Avatamsaka Sutra

Using the Buddha’s teachings to preserve and enhance our well-being, as we engage with the world
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Nicholas
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Avatamsaka Sutra

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Considered the King of all Sutras, from both the length of it and the profound depth of the Dharma it radiates. This link from the translator Rulu gives us the history, lineage, benefits & key ideas that this Sun of Mahayana offers us:

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/introbook5.html

A summary of this article:
Entering the Dharma Realm

The all-embracing teachings in the Buddha Adornment Sūtra reveal the interdependent arising of all things in the dharma realm. All things identify with and enter one another, hindrance free. These teachings are beyond the human experience of space and time. Therefore, Huayan masters expound these teachings in their theses, and use their logic to explain why there is no hindrance among things. Although the theses are referred to by scholars as the Huayan philosophy, they are not intended for philosophical debates, but intended to convince students to believe in the dharma realm revealed by the Buddha. As all things in the dharma realm are in unity, the Huayan theses are in unity with meditation practice.

Although some may find Huayan masters’ explanations hard to comprehend, those who believe in more than three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension may not find it hard to accept the dharma realm of no hindrance among things. To enter this dharma realm is to realize the wisdom mind, which transcends the human experience of space and time. However, the object is not merely to experience things hindrance free, but to rescue sentient beings from suffering and teach them to enter this dharma realm. Therefore, on one’s spiritual journey, one should always keep in mind that the Mahāyāna is founded on wisdom, and compassion for all sentient beings. Sustained by the bodhi mind and one’s faith in the teachings in the Buddha Adornment Sūtra, one must take universally worthy actions through all stages of the Bodhisattva Way.

Those who treasure this sūtra and carry out its teachings are true Buddha-sons, as affirmed by Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. In fascicle 52, chapter 37c, he says, “This precious sūtra falls only into the hands of a Dharma King’s true sons, who have been born into the Tathāgata family and planted roots of goodness to acquire a Tathāgata’s appearance. Buddha-Sons, without these true Buddha-sons, this Dharma Door will soon vanish. Why? Because no rider of the Two Vehicles hears this sūtra, much less accepts, upholds, reads and recites, copies, or expounds it. Only Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas can do these things. Therefore, when a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva hears this Dharma Door, he should feel great joy and accept it with the highest esteem and reverence. Why? Because a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva who believes and delights in this sūtra will soon attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi”
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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All Buddhas, in one thought, appear everywhere for the sake of all sentient beings ready to be delivered, and tell them to have no attachment to the Buddha body.
All Buddhas, in one thought, go to all sentient beings on various life-paths everywhere in the dharma realm.
All Buddhas, in one thought, go to all sentient beings, wherever they are, if they think of Buddhas.
All Buddhas, in one thought, know all sentient beings’ understandings and desires, and manifest countless physical appearances to them.
Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 33, "The Inconceivable Dharmas of Buddhas"
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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The Bodhisattva Way

He who is resolved to attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi, the unsurpassed true enlightenment, to benefit himself and others, is called a Bodhisattva. This noble resolve is called the anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind, or simply, the bodhi mind. To transform himself from an ordinary being into a Buddha, he must train himself on a spiritual journey called the Bodhisattva Way, throughout which he accumulates merit and develops wisdom. He accumulates merit by benefiting sentient beings as he helps and teaches them. He develops wisdom in three ways: (1) hearing the Dharma, (2) pondering the Dharma, and (3) training accordingly.

The Bodhisattva Way is a spiritual journey classified into six stages. Before entering the first stage, a Bodhisattva is an ordinary being who must cultivate the ten faithful minds. During this pre-first-stage, his roots of goodness are subject to regress. At the first stage, he trains through the ten levels of abiding; at the second stage, he trains through the ten levels of action; at the third stage, he trains through the ten levels of transference of merit. A Bodhisattva at these first three stages is a sage. At the fourth stage, he trains through the Ten Grounds; at the fifth stage, he trains on the eleventh ground, the Virtual Buddha Ground, and his enlightenment virtually equals a Buddha’s; at the sixth stage, he becomes a Buddha, standing on the twelfth ground, the Buddha Ground. Because those on the twelve grounds are holy beings, these twelve grounds are holy grounds.

On the fourteenth day after His perfect enlightenment,[1] Śākyamuni Buddha (circa 563–483 BCE) gave definitive teachings in nine assemblies. In these assemblies, He revealed to advanced Bodhisattvas the hindrance-free dharma realm (dharma-dhātu) of the one mind, and gave them the One Vehicle to Buddhahood through the six stages of the Bodhisattva Way. These teachings are contained in the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Buddhāvataṁsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra).
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Another smaller Garland Sutra gives the essentials of Avatamsaka Sutra.

