Avatamsaka Sutra

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Huifeng » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:56 am

While Doug (Osto) is working on that, also keep an eye out for (Prof) Luis Gomez, who has been doing a lot of Avatamsaka work lately, along with his regular interest in translation. A very, very sharp mind, and a practicing Buddhist (he works with a couple of groups in Mexico City where he's based nowadays).

~~ Huifeng

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby plwk » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:58 pm

I wonder if anyone here practices the 42 Avatamsaka Syllabary...

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:33 pm

“Living beings without wisdom are injured and poisoned by the thorn of love.
To cause those people to seek Bodhi is what the Buddhadharma is for.

Universally observe all Dharmas and renounce the two extremes.
The Way accomplished, one never retreats, and turns this unequalled wheel.

Throughout inconceivable kalpas
vigorously cultivate all practices
in order to cross over all living beings.
This is the great immortal’s strength.

The guiding master subdues the multitudes of demons,
he is courageous, strong, and invincible.
Within the light he proclaims the wonderful meaning.
He is this way because of his kindness and compassion.

Using the mind of wisdom
to smash all afflictions and obstacles,
in one thought he could see all.
This is the spiritual power of the Buddha.

He beats the proper Dharma drum
to enlighten those in the lands of the ten directions,
so all are caused to go towards Bodhi.
The power of self-mastery can achieve this.

His state is indestructible and has no boundary,
and he can roam throughout billions of lands
toward existence he has no attachment
and he is comfortable like the Buddha.

All Buddhas are like empty space,
ultimately and eternally pure.
By always remembering to bring forth happiness,
all of ones vows are completed.

Within each hell
one passes through limitless kalpas.
In order to cross over living beings,
one can endure all that suffering.

He has no regard for his body or life,
as he constantly protects all Buddhadharmas.
His mind has no self and so he is compliant.
And so he is able to obtain the Way of the Thus Come One.”

[For recitation, from chapter nine]

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby greentreee » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:29 pm

http://www.4shared.com/office/s4vxWvxr/ ... _tran.html

stumbled on it the other day, after noticing a few links in the thread were dead.

it's nice to find since i bought Cleary's Vol. 1 a couple years ago and haven't yet read it and it was a first edition, used with underline marks with a pen in the introduction.

just thought i'd share the link.
scratching thick hair'd head,
"if air can be conditioned,
like where's the shampoo?"


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Re: praise of the Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:55 am

This is great wisdom:
The place of all Buddhas’ practices.


This is great wisdom: This is just speaking of the Avatamsaka Sutra. The Avatamsaka Sutra is indeed the great wisdom of all Buddhas. “Great wisdom” is also The place of all Buddhas’ practices. Therefore, if you want to have great wisdom, you should recite the Avatamsaka Sutra, and use the principles of the Avatamsaka Sutra in your cultivation. These are exactly the Dharma doors that all Buddhas cultivate. If one wishes to understand, then one should constantly draw near the Buddhas. It you truly wish to understand the principles of the Avatamsaka Sutra, you should constantly draw near to all Buddhas and not be apart from the Buddhadharma. You should forever practice and investigate the Buddhadharma within this Sutra. To investigate the principles of the Avatamsaka Sutra is just to draw near to all Buddhas. This is making offerings to all Buddhas. This is cultivating all Dharma doors, all Buddhas’ places of conduct.

However, this doesn’t mean that you cultivate only when the Avatamsaka Sutra is being lectured and when you’re listening to the Sutra; rather, you should recite and uphold it, read it, receive it, study it, and write it out. Use your pen to constantly write out the Avatamsaka Sutra. Or you can constantly recite the Avatamsaka Sutra. Or you can receive and uphold it. To “receive and uphold” means you don’t need to use a book--you have it memorized. You should constantly receive and uphold it. All of these practices are ways of drawing near to the Buddha, because the Avatamsaka Sutra is in fact, the Buddha’s Dharma body. It’s the Buddha’s wisdom light itself. If you can listen to the Avatamsaka Sutra, recite the Avatamsaka Sutra, and write out the Avatamsaka Sutra, you are drawing near to the Buddha. You shouldn’t feel you have to see the Buddha in order to draw near to the Buddha. If you see the Dharma of the Avatamsaka Sutra, that in itself is drawing near to the Buddha.

