Avatamsaka Sutra

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Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:45 am

New chapters are being added all the time. Now there are 13, with Master Hsuan Hua's commentary:

http://cttbusa.org/fas1/fas_contents.asp
Last edited by Will on Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: The Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:53 pm

Can the complete sutra be found anywhere online? The Thomas Cleary translation sells for $60-$100, which is more than my budget allows. :crying:
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Re: The Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby thornbush » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:12 pm

Ok this is the link that i got from another site where it is a collection of many Sutras and Cleary's translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra is one of them: http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... t&id=16667
and when you can't open it, use this programme to do so: http://www.utorrent.com/

Hope that works for you :popcorn:
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Re: The Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:12 pm

Thanks, Thornbush. :)
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Re: The Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:21 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Can the complete sutra be found anywhere online? The Thomas Cleary translation sells for $60-$100, which is more than my budget allows. :crying:


Perhaps, in the near future [edit in 2010] a Cleary PDF version will be online.
Last edited by Will on Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Buddhanataka » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:55 am

The interesting thing about this sutra is that the title literally means

"Sutra of the Buddha's Earrings"

Because the full title is Buddhavatamsaka Sutra
Now avatamsa in Sanskrit means "an earring"
Avatamsaka simply is the plural.
But in the Chinese they changed it to "Flower Ornament", or Hua-yen
Possibly because avata could be taken for avatara i.e. manifestation (whence the English word "avatar"), the letter m as a hiatus break, whence avatam, and saka could be taken as shaka i.e. a type of heavenly flower (as in manjushaka, mahamanjushaka, flowers that rain down when the Buddha does something miraculous, as in for example the Lotus Sutra).
Hence, "flower ornament"

But originally, Avatamsaka means "Earrings".
So, the real meaning of title is simply
"The Great Extensive Sutra of the Buddha's Earrings"
But not many people know that
Not many at all
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:14 pm

Does anyone else think a new translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is in order?

Cleary certainly worked hard and we should commend him for his efforts, but the translation he produced lacks citation and as I understand it only is a translation from the Chinese.

It would be interesting to do a translation (with several scholars maybe?) and include the Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit remnants, as well as provide extensive citation.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Buddhanataka » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:28 pm

Huseng wrote:Does anyone else think a new translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is in order?

Cleary certainly worked hard and we should commend him for his efforts, but the translation he produced lacks citation and as I understand it only is a translation from the Chinese.

It would be interesting to do a translation (with several scholars maybe?) and include the Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit remnants, as well as provide extensive citation.


There was already a critical editition and English translation done many, many years ago (long before Cleary's) of the Sanskrit Dashabhumishvara Sutra, a.k.a. Dashabhumika Sutra, which is a wonderfully good translation, very faithful to the Sanskrit. Unfortunately it was only ever available to scholars and is only to be found in a very few collections around the world.

The only other extant Sanskrit part is the Gandavyuha Sutra, or as the Chinese termed it Entry into the Realm of Reality. A translation of the Sanskrit would be nice, but would arguable add little to Cleary's translation; he did a fine job of that chapter; the final verses i.e. the Vows of Samantabhadra read beautifully in his version.

The main problems with Cleary's work are he used the term "enlightenting being" to render "bodhisattva", which, charming as it may be soon becomes tiresome; and, as Cleary is not a scholar of Buddhism per se, but rather Chinese religions in general, at times his feel for the Buddhist terms is wanting; however, overall I feel that his translation is quite brilliant and will keep us in good stead for many hundred years to come.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby eijo » Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:33 pm

Huseng wrote:Does anyone else think a new translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is in order?

Cleary certainly worked hard and we should commend him for his efforts, but the translation he produced lacks citation and as I understand it only is a translation from the Chinese.

It would be interesting to do a translation (with several scholars maybe?) and include the Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit remnants, as well as provide extensive citation.


Definitely a new, academically usable one is needed. It is indeed a translation from one Chinese version only, and doesn't match up all that well when you compare it line by line to the Chinese unfortunately. The terminology used is a bit too ideosyncratic. Reference to the full Tibetan translation is absolutely needed, and to the Gandavyuha and Dasabhumika extant Sanskrit sections.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Indrajala » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:14 am

eijo wrote:
Huseng wrote:Does anyone else think a new translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is in order?

Cleary certainly worked hard and we should commend him for his efforts, but the translation he produced lacks citation and as I understand it only is a translation from the Chinese.

It would be interesting to do a translation (with several scholars maybe?) and include the Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit remnants, as well as provide extensive citation.


Definitely a new, academically usable one is needed. It is indeed a translation from one Chinese version only, and doesn't match up all that well when you compare it line by line to the Chinese unfortunately. The terminology used is a bit too ideosyncratic. Reference to the full Tibetan translation is absolutely needed, and to the Gandavyuha and Dasabhumika extant Sanskrit sections.



It is definitely a project worthy of investing our efforts into.

I think the sheer length of the text might discourage scholars, but then again if one assembled a team who understood the required languages it wouldn't take that long.

