The text, whose complete title is Da fo ding rulai fangguang xidanduo bandanluo dashenli dushe yiqie zhouwang tuoluoni jing da weide zuisheng jinlun sanmei zhou pin diyi 大佛頂如來放光悉怛多般怛羅大神力都攝一切咒王陀羅尼經大威徳最勝金輪三昧咒品第一, is inciuded in volume 19 of the Taisho Can-on (No. 947). This version is based on a manuscript which was copied in year 3 of the Enkyu Era 延久 (1071 C. E.) and belongs to the Sanmitsu Collection 三密藏 of To-ji 東寺..
The traditional catalogues of Buddhist scriptures contain no reference to the Dafo ding bie xingfa. We find, however, a total of 14 manuscripts of the text in the Dunhuang collecions. They are complete or partial texts which represent a separate recension different from the Taisho text.
The recent survey of Nara and Heian Buddhist manuscripts in Japan undertaken by Prof. Toshinori Ochiai led to the discovery of another manuscript of the Dafo ding bie xingfa in 2005. The manuscript belongs to Ama-no-san Kongo-ji 天野山金剛寺 in Osaka Prefecture and appears to date back to the late Heian Period (1086-1192). It seems to represent a separate version distinct from the Taisho and Dunhuang recensions. The extant manuscripts of the Dafo ding bie xingfa attest thus to the wide-spread circulation of this scripture in Tang China and Heian Japan. It is very likely that the Dafo ding bie xingfa may have been compiled or translated between 718 and 735.
The stemmata which emerge from the philological analysis of the text are:
(1) The Kongo-ji lineage
(2) The To-ji lineage
(3) The Dunhuang lineage