Sutra of the Questions of an Old Lady

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The Sutra of the Questions of an Old Lady (Skt. Mahallikāparipṛcchāsūtra; Tib. བགྲེས་མོས་ཞུས་པའི་མདོ་, dré mö shyüpé do, Wyl. bgres mos zhus pa’i mdo) — a sutra containing teachings given by the Buddha to a 120-year-old woman in the city of Vaishali. Upon meeting the Buddha, she asks him questions concerning the four stages of life, the aggregates, the elements and the faculties. In response, the Buddha gives her a profound teaching on emptiness, using beautifully crafted examples to illustrate his point.

After hearing these teachings her doubts are dispelled and she is freed from clinging to the perception of a self. Ananda asks the Buddha why he has given such profound teachings to this woman. The Buddha reveals that the woman has been his mother five hundred times in previous lifetimes and that he had generated the root of virtue for her to become enlightened. Because of her own strong aspirations, after dying, she would be born in the buddha field of Sukhavati; and after sixty-eight thousand eons she would finally become the buddha Bodhyaṅgapuṣpakara.[1]

Tibetan Text

The Tibetan translation can be found in the Derge Kangyur, General Sutra section, Toh 171.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.

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