The Questions of Gaṅgottarā

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The Questions of Gaṅgottarā

In The Questions of Gaṅgottarā, a laywoman named Gaṅgottarā leaves her home in the city of Śrāvastī and visits the Buddha Śākyamuni in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. The Buddha asks her from where she has come, sparking a dialogue on the true nature of things. Among other things, they discuss the fact that, from the perspective of ultimate truth, all things, including Gaṅgottarā herself, are like magical creations, and thus no one comes or goes or pursues nirvāṇa. After their dialogue, the Buddha smiles. When Ānanda asks him why, he explains that a thousand tathāgatas of the past have already taught this discourse at this same location to a thousand different laywomen, all named Gaṅgottarā; and that through it they have all achieved nirvāṇa. The sūtra concludes with a brief explanation of the reasons why the present laywoman named Gaṅgottarā received this teaching and how it should be remembered in the future.

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The Questions of Gaṅgottarā


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