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Vajrāmṛtatantra (MS Or.158.

1)
A palm-leaf manuscript of the Vajrāmṛtatantra, one of the main Yoginītantras, which until
now was known only through the Tibetan translation of the lo tsā ba Gyi jo zla ba’i ’od zer
(10th-11th cent.) and through the indirect tradition. To date, only few verses of
this tantra could have been read in the original Sanskrit. Although certainly less influential
than other Yoginītantras, such as, in primis, the Hevajratantra,
theVajrāmṛtamahātantra must have enjoyed a certain popularity. For instance, it is
referred to as one of the authoritative sources for the practice of thebāhyahoma by
Bhūvācārya (early 11th cent. ?), the author of theSaṃvarodayā nāma Maṇḍalopāyikā, in
the bāhyādhyātmahomavidhiḥ, the eleventh chapter of his work. In addition, we should
point out that this tantrahas been commented at least three times. Two of the
commentaries are extant in the original Sanskrit but are still unpublished. Originally,
Or.158 was formed of palm leaves from two independent manuscripts, both fragmentary,
one containing the Vajrāmṛtatantra and one containing theBuddhakapālatantra,
another yoginītantra, so far published only in part (Luo 2010). Since the ductus, the
quality and the shape of the leaves comprising these two works is the same (each leaf
contains six lines, one string-hole dividing the writing area into two pseudocolumns, of
which the left one is smaller than the right one, and on average 64/65 akṣaras), it is likely
that at some point someone got confused and mistakenly put together leaves from these
two works according to an apparently correct numerical sequence. The folios of the two
works have been now rearranged into two distinct bundles (Or.158.1 and Or.158.2), each
containing the extant folios of each work. It is highly plausible that together with these two
works, a third one, namely the Vajrāralimahātantrarāja, made originally part of the same
collection. The clue for this is given by the short list of titles added by a different hand on
the top left side of folio 1r. If this was the case, Or.158 could be considered to be a
originally a composite and multi-text manuscript. On the right of the same recto we find
some mantras written likely by the same hand (it is possible that the last two lines are
instead written by a third hand; see under Additions).

Information about this document


 Physical Location: Cambridge University Library
 Classmark: MS Or.158.1
 Alternative Title(s): Vajrāmṛtamahātantra
 Subject(s): Manuscripts, Sanskrit; Bauddha; Tantra
 Origin Place: Nepal.
 Date of Creation: 282 Nepāla / Saturday, September 22nd, 1162 CE.
 Language(s): Sanskrit.
 Associated Person(s): Bendall, Cecil
 Extent: 6 ff.
 Material: Palm leaf (Corypha).

Folio height: ca. 5 cm, width: ca. 31 cm.

 Format: Tālapatra
 Condition: Incomplete (ff. 1, 6, 8, 10-12 are extant); some folios are slightly
worm eaten, and some akṣaras are damaged, but still readable; the margins are
frayed, with minimal loss of text.
 Binding:

Cardboard cover, library binding.

 Script:

First hand: Hooked Nepālākṣarā (Bhujimol) in black ink (main text).

Second hand: Hooked Nepālākṣarā (Bhujimol) in black ink (additions on folio


1r.

Third hand: Hooked Nepālākṣarā (Bhujimol) in black ink (additions on folio 1r.

 Foliation:

1. Original: Nepālākṣarā letter numerals, mid-left margin, verso.

2. Original: Nepālākṣarā numerals, mid-right margin, verso.

 Layout: Pseudocolumn 1: Written height: 2.8 cm, width: 9.3-9.8


cm. Pseudocolumn 2: Written height: 2.8 cm, width: 17 cm.

6 lines per page, approximately 64-65 akṣaras per line.

Akṣara height: 4 mm. Interlinear space height: 1 mm. Two string holes
approximately in the middle of a blank column-like space. String hole spaces
width: 1.8 cm.