I almost wonder if one of the major Buddhist organizations in the world could produce an academic-quality translation of the text and provide it free of charge online as well as having print copies available.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:57 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:The interesting thing about this sutra is that the title literally means

"Sutra of the Buddha's Earrings"

Because the full title is Buddhavatamsaka Sutra
Now avatamsa in Sanskrit means "an earring"
Avatamsaka simply is the plural.
But in the Chinese they changed it to "Flower Ornament", or Hua-yen
Possibly because avata could be taken for avatara i.e. manifestation (whence the English word "avatar"), the letter m as a hiatus break, whence avatam, and saka could be taken as shaka i.e. a type of heavenly flower (as in manjushaka, mahamanjushaka, flowers that rain down when the Buddha does something miraculous, as in for example the Lotus Sutra).
Hence, "flower ornament"

But originally, Avatamsaka means "Earrings".
So, the real meaning of title is simply
"The Great Extensive Sutra of the Buddha's Earrings"
But not many people know that
Not many at all


Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary:
avataMsa %{as} , %{am} m. n. (ifc. f. %{A}) , ( %{taMs}) , a garland , ring-shaped ornament , ear ornament , ear-ring , crest R. &c.
Capeller dictionary:
avataMsa m. garland or ear-ring.
avataMsaka m. the same, as adj. (f. {-sikA}) crowned with (---).

Hence, the Chinese translation of 華嚴 is quite correct, indicating a "garland".
The words "flower ornament" are of course, and English translation, and not a Chinese translation.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Buddhanataka » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:18 pm

Huifeng wrote:Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary:
avataMsa %{as} , %{am} m. n. (ifc. f. %{A}) , ( %{taMs}) , a garland , ring-shaped ornament , ear ornament , ear-ring , crest R. &c.
Capeller dictionary:
avataMsa m. garland or ear-ring.
avataMsaka m. the same, as adj. (f. {-sikA}) crowned with (---).

Hence, the Chinese translation of 華嚴 is quite correct, indicating a "garland".
The words "flower ornament" are of course, and English translation, and not a Chinese translation.


Oh, interesting, I haven't seen the Capeller entry before; and I don't know Chinese, only that "hua" means flower - as in Miao fa lien hua - Mystic law lotus flower (have I got that right..?), and since the Avatamsaka spawned the Hua-yen school, I assumed hua-yen meant "flower-ornament" (on the analogy of the English rendering of 華嚴 by Thomas Cleary, as Clearly translated from the Chinese rather than from the Sanskrit). But evidently it does not?
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:11 am

This is just the old Cleary version, but it is all online now: http://ifile.it/exl7ti9
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:15 am

A nice little survey of the entire sutra: http://www.buddhistbooks.info/avatam/content.html
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Ten Grounds chapter

Postby Will » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:01 am

The Ten Grounds Sutra is a sutra in its own right. It covers the stages of a bodhisattvas growth toward buddhahood; the vows involved and the ten paramitas.

This translation covers the first four grounds: http://cttbusa.org/avatamsaka/avatamsaka26.asp
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:35 pm

On the ear-ring and flower ornament definitions:

There is a Tibetan prayer to Je Tsongkhapa (as used by the FPMT) which includes:

''Your eloquent speech is the ear ornament of the fortunate ones.''

So, maybe the title meant 'eloquent speech' which is valued as highly?

Maybe even a pun or play on words in the original title?

Just a thought. :)
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:17 pm

Shameless self-promotion this is, but I recently started a site about Huayan Buddhism. For now it is just my essays and notes on various aspects of things related to Huayan (doctrine, history, ethics, figures, etc...). I pulled a few things off my blog. I'm also compiling some notes into reasonably short essays and uploading them as individual pages.

https://sites.google.com/site/huayanbuddhism/

Eventually I'll provide biographical sketches for the main patriarchs and the Korean and Japanese monks who transmitted the lineages to their respective countries. Of course a chapter summary of the Avatamsaka-sutra and some other basic information is in order too.

I'm also writing right now an essay about the vision of causality in Huayan and how it relates to certain passages in the Huayan Sutra. That's a heavy side to the doctrine. I should also do a brief overview of the doxography 判教 differences between the main patriarchs. Basically the fundamentals of the lineage as it existed and developed in the Sui-Tang.

I find doing these kind of projects helps me immensely in the learning process. Being creative and trying to make my learning of benefit to others is far more rewarding and useful than just reading books and thinking about it on the bus. :smile:

No idea if anyone is interested in Huayan stuff, but there you go.

This next year I plan to do a lot of extensive reading (like the whole Dharmagupta vinaya) coupled with translating and researching more stuff about Huayan in the Tang.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:34 pm

Keep it up Jeff! Giving Dharma allows you to be "given" more wisdom.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Will » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:41 pm

In recent times bodhisattva Shou Yeh wrote, using his own blood, the entire Avatamsaka Sutra in Chinese letters two inches high (some 700,000 characters).

Master Hsuan Hua (aka An Tz'u) paid tribute to him:

LETTER TO THE HIGH OLD CULTIVATOR, DHARMA MASTER SHOU YEH

To be Wayfully perused by the Noble Shou:

I, Tz'u, previously telephoned to say that I would come to New York for a personal meeting. Later, because of my Dharma duties connected with the opening of the Summer Vacation Lecture and Cultivation Session, I have been too busy and it has been difficult to pull myself away. My regret is extreme. I now use this unkempt gatha to extend my dumb sincerity. The gatha says:

Noble Shou prolongs the life of the world;
Shou's virtue is high,

(From) blood words a blood Sutra was carved from the blood
of his heart;

The light of this AVATAMSAKA illumines the present and past--

In the universe, the amounting brilliance, a Prajna bridge,

Living beings of different regions should celebrate
and rejoice,

And from this kin of the Buddha's sons, together should
joyfully learn.

It is hoped that he unfolds his cherished trust,
opening up the Dharma Realm.

In Ksetras like seas of fine dust he is totally
free and at ease,

This conveys my present greetings,

An Tz'u

May your dhyana be joyful.
1970, eighth month, fifth day.

(Translated by Upasaka Ronald Epstein)
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby LastLegend » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:55 pm

I get all sutras in my language Vietnamese for free any time at the temple and as many as I want. :)
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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