Vaidehī The consort of Bimbisāra, king of Magadha in Shakyamuni’s time, and the mother of Ajātashatru. She is said to have been the 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 deity, Mahāvairochana.
Vaishālī One of six great cities in ancient India. Shakyamuni Buddha often visited Vaishālī to preach. The Second Buddhist Council was held there about a century after the Buddha’s death.
Vaishravana One of the four heavenly kings. He is said to live halfway down the northern side of Mount Sumeru and 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 listen to the Buddha’s teachings.
Vajrasattva The second of the first eight patriarchs of the True Word school. He is said to have received the esoteric teaching 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.
Varshakāra A minister who served King Ajātashatru. He conspired with Devadatta in persuading Ajātashatru when the latter was a prince to kill King Bimbisāra, his father and a lay supporter of Shakyamuni. Varshakāra also encouraged Ajātashatru to harass Shakyamuni. Later on, however, he repented and converted to Buddhism along with Ajātashatru and assisted him in administering the kingdom.
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.
Vimalamitra (n.d.) A Hinayana monk and native of Kashmir, India. He vowed to destroy Vasubandhu’s reputation and ruin the credibility of Mahayana Buddhism, but instead it is said that his tongue split in five pieces, and, tormented by remorse, he fell into the hell of incessant suffering.
Virtue Victorious A child 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, respectively.
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 from 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.
Vishvakarman A god who lives in the heaven of the thirty-three gods on the summit of Mount Sumeru and serves Shakra. According to The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom, when Shakyamuni was practicing Buddhist austerities as King Shibi in a past existence, the god Shakra assumed the form of a hawk, and Vishvakarman, that of a dove, in order to test the king’s sincerity.
voice-hearers (Skt shrāvaka) Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples. Those who listen to his preaching and strive to attain enlightenment. In this sense, voice-hearers are also called voice-hearer disciples. 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.