Buddhist Nonduality, Paschal Paradox: A Christian Commentary on The Teaching of Vimalakirti (Vimalakirtinirdesa)

Buddhist Nonduality, Paschal Paradox: A Christian Commentary on The Teaching of Vimalakirti (Vimalakirtinirdesa)

by JS O'Leary


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The Teaching of Vimalakirti, treasured in China and Japan and best known in the West in Canon Etienne Lamotte's classic translation from the Tibetan and Chinese, has now surfaced in its original language, Sanskrit, after two thousand years. Centered on a lay bodhisattva, a master of paradox, who has no equal in debate except the Buddha and Manjusri, the embodiment of wisdom, Vimalakirti is the most humorous and engaging of the major Buddhist scriptures, comparable to the Book of Job in its dramatic format. In the first commentary on the recovered text, an Irish theologian reads and the Gospels in light of each other, and finds resonances between the Buddhist wisdom of nonduality and the Christian dynamic of incarnation and paschal transformation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789042934214
Publisher: Peeters Publishing
Publication date: 02/26/2018
Series: Christian Commentaries on Non-Christian Sacred Texts Series , #7
Pages: 313
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 10.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


The Central Theme 4

Nonduality of Wisdom and Compassion 7

The Language of Paradox 15

Drama and Debate 27

The Sacral Realm 37

Sacrifices 43


Chapter I The Gathering 51

Hearers and Bodhisattvas 54

Demythologizing Sacral Cosmology 57

Ratnakara's Question 60

Sariputra's Doubt 63

How Existential is the Vimalakirti Sutra? 68

Chapter II The Bodhisattva 71

Skillful Means 72

Skillful Means and Theology 77

A Paradoxical Figure 82

A Gloomy Sermon 89

Chapter IIIa The Refusal of the Leading Disciples 93

Sariputra and the Bodhisattva Paradox 95

Maudgalyayana 101

Kasyapa, Subhuti, Purnamaitrayaniputra 106

Mahakatyayana: The Marks of Existence in the Key of Emptiness 122

Aniruddha, Upali, Rahula, ananda 123

Chapter IIIb The Refusal of the Bodhisattvas 129

Maitreya: The Nature of Awakening 129

Prabhavyuha and the Seat of Bodhi 138

Jagatimdhara 141

Sudatta 142

Chapter IV Consoling the Sick Person 147

Emptiness and Miracle 150

Emptiness in Vimalakirti and Madhyamaka 154

Lessons of an Empty Room 156

Views 159

How to Console a Sick Bodhisattva 170

Chapter V Inconceivable Liberation 177

What is Freedom? 185

Chapter VI Paradoxes of Nonduality 193

To Love the Non-Existent 194

The Goddess 204

Chapter VII Salvific Descent 217

The Thatagata's Descent 223

The New Family 226

Chapter VIII The Silence of Vimalakirti 229

Chapter IX Creating a Fictive Bodhisattva 241

Chapter X The Buddha on Impermanence 245

Chapter XI The Abhirati Universe 251

Chapter XII Entrustment of the Sutra 255

A Sacred Scripture 260

Conclusion 273

Bibliography 281

Index of Scripural References 293

General Index 301

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