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Sat, Feb 03



Open for All: Sutra Study - Yogacara - The Sutra of Vimalakirti - Saturday 2pm EST

The first text session of the Yogacara year

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Open for All: Sutra Study - Yogacara - The Sutra of Vimalakirti - Saturday 2pm EST
Open for All: Sutra Study - Yogacara - The Sutra of Vimalakirti - Saturday 2pm EST

Time & Location

Feb 03, 2024, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM



About the event

Keeping with our commitment to teach the Yogacara system, we will start by examining the Yogacara themes on the Vimalakirti NIrdesa Sutra

You can access the Sutra in full here:

This is a revered text in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Thought to have originated between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE, this sutra is notable for its depth, complexity, and the way it addresses profound philosophical and doctrinal questions through engaging narratives and dialogues.

At its core, the "Vimalakirti Sutra" presents the teachings of Vimalakirti, a wealthy and educated lay practitioner who, despite not being a monk, is depicted as a paragon of Buddhist wisdom. His insights and understanding rival, and often surpass, those of many of Buddha's most prominent monastic disciples. This central theme underscores a key message of the sutra: the potential for spiritual awakening and enlightenment is not limited to monks and nuns, but is accessible to all, irrespective of their social or personal circumstances.

The narrative is rich with symbolic and allegorical elements, including miraculous displays and profound dialogues. It covers various aspects of Buddhist teachings, such as the nature of reality, the concept of non-duality, the practice of the Bodhisattva path, and the ideal of the enlightened lay practitioner. One of the most famous teachings of the sutra is the concept of "skillful means" (upaya), illustrating how enlightened beings adapt their teachings to suit the capacities and inclinations of their audience.

The Vimalakirti Sutra has had a significant impact on the development of Mahayana Buddhism, influencing various schools and practices. It is particularly revered in East Asian Buddhism and has inspired numerous commentaries, artistic depictions, and continues to be a subject of study and admiration in Buddhist communities around the world.

While the Sutra is dated 2 centuries before the founders of the Yogacara, you can see the struggles and tensions between Mahayana and Nikaya, the use of silence and explanation to underscore nondualism and the radical inclusivity which will characterize the Yogacara. Our study will begin with a quick synopsis of the Sutra and then we will focus on those passages where we can start to see the Yogacara themes emerging.

See you there!

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  • Vimalakirti Sutra

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