“That man, he was respected by the whole country – kings, officials, prime ministers, rich and poor people. And many of the monks, Buddha’s monk-disciples, were in awe of him. So when he pretended, he was sick... He may have manifested being sick. Maybe he was sick. Because he saved so many people, of course he got sick. And they came and asked him, ‘Why are you sick?’ For example, ‘If you are so great, why are you sick?’ He said, ‘I’m sick. It’s just like that. We get sick if we get this body and if we live in this world. But if all sentient beings are not sick, then my sickness will be gone. If they are not sick, then I’m not sick.’”
“He was incredible. He was a great Bodhisattva. Many people were delivered because of him, liberated because of him. He was great. He had great, great eloquence, great power. Sometimes the Bodhisattvas are not born to be monks. But to be a layperson, so that… It’s doing a different job. Sometimes they’re born as prime ministers, kings, merchants, virgin boy, virgin girl, or any.” As we learn in the Vimalakirti Sutra, it is Prince Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Supreme Wisdom, who accepts Buddha’s request and makes His way to see Vimalakirti. Vimalakirti challenges the group of transcendent Bodhisattvas to give an example of non-duality. They each give an answer, but all of their examples are still dualistic, using a dichotomy or polarity to describe how one can enter non-duality. Finally, Manjushri asks Vimalakirti for an answer, but Vimalakirti remains silent, saying nothing at all. Manjushri applauds the wise lay disciple, saying, “This is indeed the entrance into the non-duality of the Bodhisattvas. Here, there is no use for syllables, sounds, and ideas.” Indeed, the ultimate Teaching is wordless, in silence. Through the legendary “Vimalakirti Thunderous Silence,” 5,000 Bodhisattvas entered the Dharma of non-duality and attained eternal liberation. Considered a “jewel of Mahayana sutras,” the Vimalakirti Sutra records Vimalakirti’s teachings as he addresses very advanced Arhats and Bodhisattvas from his sick bed. He clarifies the meaning of non-duality and many important themes in Mahayana Buddhism.