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Take the Blue pill…or the Red pill

6. The Inconceivable Liberation, cont’d

Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti said to the crown prince, Manjusri, “Manjusri, you have already been in innumerable hundreds of thousands of buddha-fields throughout the universes of the ten directions. In which buddha-field did you see the best lionthrones with the finest qualities?” Manjusri replied, “Noble sir, if one crosses the buddha-fields to the east, which are more numerous than all the grains of sand of thirty-two Ganges rivers, one will discover a universe called Merudhvaja. There dwells a Tathagata called Merupradiparaja. His body measures eighty-four hundred thousand leagues in height, and the height of his throne is sixty-eight hundred thousand leagues. The bodhisattvas there are forty-two hundred thousand leagues tall and their own thrones are thirty-four hundred thousand leagues high. Noble sir, the finest and most superb thrones exist in that universe Merudhvaja, which is the buddha-field of the Tathagata Merupradiparaja.” At that moment, the Licchavi Vimalakirti, having focused himself in concentration, performed a miraculous feat such that the Lord Tathagata Merupradiparaja, in the universe Merudhvaja, sent to this universe thirty-two hundred thousand thrones. These thrones were so tall, spacious, and beautiful that the bodhisattvas, great disciples, Sakras, Brahmas, Lokapalas, and other gods had never before seen the like. The thrones descended from the sky and came to rest in the house of the Licchavi Vimalakirti. The thirty-two hundred thousand thrones arranged themselves without crowding and the house seemed to enlarge itself accordingly. The great city of Vaisali did not become obscured; neither did the land of Jambudvipa, nor the world of four continents. Everything else appeared just as it was before.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti said to the young prince Manjusri, “Manjusri, let the bodhisattvas be seated on these thrones, having transformed their bodies to a suitable size!” Then, those bodhisattvas who had attained the superknowledges transformed their bodies to a height of forty-two hundred thousand leagues and sat upon the thrones. But the beginner bodhisattvas were not able to transform themselves to sit upon the thrones. Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti taught these beginner bodhisattvas a teaching that enabled them to attain the five superknowledges, and, having attained them, they transformed their bodies to a height of forty-two hundred thousand leagues and sat upon the thrones. But still the great disciples were not able to seat themselves upon the thrones. The Licchavi Vimalakirti said to the venerable Sariputra, “Reverend Sariputra, take your seat upon a throne.” He replied, “Good sir, the thrones are too big and too high, and I cannot sit upon them.” Vimalakirti said, “Reverend Sariputra, bow down to the Tathagata Merupradiparaja, and you will be able to take your seat.” Then, the great disciples bowed down to the Tathagata Merupradiparaja and they were seated upon the thrones. Then, the venerable Sariputra said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, “Noble sir, it is astonishing that these thousands of thrones, so big and so high, should fit into such a small house and that the great city of Vaisali, the villages, cities, kingdoms, capitals of Jambudvipa, the other three continents, the abodes of the gods, the nagas, the yaksas, the gandharvas, the asuras, the garudas, the kimnaras, and the mahoragas – that all of these should appear without any obstacle, just as they were before!”
The Licchavi Vimalakirti replied, “Reverend Sariputra, for the Tathagatas and the bodhisattvas, there is a liberation called ‘Inconceivable.’ The bodhisattva who lives in the inconceivable liberation can put the king of mountains, Sumeru, which is so high, so great, so noble, and so vast, into a mustard seed. He can perform this feat without enlarging the mustard seed and without shrinking Mount Sumeru. And the deities of the assembly of the four Maharajas and of the Trayastrimsa heavens do not even know where they are. Only those beings who are destined to be disciplined by miracles see and understand the putting of the king of mountains, Sumeru, into the mustard seed. That, reverend Sariputra, is an entrance to the domain of the inconceivable liberation of the bodhisattvas. “Furthermore, reverend Sariputra, the bodhisattva who lives in the inconceivable liberation can pour into a single pore of his skin all the waters of the four great oceans, without injuring the water-animals such as fish, tortoises, crocodiles, frogs, and other creatures, and without the nagas, yaksas, gandharvas, and asuras even being aware of where they are. And the whole operation is visible without any injury or disturbance to any of those living beings. “Such a bodhisattva can pick up with his right hand this billion-world-galactic universe as if it were a potter’s wheel and, spinning it round, throw it beyond universes as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, without the living beings therein knowing their motion or its origin, and he can catch it and put it back in its place, without the living beings suspecting their coming and going; and yet the whole operation is visible.
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