RSRS19.01 Darukadhoama Sutra [draft]

This Gāndhārī version of the Buddha’s Discourse on the Simile of the Log (P Dārukkhandhopama-sutta) is preserved on scroll 19 of the Robert Senior collection, a scroll that is one of the best preserved in the collection. The Gāndhārī title *Darukadhoama Sutra has been reconstructed on the basis of the title given in the Pali parallel (according to Be and Ce), Pali commentarial references to the dārukkhandhopama, and the reference dāruskandhopamena in the Sanskrit parallel. Full parallels, which are listed below, can be found in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan. The sūtra versions are found in the Saṃyutta-nikāya/Saṃyuktāgama (Pali and Chinese) and the Ekottarikāgama (Chinese) collections. The event is also depicted in the Bhaiṣajyavastu of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya preserved in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. Since the majority of the sūtras in the Senior collection have their primary parallels in the Saṃyutta-nikāya/Saṃyuktāgamas, it is likely that this sūtra was selected from this āgama of the community that produced this anthology. This publication contains the first diplomatic edition, reconstruction, and translation of this Gāndhārī sūtra version.

Item Robert Senior Scroll 19 | Text 1 | Surface ll.1 ‒ 18 (recto), 19‒32 (verso) | Material Birch Bark | Size H: max. 16.8‒17.2 (average 17) cm; W: 20.9 cm | Findspot uncertain (presumably Haḍḍa, Afghanistan) | Date approx. 140 CE | Current Location University of Washington, Seattle

Content Summary

The sūtra depicts the Buddha dwelling in Ayaja (Skt. Ayodhyā) on the banks of the river Ganges. An unnamed monk approaches him and requests a teaching. At that time, a log is being carried down the river by the current and the Buddha uses this image to explain that the log will continue on down the river and reach the ocean if it is not held up by eight obstacles (being caught on either bank, sinking in the middle, etc.). The monk asks about each of the eight obstacles, and the Buddha explains them by unfolding their metaphorical implication as they apply to the monk, e.g. that the near shore is a metaphorical expression for the six internal sense bases. At the end of the explanation, the Buddha clarified his point by saying that, in the same way, if the monk does not fall into these eight obstructive conditions, he will reach the goal of final cessation (nirvāṇa). The reason is that right view (i.e., the eightfold noble path) leads to that goal.

At that time, the cowherd Ṇada (P/Skt. Nanda) was standing nearby and, upon hearing the teaching of the Buddha, his mind is freed without clinging (i.e., he becomes an arhat). He declares to the Buddha that he is not attached to this shore, the other shore, and so on, and requests that he become a monk. The Buddha asks him to return the cows he was herding first. Upon doing this, the Buddha gives Ṇada ordination.

The sūtra then states that the first unnamed monk, after hearing the teaching from the Buddha, practiced diligently and reached the goal of final cessation. The sūtra concludes with both this monk and the Venerable Ṇada being pleased with what the Buddha had said.


Nirvāṇa, Right view


  • P.  Dārukkhandhopama-sutta, SN 35.241 (according to Be and Bodhi 2000: 1241–1243) or 35.200 (according to Ee) at SN IV 179–181 (Saḷāyatana-saṃyutta)
  • Ch.  SĀ 1174 of T 99 at T II 314c7–315b6
  • Ch.  EĀ 43.3 of T 125 at T II 758c12–759a28
  • Skt.  Skt. Gilgit Bhaiṣajya-vastu of the MūSā Vin folios 154‒155 (MSV I 48.7–53.14)
  • Ch.  Bhaiṣajya-vastu of the MūSā Vin T 1448 at T XXIV 48c10–49c1 [Yijing]
  • Tib.  Bhaiṣajya-vastu of the MūSā Vins, sTog Palace Manuscript of the Tibetan Kanjur (Leh, 1975‒80), vol. 2, folio 383, line 6, to folio 391, line 7

Companion Publications

  • Lee, Mei‐huang (Tien-chang Shi). 2009. A Study of the Gāndhārī Dārukkhandhopamasutta (“Discourse on the Simile of the Log”). PhD Dissertation. University of Washington.


Research on this edition was made possible through the financial support of several sources, including an … [supply UW and other institutional funding] … and various private donors to the University of Sydney’s Buddhist Studies program.

Digital publishing by Stephanie Majcher

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Avadānaśataka (ed. Speyer 1906–1909)
Burmese (Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyana) edition
Sri Lankan (Buddha Jayanti Tipiṭaka Series) edition
Catuṣpariṣat-sūtra (ed. Waldschmidt 1952–1962)
European (Pali Text Society) edition
Fobenxing ji jing (T 190)
Mahāvastu-avadāna (ed. Senart 1882–1897)
Saṃyukta-āgama (T 99)
Saṅghabhedavastu (ed. Gnoli 1977–1978)
Thai (King of Siam) edition
Taishō 大正 edition

Cite this article as: Mei‐huang Lee (Tien-chang Shi), Mark Allon, and Stephanie Majcher, “Darukadhoama Sutra” Journal of Gandhāran Buddhist Texts, October nn, 2022,