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The paper provides an analysis of the Vimalakirti Sutra, and the social material lifestyles in Dunhuang during the fifth through to the fourteenth century. This paper argues that during the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, the Buddhists used social, material lifestyles to describe their social lifestyle.
Vimalakirti is an ordinary individual and not a learned scholar. One realizes that his spiritual level is high and his knowledge is profound as he debates with a number of disciples of Buddha and bodhisattvas. His spiritual level is supposed to be at par with Buddha. So, the issue is defined in clear terms in the sutra that enlightenment does not depend on initiation. Vimalakirti belonged to Licchavi, one of the ruling clans of ancient India, and he commanded high respect from all. The second chapter makes a reference to his illness. There is passing reference to his feigning illness but the fact is he probably has taken the illness of one of his devotees upon himself. People come to enquire about his welfare and Vimalakirti takes that opportunity to preach the finer aspects of dharma and many of them are blessed with enlightenment. In the ensuing chapters Lord Buddha advises his disciples and bodhisattvas to visit Vimalakirti as well.
But they are disinclined to go and make pretexts, because in the past they had all been overwhelmed by Vimalakirtis loftier understanding of the ultimate spiritual truth. Vimalakriti owns extraordinary spiritual talent. Evan Manjusri, bodhisattva of wisdom, is no match for him. When he agrees to visit Vimalakriti, a galaxy of Buddha’s disciples, bodhisattvas, gods and goddesses decide to follow him to avail the opportunity to watch the two great spiritual giants conversing with each other. All of them know that it would be an astounding and illuminating experience. Soon the room where Vimalakirti is convalescing becomes the spiritual dispensation center. A large number of people
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