Then, the patriarch Maha-Kasyapa, having heard this teaching of the inconceivable liberation of the bodhisattvas, was amazed, and he said to the venerable Shariputra, "Venerable Shariputra, if one were to show a variety of things to a person blind from birth, he would not be able to see a single thing. Likewise, venerable Shariputra, when this door of the inconceivable liberation is taught, all the disciples and solitary sages are sightless, like the man blind from birth, and cannot comprehend even a single cause of the inconceivable liberation. Who is there among the wise that, hearing about this inconceivable liberation, does not conceive the spirit of unexcelled, perfect enlightenment? As for us, whose faculties are deteriorated, like a burned and rotten seed, what else can we do if we do not become receptive to this great vehicle? We, all the disciples and solitary sages, upon hearing this teaching of the Dharma, should utter a cry of regret that would shake this billion-world-galactic universe! And as for the bodhisattvas, when they hear of this inconceivable liberation they should be as joyful as a young crown prince when he takes the diadem and is anointed, and they should increase to the utmost their devotion to this inconceivable liberation. Indeed, what could the entire host of Mara’s ever do to one who is devoted to this inconceivable liberation?"

When the patriarch Maha-Kasyapa had uttered this discourse, thirty-two thousand gods conceived the spirit of unexcelled, perfect enlightenment.

Then the Licchavi Vimalakirti said to the patriarch Maha-Kasyapa, "Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, the Mara’s who play the devil in the innumerable universes of the ten directions are all bodhisattvas dwelling in the inconceivable liberation, who are playing the devil in order to develop living beings through their skill in liberative technique. Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, all the miserable beggars who come to the bodhisattvas of the innumerable universes of the ten directions to ask for a hand, a foot, an ear, a nose, some blood, muscles, bones, marrow, an eye, a torso, a head, a limb, a member, a throne, a kingdom, a country, a wife, a son, a daughter, a slave, a slave-girl, a horse, an elephant, a chariot, a cart, gold, silver, jewels, pearls, conches, crystal, coral, beryl, treasures, food, drink, elixirs, and clothes - these demanding beggars are usually bodhisattvas living in the inconceivable liberation who, through their skill in liberative technique, wish to test and thus demonstrate the firmness of the high resolve of the bodhisattvas. Why? Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, the bodhisattvas demonstrate that firmness by means of terrible austerities. Ordinary persons have no power to be thus demanding of bodhisattvas, unless they are granted the opportunity. They are not capable of killing and depriving in that manner without being freely given the chance.

"Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, just as a glowworm cannot eclipse the light of the sun, so reverend Maha-Kasyapa, it is not possible without special allowance that an ordinary person can thus attack and deprive a bodhisattva. Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, just as a donkey could not muster an attack on a wild elephant, even so, reverend Maha-Kasyapa, one who is not himself a bodhisattva cannot harass another bodhisattva, and only a bodhisattva can tolerate the harassment of another bodhisattva. Reverend Maha-Kasyapa, such is the introduction to the power of the knowledge of liberative technique of the bodhisattvas who live in the inconceivable liberation."


Translation by Robert Thurman