The Tibetan Lotus Sutra Project: Preview 1 of Chapter Ten, ‘The Dharma Teacher’

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Then, the Bhagavān gave teaching to the eighty thousand Bodhisattvas such as Bodhisattva Medicine King in the following words: “King of Medicine! Do you see amongst the assembly those gods, nāgas, yakṣas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans and non-humans, monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, many of those in the Śrāvaka Vehicle and of those in the Bodhisattva Vehicle, who have heard this section of Dharma directly from the Bhagavān?”

“Bhagavān, I see them. Sugata, I see them.”

The Bhagavān gave teaching: “King of Medicine! All of them are Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas. For any of they in this retinue who thus heard even as little as one verse, heard one word, and those who even simply gave rise to a single thought of rejoicing in this Sūtra, any among the four-fold assembly, O King of Medicine, I predict for all of them the unsurpassable, perfectly complete Awakening.”

“King of Medicine! Any of those sons or daughters of good lineage who, after the Tathāgata has passed into Complete Nirvāṇa, listen to this section of Dharma and hear even as little as one of its verses, and then come to rejoice in it with the generation of even just a single thought, O King of Medicine, I predict for all of them the unsurpassable, perfectly complete Awakening.”

“King of Medicine! Those sons of good lineage or daughters of good lineage have honored in total hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Buddhas. O King of Medicine, those sons or daughters of good lineage have made aspirational prayers before many hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of Buddhas.”

“King of Medicine! You should understand that those sons or daughters of good lineage, out of compassionate love for sentient beings, have taken birth as humans in this world.”

– from The Tibetan Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra)

‘The Noble White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma: A Mahāyāna Scripture’

(dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po’i zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo)

Chapter 10: The Dharma Teacher (chos smra ba’i le’u)

Translated from Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group

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The Tibetan Lotus Sutra Translation Project: First Preview of Chapter 1

At that time, the four assemblies [of monks, nuns, male and female lay practitioners] around the Bhagavān fully circumambulated, and attending to him, they respected, venerated, honored, made offerings, extolled and supplicated him. Thereupon, he expounded an explanation of the type of Dharma known as ‘The Great Definitive Teaching’, a Sūtra of extremely great vastness instructed to Bodhisattvas, fully embraced by all Buddhas. There on that very Dharma seat, with cross-legged position, he rested equanimously in the deep meditative concentration known as ‘The Abode of the Limitless Definitive Teaching’, and as he abided there, his body became unmoving, and his mind unwavering.

As soon as the Bhagavān had entered into meditative equilibrium, a great rain of flowers, consisting of the divine flowers Mandāra, Mahā-Mandāra, Mañjushuka and Mahā-Mañjushuka, came down with great force, and scattered over the Bhagavān and those four assemblies. The all-encompassing realm of the Buddha also came to shake in six ways, that is, it vibrated, comprehensively and intensely vibrated, quivered, comprehensively and intensely quivered, trembled, and comprehensively and intensely trembled.

At that time, the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, demigods, garuḍas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans and non-humans, kings of small countries, those who ruled over a powerful dominion, and those who ruled over the dominion of the four continents who had thus gathered in that assembly and were there arrayed, along with their retinues: all of them stood there looking at the Bhagavān, for they had become amazed, had become astronished, and had become most joyful.

Then at that time, from the Bhagavān’s Treasure-Hair in the space betweeen his eyebrows there emerged a single beam of light; and it went into eighteen thousand Buddha-realms in the eastern direction, and thus in all those Buddha-realms, everything from the great hells of unending torment all the way up to the peak of conditioned existence was made visible by the light of that light-beam. In the six transmigratory states of those Buddha-realms, all those sentient beings which were there, with none left out, were made visible. In those Buddha-realms all those Buddha-Bhagavāns who were abiding and remained living were also made visible. All those Dharmas which were expounded by those Buddha-Bhagavāns, with nothing left out, were resounding as well. In those Buddha-realms the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, Yogis, and Yogic practitioners who had attained fruition and those who had not attained fruition were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Bodhisattvas who practiced the conduct of the Bodhisattva with causal skillful means of numerous different kinds of study, focus and aspiration were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Buddhas who had passed into Complete Nirvāṇa were also all made visible. In those Buddha-realms, those Stūpas made from precious materials containing the relics of the Buddha-Bhagavāns who had passed into Complete Nirvāṇa were also all made visible.

