Cover of the Expository Commentary on the Vimalakirti Sutra
BDK America
Publish Date: 
Prince Shōtoku (Shōtoku Taishi)
Jamie Hubbard


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Complete in one volume, here is one of three Buddhist commentaries written in classical Chinese that have been attributed to Japan’s Prince Shōtoku (574–622). Shōtoku looks to the Vimalakīrti Sutra (also published by BDK) perhaps in part because the status of the protagonist Vimalakīrti (not an ordained monk but a simple lay bodhisattva) resembled his own position.

Prince Shōtoku on Vimalakīrti Sutra


Taishō 2186

Volume 56

Expository Commentary on the Vimalakīrti Sutra

A commentary on the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa-sūtra (Taisho 27), this work is one of the “Commentaries on Three Sūtras” (Jp. San-gyō-gi-sho) composed by Prince Shōtoku. The protagonist Vimalakīrti, not an ordained monk but a simple lay bodhisattva, yet highly accomplished in understanding, may well have appealed to the Prince. However, doubts about Shōoku's authorship persist. At present there is no conclusive proof indicating that the work was authored by anyone other than the author of the other two “Commentaries on Three Sūtras.” Therefore a reasonable, if provisional, view is to ascribe all three commentaries to Prince Shōtoku.

Jp. Yuimakyō gisho (維摩經義疏), attributed to Prince Shōtoku. 5 fascicles.

Table of Contents

A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka    NUMATA Yehan    v
Editorial Foreword    MAYEDA Sengaku    vii
Publisher’s Foreword    John R. McRae    ix
Translator’s Introduction    Jamie Hubbard    xiii

Expository Commentary on the Vimalakīrti Sutra

[Preface] 3
Chapter One. Buddha Realms 5
Chapter Two. Skillful Means 55
Chapter Three. The Disciples 65
Chapter Four. The Bodhisattvas 117
Chapter Five. Mañjūsrī’s Inquiring about the Illness 147
Chapter Six. The Inconceivable 189
Chapter Seven. Contemplating Sentient Beings 195
Chapter Eight. The Way of the Buddha 209
Chapter Nine. Entering the Dharma Gate of Nonduality 215
Chapter Ten. The Buddha Accumulated Fragrances 219
Chapter Eleven. Practices of the Bodhisattva 225
Chapter Twelve. Seeing Akṣobhya Buddha 235
Chapter Thirteen. Dharma Offering 243
Chapter Fourteen. Entrustment 249

Glossary 251
Bibliography 257
Index 259
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka (First Series) 275