Web Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of the sutra as translated by the late Dr. Yoshito S. Hakeda and originally published by Columbia University Press. This reprint edition retains Dr. Hakeda’s chapter and subdivision headings and his commentaries, which are set in italicized paragraphs within the text itself.
This treatise, The Awakening of Faith, sometimes known by the longer title of The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana, presents a concise synopsis of both the theoretical and practical aspects of the central ideas of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and has therefore been widely read as an introduction to this branch. A short work, it remains extremely important in the history of Buddhism, having exerted influence in China and Japan on the schools of Hua-yen (Jp. Kegon), T’ien-t’ai (Jp. Tendai), Chan/Zen, Pure Land (Ch. Jìngtǔzōng; Jp. Jōdo Bukkyō), Chên-yen (Jp. Shingon), and more.
However, many questions remain concerning the author and place of composition, including whether it was composed in India or China, and whether the attributive author Aśvaghoṣa lived before or after Nāgārjuna.
Skt. *Mahāyānaśraddhotpāda-śāstra, attributed to Aśvaghoṣa. Brought into the Chinese by Paramārtha as Dasheng qixi nlun (大乘起信論). 1 fascicle.