Translated from the Chinese by Mark L. Blum.
One of the most influential Buddhist texts in East Asia, the Mahayan Mahaparinirvana-sutra takes the occasion of Sakyamuni Buddha's last sermon to present a thoroughly Mahayana message in which buddhas are mythically eternal yet a constant presence in our world, all living beings possess buddha-nature and attain liberation when they realize this, vegetarianism is asserted as the new standard for monastics, and icchantikas are problematic individuals whose liberation is usually hopeless.
More commonly called by its abbreviated title, Nirvana Sutra, there are three Chinese translations of this text, the most influential being the forty-fascicle effort by Dharmaksema produced between 420-431 C.E. There is no complete Sanskrit text for this sutra, but a number of Sanskrit fragments are extant, and the material in these fragments and the parallel Chinese translation by Faxian have been taken into consideration in preparing the rpesent translation. This book translates the first ten fascicles of the Dharmaksema translation into English, and is the first of four volumes.