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra34a.html
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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The new edition of the Ten Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra has been put online:

http://www.cttbusa.org/avatamsaka/avatamsaka40new.html
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Sea Cloud Bhikshu said, "Good Man, if living beings have not planted good roots, they cannot bring forth the resolve for [full buddhahood] anuttarasamyaksambodhi. One must obtain the light of good roots of the door to universality, become replete with the samadhi wisdom-light of the true path, give rise to various vast and great seas of blessings, and nurture pristine and pure dharmas without laziness or resting. One must serve good knowing advisors without becoming tired or satiated. One must disregard one's body and life. One must not conceal or hoard. One's mind must be level, like the earth, without ups or downs. One's nature must always compassionately pity all living beings. With concentrated mindfulness, one must never forsake all destinies of existence. One must constantly take delight in contemplating the Thus Come Ones’ states. In such a way one can bring forth [bodhicitta] the Bodhi resolve.

"As for bringing forth the bodhi resolve:

It means one brings forth a great, compassionate mind, in order to universally save all beings. One brings forth a great kind mind, in order to equally protect all worlds. One brings forth a tranquil and happy mind, in order to cause all beings to destroy their sufferings. One brings forth a mind of beneficence, in order to cause all beings to separate from evil dharmas. One brings forth a sympathetic mind, in order to guard all those who are afraid. One brings forth an unobstructed mind, in order to leave behind all obstructions. One brings forth a vast, great mind, in order to pervade all Dharma realms. One brings forth a boundless mind, because one is equal to the realm of empty space, and there is nowhere one does not go. One brings forth a broad, extensive mind, because one sees all Thus Come Ones. One brings forth a pure mind, because one does not contradict the wisdom of the dharmas of the three periods of time. One brings forth the mind of All-Wisdom, because one universally enters the seas of All-Wisdom.
From chapter 39, "Entering the Dharma Realm"
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Nicholas wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:55 pm The new edition of the Ten Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra has been put online:

http://www.cttbusa.org/avatamsaka/avatamsaka40new.html
The commentary of this chapter by Master Hua is also online now:

http://www.cttbusa.org/fas40new/fas40.html

There is also a hardback book edition.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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The notion of cycles in human affairs is old and pervades many ancient systems of thought. What much of humanity now considers regression to moral chaos has happened before. Many eons or kalpas ago humanity was like this:
Their lifetimes were short and passed by quickly.
They were wanting for essentials and wealth.
Their physical appearances were ugly.
They experienced an abundance of suffering and only a minor amount of happiness.
They neglected to cultivate the ten good karmic paths.
They exclusively devoted themselves to evil karmic actions.
They engaged in mutual anger and disputation.
The disparaged and vilified each other.
They abandoned their families.
They were envious of others’ glory and good fortune.
They gave free rein to their emotions and generated the various sorts of views.
And they indulged desires in ways contrary to the Dharma.
From chapter 39
Miorita
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Is this your refuge after you hopped across the Dharma-room?
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Miorita wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:08 am Is this your refuge after you hopped across the Dharma-room?
No idea what "hopped across the Dharma-room" means. But that magnificent sutra is my favorite.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Some of the good advice given by a Devī to a Bodhisattva:
You should guard the city of mind, by not dwelling on enjoyment of
mundane objects. You should adorn the city of mind, by concentrating on the ten
powers of the enlightened. You should clean the city of mind, by getting rid of
jealousy, envy, and guile. You should extinguish the burning of the city of mind, by
meditating on all truths. You should expand the city of mind, by increasing the flow
of great energy in preparing for omniscience. You should protect the dwellings,
storehouses, and facilities of the city of mind, by command of the vast spiritual
palace of all concentrations, attainments, meditations, and liberations. You should
illumine the city of mind, by absorbing universal transcendent wisdom in the
assemblies gathered around all buddhas. You should make the city of mind firm, by
putting the paths of means produced by all buddhas into the city of your own mind.
You should build strong walls about the city of mind, by purification of mind in
carrying out the vow of practice of universal good. You should make the city of mind
invincible and impregnable, by being invulnerable to all afflictions and bad
influences. You should light up the city of mind, by illumining all beings with the
knowledge of the enlightened. You should irrigate the city of mind, by receiving the
clouds of teaching of all buddhas. You should firmly brace the city of mind, by
absorbing into your own mind the oceans of virtues of all buddhas. You should
broaden the city of mind, by suffusing all beings with great love.
That calls to mind the Republic, where the analogy of the city of the Soul is used by Plato.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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Recitation of sutras is practiced all over the Mahayana realm. Master Hsuan Hua suggested, just before his skin-bag died, that the Avatamsaka Sutra is the best one to use.
In the words of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua: "The Flower Adornment Sutra is the sutra of the Dharma-realm and the sutra of empty space. To the exhaustion of the Dharma-realm and empty space there is no place where the Flower Adornment Sutra is not present. Wherever the Flower Adornment Sutra is found, the Buddha is to be found, and also the Dharma and the Sangha of worthy sages. That is why when the Buddha realized proper enlightenment, he wished to speak the Great Flower Adornment Sutra, to teach and transform the great masters of the Dharma-body. Since this sutra was a sutra of inconceivable wonder, it was then concealed within the dragon's palace for the dragon king to protect. Afterwards Nagarjuna ('dragon-tree') Bodhisattva went to the dragon's palace, memorized it, and brought it back.

