = Luis O. Gomez and Jonathan A. Silk, Studies in the Literature of the Great Vehicle. Ann Arbor 1989.


Full Devanagari along with English summary of chapters: [4]


Dudjom (1904-1987), et. al. (1991: p.318) of the principally Nyingma view, render a quotation from the Samādhirājasūtra (i.e. the Sūtra of Candrapradīpa, The Sūtra of the King of Contemplation, T 127[7]) into English thus:

In thousands of world systems
The sūtras which I have explained
Differ in words and syllables but have the same meaning.
It is impossible to express them all,
But if one meditates deeply on a single word,
One comes to meditate on them all.
All the buddhas, as many as there are,
Have abundantly explained phenomena.
But if those skilled in meaning
Were to study only the phrase:
All things are emptiness
The doctrine of the Buddha would not be scarce.[8]


  1. Dr. Konstanty , Philosophy in the Samadhirajasutra, Motilal Banarsidass, 1990, pp. 86-88
  2. Pearcey, Adam (2005). A Mini Modern Mahāvyutpatti: A Glossary of Tibetan-Sanskrit Terms for Translators. Third Edition. Lotsawa School Source: [1] (accessed: Wednesday April 29, 2009), p.17
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. King of Samadhi Sutra: Oral commentaries given in Rinpoche's monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal, January 1993
  6. The Lankavatara Sutra
  7. T = A Complete Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist Canons. Ed. H. Ui et al. Sendai: Tōhoku University, 1934.
  8. Dorje, Jikdrel Yeshe (Dudjom Rinpoche, author), & translated and edited: Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (1991). The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History. Boston, USA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-199-9, p.318.

Further reading

  • Bennett, A.A.G. (1968). "Excerpts from the Samadhiraja-Sutra", The Maha Bodhi 77, Calcutta 1958, 295-298
  • Cuppers, Christopher (1990). The IXth Chapter of the Samadhirajasutra. Stuttgart 1990
  • Gomez, L.O. and J.A. Silk (eds). "The Sutra of the King of Samādhis, Chapters I-IV." Studies in the Literature of the Great Vehicle. University of Michigan: 1989
  • Hartmann, Jens-Uwe (1996). "A note on a newly-identified palm-leaf manuscript of the Samadhirajasutra", Indo-Iranian Journal 39, 1996, 105-109
  • Rockwell Jr., John (1980). Samadhi and Patient Acceptance: Four Chapters of the Samadhiraja-sutra. translated from the Sanskrit and Tibetan. M.A.Thesis, The Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado 1980
  • Skilton, Andrew T. (1999). "Dating the Samadhiraja Sutra." Journal of Indian Philosophy 27, 1999, 635-652
  • Skilton, Andrew T. (2000). "The Gilgit Manuscript of the Samadhiraja Sutra." Central Asiatic Journal 44, 2000, 67-86
  • Skilton, Andrew T. (1999). '"Four Recensions of the Samadhiraja Sutra." Indo-Iranian Journal 42, 1999, 335-336
  • Skilton, Andrew T. (?). "Samadhirajasutra", MonSC 2, 97-178
  • Skilton, Andrew T. (2002). "State or statement? Samadhi in some early Mahayana Sutras", The Easterm Buddhist 34.2, 2002, 51-93
  • Tatz, Mark (1972). Revelation in Madhyamika Buddhism. M.A.Thesis, University of Washington, 1972
  • Thrangu Rinpoche. King of Samadhi: Commentaries on the Samadhi Raja Sutra and the Song of Lodrö Thaye. North Atlantic Books: 2004 ISBN-10: 9627341193

External sources

Rangjung Dorje (root text); Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (commentary); Peter Roberts (translator) (2001). Transcending Ego - Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom (Wylie: rnam shes ye shes ‘byed pa).(accessed: Wednesday April 1, 2009)