A 'shout out' for my favorite of all Mahayana Sutras ... the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra.The story is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:
First, in the tale, 'ol Vimalakirti is an unordained, married lay person (a father and businessman) who 'bests' all the Buddha's great disciples and Bodhisattvas in his understanding of the Dharma. It means that lay folks can stand head and shoulders with anyone in this practice!Second, Vimalakirti speaks of Enlightenment within Samsara, that one can be in this world yet free of this world. That is found in passages such as the following (Robert Thurman trans.)
He lived at home, but remained aloof from the realm of desire... He had a son, a wife, and female attendants, yet always maintained continence. He appeared to be surrounded by servants, yet lived in solitude. ... He engaged in all sorts of businesses, yet had no interest in profit or possessions. To train living beings, he would appear at crossroads and on street corners, and to protect them he participated in government. ... To demonstrate the evils of desire, he even entered the brothels. To establish drunkards in correct mindfulness, he entered all the cabarets. ... He was honored as the businessman among businessmen because he demonstrated the priority of the Dharma. He was honored as the landlord among landlords because he renounced the aggressiveness of ownership.
Far/ be/yond/ all/ de/lu/sion/, Nir/va/na/ is/ al/rea/dy/ here/.
All/ past/, pre/sent/ and/ fu/ture/ Budd/has/
Live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*
And/ re/al/ize/ su/preme/ and/ com/plete/ en/light/en/ment/.
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