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The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra Paperback – 1 Dec 1972

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications (1 Dec. 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394730658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394730653
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,012,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The later Shambhala editions refer to this very important Mahayana Sutra as 'Ordinary Enlightenment'. This is a reference to the main character in the sutra, namely Vimalakirti himself, who, although a layperson with wealth and family had attained perfect and pure enlightenment during the lifetime of the historical Buddha (563-483BC). This is a significant document as it demonstrates the possibilty of the attainment of complete enlightenment exactly where one happens to be. The Lord Buddha, sensing that his disciples require further teaching, decides to send each of them to the house of Vimalakirti under the pretext of checking on his health. However, each disciple comes forward and explains to the Buddha that previously they had met Vimalakirti and he had severely criticised their one-sided monastic practice. Likewise, as the Buddha asks the Bodhisattvas present at his gathering, each presents a story of Vimalakirti's wisdom and explains why they are not qualified to call on this master. Eventually, the great Bodhisattva Manjusri agrees to call on Vimalakirti, and their meeting unfolds an indepth dialogue that clarifies the Mahayana mind-set and the notion of emptiness (sunyata).

This translation carries the following dedication:

'Respectfully dedicated to the Venerable Upasaka W. B. Picard, Head of the Mousehole Buddhist Group, Mousehole, Cornwall, England, whose encouragement has sustained my humble efforts to present translations of Chinese Buddhist texts to keen students of the Dharma in the West.'

There are 14 chapters:

1. The Buddha Land.
2. The Expedient Method (upaya) of Teaching.
3. The Disciples.
4. The Bodhisattvas.
5. Manjusri's Call on Vimalakirti.
6. The Inconceivable Liberation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b45a9a8) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b45acc0) out of 5 stars An Essential Buddhist Sutra 2 July 2009
By William Bagley - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra centers around a lay buddhist meditator who attained a very high degree of enlightenment considered by some second only to the Buddha's. The book is written in half discourse and half story form with Vimalakirti becoming ill and many disciples of the Buddha visiting him or declining to see him because they feel their realization is less than his. There is a subtle puzzle as to why he has become ill, since his enlightenment is so deep which is resolved along the way. The book summarizes much of the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism in the process. There is a glossary and Foreword by Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yu) which are helpful to understand this sutra.
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