The Vimalakirti Experience, Part 5B – The Family of the Tathagatas

The Vimalakirti Experience, Part 5B - The Family of the Tathagatas


This is week four of an eight week collaboration between Michael Owens and Michael Taft. Each Sunday, Michael Owens will teach on a(t least one) chapter of the VNS. Then the following Thursday, Michael Taft will lead a guided meditation based on that chapter.

The nondual guided meditation lasts for one hour. Following that there is a dharma talk and Q&A session for about 30minutes.

Guided Meditation

0 – 15 min: Shamatha
15 – 30 min: Shamatha without an object (“dropping the ball”)
30 – 60 min: Nondual meditation on the Family of the Tathagatas.

Quote from this Chapter

Note: the “they” here refers to “true bodhisattvas”

“They journey through all buddhafields
In order to bring benefit to living beings,
Yet they see those fields as just like empty space,
Free of any conceptual notions of ‘living beings.’

“The fearless bodhisattvas can manifest,
All in a single instant,
The forms, sounds, and manners of behavior
Of all living beings.

“Although they recognize the deeds of māras,
They can get along even with these māras;
For even such activities may be manifested
By those perfected in liberative art.

“They play with illusory manifestations
In order to develop living beings,
Showing themselves to be old or sick,
And even manifesting their own deaths.

“They demonstrate the burning of the earth
In the consuming flames of the world’s end,
In order to demonstrate impermanence
To living beings convinced about permanence.

“Invited by hundreds of thousands of living beings,
All in the same country,
They partake of offerings at the homes of all,
And dedicate all for the sake of enlightenment.

“They excel in all esoteric sciences,
And in the many different crafts,
And they bring forth the happiness
Of all living beings.

“By devoting themselves as monks
To all the strange sects of the world,
They develop all those beings
Who have attached themselves to dogmatic views.

“They may become suns or moons,
Indras, Brahmās, or lords of creatures;
They may become fire or water
Or earth or wind.

~ from The Teaching of Vimalakirti, translated by Robert Thurman

Read a bit about the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra

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