Ardhasatika prajnaparamita Sutra, the First Tripitaka Koreana Edition, Volume 6

UnknownGoryeo Dynasty, 12th century

Horim Museum

Horim Museum
Seoul, South Korea

The Bulseolchoesanggeunbondaerakgeumgangbulgongsammaedaegyowanggyeong means the “Foremost Sūtra of the Buddha’s Sermon on Vajrapāṇi Bodhisattva’s Samādhi,” as esoteric Buddhist scripture explaining Vajrapāṇi enlightenment while engaged in Samādhi. Translated by the Chinese monk Faxian in 1001 C.E. into seven fascicles, this work describes the methods of practice that lead to enlightenment in twenty-five divisions. Fascicle 6 contains the “Division on the Mandala Ritual of Tathāgata’s Great Samādhi” (ilchaeyeoraesammae mandala uigwe bun, 一切如來大三昧曼拏羅儀軌分) and the “Division of All-united Rituals” (ilchesangeunguigwe bun, 一切相應儀軌分). In the “Division on the Maṇḍala Ritual of Tathāgata’s Great Samādhi,”Vajrapāni describes the great Maṇḍala practiced by Buddhas as well as rituals of anointing the crown of the head with water. In the “Division of all-united Rituals,”Vajrapāṇi illustrates the esoteric perfection of dharma in attaining the spiritual realm of the Buddhas through three types of meditation. At the end of this fascicle are writtennames and various roles of those involved in the translation of this work, such as those verifying the meaning, composition, scribing, checking the Sanskrit text and meaning, as well as copy editing and management. This fascicle thus provides valuable insight into the process of translation. This particular print is that of the first edition of the Tripitaka Koreana, It appears to date from the twelfth century C.E., printed a century after the carving of the Tripitaka’s woodblocks. The woodblocks and prints of the first edition Tripitaka Koreana, or the Buddhist canon as established in Korea, were commissioned in the reign of the Goryeo Dynasty’s King Hyeonjong (1011-1031 C.E.), in order to invoke the power of the Buddha in repelling Mongolian Khitan invaders. Its original woodblocks have since been lost, but scattered prints such as this remain. The second edition of the Tripitaka Koreana is better known as “PalmanDaejanggyeong.” Its woodblocks were made a century later due to the first edition’s loss and the entire woodblocks are still extant.Fascicle 6 is indexed under the Chinese character gok(觳), as part of a system of indexing books using characters from the Thousand character Classic (Ch. Qian zi wen, 千字文), similar to alphabetization. The Chinese character for pagination is jang (張) on page 13 and 15, the remainder being jang (丈). The text is laid out with twenty-three lines of text per page and fourteen characters per line, and there are a total of ten characters across eight pages that differ between this edition and the second edition of the Tripitaka Koreana.


  • Title: Ardhasatika prajnaparamita Sutra, the First Tripitaka Koreana Edition, Volume 6
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: Goryeo Dynasty, 12th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w1,130.40 x d29.8 cm
  • Provenance: Horim Museum
  • Type: Book

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