Vimalakīrti Sūtra

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Vimalakīrti Sūtra or Vimalakirti-nirdeśa-sūtra (Teachings of the Bodhisattva Unstained-Glory). Major Mahāyāna text. A measure of its popularity is the number of translations: into Chinese (eight times), Tibetan (three times), Sogdian, and Khotanese. The Skt. original has not survived.

The Sūtra, which was composed not later than 2nd cent. CE, has been especially popular with the laity, since the protagonist is himself a lay householder. Thus the world-renouncing monastic ethos of the Hīnayāna is rejected, and the status of the laity legitimized as part of the broad re-evaluation of religious ideals undertaken by the Mahāyāna.