11 January 2010

Manuscript of Early Vajrasattva Mantra

stts-ms contract enhanced
Originally uploaded by jayarava
This is a page from the Sarvatathāgata-tattvasaṅgraha (STTS), a 7th century Buddhist text concerning Tantric rituals. The STTS is classed as a Yoga Tantra by Tibetan Buddhists. Here we have the verso of the 15th palm leaf in the mantra containing what became the Hundred Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra. This is the oldest occurrence of the Vajrasattva Mantra (as far as the Chinese Canon is concerned).

This image is modified from the facsimile edition of a 10th century Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript using the Siddhaṃ script, published by Candra and Snellgrove. You will note that the Siddhaṃ script is significantly different from contemporary Siddhaṃ calligraphy (and much more difficult to read!)

If you want to have a go at reading it - note that you read from left to right right across the leaf (i.e. ignore the columns). The transliteration shows subtle differences from the well known 100 syllable mantra.
oṁ vajra sattvasamayamanupālaya vajrasattvatvenopatiṣṭha dṛḍho me bhava sutoṣyo me bhavānurakto me bhava supoṣyo me bhava sarvasiddhiñca me prayaccha sarvakarmasu ca me cittaśreyaḥ kuru hūṁ ha ha ha ha hoḥ bhagavan sarvatathāgatavajra mā me muṁca vajrībhava mahāsamayasatva āḥ||
To see where the mantra is look at the version with the mantra highlihghted
See the text inverted as well - this sometimes improves readability


  1. I've got this as a PDF and a bunch of academic material from the STTS from the graduate seminar I was briefly taking at UC Berkeley on it if you are interested.

  2. Hi Al. Yes please! Me and a friend are working through all the Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan versions of the mantra with a view to writing something about the process of textual transmission, especially at the mantra that has come down to us seems to have been misread as opposed to misheard. Anything on the STTS would be most welcome :-) Thanks. Jayarava

  3. Just saw this modern rendering of the Śatākṣara:


    Good for a laugh...

  4. Yes. The imagery seems completely disconnected from the content - I don't suppose many ordinary Chinese speakers would hear anything but nonsense - though I can just about make out the Sanskrit as she is singing.