After the death of
Shakyamuni Buddha, there would be no Buddha on Earth until the
appearance of the Bodhisattva Maitreya over a few billion years
later, who is to become the next Buddha. During this transition
period, Shakyamuni Buddha assigned and delegated to Bodhisattva
Ksitigarbha appears to act on His behalf, in order to save the
This Sutra describes
the past lives of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, his great vow made
to that effect by him and the benefit accruing from that vow.
The vow is that if the hell is not yet empty, I vow not to become
The Sutra also emphasizes
the miraculous powers that all sins be expiated by reciting or
hearing even a single phrase or verse.