Friday, November 5, 2010

the gateless gate

The layman Vimalakirti has asked each of the assembled Bodhisattvas to define non-duality. After each of them has given his view, he asks Manjusri to express his.

Manjusri says, "As I understand it, when there is not a word to utter, not a sign to see, nothing to take cognizance of, and when there is complete detachment from every form of questioning, then one enters the gate of non-duality."

Manjusri then asks, "O Vimalakirti, what is your view?"

Vimalakirti remains silent and does not utter a word.

"Well done, well done, indeed O Vimalakirti!" cries Manjusri. "This is really the way to enter the gate of non-duality, which no words can explain!"

from "Zen and Japanese Culture" by D.T. Suzuki


  1. While Vimalakirti's response is probably closer to the truth, seems that Manjusri's view would be helpful to more "people".

    Entertaining story and your post title is a nice pointer too.

  2. Thanks,Diane!

    In Robert Thurman's complete translation of this scripture, he includes the 'views' of the more than two dozen principle Bodhisattvas before Manjusri says,"Good sirs, you have all spoken well (and they have). Nevertheless, all your explanations are themselves dualistic. To know no one teaching, to express nothing, to say nothing, to explain nothing, to announce nothing, to indicate nothing, and to designate nothing---that is the entrance into nonduality."

    And while this is less 'untrue' than the previous utterances, Manjusri himself, is SAYING all this, and so is playing here the role of 'straight man' for Vimalakirti's famous silence.