Vaidehī The consort of Bimbisāra, king of Magadha in Shakyamuni’s time, and the mother of Ajātashatru. She is said to have been a sister of King Prasenajit of Kosala.
Vairochana A Buddha who appears in the Flower Garland and Brahmā Net sutras. The Flower Garland Sutra describes his pure land, the Lotus Treasury World. The True Word school equates Vairochana with its central Buddha, Mahāvairochana.
Vaishravana One of the four heavenly kings. He is said to live halfway down the northern side of Mount Sumeru and to protect the north, accompanied by the two classes of demons called yaksha and rākshasa. Also called Hearer of Many Teachings, this god is said to always protect the place where the Buddha preaches and to listen to the Buddha’s teachings.
Vajrasattva The first patriarch in the lineage of transmission of Esoteric Buddhism according to the True Word school. He is said to have received the esoteric teachings directly from Mahāvairochana Buddha. According to the esoteric tradition, Vajrasattva compiled Mahāvairochana’s esoteric teachings in the form of scripture and sealed it in an iron tower in southern India. This tower was opened several centuries later by Nāgārjuna; at that time Vajrasattva transferred the esoteric teachings to him.
Vasubandhu (n.d.) A Buddhist scholar in India thought to have lived around the fourth or fifth century. He is known as the author of The Dharma Analysis Treasury. He originally studied Hinayana but was later converted to Mahayana by his elder brother Asanga. He wrote numerous treatises designed to clarify the Mahayana teachings.
Vimalakīrti A wealthy man of Vaishālī who appears in the Vimalakīrti Sutra. He represents the ideal Mahayana lay believer. The Vimalakīrti Sutra depicts him as eloquently refuting the Hinayana views held by Shakyamuni’s disciples with the Mahayana doctrine of non-substantiality.
Vimalakīrti Sutra A Mahayana sutra about the wealthy layman Vimalakīrti in Vaishālī. In the sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha seeks to send someone to inquire after Vimalakīrti, who is ill. His major disciples and the great bodhisattvas all plead unworthiness, having lost in debate to Vimalakīrti at one time or another. At length Bodhisattva Manjushrī agrees to go. Vimalakīrti, questioned by Manjushrī about the nature of his illness, replies that because all living beings are ill, he is ill. It is natural that bodhisattvas, who regard living beings as their children, share their suffering. Thus the sutra sets forth the ideal of the Mahayana bodhisattva, which is to draw no distinction between self and others. In the ensuing dialogue, the doctrines of Hinayana are sharply criticized based on the principle of nondualism. Asked to define nondualism, Vimalakīrti remains silent, showing that the true nature of things is beyond description.
Vimalamitra (n.d.) A monk of the Hinayana Sarvāstivāda school and native of Kashmir. According to Hsüan-tsang’s Record of the Western Regions, he set out to destroy the reputation of the late Vasubandhu and ruin the credibility of Mahayana Buddhism, but eventually went mad with remorse and fell into the hell of incessant suffering.
Virtue Victorious A boy who, together with the boy Invincible, is said to have offered a mud pie to Shakyamuni Buddha when the Buddha was begging for alms in Rājagriha. Having nothing else to give, they offered a mud pie as an expression of their sincerity. It is said that the blessings the two boys received from this offering enabled them to be reborn as King Ashoka and his consort.
Virūdhaka A king of the state of Kosala in India during Shakyamuni’s lifetime. His father was Prasenajit. It is said that his mother was originally a servant of the Shākya tribe, a fact that apparently caused him great humiliation. For this reason he bore a grudge against the Shākya tribe and killed the majority of its members.
voice-hearers (Skt shrāvaka) Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples. Those who hear the Buddha’s preaching and strive to attain enlightenment. Voice-hearers also denote those who hear the teaching of the four noble truths and aim at attaining the state of arhat.
votary of the Lotus Sutra One who propagates and practices the Lotus Sutra in exact accordance with its teachings.