Who is Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva of The Great Vow?

Who is Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva in Buddhism - the one well-known with the great vow to save all sentient beings in the world?

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Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva is the enlightened one who is extremely well-known with his Great Vow.

His Great Vow is: “Only if the hell realm is empty, do I become the Buddha”.

That was the reason why people also call Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva as “The Bodhisattva of the hell beings” or “Bodhisattva King Kṣitigarbha of the Great Vow”.

And, he is also one of the eight great Bodhisattvas in Buddhism.

Yidam Practice of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva

Besides that, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva is a powerful Yidam (deity) in Esoteric Buddhism. If your date of birth is 24, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva is your own Yidam (deity). And if you are looking for the good fortune of finance as well as prevent yourself from bad luck, you should follow the cultivation method of Yidam (deity) Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, too.

The Great Power of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva

Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva does have all immeasurable great merits. He is able to respond to both earthly devotions and heavenly devotions of all sentient beings. For examples, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva can improve good fortune or reduce bad luck and develop the Buddhahood for the sentient beings in the world.

So far Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva has a huge amount of great merits.

King Kṣitigarbha had made the great vow: “Only if the hell realm is empty, do I become the Buddha”. He had enlightened but kept on staying in the world to save all sentient beings. If a Buddhist practice the cultivation method of Yidam (deity) Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, this person can prevent himself from bad luck as well as have a wealthy life. Besides that, he or she can also improve Buddhism wisdom and be respected by everybody.

The Holy Label of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva

Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva means “the Bodhisattva of the Earth”. He exists in the present life, after Siddhartha Buddha had come into Nirvana and before Maitreya Buddha appears.

According to the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, he is “quietly motionless, profoundly static, as alike as the land surface”. That is the reason why he also has another name: “Earth Store Bodhisattva“.

We can understand his holy name in some meaning, in a detailed meaning.

  • The land surface can nourish the trees. Likewise, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva can create good Dharma.
  • Everything can live safely in the land. In the same manner, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva can save all sentient beings.
  • The earth can cover all minerals, animals, plants. Similarly, Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva can move all of the sentient beings from the beach of sufferings to the land of joy and peace.
  • He can cover all the great Dharma, of course.
  • Earth can nourish everything. It means everything can reply on the Earth. And all of us can reply on Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, too.
  • The land surface is hard and cannot be replaceable. In the same way, the Buddhahood of Kristigrarbha Bodhisattva is hard. It looks like a diamond – extremely precious and can not be broken.
Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva of hell realm
Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva of hell realm

28 Great Merits of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva

According to Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, Kṣitigarbha King has countless great merits. Because of the great vow from numberless lives, he is able to appear in an infinite transformation to save the sentient beings.

If the Buddhists respectfully recite the holy name of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisatta respectfully or worship Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s statue or image, they can get escape from the sufferings as well as achieve 28 great merits.

  • They will unite with the holy ones.
  • He will improve their good karma.
  • The Buddhahood of this one will never get lost.
  • They will have a fulfilled life
  • The diseases will never attack them.
  • Being far away from the fire and flood.
  • The thieves will not come to the Buddhists’ home.
  • Everyone do respect the Buddhists.
  • The Buddhists usually have chances to meet the good ones.
  • Gods and devils will help them.
  • If those who are female in this present life, they will become male in future lives.
  • Becoming the goddess of the kings.
  • To have a very nice looking.
  • To reborn in the heavenly realm.
  • Or become the kings in the future.
  • Having great wisdom.
  • The Buddhists will get what they wish for.
  • Having a happy family.
  • Their bad luck will never come.
  • He will remove their bad karma.
  • Their destinations are always clear.
  • Dreaming good dreams.
  • Getting escape from the sufferings before their death.
  • Reborning in the good places.
  • The gods will praise the Buddhists.
  • Being intelligent.
  • Becoming the Buddha.
  • The heaven dragons will save the Buddhists.


The Transformation and Implements of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva

Kṣitigarbha Boddhisattva in the transformation of the monk
Kṣitigarbha Boddhisattva in the transformation of the monk

Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva is often portraited in the artwork as the monk who is wearing a Buddha crown and a Kasaya. His right-hand holds the Khakkhara, and his left-hand keeps one shining pearl. In various Bodhisattvas, he is the only Bodhisattva whose transformation is a monk.

The Khakkhara is the symbol of Dharma. And the Khakkhara of Dharma reflects Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s power that can unlock the door of hell. And six circles in the Khakkhara represent the Kamadhatu (six realms of rebirth). In the “Bodhisattva King Kṣitigarbha of the Great Vow” Sutra, he had made the Great Vow:

Because of the bad karma of the sentient beings in six realms of existence, I will be creating various methods that can help them to get escape themselves to upcoming countless lives. Only if the hell realms are empty, do I become Buddha.”

And the shining pearl on the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s left hand is really the metaphor for the wisdom in Buddhism. The shining pearl of wisdom sheds light on the hell of ignorance, helping those who get stuck in the hell of bad karma of mind, body, and voice to find a pathway to get free.

In other words, the Khakkara and shining pearl in the hands of Kṣitigarbha Boddhisattva are the representatives of two treasure in Buddhism. The first one is great compassion for sentient beings. And the second one is great wisdom.


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