views updated


Mātṛceṭa (second century c.e.) was a Sanskrit poet. A Śaivite convert to Buddhism, he is the author of: (1) Varṇārhavarṇastotra (Hymn in Praise of the Praiseworthy), a poem in 386 stanzas (hence the subtitle Catuḥśataka) in praise of the Buddha, which survives in Sanskrit (incomplete) and Tibetan; (2) Prasādapratibhodbhava (Inspired by Faith), a poem in 153 stanzas (hence the subtitle Śatapañcāśatka) also in praise of the Buddha, which survives in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese; and (3) Mahārōjakaniṣkalekha (Letter to the Great King Kaniṣka), a poem in 85 stanzas, surviving only in Tibetan translation, in which the aged Mātṛceṭa offers advice to the young Kaniṣka. A number of other works in the Tibetan Tanjur are attributed to Mātṛceṭa, but only a few further fragments remain of the original Sanskrit. Mātṛceṭa's poetry is notable for its terse, clear style, which heightens the intensity of his thought and feeling.

See also:Sanskrit, Buddhist Literature in


Bailey, D. R. Shackleton, ed. and trans. The Śatapañcāśatka of Mātṛceṭa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1951.

Hahn, Michael, ed. and trans. Invitation to Enlightenment: Letter to the Great King Kaniska and Letter to a Disciple by Candragomin. Berkeley, CA: Dharma, 1999.

Hartmann, Jens-Uwe, ed. and trans. Das Varṇārhavarṇastotra des Mātṛceṭa. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987.

Peter Khoroche