From the Ksitigarbha Great Vows sutra:
When Buddha spoke these words in the meeting, a Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, name Self-Existent King asked, “World Honored One, what vow makes the Buddha praise Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha so much? Please World Honored One tell us.”
Buddha answered Bodhisattva Self-Existent King, “Listen, listen, and think of what I am about to say. Many aeons ago, there was a Buddha name `All-Knowledge-Accomplished One′. This Buddha is worshipped by heavenly beings and people. He has wisdom and is perfect in clarity and conduct. He can be released from life and death. He is omniscient and acts as an advocate and mediator. He is the highest sage and the greatest instructor of heaven and people. That is why this Buddha is respected by heavens and people.
The lifespan of this Buddha is sixty thousand aeons. He was a king of a small country before he became a monk. While he was a king, he had a good friend who was also a king of a neighbouring country. They both cultivated themselves by doing ten good deeds to help others. The citizens of their countries used to commit many evil acts, so the two kings decided to set up possible ways to help people to give up evil and return to virtue. One king made a vow that he may soon become a Buddha to help all beings. The other king made a different vow, saying that he would never become Buddha unless all beings suffering from their criminal acts were saved and gained peace and happiness, attained Bodhi.”
Buddha Shakyamuni told Bodhisattva Self-Existent King, “The king who wished to become a Buddha first is Buddha All-Knowledge Accomplished. The other king who wished to help people but refused to become a Buddha first is the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.”
Futhermore the Buddha gave an analogy of how long Ksitigarbha has not attained the fruition of Buddhahood.
Buddha told Manjushri, “As an analogy, it is as if in the thousands of worlds, all the grasses, trees, bushes, straw, hemp, bamboo, reeds, mountains, stones, dust and every object is made into the Ganges River. And each grain of sand in the Ganges River becomes a great world. And each speck of dust in the each world is compared to an aeon. And within those aeons the specks of dust that would accumulate would also become aeons. Increase this amount a thousand times and this is how long Ksitigarbha has maintained the position of the Ten Ground – the highest ground or position that a Bodhisattva can reach. Manjushri, the power from [this] Bodhisattva’s vow is unimaginable.”
From the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows:
The Buddha told Samantavipula, “If a good man or a good woman in the future should, on hearing the name of Bodhisattva-Mahasattva Ksitigarbha, join his palms, give praise and pay obeisance or give admiration to him-such a person will be exonerated from all his sins committed and karmic blemishes contracted during thirty kalpas.”
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