Spiritual disciplines often seem remote from the realities of our daily lives. Yet there is a Mahayana Scripture which presents a model of enlightened practice in the midst of urban living, the Vimalakirti Sutra. This teaches a non-dualistic wisdom and reconciliation of dichotomies. It challenges ordinariness and reveals systematic and effective ways of tapping higher potentials while upholding one's usual responsibilities and enriching long-term relationships.
Robert Thurman examines one of the most sacred texts of Mahayana Buddhism, The Vimalakirti-nirdesha Sutra. To any Buddhist practitioner, particularly those of Vajrayana Buddhism and Zen, this sutra is of the utmost importance. Unlike most sutras, its central figure is not a Buddha, but an ordinary man, who, in his mastery of the doctrine and religious practice, personifies the ideal lay believer, assuring commoners that they can reach levels of spiritual attainment comparable to those accessible to monks. The sutra teaches, among other subjects, the meaning of non-duality. Thurman discusses the background of the sutra, its place in the development of Buddhist thought, and the profundities of its principal doctrine: emptiness.