15 April 2013

Contemplation: The Bodhisattva who is Ill

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:
Then Manjushri asked Vimalakirti, "How should a bodhisattva go about comforting and instructing another bodhisattva who is ill?"

Vimalakirti replied, "Tell him about the impermanence of the body, but do not tell him to despise or turn away from the body.  Tell him about the sufferings of the body, but do not tell him to strive for nirvana.  Tell him that the body is without ego, but urge him to teach and guide living beings.  Tell him of the emptiness of the body, but do not tell him of its final extinction.  Tell him to repent of former offenses, but do not tell him to consign them to the past.  Tell him to use his own illness as a means of sympathizing with the illness of others, for he should understand their sufferings throughout the countless kalpas of their p ast existence, and should think how he can bring benefit to all living beings.  Tell him to recall the good fortune he has won through religious practice, to concentrate on a life of purity, and not to give way to gloom or worry.  He should cultivate constant diligence, striving to become a king of physicians who can heal the ailments of the assembly.  This is how a bodhisattva should comfort and instruct a bodhisattva who is ill so as to make him feel happy." 
Vimalakirti Sutra, trans. B. Watson, pp. 67-68

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