Then, the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Maitreya had the thought: “Incredible! By what cause has this display of great signs and miracles here come about? Why has the Bhagavān shown such great signs and miracles? For while the Bhagavān is equanimously immersed within deep meditative concentration, these sort of inconceivable great miracles of magic, these great amazing wonders have also come to appear: So who shall I ask about the meaning of this? Who is there that can provide an answer for the meaning of this here?”

– from The Tibetan Lotus Sūtra (Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra)

‘The Noble White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma: A Mahāyāna Scripture’

(dam pa’i chos pad ma dkar po’i zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo)

Chapter 1: The Preamble

Translated from Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group

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The Sūtra of Golden Light in 29 Chapters, Chapter 21: Excellent Manifestation

Chapter 21: Excellent Manifestation
(legs par byung ba’i le’u)


(Volume Nine)

Then, at that moment, the Bhagavān gave teaching in these verses:

Whenever I became a world-turning king,
At those times I offered the earth with its oceans,
And even its four continents, filled with precious things,
To all Victorious Ones of the past.

In all-encompassing search for the Dharmakāya,
There were no things, not previously dear and treasured,
Which I did not give away;
During numerous eons, I even gave away my treasured body.

Once I did this inconceivable eons in the past.
During the teaching-dispensation of the Sugata Jeweled Crest;
After that Sugata had passed into Nirvāṇa,
There arose a king called Excellent Manifestation.

He was a world-turning king ruling with mastery over the four continents,
Reigning mightily with a reach as far as the oceans,
Therefore he was said to be a sovereign king:
And once, in his royal palace, that transcendent king fell asleep.

In his dream, he heard the qualities of the Buddha,
And dreamt of the Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance.
He saw him, distinctly lucid;
As he sat and expounded this King of Sūtras.

The king awoke from his sleep,
His whole body filled with joy.
Ecstatic, he excitedly came out of the royal quarters;
And went to the dwelling of the supreme Saṅgha of disciples.

There he made offerings to the disciples of the Victorious One,
Saying, “In this noble Saṅgha is there one ‘Jewel Abundance’,
A monk imbued with good qualities?”;
He asked everywhere after the Dharma teacher “Jewel Abundance”.

At that time, Jewel Abundance
Was staying in another hermitage,
Contemplating in detail this King of Sūtras;
While reciting it, and living in total happiness.

The monk Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance
Was powerfully blazing with brilliance, majesty and glory.
And as he sat there in that other hermitage,
At that time, he was shown to the king.

There the Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance,
Upheld the profound sphere of royal activity,
For he always taught what is known as Transcendent Golden Light:
The Sovereign King of Sūtras.

Bowing down to the feet of Jewel Abundance,
King Excellent Manifestation spoke these words:

Transcendent Golden Light, the Sovereign King of Sūtras,
O one with face like full moon, I request you to explain.”
And thus to King Excellent Manifestation himself,
Jewel Abundance agreed to teach.

When this occurred, in all the three thousand worlds,
All the gods became intensely joyous.
At that time, the ruler of humans, there upon that earthen ground,
Which was clean, eminently special and unusual,
Sprinkled gem water and incense water;
Spread down loose flowers, and set up a throne.

Then the king exquisitely adorned the throne with parasols and victory banners,
And thousands of tassels.
The king also thoroughly sprinkled upon that throne transcendent sandalwoods;
In all sorts of varieties.

Devas and nāgas, asuras and centaurs,
Yakṣas and great serpents too,
Brought down a rain of divine coral tree flowers,
Powerfully and expansively upon that throne.

Those who had arrived, a thousand million billion gods wishing for the Dharma,
Beyond the reaches of thought,
As Jewel Abundance was appearing to leave;
Strewed sāl flowers with joy.

The Dharma teacher Jewel Abundance himself,
Washed thoroughly his body and dressed in clean clothes,
And proceeded to go close to that throne;
Pressed his palms together, and bowed down to it as well.

The god kings, gods and goddesses
Sat in the sky above, and brought down a rain of coral tree flowers,
And hundreds of thousands of cymbals;
Beyond the reaches of thought, which resounded with power.

Then Jewel Abundance, the monk Dharma teacher,
Being mindful of the thousand million Buddhas of the ten directions,
Beyond the reaches of thought;
Ascended the throne with concentration, and sat upon it.

He generated heartfelt love for all sentient beings,
And then also generated, authentically, the mind of compassion;
And then to the king Excellent Manifestation,
At that time taught this Sūtra.