 Additions: On folio 1r, three additions by later hands:

On the top left margin, a short list of titles was added by a different hand: ≀
vajrāmṛtatantra || vajrāraṇi(!)tantra || buddhakapālatantra ||

On the right margin, some mantras likely written by the same hand: ≀ namo
ratnatrayāya || bodhisatvāya mahāsatvāya mahākāruṇīkāya
[l2] tadyathāḥ(!) kari 2 vikare sumbha nisumbha sarvvarogaprasamaṇi svāhā
[l3] || [khvā]lasīye mantra || oṃ dahane hanumantaḥ vāme
mahā[kālaḥ]pā¦[l4]cche mithunajāyāḥ āsya[ṃ] mahābhairavī upa[rya] ||
śrīvajrayo | gnī bra[l5]hmakapāla rākhu 2 morukāyāḥ śaset_ śrīvirupākṣa ājñā
|| tha [l6] vaṅmakavacara[pe] mantraḥ[svā]najadharapacchuyeḥ ātmarakṣā ||
❈ || ❈ ||

On the bottom margin, other mantras written by a different hand: ≀ oṃ


amarasasāyarapāni pibaṃtyaṃḥ ajarāmarakaṃndhathiraḥ raktacchatī
raktavatīḥ ulataṃtī puna dhāvaṭī bhādepāmṛtyaṃ hrī svāhā ||
la[khva]japarapatvaṃ[-1-] mantra || ❈ || ulaṭhabhedasatyānīpāni[l2] — — —
pivayiḥ vyañjanārthagurubhāṣa hrī\ṃ/ svāhā || la[khva]pālarape mantra ||
yasya pratidinaḥ pīvayītvāḥ sarvvadoṣahara iti || śubha ||

On the center of the page, a short note: kṣānaga.

 Provenance: Bought by Prof. C. Bendall in 1898-98.


 Funding: AHRC
 Data Source(s): Direct inspection.
 Author(s) of the Record: Francesco Sferra and Camillo Formigatti. 
 Excerpts:

Rubric: [1v1] ≀ namaḥ śrīvajrasatvāya ||

Incipit: [1v1] evam mayā śrutam ekasmin samaye bhagavā◎n


sarvatathāgatakāyavākcittahṛdayavajrāmṛtaguhyapadmeṣu vijahāra || krīḍate
bhagavān vajrī māmakyā māhate pure | pṛccha[1v2]te tatra sā devī rahasyeti
vyavasthitā || uktaṃ deva tvayā pūrvaṃ tantraṃ vajrāmṛ◎tam paraṃ | amṛtaṃ
sādhanopāyaṃ kathayasva mahāsukha || ity āha bhagavān vajrī
vajrāmṛtamahāsukhaḥ | acintyam avyayaṃ sūkṣmam amo[1v3]ghañ ca
nirindriyaṃ | paraṃ śāntaṃ viśuddhaṃ tu vajrāmṛtam udāhṛtaṃ ||13

Explicit: [12v4] namaskṛtvā tu triskālam ācāryasubhagottamaṃ | tvam eva ◎


sarvasatvānāṃ saṃsāroddharaṇaṃ prabhuḥ | idam avod bhagavān vajrī
vajrāmṛtamahāsukhaḥ | sarvatathāgatakāyavākcitta[-1-][12v5]jrī
vajrāmṛtamahāsukhaḥ | vajrāmṛtamahātantraṃ nikṣepaṃ kathitaṃ priye ◎ |
sūkṣmarūpaṃ tato vajrī bhagākāre vyavasthitaṃ |

Final Rubric, section: [12v5] vajrāmṛtamahātantre pañcāmṛtasādhanopāyo


nāma nirdeśaṃ tantraikādaśa[12v6]maṃ samāptam_ || ❈ ||

Final Rubric: [12v6] vajrāmṛtamahātatvaṃ buddhabodhiprasādhakam i◎ti || ❈ ||

Colophon: [12v6] samvat 282 aśvini śuklatrayodaśyāṃ || śaniścaradine


||    ❈    ||

 Bibliography:

Descriptions of the manuscript

List of Oriental MSS. Class Catalogue of Oriental MSS.(Cambridge: 1900–).

Edition(s)
Sferra, Francesco, "A Fragment of the Vajrāmṛtamahātantra A Critical Edition
and Translation of the Leaves Contained in CUL Or.158.1", (forthcoming).

http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-OR-00158-00001/1