The Sutra on the Limits of Life

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In The Sutra on the Limits of Life (Skt. Āyuḥparyantasūtra; Tib. ཚེའི་མཐའི་མདོ།, Wyl. tshe’i mtha’i mdo) the Buddha, who is staying in Prince Jeta’s grove in Shravasti, addresses the monks directly and teaches in detail about the lifespans of the beings inhabiting the different realms of existence of the Buddhist cosmos.

It contains content and themes that predate the advent of Mahayana Buddhism, and it has therefore been regarded by Tibetan tradition as a sutra of the Shravaka yana. This can also be gleaned from the opening verses of its Tibetan translation, which pay homage to the Three Jewels instead of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas, as well as from the introductory scene of the sutra, in which the Buddha is not, as is usual in the sutras of the Mahayana, surrounded by a large number of bodhisattvas.[1]


The Japanese scholar Hisashi Matsumura presented an edition of the Sanskrit text of the Āyuḥparyanta­sūtra together with a critical edition of the Tibetan translation based on five editions.

Tibetan Translation

The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 307. The translators are listed in the Tibetan colophon as the Indian preceptor Vishuddhasimha and the Tibetan monk Gewa Pal. Their translation was subsequently revised and finalized by the Indian preceptor Vidyakarasimha and the chief editor-translator, Bandé Paltsek.


  • Choné Lama Drakpa Shedrup (1675–1748)


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.