Robert Thurman

Excerpt from "Yoga of Ordinary Living" by Robert Thurman Preview 1

We are pleased to offer this excerpt from Robert Thurman as he talks about the road to spiritual discipline and how to achieve it in the reality of our daily lives.
Vimalakirti’s teaching, this scripture is specially known for a number of its doctrines. In one respect it’s known as a…as I say, because the main figure in this scripture, although Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha is in the scripture, and that’s the usual main figure in all Mahayana and Hinayana or Terevada teachings, but the main figure in the actual main teaching part of the scripture is Vimalakirti, this man who is a layman, who is introduced in the second chapter
actually as the inconceivable skill and liberative technique. In a certain sense, he himself is an incarnation of liberative technique. And he is known for the fact that therefore he is a symbol of a layperson, an ordinary person who lives an ordinary life involved in the ordinary world.  Having the enlightenment that in some respects is equal to the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Now this of course might not surprise us for the wrong reasons (laughing), being westerners.  If we have an idea that Buddha’s enlightenment is sort of, a kind of, like Voltaire or like Lichtenstein or Einstein, or something that’s kind of intellectual only, you know, then that would not surprise us for the wrong….., you’d think “Well, why couldn’t anybody else be as enlightened as the Buddha”. So that would be not being surprised for the wrong reasons. If we understood for the right reason, how a Buddha is understood in the Mahayana, where a Buddha is an evolutionary stage, that a living being attains, wherein their body is as perfected as their mind, that is that enlightenment is an achievement by the body as well as by the mind, where it’s almost…, it is actually not almost, but is actually more than becoming God to obtain Buddhahood.