Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra 

A Detailed Exposition by Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Grandmaster Sheng-Yen Lu

Translated into English by the True Buddha School Vimala Sutra Translation Team 

Discourse 46, 29 October 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued) 

Chapter One—Buddhaverse

Accumulated Wisdom Bodhisattva, 
Precious Victory Bodhisattva, 
Sky King Bodhisattva, 
Mara Destroyer Bodhisattva, 
Lightning Merit Bodhisattva 


Let’s now talk about the Vimalakirti Sutra. I’ll be moving faster now on these bodhisattvas.

Accumulated Wisdom Bodhisattva

Wisdom here differs from the so-called “intellect” in the human world. This wisdom refers to the wisdom of the tathagata—prajna. It is boyeh[1] in Chinese, and sometimes banza, as in om banza guru padma siddhi hum xie—Guru Padmasambhava’s mantra. Both boyeh and banza are transliterations of prajna.

Om means universe. Banza guru refers to the wise guru. Padma is lotus, and siddhi means perfect. So altogether, the perfect and wise lotus-born guru of the universe. Om guru lian sheng siddhi hum. Om guru lian sheng siddhi hum. Om guru lian sheng siddhi hum. Lian Sheng also means Lotus-Born.

Accumulated Wisdom Bodhisattva has accumulated and comprehended all wisdom of the buddhas. This accumulated wisdom is likened to a big blazing fire, radiating light and illuminating the world. Thus, he is called the Accumulated Wisdom Bodhisattva.

Next is:

Precious Victory Bodhisattva.

What is Precious? It refers to the dharma treasure—the buddhadharma. Buddhadharma is precious.  Giving precious buddhadharma, as in preaching the Buddha’s teachings to sentient beings, is the most victorious thing—it is far superior to anything else.

There are three kinds of giving: giving wealth, giving dharma, and giving fearlessness. It is commonly known that giving dharma is superior to giving wealth; teaching sentient beings buddhadharma is superior to giving them money. Clearly, buddhadharma is far superior. Because this bodhisattva gives buddhadharma, he is named Precious Victory Bodhisattva.

What is:

Sky King Bodhisattva?

Sky implies “purity.” The sky is the purest of all things. Even when clouds, snow, mist, and the like appear in the sky, its original state is a clear blue. So it is pure. Remember this song?

Day after day, the sky is blue.

It is hard not to think of you.

An innocent child is asking,

“Why are your eyes watering?”

The blue sky refers to purity. The Sky King Bodhisattva is utterly pure, without the slightest impurity or defilement. Sky King means that he is pure like the sky and because he is utterly pure, he is a king. Let’s continue the song.

Love is deep,

Desire is intense,

Separation is bitter,

Yet longing is empty!

So it is empty! When it returns to emptiness, it is pure. And the song continues. 

Day after day, the sky is blue...

The sky is blue again, and it is pure when it is empty. As for the rest, it is just part of the process. This is my explanation of Sky King Bodhisattva.

The next one is:

Mara Destroyer Bodhisattva.

This name can be interpreted as either “Mara Destroyer” or “Bad Mara.” The former interpretation is the correct one, and it means that this bodhisattva can destroy maras and heretics.

Guru Padmasambhava defeated maras—yaksas, demons, evil spirits, and such—on his journey to Tibet and transformed them into protectors and supporters of buddhadharma. He met Vajrakilaya, the one in charge of cemeteries, and subdued him to become a dharma protector of Tantrayana. He also encountered the Five Longevity Goddesses, who were evil doers before they were transformed to support buddhadharma. Guru Rinpoche subdued many maras and heretics. Hence, he is referred to as the Mara Destroyer Bodhisattva.

And the last one today is:

Lightning Merit Bodhisattva.

This Chinese character can either be “lightning” or “electricity.” This name refers to lightning. There was no electricity during Sakyamuni Buddha’s era, so there were no speakers, microphones, or sound systems. Yet when the Buddha spoke dharma, everyone—and a great many of them—could hear it. It is inconceivable!

Here, we are talking about lightning. The Vajra Sutra states, “Everything conditional is like a dewdrop or a flash of lightning.” A dewdrop evaporates when the sun rises; it dissipates immediately. Lightning too, occurs and disappears in a quick flash. So lightning represents swiftness. Lightning Merit Bodhisattva can generate merit very quickly. It is not about electricity or electrocution. Nobody would explain Lightning Merit Bodhisattva this way.

Most people only recite the names: Equal View Bodhisattva, Unequal View Bodhisattva, Equal and Unequal View Bodhisattva, Meditation Self-mastery King Bodhisattva, Dharma Self-mastery King Bodhisattva, Dharma Phenomena Bodhisattva… and so on. They wouldn’t get into their meanings one by one. Perhaps someone might [jokingly] say that the Lightning Merit Bodhisattva attained the Dao because he was electrocuted. No! That would not be right.

The right meaning is that he can let you gain merit swiftly. Now you understand why Lightning is part of the name.

Today, we talked about Accumulated Wisdom Bodhisattva, who accumulated the wisdom of the buddhas which is like a great fire; Precious Victory Bodhisattva, who utilizes the most superior way—sharing dharma treasure—to help sentient beings; Sky King Bodhisattva, who is utterly pure and the authoritative figure in purity; Mara Destroyer Bodhisattva, who can subdue maras and heretics; and lastly Lightning Merit Bodhisattva, who can let you quickly attain all the merit.

Om mani padme hum.

[1] 般若 is sometimes pronounced as banruo or boyeh

Next discourse on the Vimalakirti Sutra: Discourse 47, 30 October 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued)

Previous discourse on the Vimalakirti Sutra: Discourse 45, 23 October 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued)

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