Praise for The Teaching of Vimalakīrti,
translated by Luis Gómez and Paul Harrison
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Peter Skilling, author and translator of Questioning the Buddha: A Selection of Twenty-Five Sutras:
The Teaching of Vimalakīrti is one of Buddhism’s great contributions to world literature. It has captured the imagination of audiences for nearly 2000 years. Fast-paced, sparkling with profound and innovative ideas, at times mystifying and or even aggravating, it is one of the most celebrated compositions of the Mahāyāna imagination.
Bold, acerbic, abrasive—the Teaching of Vimalakīrti displays an ancient iconoclastic wisdom that challenged the ossification of contemporaneous Buddhist thought in the centuries after the Master’s passing. By raising new questions and opening new horizons, it revitalized Buddhism with spirited and lively narratives.
The Vimalakīrti has been translated into English, not to speak of other modern languages, more than a dozen times. Is there any need for another translation? The short answer is yes: Vimalakīrti and his message are always welcome. Formerly, the Vimalakīrti was thought to be lost in Sanskrit, and earlier translations were done from Chinese or Tibetan versions. The recovery of a Sanskrit manuscript from Tibet in 1999 called for new studies and new translations from the Indic version. And here we have it: a fresh translation from the Sanskrit by Luis Gómez and Paul Harrison, two of the Buddhism’s most accomplished scholars.
Eloquent, authoritative, a delight to read—this translation animates Śākyamuni’s buddha-domain for twenty-first century English speakers. Bringing new insights to a classic text, it will be warmly welcomed by Vimalakīrti’s old friends and admirers and by those who have the good fortune to meet the quick-witted sage for the first time.
The publication of The Teaching of Vimalakīrti is a giant step forward in the translation of Buddhist and Mahāyāna literature.
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Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard University:
It is pure delight to welcome this long-awaited and definitive translation of one of the greatest Buddhist classics of all time. With the recent discovery of the lost Sanskrit text in Tibet, Gomez and Harrison have been able to produce an eloquently lucid and at the same time critically erudite rendition of the wonderful teaching of Vimalakīrti. This hugely influential sūtra anticipated many extraordinary developments in both theory and practice across Buddhist Asia, including Zen and Tantra, and is a riveting read for students, scholars, and the general reader alike.
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Jonathan A. Silk, Professor in the Study of Buddhism, Leiden University:
Among the stars in the firmament that is the Mahāyāna sūtra literature, one of the most radiant is the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa. Though long available in English in a well-annotated scholarly translation, and in several more easily accessible renderings, these were based only on the Chinese and Tibetan translations. Now we have a sparkling English version directly from the recently discovered Sanskrit, highly accurate and eminently readable, suitable for both scholars and all who might want to explore the universe of Buddhist scripture.
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