The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti
176 pages, 1990
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This book presents the major teachings of Mahāyāna Buddhism in a precise, dramatic, and even humorous form. For two millennia this Sūtra, called the “jewel of the Mahāyāna Sūtras,” has enjoyed immense popularity among Mahāyāna Buddhists in India, central and Southeast Asia, Japan, and especially China, where its incidents were the basis for a style in art and literature prevalent during several centuries.
Robert Thurman’s translation makes available in relatively nontechnical English the Tibetan version of this key Buddhist scripture, previously known to the English-speaking world only through translations from Chinese texts. The Tibetan version is generally conceded to be more faithful to the original Sanskrit than the Chinese texts.
The Tibetan version also is clearer, richer, and more precise in its philosophical and psychological expression. The twelve books of the Sūtra are accompanied by an introduction and an epilogue by Dr. Thurman and by three glossaries: Sanskrit terms, numerical categories, and technical terms.
Vimalakirti's teachings in the book explore the concept of non-duality. He suggests that everything in the universe is interconnected and interdependent. This means that there's no absolute good or bad, right or wrong. Understanding this can help us see the world from a broader perspective.
The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti emphasizes the importance of compassion. He teaches that we should treat all beings with kindness and understanding, regardless of their actions. This can be a powerful tool for personal growth and improving relationships.
Vimalakirti encourages readers to practice mindfulness. He believes that being present and aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions can lead to a more fulfilling and peaceful life. So, take a moment to check in with yourself and see how you're feeling.
In the book, Vimalakirti discusses the role of suffering in achieving enlightenment. He suggests that suffering is not something to be avoided but rather a part of life that can lead to personal growth and understanding. So, don't shy away from challenges, they might be leading you to enlightenment.
Vimalakirti's teachings also delve into the concept of emptiness. He explains that emptiness is not the absence of existence, but the absence of independent existence. This can be a bit tricky to understand, but it's worth digging into for a deeper understanding of life and the universe.