"The Flower Adornment Sutra is like an auspicious cloud in empty space, which extends throughout the Three Thousand Great Thousand World-System, raining down the sweet dew of Dharma rain to moisten all living beings. The Flower Adornment Sutra is also like the sun, which everywhere illumines the Three Thousand World-Realm, bringing warmth to every single living being. The Flower Adornment Sutra is also like the great earth, which can produce and grow the myriad existing things. Therefore, it can be said that any period in which the Flower Adornment Sutra exists is a period in which the proper Dharma long remains.

"Consequently, in our daily investigation and lecturing of the Flower Adornment Sutra, the essential is to rely upon the Sutra's principles to cultivate to use the Sutra as a cure for our own personal faults. Those who are greedy, after hearing the Flower Adornment Sutra, should rid themselves of greed. People who have hatred, upon hearing the Sutra, should give up their hatred; and those who are stupid should stop being stupid. The principles discussed in the Sutra are designed to correct our faults and bad habits. It is absolutely not the case that the Sutra was Dharma spoken for Bodhisattvas with no relation to us, or that it was Dharma spoken for Arhats with no relevance for us. Don't think, 'All I can do as an ordinary person is listen to the Sutra. I could never aspire to the states of a sage.' To think that way is to throw yourself away, to separate yourself from the sages.

"From the beginning to the end of the Flower Adornment Sutra, every phrase of the Sutra is an unsurpassed Dharma jewel. If we are able actually to apply the principles and cultivate according to the principles of the Sutra, then we are certain to become Buddhas. For that reason the Flower Adornment Sutra can be called the mother of all Buddhas. The Flower Adornment Sutra is the Dharma-body of all Buddhas."
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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With thoughts of constant faith and joy in the Buddha, and a mind that never retreats, one draws near to all Tathagatas:
This is the karma that should be done.
Chapter Nine
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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From chapter 40 commentary of Master Hua - on merit & virtue:
What is “merit”? Merit is what we create, and virtue comes from what we do. How is merit created? For example, a teacher in a school does all in his power to teach, doing more than his salary requires. If you are able to go beyond the call of duty, expending your energy to do additional work, that’s how to create merit.

Virtue is the result of doing beneficial things for all people. You help other people, yet do not seek any reward. You don’t want to get something in return. Virtue is being able to do favors for others without seeking a reward and benefiting all people without wanting them to do something beneficial for you in return.

There is great and small virtue. Not only should we do acts that show great virtue, we also should not overlook small virtuous deeds. What are small virtuous deeds? These are deeds that give only a little bit of benefit to another. If you do many of these small acts of virtue, then your virtuous nature will naturally become great. However, if you do not do any virtuous deeds, then you will never have a virtuous nature.

Therefore, it is said, “The path is to be practiced.” The path is to be cultivated, not merely talked about. You can’t just recite the words “cultivate the path” over and over again from morning to night without actually putting it into practice. That’s merely paying lip service. It’s useless. The saying continues, “Virtue comes from what is done.” If you do not actually practice it, then you will lack virtue. It is also said, “The path is to be followed. If it is not followed, what use is the path? Virtue comes from what we do. If it is not done, how could one have virtue?”
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

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The large final chapter is now available in e-book formats. Translated by Peter A Roberts who follows the Tibetan mainly, whereas Cleary's earlier one followed the Chinese mainly.
No plans yet for a printed book:

https://read.84000.co/translation/UT22084-037-007.html
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