And as the king sat with joined palms,
He rejoiced in every single word.
Through the force of the Dharma, tears shed from his eyes;
And his body was filled with joy.

In order to venerate this Sūtra,
At that time King Excellent Manifestation
Picked up the Wish-Fulfilling Gem, the king of jewels,
And for the sake of sentient beings, made this prayer:

“May a rain of ornaments endowed with the seven gems,
And precious jewels which bring well-being
To the sentient beings in this world
Descend upon this Earth.”

At that time, the seven kinds of gems
Armlets, necklaces and superb earrings,
And likewise food, clothing and drink also showered down,
Over the four continents comprehensively.

King Excellent Manifestation beheld this cascade of precious things,
Raining down upon the world,
And offered the gem-filled four continents;
For the Teachings of Jeweled Crest.

The Tathāgata Śākyamuni
Was the one known as King Excellent Manifestation.
It was I who, at that time, completely gave away the earth;
With its four continents, filled with precious things therein.

The one who to King Excellent Manifestation
At that time extensively taught this Sūtra,
Jewel Abundance, the Dharma teacher monk,
Became the Tathāgata Akṣobhya.

At the time I heard this Sūtra,
And rejoiced in every single word.
I, due to that very virtuous deed itself:
Listening to the Dharma and rejoicing,

Have permanently gained this body of golden hue and marks of hundredfold merit,
Lovely to behold and deeply beautiful to the eye,
Which gives strong delight to thousands of millions of gods;
And is joyful for living beings to behold.

During ninety-nine hundreds of thousands of millions of eons,
I became a world-turning king.
During many myriads of hundreds of thousands of eons,
I had the experience of being a regional king.

For inconceivable eons I was an Indra;
And likewise a lord Brahmā, the wish-fulfiller.
I have rendered service to that which never has limit:
The unfathomable Tenfold Power.

From my listening to and rejoicing in this Sūtra,
The mass of positive potential was thus most limitless;
For in accordance with my wish, I have attained Awakening:
And the transcendent Dharmakāya have I gained.


Translated from the Tibetan by Erick Tsiknopoulos and the Sugatagarbha Translation Group. 

Buddha - more time for reflection

Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Esukhia Nangten Sizhu Khang

Esukhia ནང་བསན་སི་ཞ་ཁང་།
McLeod Ganj, India
24 May 2013

To Whom It May Concern;

It is our pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for Erick Tsiknopoulos. During his tenure as an Esukhia student, Erick has proven himself to be an avid and exceptional student with a prodigious curiosity in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and its textual heritage. He is continually striving to improve his knowledge of the Tibetan language, both spoken and literary, as evidenced by his continuing collaborative relationship with the staff members at our organization, who are excellent scholars in their own right.

We believe Erick has great potential in his future as a translator, having spent his time training in India since 2007, essentially following in the footsteps of the great lotsawas (Tibetan translators) of the past, who would spend 20 years training to work in collaboration with Indian masters for the sake of translation. We therefore wholeheartedly endorse him and wish him continued success in all his academic and educational pursuits.

Dirk Schmidt (Translation Department Director) & Esukhia’s Board of Directors

Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Dr. Scott Mist

Erick and I have been working together for the last two years on a translation project where I have served as the main organizer of the project, and he has worked as the head translator. Erick has been translating the Yuthok Nyingthik under the auspices and with the help of Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, a preeminent scholar and instructor of Tibetan medicine. Erick was recommended to me by Dr. Frances Garret, University of Toronto, for his extremely high level of Tibetan language skills and impressive ability in translating classical Tibetan. We both believe that he is one of the best Tibetan-English translators of the younger generation working today. The Yuthok Nyingthik is a uniquely difficult text to translate, in that it is simultaneously a medical text and a complete Vajrayana cycle. As such, the textual material has a vast array of terminology and literary styles, with subjects ranging from specific herbs and Tibetan medicinal practices, detailed historical documents, prayers and rituals, philosophical expositions and practice manuals, to Vajrayana practices including sngon ‘grobla ma’i rnal ‘byorshin tu rnal ‘byorphyag rgya chen posman sgrubbskyed rim, and rdzogs rim. The language and subject matter of the text is often quite esoteric, archaic, poetic, and condensed. Erick’s eloquent work on this challenging text is a testament to his extensive knowledge of Buddhism and Tibetan language.

