New Publication: The Dhāraṇī of the Vajra Quintessence


Toh 139

The Dhāraṇī of the Vajra Quintessence

In The Dhāraṇī of the Vajra Quintessence, the bodhisattva of wisdom Mañjuśrī asks the Buddha to propound a teaching on the highest wisdom that questions foundational Buddhist concepts and categories from an ultimate standpoint without denying their conventional efficacy. The Buddha begins by teaching, in a paradoxical tone that defines the entire discourse, that although there is neither awakening nor buddha qualities, bodhisattvas nonetheless aspire for buddhahood. This is followed by a lengthy series of similar paradoxes that examine basic Buddhist distinctions between the worlds of buddhas and sentient beings while pointing to the common ground underlying them. One key doctrinal point is that the qualities of ordinary people are neither distinct from, nor to be conflated with, the qualities of buddhas. When asked why this is so, the Buddha explains that the dhāraṇī of the vajra quintessence is nonconceptual and immanent in all things, from emotional defilements up to the realization of buddhahood. Since all phenomena are equally empty of intrinsic essence, they are already intrinsically pure and beyond bondage or liberation.

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