[Master Hua comments on ch. 24; Solid Banner Bodhisattva speaking.]

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Re: Ten Grounds chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:21 pm

Rulu has rendered another important sutra: http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra35a.html

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:13 pm

I have heard that there is a bit of a "Hua Yen Revival" going on in Taiwan. Could anyone tell me about this?

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:00 pm

This sangha is involved; maybe at the forefront: http://www.newhuayen.com/page33.html

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Kaji » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:35 am

Leo Rivers wrote:This is interesting - I tried to read this "chapter" aloud on day to "read it in my ear" - (this goes back to an old post) - and after what seemed like 20 pages my mouth became exhausted. But I have to say reading it "puts it up" in the mind in a way that imply reading it doesn't.

Will wrote:Yep, the Avatamsaka Sutra is surely in the air more of late. And yes indeed, reading aloud a sutra is a more powerful way to "study" it. Reciting from memory, even better.

Great! I'd like to add that Ven Yin Guang has written a section on the proper practice and etiquette in reading sutra. Studying sutra requires similar etiquette, just a bit more relaxed on the body posture.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:44 pm

The devas praise Buddha, at the beginning of the Fifth Ground of Ten Grounds chapter 26 (Rulu's translation):

When Bodhisattvas heard the excellent training on this ground [the fourth ground],
They understood the Dharma and were filled with joy.
They showered flowers from the sky as they praised,
“Very good, Vajra Store the Great One!”

The god-king of Paranirmita-vaśa-vartin Heaven [the sixth desire heaven] and his retinue of gods,
Who were exuberant upon hearing the Dharma, stood in the open sky.
With joy, they formed various wonderful clouds of radiance
As an offering to the Tathāgata.

Beautiful goddess-daughters played celestial music
And praised the Buddha with hymns.
Through the spiritual power of the Bodhisattva [Vajra Store], they said,
“Today, Buddha vows made long ago have finally been fulfilled.
Today, Buddha bodhi sought since long ago has finally been attained.
Today, after waiting for a long time, we finally see
Śākyamuni Buddha come to this celestial palace to benefit gods.
Today, after waiting for a long time, sentient beings have finally received peace and joy.
The immense ocean has taken a long time to start surging.
Buddha light has taken a long time to be emitted.
The sound of great compassion has taken a long time to be heard.

He has crossed over to the shore of merit
And dispelled the darkness of arrogance.
His superb purity is like that of the open sky.
Untainted by worldly dharmas, He is like a lotus flower [rising above the water].
Śākyamuni the World-Honored One has appeared in the world,
Like Mount Sumeru rising from the immense ocean.
By making offerings to Him, one can end one’s suffering.
By making offerings to Him, one may acquire Buddha wisdom.
The Buddha is worthy of unequaled offerings,
So we joyfully make offerings to Him.”

After innumerable goddess-daughters praised
The Buddha with these words,
All were filled with reverence and joy.
They gazed upon the Tathāgata and fell silent.

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Re: Ten Grounds chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:40 pm

The 7th Ground is hard to go beyond, when a bodhisattva has done so, then the 8th Ground is very different and profound.

An excerpt from the beginning of the Eighth Ground draft by Bhikshu Dharmamitra:

It is these bodhisattvas who, upon acquisition of the unproduced-dharmas patience, thereby gain entry into the eighth ground. They immediately enter this eighth ground, the ground of immovability, and thus become “profound practice” bodhisattvas, those who have achieved a state difficult to know, one impenetrable by anyone’s discriminating thought, one that has transcended all characteristic signs, one that is beyond the reach of all conceptuality and all grasping attachment, one that is immeasurable and boundless, inconceivable and ineffable...

