In the wide-ranging discourse of the Kshitigarbha Ten Wheels Mahayana Sutra, the Buddha expounds on the “ten wheels” that define a just king’s rule; the knowledge and qualities of a tathagata; the ethics, conduct and practices to be adopted by the Buddha’s ordained followers; the features and qualities of the three vehicles; the practice of confession; the ten virtues and their ripening results; and the ten perfections.
The bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, for whom the sutra is named, features most prominently in the first two chapters of the sutra. Alongside the inspiring description of his inconceivable qualities is an account of the exceptional benefits of the mantra dharani which he received. The sutra tells us: “he is greater than all other bodhisattvas and you should make offerings to him with great devotion.”
Thus Lama Zopa Rinpoche often advises that prayers to Kshitigarbha are much more powerful than those made to other bodhisattvas, emphasizing in the Kshitigarbha Practice: “This mantra dharani is the best one to do for any problems in any situation. Even reciting four or five times, just a few times, is very powerful. [The sutra] talks about so much power, how important the bodhisattva is; even reciting or just thinking of the name of the bodhisattva is very, very powerful.”
The sutra culminates with the Buddha entrusting it to Akashagarbha, exhorting him to protect and work for those who uphold it in any way.