Erick has been a dedicated student of Buddhism since 1999. Since 2007, he has been living in India studying Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. In both America and India, he has studied with several Buddhist master scholars, and in India he has been deeply immersed in Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan literature, and Tibetan Buddhist practices, through private and public classes at many highly-regarded Buddhist institutions. He currently studies Buddhist philosophy at Namgyal Monastery (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s main monastery), the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, and the Esukhia Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings. Furthermore, he serves as the main oral translator for Geshe Lobsang Chögyel Rinpoche’s regular Dharma teachings in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India.

Erick has been diligent, articulate and forthright in his work – important skills in a translator. I strongly recommend him for all future translation and educational endeavors.


Scott Mist, PhD, MAcOM

Assistant Professor

Fibromyalgia Research Group

School of Nursing


Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases Department

School of Medicine

Oregon Health & Science University

Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso

Letter of Support from Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso

I, the one by the name of Lobzang Gyamtso, a Dharma teacher for the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang], address you with respect.

My name is Lobzang Gyamtso, and my home country is in the region of southern Amdo in the snowy land of Tibet. In both Tibet and India, over the course of eighteen years I completed my studies of four major textual subjects of the Buddhadharma [namely, Buddhist logic and epistemology (Tibetan: tshad ma, Sanskrit: pramāṇa) based on Dharmakīrti’s Compendium of Valid Cognition (Tib: tshad ma rnam ‘grel, Skt: pramāṇavārttikakārika), Perfection of Wisdom literature (Tib: phar phyin/shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa, Skt: prajñāpāramitā) based on Asaṅga and Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realization (Tib: mngon rtogs rgyan, Skt: abhisamayālaṅkāra), Abhidharma (Tib: mngon pa, Skt: abhidharma) based on Vasubandhu’s Treasury of Abhidharma (Tib: mngon pa mdzod, Skt: abhidharmakośa), and Middle Way ontology (Tib: dbu ma, Skt: madhyamaka) based on the works of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti). I have also studied the five minor Tibetan arts and sciences [poetry, etymological and synonym studies, writing and composition, astrology, and drama], Chinese language, English language, mathematics, geography, and natural science. In both Tibet and India, I have worked as a teacher for seven years and as a physician for five years. Recently I have been working for about two years as a Dharma teacher for students from ten different countries at the Esukhia Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten S’izhu Khang] in Dharamsala, Northern India. I am also currently working as an author, physician, translator, and online writer and editor.

Now, to elaborate on the subject at hand, my student, the young American scholar known as Erick: He is of good and kind character, and is an intellectual of broad understanding and discernment. He has studied the Sanskrit, Pāli, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Hindi languages in addition to English. He has a good knowledge of Sanskrit Buddhist terminology, and he attained a high level of ability in Japanese language during a six month stay in Japan. For over ten years, he has studied a great deal of the Mahāyāna and Secret Mantra [Vajrayāna] Dharma teachings of the Nyingma (Tib: rnying ma) lineage in America and India with many great Buddhist teachers, as well as the teachings of the other three main Tibetan Buddhist lineages, and has attended and studied many teachings on mind-training, emptiness, madhyamaka, tantra, and various important Buddhist texts.

He has attended and studied at many schools in both America and India. In America, he studied Japanese language, massage therapy, and so on at two colleges in America [College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon]. In India, he has studied literary and colloquial Tibetan at the Manjushree Center for Tibetan Culture in Darjeeling, Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophical subjects such as tenets [Tib: grub mtha’, Skt: siddhānta] and madhyamaka [Tib: dbu ma] at the Thösam Ling Institute in Norbulingka, mahāyana sūtras [The Sūtra on Recollecting the Three Jewels (Tib: dkon mchog gsum rjes su dran pa’i mdo)], mental states and cognitions [Tib: blo rigs], logic and reasoning [Tib: rtags rigs], Tibetan Buddhist debate, collected debate topics [Tib: bsdus grwa], and Tibetan grammar [Tib: sum rtags] at Dzongsar Shedra (Dzongsar Chökyi Lodrö Institute of Buddhist Dialectics) in Chauntra, tenets, collected debate topics, the seventy topics of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra [Tib: don bdun bcu], and Śāntideva’s Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra [Tib: jang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa] at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of Path [Tib: lam rim chen mo], Tibetan grammar, Tibetan Buddhist meditation and praxis, and prajñāpāramitā (Abhisamayālaṅkāra) at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in McLeod Ganj, and prajñāpāramitā [Abhisamayālaṅkāra with its commentary by Panchen Sönam Drakpa], stages of the path [Tib: lam rim] literature, and Tibetan meditation and praxis at Namgyal Monastery (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s main temple). In addition, he has also frequently attended private classes with various Buddhist scholars such as khenpos and geshes, in which he has studied subjects such as the Gyeltsap Darma Rinchen’s commentary on the BodhisattvacaryāvatāraChanting the Names of Mañjuśrī [Skt: mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti, Tib: ‘jam dpal mtshan brjod), Ju Mipham Rinpoche’s Gateway to Knowledge [Tib: mkhas ‘jug] and Torch of Certainty [Tib: nges shes sgron me], Tsongkhapa’s praise to Mañjuśrī, mental states and cognitions, logic and reasoning, and the Ākāśagarbha Sūtra [Tib: nam mkha’i snying po’i mdo], and so forth.