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra ch. 2

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:41 am

Bodhisattva, Mahāsattva Crown of Universally Bright Wisdom’s Flaming Floral Radiance teaches:

If there be those possessed of deep faith and joy in the Buddhadharma,
they are then drawn forth by the Buddha.
One should realize that such persons as these
are capable of bringing forth the Buddha’s wisdom in its entirety.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 4

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:53 pm

Sons of the Buddha. One should realize that the seas of worlds are associated with seas of skillful means for achieving purity as numerous as the dusts in a sea of worlds. For example:

Bodhisattvas draw close to all good spiritual guides, doing so through joining in developing the same roots of goodness.
Through increasing the vastness of one’s clouds of meritorious qualities to the point that they come to pervade the entire Dharma realm.
Through purely cultivating on a vast scale all forms of supreme understanding.
Through deeply contemplating the mind states of all bodhisattvas and thus coming to abide securely within them.
Through cultivating all of the pāramitās to the point of perfect fulfillment.
Through deeply contemplating all of the bodhisattva grounds and thus coming to enter and abide therein.
Through bringing forth the sea of all pure vows.
Through cultivation all of essential practices conducing to going forth.
Through entering into all of the seas of adornments.
Through perfecting the power of skillful means facilitating realization of purity.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 6

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:48 pm

One who can pass through a sea of kalpas in cyclic existence
for the sake of each and every being
without his mind becoming weary or desisting—
It is he who is bound to become the world’s master guide.

One who makes offerings to each and every buddha
even to the exhaustion of the bounds of the future
with a mind free of even a moment’s weariness—
It is he who is bound to succeed in this unsurpassable path.

The buddhas of the three periods of time
shall join in assisting the fulfillment of your vow
so that you will then personally abide
there within the community of all buddhas.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch 9

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:38 pm

One retains no cherishing for either one’s body or life as one constantly guards the Dharma of all buddhas.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch 10

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:47 pm

Some achieve liberation swiftly
whereas some have difficulty making their escape.

If one wishes to rid oneself
of the evil of countless karmic transgressions,
one should become fiercely valiant
in constantly vigorous devotion to the Buddha’s Dharma.

Just as a merely feeble flame
will be quickly extinguished by wet firewood;
in pursuit of the Dharma taught by the Buddha,
so too it is with those who are indolent.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Vidyaraja » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:37 am

I was reading about this sutra the other day, and came across a wesbite with some information on it. The claim it made was this:

Over 1,600 pages in Thomas Cleary’s translation, the Flower Ornament Sutra is a samadhi text, designed to inspire luminous visions and exalted experiences of mind and reality through its use of lush, psychedelic, evocative imagery.

Because of the book’s length, but also because of its unique quality as a text, most practitioners need some guidance on how to read the Flower Ornament Sutra, as it may seem impenetrable at first glance. This is not a book to read to gain intellectual comprehension. Rather, the cumulative impact of its profuse imagery inspires heightened states of samadhi, or concentrated meditative awareness. This effect can best be appreciated by bathing in the imagery, as if listening to a symphony, rather than trying to decipher a textbook. Reciting it aloud, by oneself or together with a small circle of practice friends, is a traditional approach.

This claim I've seen elsewhere as well. Is it true that the text is primarily read for these purposes? Also, does anyone know where the Hua-Yen philosophy survived the strongest in major Buddhist schools? I've read that the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Hua-Yen school influenced Zen, and I believe this is the case in Shingon as well as Kukai listed Kegon as the highest school after Shingon. Do any modern Buddhist schools read or use the Avatamsaka Sutra?

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby WuMing » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:34 pm

please have a look here

It guess there are good reasons why the Venerable Master Heng Sure http://www.berkeleymonastery.org/teachers.html (disciple of the Very Venerable Master Hsuan Hua) is lecturing on this Sutra for years now (great lectures btw)
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Rakz » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:16 am

Why does the last chapter in the last paragraph of this sutra say "may all beings return to the land of limitless light?" Is it saying all sentients were at one time already in Sukhavati or is this a translation glitch?

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Leo Rivers » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:18 am

Re: Avatamsaka Sutra: Could we add another angle to the discussion of the Avatamsaka as interpreted as 'a single transmission of a singular philosophy and experience' a little. And yes, if you study the different schools in China and Japan, each will differ in their explanation of how The Buddha spoke all this material at a certain time and place and wither it was provisional or final explanation - but I was wondering if there is there any book or research just discussing each of the sutras in this collection one by one? I have read several of the "The Ten..." Sutras and notice that there is a format of five or six steps they follow in setting the scene and introducing the topics. This format isn't shared by all the others. Several sutras are anciently independently attested and famous, but who chose these as a bundle, where did the redactors of the Avatamsaka find them, how were the concerns of the people who composed them different and the same?

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