Part of a series on


Dharma Wheel
Portal of Buddhism
Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism

Timeline - Buddhist councils

Major figures

Gautama Buddha
Disciples · Later Buddhists

Dharma or concepts

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Three marks of existence
Dependent origination
Saṃsāra · Nirvāṇa
Skandha · Cosmology
Karma · Rebirth

Practices and attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
4 stages of enlightenment
Wisdom · Meditation
Smarana · Precepts · Pāramitās
Three Jewels · Monastics

Countries and regions


Theravāda · Mahāyāna


Chinese canon · Pali canon
Tibetan canon

Related topics

Comparative studies
Cultural elements

The Vimalakīrti Sūtra or Vimalakirti Nirdesa (Chinese: 維摩詰經) is a Mahayana sutra, belonging to Mahayana Buddhism. The sutra expounds the Mahāyāna as opposed to Hinayana teachings. It is a polemical text since it portrays highly revered Buddhist Arahant saints as being foolish and having incorrect understanding of the Buddhist teachings.

The sutra claims to focus on the explication of the meaning of nonduality. A important aspect of this scripture is that it contains a report of a teaching addressed to highly accomplished and revered Buddhist disciples (amongst which Sariputra, Moggallana and Mahakassapa) by the layman (and bodhisattva) Vimalakīrti, who claims to expound the doctrine of Sunyata to them, and eventually resorts to silence. This particular teaching by Vimalakirti is thus used to portray the most accomplished disciples of the Buddha as deficient in understanding, in order to be able to present the ideal of Bodhisattvaship as higher than Arahantship.


There are three classical Chinese translations extant:

  • the 維摩詰所說經 Wéimójié suǒshuō jīng (trans. by Kumārajīva ; T 475.14.537a-557b).
  • the 說無垢稱經 Shuō wúgòuchēng jīng (6 fasc. trans. Xuanzang . T 476.14.557-587)
  • the 佛說維摩詰經 Fóshuō wéimójié jīng (2 fasc. trans. Zhi Qian . T 474.14.519-536).

In addition to these, earlier translations had been done by Lokakṣema (188), Dharmarakṣa (308), Upaśūnya (545), and Jñānagupta (591). Of the three extant renditions, Kumārajīva's has traditionally been the most popular.

There are also two translations from the original Sanskrit into Tibetan. In 1999, Prof. Hisao Takahashi of Taisho University discovered a Sanskrit original among the Chinese Government's Potala collection in Tibet.[1]

See also


  1. "A Tale of Leaves On Sanskrit Manuscripts in Tibet, their Past and their Future" Eleventh Gonda lecture. Steinkellner, E.[1]

External links


ja:維摩経 ta:விமலகீர்த்தி சூத்திரம் vi:Duy-ma-cật sở thuyết kinh zh:維摩詰所說經

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.