Then, the Buddha said to the bodhisattva Maitreya, "Maitreya, go to the Licchavi
Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness."
Maitreya replied, "Lord, I am indeed reluctant to go to that good man to inquire about his illness. Why? Lord, I remember that one day I was engaged in a conversation with the gods of the Tusita heaven, the god Samtusita and his retinue, about the stage of nonregression of the great bodhisattvas. At that time, the Licchavi Vimalakirti came there and addressed me as follows:
"'Maitreya, the Buddha has prophesied that only one more birth stands between you
and unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. What kind of birth does this prophecy concern,
Maitreya? Is it past? Is it future? Or is it present? If it is a past birth, it is already finished.
If it is a future birth, it will never arrive. If it is a present birth, it does not abide. For the
Buddha has declared, "Bhikshus, in a single moment, you are born, you age, you die,
you transmigrate, and you are reborn."
"'Then might the prophecy concern birthlessness? But birthlessness applies to the stage of destiny for the ultimate, in which there is neither prophecy nor attainment of perfect enlightenment.
"'Therefore, Maitreya, is your reality from birth? Or is it from cessation? Your reality as prophesied is not born and does not cease, nor will it be born nor will it cease. Furthermore, your reality is just the same as the reality of all living beings, the reality of all things, and the reality of all the holy ones. If your enlightenment can be prophesied in such a way, so can that of all living beings. Why? Because reality does not consist of duality or of diversity. Maitreya, whenever you attain Buddhahood, which is the perfection of enlightenment, at the same time all living beings will also attain ultimate liberation. Why? The Tathagatas do not enter ultimate liberation until all living beings have entered ultimate liberation. For, since all living beings are utterly liberated, the Tathagatas see them as having the nature of ultimate liberation.
"'Therefore, Maitreya, do not fool and delude these deities! No one abides in, or
regresses from, enlightenment. Maitreya, you should introduce these deities to the
repudiation of all discriminative constructions concerning enlightenment.
"'Enlightenment is perfectly realized neither by the body nor by the mind.
Enlightenment is the eradication of all marks.
Enlightenment is free of presumptions concerning all objects.
Enlightenment is free of the functioning of all intentional thoughts.
Enlightenment is the annihilation of all convictions.
Enlightenment is free from all discriminative constructions.
Enlightenment is free from all vacillation, mentation, and agitation.
Enlightenment is not involved in any commitments.
Enlightenment is the arrival at detachment, through freedom from all habitual attitudes. The ground of enlightenment is the ultimate realm.
Enlightenment is realization of reality.
Enlightenment abides at the limit of reality.
Enlightenment is without duality, since therein are no minds and no things.
Enlightenment is equality, since it is equal to infinite space.
"'Enlightenment is unconstructed, because it is neither born nor destroyed, neither
abides nor undergoes any transformation.
Enlightenment is the complete knowledge of the thoughts, deeds, and inclinations of all living beings.
Enlightenment is not a door for the six media of sense.
Enlightenment is unadulterated, since it is free of the passions of the instinctually driven succession of lives.
Enlightenment is neither somewhere nor nowhere, abiding in no location or dimension.
Enlightenment, not being contained in anything, does not stand in reality.
Enlightenment is merely a name and even that name is unmoving.
Enlightenment, free of abstention and undertaking, is energyless. There is no agitation in enlightenment, as it is utterly pure by nature.
Enlightenment is radiance, pure in essence.
Enlightenment is without subjectivity and completely without object.
Enlightenment, which penetrates the equality of all things, is undifferentiated.
Enlightenment, which is not shown by any example, is incomparable.
Enlightenment is subtle, since it is extremely difficult to realize.
Enlightenment is all-pervasive, as it has the nature of infinite space.
Enlightenment cannot be realized, either physically or mentally. Why? The body is like grass, trees, walls, paths, and hallucinations. And the mind is immaterial, invisible,baseless, and unconscious.'
"Lord, when Vimalakirti had discoursed thus, two hundred of the deities in that assembly attained the tolerance of birthlessness. As for me, Lord, I was rendered speechless. Therefore, I am reluctant to go to that good man to inquire about his illness."