Your audiobook is waiting…

The Vimalakirti Sutra

Narrated by: Taradasa
Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Regular price: $15.37
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The Vimalakirti Sutra is one of the most popular of all Mahayana sutras, being especially loved and revered in the Far East. One of the reasons for the sutra’s popularity is that its principal character, Vimalakirti, is not a Buddha or a Bodhisattva or even a monk, but a layman with a family living in Vaishali in India, leading - apparently - a secular life. 

This does not hinder his ability, the Sutra proclaims to be a man of remarkable spiritual understanding and attainment - so much so that he confidently lectures and advises arhats (enlightened-monks) and bodhisattvas (perfected individuals working for the enlightenment of all) on spiritual matters. These range from the 10 precepts to be observed (including not harming beings, the practices of generosity and skilful speech) to the six perfections (including morality, renunciation, spiritual vigour and equanimity) and the four immeasurable qualities including loving kindness, compassion and empathetic joy. 

The central chapter, and the climax of the Sutra is a long and rich discourse on nonduality. Unusually for such a work, the Vimalakirti Sutra is threaded with touches of humour. The story which frames the work recounts how Vimalakirti feigns an illness in order to prompt arhats - figures such as Shariputra and Subhuti - as well as numerous Bodhisattvas to visit him and inquire after his health, thus creating opportunities for the famous layman to expound the Dharma, the Buddha’s teaching. They are initially reluctant to make the visit because they have, in the past, encountered Vimalakirti’s skill and received a bit of a spiritual drubbing! 

All this is cast in a mythical and imaginative Mahayana setting with thousands of figures of all kinds from all the realms of the many worlds finally coming to visit Vimalakirti - and all fitting comfortably in his small house in Vaishali. Though of Sanskrit origin, it is not known when or where the Vimalakirti Sutra was written, but it is the translation by the fifth-century Chinese scholar monk Kumarajiva which has provided us with the fullest and most satisfactory source text, and which Burton Watson has used to render it into English. 

The Vimalakirti Sutra is read with presence and understanding by Taradasa.

©1997 Columbia University Press (P)2018 Ukemi Productions Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent performance and translation of classic

One of the classics in world religions, the Buddhist canon, and literature from antiquity. This translation is by Burton Watson, a giant of Chinese translation. The language is plainspoken and accessible. It's performed with clarity.

The teachings here are profound. Expect to be surprised and philosophically challenged.

The sutra tells the story of a celebrated lay practitioner who is positioned here as superior to the Buddha's closest monastic followers. Remarkably, the sutra even has a sense of humor. It's filled with dharma that will be familiar to any Mahayana practitioner.

The introduction is short but provides the necessary historical context around this text from 100 CE India. It's enough to help you as you're thrown into the strange yet familiar world of Buddhist antiquity. It's an excellent companion piece to Santideva/Shantideva and Milarepa audiobooks, or anyone interested in ancient philosophy and literature.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • liam moore
  • 01-29-19

Excellent reading of Dharma

Excellent. Superb reading by Taradasa. Look forward to more reading of Sutra's by Taradasa please.