Questions Regarding Death and Transmigration

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The sutra, Questions Regarding Death and Transmigration (Skt. Āyuṣpattiyathākāraparipṛcchā; Tib. ཚེ་འཕོ་བ་ཇི་ལྟར་འགྱུར་བ་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. tshe ‘pho ba ji ltar ‘gyur ba zhus pa), is set in the town of Kapilavastu at the time of the funeral of a young man of the Shakya clan. The Buddha’s father, King Shuddhodana, wonders about the validity of the ritual offerings being made for the deceased by the family and asks the Buddha seven questions about current beliefs on death and the afterlife. The Buddha answers each of the questions in turn. After two interlocutors interrupt to test the Buddha’s omniscience, the discourse continues to present the Buddhist account of death and rebirth using a set of eight analogies, each of which complements the others in a detailed explanation.[1]

This sutra is significant both philosophically as well as historically, being a reliable witness to relatively early Indian non-Buddhist views concerning death and the Buddhist polemics against them.


The sutra is not extant in Sanskrit, nor was it translated into Chinese, and nor is there a Pali counterpart.

Tibetan Translation

The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 308.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.