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The Vimalakirti Sutra

192 pages, 2000

spirituality & religion

spirituality & religion

408 books
philosophy

philosophy

711 books
Takeaways
Description

One of the most popular Asian classics for roughly two thousand years, the Vimalakirti Sutra stands out among the sacred texts of Mahayana Buddhism for its conciseness, its vivid and humorous episodes, its dramatic narratives, and its eloquent exposition of the key doctrine of emptiness or nondualism. 

Unlike most sutras, its central figure is not a Buddha but a wealthy townsman, who, in his mastery of doctrine and religious practice and his embodiment of the ideal lay believer is brought to life with wit by translator Burton Watson's gorgeous English translation—a book that will appeal to men and women of all faiths who seek spiritual fulfillment within their everyday lives.

Exploring the Concept of Non-Duality

In The Vimalakirti Sutra, Burton Watson introduces us to the concept of non-duality. This is a key principle in Buddhism, suggesting that all things are interconnected and not separate. It's a thought-provoking idea that can change the way you see the world.

Understanding the Role of Suffering

Watson's translation of the sutra helps us understand the Buddhist perspective on suffering. It's not something to be avoided, but rather a part of life that can lead to enlightenment. This can be a comforting perspective during tough times.

The Power of Silence

One of the most memorable moments in the book is when Vimalakirti remains silent during a debate. Watson shows us that sometimes, silence can be the most profound response. It's a reminder that we don't always need to fill the air with words.

The Importance of Compassion

The Vimalakirti Sutra emphasizes the importance of compassion in Buddhism. Watson's translation makes it clear that compassion isn't just about feeling sorry for others, but actively working to alleviate their suffering. This can inspire us to be more compassionate in our daily lives.

Exploring the Nature of Reality

Watson's translation of The Vimalakirti Sutra encourages us to question our understanding of reality. It suggests that our perceptions may not reflect the true nature of things. This can lead us to see the world in a new light.

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authorJosh Waitzkin

Josh Waitzkin

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