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Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics$
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Wm. Theodore de Bary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153973

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.001.0001

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The Teaching of Vimalakīrti

The Teaching of Vimalakīrti

Chapter:
(p.120) 9 The Teaching of Vimalakīrti
Source:
Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics
Author(s):

Robert A. F. Thurman

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.003.0009

This chapter discusses the Vimalakīrti, one of the most popular of Asian classics for about two thousand years. It was originally written in Sanskrit, based on accounts preserved in colloquial Indic languages, probably in the first century bce It nevertheless presents itself as recording events and conversations that took place in the time of Śākyamuni Buddha, over four hundred years earlier. The Vimalakīrti is one of a class of texts called Ārya Mahāyāna Sūtra, “Holy Scripture of the Universal Vehicle” of Buddhism. These texts form the “Bibles” of Mahāyāna Buddhists, the Buddhists who flourished in first millennium ce India and in Central and East Asia. These scriptures purported to proclaim a new gospel of the Buddha, adding to the monastic Buddhist concern for individual liberation from suffering a teaching of universal love and compassion for all beings.

Keywords:   Vimalakīrti, Asian classics, Buddhist texts, Buddhism, classic texts

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