The Question of Maitreya (Toh 149)

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The Question of Maitreya (Toh 149) (Skt. Maitreyaparipṛcchā; Tib. བྱམས་པས་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. byams pas zhus pa) — in this sutra, the bodhisattva Maitreya approaches the Buddha on Vulture Peak Mountain and asks him to explain the karmic results of teaching the Dharma. The Buddha responds by comparing the merit gained by a person who makes an unfathomably enormous material offering to the buddhas, to the merit gained by another person who teaches a single verse of Dharma, declaring that the merit of the latter is far superior.

This very brief sutra, found in the General Sutra section of the Dergé Kangyur, is not to be confused with two other sutras from the Ratnakuta collection of the Kangyur called The Question of Maitreya (Toh 85) and The Question of Maitreya on the Eight Qualities (Toh 86), which are longer and differ thematically from this sutra.[1]


There was no known Sanskrit original of The Question of Maitreya available until recently, when a manuscript containing a collection of twenty sutras was found in the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Bhikshuni Vinita published a critical edition and English translation of this collection in the series Sanskrit Texts from the Autonomous Region (2010).

Tibetan Translation

The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 149.

  • English translations:
    • Kīrtimukha Translation Group, The Question of Maitreya (3)
    • Peter Skilling, Questioning the Buddha: A Selection of Twenty-Five Sutras (Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 2021), pages 227–234.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.