Buddha refer a student to Manjushri

1 Mar


Beautiful statue of Yellow Manjushri with his gentle hands in the Dharmacakra mudra. Yellow Manjushri bestows the wisdom to teach/share the Dharma

I love Manjushri! I think I got this infatuation from Rinpoche. But anyway, I do have to acknowledge the fact that any Buddha practice that helps me to be smart would be my favourite as I think I am actually dumb. That’s why I really love this story of Manjushri. I have read it a long time ago and I recall it recently and thought to share it here for your reading pleasure. I love the fact that Manjushri was able to skilfully lead King Ajatashatru to realize emptiness despite his immense negative karma of killing one’s father, raping and so forth. Lord Manjushri is just incredible!


Bodhisattva Manjushri appeared as the disciple of Buddha. However, he had great power to help sentient beings. Sometimes people would come to Buddha for help and advice but Buddha would refer them to Manjushri because they had a stronger karmic link with him. Some had such a strong connection with Manjushri that through his blessings and skill they were able to develop very powerful realizations with almost no effort on their part.

One such person was King Ajatashatru, who had committed two particularly negative actions, killing his father and raping a fully-ordained nun who was also a Superior being. The consequences of such actions are horrendous. King Ajatashatru developed strong remorse for his negative actions and requested Buddha to give him a special method for purifying them. Buddha taught the Sutra for Eliminating Ajatashatru’s Regret and then suggested that the king seek the help of Bodhisattva Manjushri.

Immediately upon hearing this advice, Ajatashatru developed strong faith in Manjushri. He invited Manjushri to his house for a banquet and after the meal he rose to offer Manjushri a very expensive cloak, but just as he was presenting the garment Manjushri disappeared. The king was left wondering, ..Who is Manjushri? Where is Manjushri?’ By thinking in this way he realized that he could not find a real, truly existent Manjushri, and he came very close to understanding emptiness. Since Manjushri had disappeared, the king decided to try the cloak on himself, but as he put it round his shoulders he started asking the same questions about himself, ..Who am I? Where am I? Who is the king? Where is the king?’ Being completely unable to find a real, truly existent self or truly existent king, he achieved an understanding of emptiness. He then entered into meditation and quickly attained a direct realization of emptiness, becoming a Superior being on the path of seeing.

According to the Hinayana teachings, a person who has committed one of the five actions of immediate retribution cannot become a Superior being in that same life, but the Mahayana viewpoint is different. As a result of Manjushri’s blessings, King Ajatashatru was able to purify his heavy negative karma and achieve the path of seeing. Manjushri performed many other special actions such as this.


Manjushri’s wisdom sword and book that are commonly seen on Manjushri’s iconography are representative of his transcendent wisdom. 

4 Responses to “Buddha refer a student to Manjushri”

  1. Carmen Koo March 3, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    Dear Pastor David,

    I love your sharing, your stories and your ability to remember the teachings and Dharma to such detail and accuracy. I am always in awe of your ability to share the Dharma so well and passionately. You are a gem, thank you for teaching me so much throughout my time in Kechara.

    I love Manjushri too because I wish to gain his wisdom to slay my ignorance.

  2. Li Kheng April 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Thank you Pastor David for this story about Manjushri. It is amazing what pure and and sincere motivation in the dharma can do for our spiritual progress. I learn the great value of wisdom as i had my own business. Many people believe that Dharma is for the retired. But I beg to differ. Dharma is for the young and ambitious. With the dharma we develop a view that is sharp and a mind the is quick and long sighted. These are constructive virtues for both professional and personal success!

  3. Antique Buddhas July 8, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Bodhisattva Manjushri is one of the most popular Bodhisattva in Buddhism, especially in Tibetan Buddhism.
    It is also said that Bodhisattva Manjushri used to live during the time of Lord Buddha and help Ananda be free from his worries due to near date of Buddha’s Parinirvana.

    • Pastor David Lai September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am #

      Yes, Manjushri was one of 10 main students of the Buddha.

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