Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra

Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra

Product ID: 13018

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Author: A Composition
Translator(s): Venerable Lozang Jamspal, Peter Della Santina
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
Year: 2004
Language: multilingual
Pages: 118
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120813758


Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra is a concise and comprehensive explanation of the fundamentals of the Buddha’s teaching and of the Buddhist path to liberation. Written by the renowned sage Nagarjuna for his friend and patron Gautamiputra the then King of Andhra in the South of India, the work which contains one hundred and twenty-three verses achieved great popularity first in India and then in Tibet.

Though the Sanskrit original of the work is lost, the present English translation has been made from the Tibetan version preserved in the Tibetan collection. Explanatory notes based on three authoritative Tibetan commentaries have been added to the text. The Tibetan text of the verses of Nagarjuna’s letter is also included to assist students and scholars who wish to consult the Tibetan version.


The work serves as a concise and comprehensive manual of instruction in the doctrine and practice of Buddhist religion and philosophy.

The original title Suhrllekha denotes the ‘the Letter of a Friend’ rendered in the Preface. The translators have, however, amplified it specifically into Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra. The translators have rendered the Tibetan verses into English in a lucid style, presenting them within the framework of a continuous outline serving as a guide-line for grasping the scheme of the manual.

The translation is also supplemented by two Appendixes-one giving the Tibetan version of the work and the other giving a glossary of some English terms with their Tibetan and Sanskrit equivalents. The illustration of a manual for the readers interested in Buddhist religion and philosophy.
-Sambodhi, Vol.9, H G Shastri

Is a valuable addition to the literature on Buddhism. It is interesting as a work of scholarship and provides an insight into Buddhism and Buddhist ethics.
-The Hindustan Times, A M Ghose
7th October, 1979

The present work contains not only the English translation of the Tibetan version but also elaborates notes based on Tibetan commentaries together with the original Tibetan text in calligraph. A very useful addition to the knowledge of Mahayana Buddhism.
-The Mail, Madras, SSS
August 5, 1979

The present edition is a compilation of translations but not directly from the original text. It is based on three Tibetan commentaries on the text ably supplemented by a thorough discussion. The explanatory notes which follow the verses in English make the text ably supplemented by a thorough discussion. The explanatory notes which follow the verses in English make the text more precise and the philosophy of Nagarjuna clearer and simpler.
-The Tribune, Savitri Subrahmanyam
June 30, 1979


Preface By His Holiness Sakya Trizin

List of Illustrations

Foreword By The Translators


General Outline Of Nagarjuna’s Letter To King Gautamiputra

Nagarjuna’s Letter To King Gautamiputra With Explanatory Notes

The Tibetan Text Of Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra

Glossary Of Some English Terms Used In The Text With Tibetan And Sankstrit Equivalents