The Vairocanabhisambodhi Sutra has remained, with the Sarvatathagatatattvasamgraha (English translation by Rolf W. Giebel, The Adamantine Pinnacle Sutra, in the volume Two Esoteric Sutras, Numata Center, 2001), one of the two basic texts of East Asian Esoteric Buddhism. This translation is based on the Chinese version of the text done in 724–5 by Subhakarasimha and his disciple Yixing. Taking the form of a dialogue between the bodhisattva Vajrapani and the Buddha Vairocana, the text’s primary aim is the exposition of bodhi-mind (bodhicitta), rooted in compassion (karuna) and culminating in expedient means (upaya), as the basis for ultimate wisdom. Chapters discuss more specifically Tantric practices, such as construction of a mandala, initiation rites, mantras, mudras, and visualization, as well as the ten precepts and other Mahayana teachings. The final fascicle is a ritual manual. This text provides an excellent overall picture of the theory and practice of mid- to late seventh century Indian Tantric Buddhism.
Vairocanabhisambodhi Sutra, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Hardcover, 2006, 320 pages, $50.00