The Questions of the Householder Viradatta

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This sutra, The Questions of the Householder Viradatta (Skt. Vīradattagṛhapatiparipṛcchā; Tib. ཁྱིམ་བདག་དཔས་བྱིན་གྱིས་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. khyim bdag dpas byin gyis zhus pa), tells of the time when the Buddha Shakyamuni is residing in Anathapindika’s pleasure garden in Shravasti with a great assembly of monks,while elsewhere in Shravasti the eminent householder Viradatta hosts a meeting with five hundred householders to discuss certain questions regarding the practice of the Great Vehicle, the Mahayana. Hoping to resolve these questions, Viradatta and the householders decide to approach the Buddha in Anathapindika’s pleasure garden. There the Buddha explains how bodhisattvas should engender the spirit of great compassion while not being attached to the body or to enjoyments, and he then instructs the householders on how bodhisattvas should examine the impermanence and impurity of the body. This prose teaching is followed by a set of verses that reiterate how the body is impure and impermanent and that elucidate the process of karma and its effects. As a result of this teaching, Viradatta and the five hundred householders attain the acceptance that phenomena are unborn. They then proclaim, in a well-known series of verses, the merits of aspiring for the awakening to Buddhahood. The Buddha smiles, predicting that Viradatta and the five hundred householders will attain spiritual awakening. The sutra concludes with the Buddha telling Ananda about the name of this Dharma discourse.[1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the Heap of Jewels section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 72.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.