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 47, 30 October 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued) 


Chapter One—Buddhaverse

Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva,

Merit Adorned Bodhisattva,

Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva,

Thunderous Sound Bodhisattva,

Mountain Rumbling Sound Bodhisattva


Now we will talk about the Vimalakirti Sutra:

Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva.

What is meant by Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva? How does he achieve self-mastery? With a thorough understanding of unattainability—nothing can be attained in this world.

Dharma is not dharma; school is not school. You neither lose nor get anything. I remind you again to comprehend this “unattainability”! So, what are you worried about? You have nothing to gain and nothing to lose anyway! When you have no more afflictions and no more attachments, you will have self-mastery. But when you are afflicted, then you have no self-mastery. Likewise, when you are still attached, you won’t be at ease and are not the master of yourself.

That’s why I am telling you that the so-called “attainment” is not attainment. Real attainment happens only when you have proven that there is nothing to gain. Listen carefully to the following statement inferred from the Vajra Sutra: the so-called confirmation of the Dao (attaining the Way) refers to the confirmation that the Dao does not exist. One is said to have attained the Dao when one has proven that there is no Dao. 

See? There is nothing to gain in this saha world. Nothing! I often talk about it! Properties like houses, land, gold, pearls, and seven treasures—none of these things are truly yours. Since they are not yours to own [forever], what are you afflicted about? Why are you afflicted?

I am not afflicted as I am just following my affinities. Say, about my return to Taiwan this time, it doesn’t really matter whether I go or not. I go with the flow without expecting anything. I do have many things in Taiwan because I taught buddhadharma there six months out of the year for ten years. Many disciples made offerings while I was there. So, I am taking care of them—but I am open to it. If I can, good. If not, it’s okay. These things can stay in Taiwan or come back to America; either way is fine. Let it be. In fact, there is no need to take care of it. Just go with the flow—naturally, following affinity. There is nothing to gain or own anyway! What will be, will be, and it is all fine.

So, there is no need to be anxious about it. I am going to Taiwan following the arising causes and conditions. With this mindset, I am completely at ease and have self-mastery. I am not afflicted by anything. Do you understand? In this way, you have self-mastery, and you follow your affinity.

The same applies to buddhadharma, too. I do my best in cultivating spiritually, and as for the fruition, it does not matter whether I have achieved the 1st ground, or 2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th… 16th. That is not what I care about. The key is that I can emit my [inner] light and my mind is pure. That’s good enough! It will all be fine if you purify your mind to attain mirror-like clarity inwardly and generate clear light radiance outwardly.

Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva understands this. We can say that everyone is basically a Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva. However, they are still enshrouded by ignorance/delusion and, thus, unable to be awakened. They are unable to gain realization. They are still attached to many things and are afflicted. They are not at ease. However, once you remove your ignorance, you will have self-mastery. No matter what happens, you have nothing on your mind. As long as you maintain the clear light radiance in your heart-mind, that’s all that’s needed. You then have self-mastery. This is my explanation of the Self-Mastery King Bodhisattva.

Merit Adorned Bodhisattva

This bodhisattva has tremendous merit and virtue, and he adorns his body and mind with it. He is essentially a sambhogakaya buddha. Nevertheless, the so-called merit is not merit. There is no merit in the so-called merit. Merit is only called merit when you know that there is no merit. This bodhisattva adorns himself with merit.

Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva

Next is the Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva. This Lion’s Roar is not the roar that can be heard across a river or when your wife shouts at you—like a lion’s roar that trembles the heart. When you see a lion, you turn into a mouse and scurry into hiding. Married men all have a tigress at home, and they must succumb to her to avoid getting into big trouble. Do you know why? Because otherwise, the tigress will roar into their ears endlessly—recounting all faults from beginningless time—no more peace and quiet for them. [laughs]

However, this Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva is different! He is almighty as he truly understands the Dao. He speaks like a lion, piercing through the heart. His voice trembles all the evil spirits, demons, and heretics and drives them away. Maras and heretics all disappear upon hearing the lion’s roar. The Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva is incredible.

Thunderous Sound Bodhisattva

Thunder has also been mentioned in the Journey to the West as the name of the temple where Sakyamuni Buddha was—The Great Thunderous Sound TempleI named our temples the Hidden Thunder Temple since I don’t dare to give it the same name.

This bodhisattva's dissemination of the Buddha’s genuine dharma is as loud and bright as thunder. Like Avalokitesvara, who provides salvation upon hearing suffering, this bodhisattva is also related to sound. The voice of the Thunderous Sound Bodhisattva is brilliantly loud and can enter the heart-mind.

Mountain Rumbling Sound Bodhisattva

This bodhisattva is also related to sound. The sound of his dharma teaching can shake Mount Meru entirely. Its rumbling is like two mountains hitting or toppling each other, like in an earthquake, driving away all maras and heretics.

In sum, the voice of the Thunderous Sound Bodhisattva is like thunder, resounding throughout the universe. Lion’s Roar Bodhisattva is likened to a lion, the king of beasts. When the lion roars, it scares and defeats all evils. These are the bodhisattvas who are related to sound. That’s all for today.

Om mani padme hum. 

Next discourse on the Vimalakirti Sutra: Discourse 48, 5 November 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued)

Previous discourse on the Vimalakirti Sutra: Discourse 46, 29 October 2022 - Chapter One—Buddhaverse (Continued)

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