Archive for March, 2012

The Propagation of the Dharma

14. The Propagation of the Dharma (Burton Watson) Then the Buddha addressed the bodhisattva Maitreya, saying, "Maitreya, I now take this Law of anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, gathered over countless millions of asamkhya kalpas, and entrust it to you. In the latter age after the Buddha has passed into extinction, you must employ your supernatural powers to propagate sutras such as this, spreading them throughout the continent of Jambudvipa and never allowing them to be wiped out. Why? Because in Read more [...]

Mark against Evil

For this study of the Vimalakirti Sutra I have been referring to four different translations. My primary source has been Robert Thurman’s text; the root base of his text is akin to another, truly marvelous, translation by the renowned Belgian scholar and Indologist, Étienne Lamotte; Lamotte’s translation was difficult to come by. It was long out of print and the surviving available hard-copies were too astronomical in price. Fortunately, I was able (finally, just two weeks ago) to get a Read more [...]

Out on a Limb: Part 2

12.Vision of the Universe Abhirati and the Tathagata Aksobhya, cont’d The venerable Sariputra then asked the Buddha, "Lord, in which buddha-field did the noble Vimalakirti die, before reincarnating in this buddha-field?" The Buddha said, "Sariputra, ask this good man directly where he died to reincarnate here." Then the venerable Sariputra asked the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "Noble sir, where did you die to reincarnate here?" Vimalakirti declared, "Is there anything among the things that you Read more [...]

Out on a Limb: Part 1

12.Vision of the Universe Abhirati and the Tathagata Aksobhya Thereupon, the Buddha said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "Noble son, when you would see the Tathagata, how do you view him?" Thus addressed, the Licchavi Vimalakirti said to the Buddha, "Lord, when I would see the Tathagata, I view him by not seeing any Tathagata. Why? I see him as not born from the past, not passing on to the future, and not abiding in the present time. Why? He is the essence which is the reality of matter, but Read more [...]

The Beatitudes

11.Lesson of the Destructible and the Indestructible Meanwhile, back at the main assembly, a strange golden-like hue descends and encompasses everything. Ananda is awestruck and inquires from the Blessed One what this could mean. The Buddha says that this auspicious sign is a portent that Vimalakriti, Mañjuśrī and the great multitude of Bodhi-beings from Sarvagandhasugandhā will be arriving soon. Sure enough, Vimalakriti—in a miraculous fashion like the Buddha before him (with his Big-Toe) Read more [...]

Mystical Spice

10.The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation At the opening of this chapter we once again find Śāriputra still with that dull-witted, conventional outlook on life; before he was concerned with the lack of chairs for the assembly, now he’s concerned that they don’t have any food. Vimalkirti responds with, “Are you so overly-concerned with your belly—just watch, and I’ll show you food the like of which you’ll never hunger again”! Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti set himself Read more [...]

The Sound of Silence

9.The Dharma-Door of Nonduality We now come to the most famous passage in the whole sutra: Vimalakriti’s Noble Silence. It deserves special consideration. We find all of the Bodhisattvas expounding ad nauseam (all dribbling nonsense) their take on the nature of Non-duality. When all of the grandiose extrapolations have ceased, we find Mañjuśrī succinctly downplaying their theories as being in themselves “dualistic”. Then he addresses Vimalakriti for his take on the matter, and of Read more [...]

Spoofed Again

A little commercial-break from the Sutra… Being an avid fan of the Original Dark Shadows (circa 1966-1971), I’ve been looking forward with eager anticipation to viewing the long overdue Trailer for the upcoming Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake, due out in mid-May of this year. The first look of this preview was to be broadcast on a popular afternoon talk show, but was preempted in my area due to a Pro-Basketball game. Well, after finally being able to watch this Trailer (One can now see why Read more [...]

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water

8. The Family of the Tathagatas Then, the crown prince Manjusri said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "Noble sir, how does the bodhisattva follow the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha?" Vimalakirti replied, "Manjusri, when the bodhisattva follows the wrong way, he follows the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha." Manjusri continued, "How does the bodhisattva follow the wrong way?" Vimalakirti replied, "Even should he enact the five deadly sins, he feels no malice, violence, or Read more [...]

Victor Victoria

7 The Goddess, cont’d Sariputra: Goddess, what prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state? Goddess: Although I have sought my "female state" for these twelve years, I have not yet found it. Reverend Sariputra, if a magician were to incarnate a woman by magic, would you ask her, "What prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?" Sariputra: No! Such a woman would not really exist, so what would there be to transform? Goddess: Just so, reverend Read more [...]
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