Since 2012, he has studied through the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang] with me, and together we have reviewed the Sūtra of Golden Light (Tib: gser ‘od dam pa’i mdo, Skt: ārya-suvarṇaprabhā-sottama-sūtrendra-rāja-nama-mahāyāna-sūtra), a collection of sūtras (Tib: mdo tshan phyogs sgrigs), a text on the negative retributions of guns (Tib: me mda’i nyes dmigs), and the Yuthok Nyingthik (Tib: g.yu thog snying thig); I have gone over his translations of these texts with him, and provided him with additional commentary and explanation. I believe that his translation skills are exceptional and outstanding.

He is also currently doing oral translation on a regular basis for Tibetan Buddhist subjects such as Tsongkhapa’s Three Principle Aspects of the Path [Tib: lam gtso rnam gsum] and the Four Noble Truths for an accomplished lama named Geshe Lobsang Chögyel Rinpoche.

His level of aptitude in literary and classical Tibetan language is immense, and his spoken Tibetan language and powers of expression are excellent. In particular, he has trained and continues to train in a profound and deep research of the Buddhist teachings. He is a resourceful young man of strong intelligence who holds an aspiration to spread and promulgate Buddhism in a far-reaching way, and is someone who has vast ambitions to in the future be able to accomplish great service for the Buddhist teachings in their entirety, due to the fact that he has the aim of helping to establish peace and happiness in the world.

On the third day of Joy during the virtuous period of the waxing moon in the month of Saga Dawa [the eleventh day of the fourth month of Vesak] in the Tibetan Water Snake Year, this was written at the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings [Nangten Sizhu Khang] in Dharamsala, Himachal [Pradesh], India.


Dr. Lobzang Gyamtso


Letter of Support for Erick Tsiknopoulos from Dato’ Patrick Tan

I have had the good fortune of knowing Erick since 2010. I first encountered him on the internet through his excellent website of Tibetan Buddhist translations, Sugatagarbha Translations ( I was deeply impressed with his obviously high level of skill in Tibetan language and Tibetan to English translation, as well as his extensive knowledge of Buddhism. I was also moved that he offered all of his translations for free. I developed a friendship and partnership with him that continues to this day. I have always supported his altruistic translation projects, and over the years I have tried to help him as I am able. In 2011, I had the opportunity to meet him in person in Kathmandu, where he served as an oral translator for me and my colleagues at Namo Buddha and Pharping, and he was very helpful to us. He has also translated several letters to Tibetan lamas from English into Tibetan for me, and worked as the main English editor and proofreader for the English edition of my company’s official magazine for over a year and half, from 2011 to 2012. His translation abilities are beyond doubt, and his talent and proficiency in both English and Tibetan is inspiring. Moreover, his wide-ranging understanding of Buddhism is highly unusual for someone of his age, and it is obvious that he has been constantly furthering his Buddhist studies for quite a long time. I have always admired his sincere commitment to the intensive study of Tibetan Buddhism in India, and his unique dedication to the field of translation. He has studied with many great Buddhist teachers  in both America and India for many years, and through this he has truly gained a deep familiarity with a broad spectrum of the Buddhist teachings.

For myself, as a long-time student of Buddhism in both the Chinese and Tibetan traditions and someone has visited India and Nepal on numerous occasions, I can appreciate the diligence and patience that is required for the kind of study that Erick has accomplished. It is very difficult and requires a great deal of courage and devotion. Erick has served as an encouragement for me in my own Buddhist studies and practice.

I believe that he is and will continue to be of great benefit to Buddhism and the world.



Dato’ Patrick Tan, Royal Knight of Malaysia

Founder and Chairman of the VISIBER Corporation (VISIBER SDN BHD, VISIBER International Group)