Expounding the Qualities of the Thus-Gone Ones’ Buddhafields
The sutra Expounding the Qualities of the Thus-Gone Ones’ Buddhafields (Skt. Buddhakṣetraguṇoktadharmaparyāya; Tibསངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ཞིང་གི་ཡོན་ཏན་བརྗོད་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྣམ་གྲངས།, Wyl. sangs rgyas kyi zhing gi yon tan brjod pa’i chos kyi rnam grangs) takes place in the kingdom of Magadha where Shakyamuni Buddha is dwelling amid an incalculable assembly of bodhisattvas. Among the bodhisattvas is the sutra’s primary speaker Achintya Prabharaja― King of Inconceivable Light―who offers a discourse on the relativity of time between buddha fields. He enumerates eleven buddhafields, with an eon in the first being equivalent to a day in the following buddhafield, where an eon is, in turn, the equivalent of a day in the next, and so forth. The sutra thus presents a hierarchy of buddhafields that begins with our world and culminates with the paramount buddhafield, Padmashri This language of incredibly vast scales of time has the effect of testing the limits of human conception, thereby demonstrating that the qualities of the buddhas and their buddhafields are beyond quantification or conceptualization. Achintya Prabharaja concludes his discourse by presenting the benefits of engaging with this sutra, foremost of which is being visited by buddhas from an infinite number of buddhafields at the moment of death.
Expounding the Qualities of the Thus-Gone Ones’ Buddhafields is nearly identical to The Chapter on the Scale of Life, the thirty-seventh chapter of the Ornaments of the Buddhas (Toh 44, Skt. Buddhāvataṃsaka), and The Sutra of King of the Inconceivable (Toh 268). Of the three texts, Expounding the Qualities of the Thus-Gone Ones’ Buddhafields is the most elaborate in that it includes an introductory narrative and a conclusion whereas The Chapter on the Scale of Life does not, and it explicitly names the buddhafields and their buddhas while The Sutra of King of the Inconceivable gives only the names of the buddhas. .
- English translation:
- 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.