Hua-Yen in English

Hua-Yen in English

Postby Will » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:26 pm

Just re-reading Cleary's 1983 classic Entry Into the Inconceivable and am reminded of how wonderful those works by the early Hua Yen Patriarchs are. Since it was published, are there any other good translations of these great writings, or some of the other treatises that were not translated by Cleary?

Go to the Table of Contents where the works are listed:

http://books.google.com/books?id=i7yeQX ... &q&f=false
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:19 pm

It might be shameless self-promotion, but the snippet from my MA thesis that I posted on my blog might be of interest to you (some short parts are translated):

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2010/10/ ... y-and.html

Huayan Patriarch Fazang's views on various potentially controversial matters, as outlined in his commentary on the Brahma Net Sutra (梵網經), is rather interesting. It isn't profound philosophy, but it reveals his sense of ethics and values.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Will » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:43 pm

Thanks Huseng - so you know of nothing else newish in English from these early Hua-yen gurus?

I now recall the Treatise on the Golden Lion which I have read in couple of translations.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:03 am

Will wrote:Thanks Huseng - so you know of nothing else newish in English from these early Hua-yen gurus?

I now recall the Treatise on the Golden Lion which I have read in couple of translations.


Unfortunately Huayan isn't really popular and as a result a lot of the primary works from the school are left unstudied and untranslated in English. Even here in Japan it doesn't get that much attention. Actually when the current senior generation of scholars retires, you'll probably see almost nothing about Huayan in Japanese academia. However, there seems to be a renewed interest in modern Chinese scholarship.

Some time ago I translated Chéngguān's short essay entitled Examination of the Five Aggregates 五蘊觀.

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2009/12/ ... es-by.html

There is nothing particularly Huayan about it, but nevertheless it is a work attributed to the Patriarch Chéngguān. It actually is a concise outline for a specific meditation. He is famous for being a serious meditation practitioner.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:10 am

I'd also recommend asking Ven Heng Sure. While not strictly "Huayan" as in the school, he knows his Huayan sutra and some commentaries extremely well. He is still doing his ongoing lecture series on the sutra every Saturday night. http://www.dharmaradio.org/dharmatalks/index.htm
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Will » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:32 am

Prostrations to Huseng!

That text by Cheng Kuan is just what I like. I was not looking for Hua-yenishness in particular. In fact, I was surprised & attracted to their solid grasp of emptiness and logic. They were grounded in basic Mahayana very well.

But to your translation:

迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。
One misunderstands the body and mind's characteristic of totality and thus grasps the self of the person as an actual existent.


What is this "characteristic of totality"? Their apparent unity?
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:05 am

Will wrote:
迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。
One misunderstands the body and mind's characteristic of totality and thus grasps the self of the person as an actual existent.


What is this "characteristic of totality"? Their apparent unity?


The characteristic of totality is one of six characteristics (in Chinese known as liu xiang 六相). They are as follows:

①総相 - Totality
②別相- Partiality
③同相- Similarity
④異相- Difference
⑤成相 - Integration
⑥壊相 - Disintegration

There are a lot of specific terms and ideas that Huayan thinkers crafted and applied to their practice. The big one is the relationship between principle li/理 and phenomenon shi/事. The former being the truth or ultimate and the later being the conventional reality of "things". True and false are always dependent on each other and one can never speak of one without the other.

To put it into modern day terms, the Huayan thinkers stressed that everything is exists in a relative sense. Unlike the methods of Nagarjuna which stressed that things are ultimately unarisen, the Huayan line of reasoning didn't generally take the analysis that far. They were content with seeing the relative mode of existence of things, which is to say things being infinitely interconnected and relative to one another on an inconceivable scale, as sufficient for their purposes.

Quoting Zongmi:

《註華嚴法界觀門》卷1:「除事法界也。事不獨立故。法界宗中無孤單法故。若獨觀之。即事情計之境。非觀智之境故。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1884, p. 684, c4-6)

"Except for the dharmadhatu of phenomena, phenomena are not independently established and so within the dharma-dhatu school [aka Huayan]" there are no isolated or singular dharmas. If one observes something on its own then this phenomenon would be an object of conventional perception because it is not an object seen with wisdom."

One might accuse them of misunderstanding Indian Madhyamaka, but I feel that would be inappropriate because they were aware of it and had a specific classification for that view.

Quoting Fazang:

《華嚴一乘教義分齊章》卷4:「答八不據遮六義約表。又八不約反情理自顯。六義據顯理情自亡。」(CBETA, T45, no. 1866, p. 502, c4-6)

"Answered: 'The eight negations are based on negation methods [literally obstructing/concealment] and the six meanings are based on methods of revealing. Again, the eight negations reject the conventional and the principle reveals itself. The six meanings rely on revealing the principle and having the conventional itself disappear."

'Six meanings' is synonymous with the six characteristics above.

Now, if should apply this analysis on the ground in a practical sense, we might consider Fazang's analysis.
The object that Fazang took into consideration was a building. In simple terms:

Totality is the whole building itself.

Partiality are the various individual conditions (rafters, beams, walls, etc...).

Similarity is the aspect where everything is identical on account of being dependently originated ergo empty. Everything is identical in the sense that everything is empty.

Difference is the differences one observes from the standpoint of the individual conditions.

Integration is the aspect where the individual conditions create the result.

Disintegration is the aspect where each condition maintains its own individual characteristic.

Totality and partiality are the essence 體.
Similarity and difference are the characteristics 相.
Integration and disintegration are the function 用.

Finally, all these meanings or characteristics include the others. This is where we go from the concrete to the entirely abstract. Essentially these aspects are all relative to one another and each lack any sort of intrinsic identity within themselves.

I think this is not at all unlike Nagarjuna declaring that even emptiness is empty. These six meanings as well in the end vanish under the force of their own analysis.

Unlike the Madhyamaka method which uses thorough negation to reveal the lack of intrinsic existence within an object, thus concluding that said object does not ultimately exist and is unarisen, the Huayan method uses a kind of affirmative method to show that an object exists entirely dependently thereby by necessity not having any kind of intrinsic existence at all.

From the Huayan perspective the saying in the Heart Sutra, "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," would mean that form can only exist because it is empty -- in other words, because its mode of existence is dependent origination -- and emptiness can only be because there is something that could be empty.

In short, for the Huayan thinker everything without exception is relational. When you apply that analysis to your own individual being, which seems to intrinsically exist as Nagarjuna might put it, you discover that you're neither really existent nor non-existent, but infinitely interconnected with the rest of the universe. You're but a jewel in Indra's net being reflected by all the other infinite jewels and you yourself are reflecting all those other infinite jewels. Your sense of "me" and "mine" vanishes as your sense of "self" expands to include all of totality and suddenly all those other infinite sentient beings are a part of your identity. At that point you're like mother and child. They're all drowning in the sea of samsara. You don't think twice about diving in and rescuing them. Your Bodhisattva vows go into high gear.

Hence emptiness and compassion are non-dual.

觀色即空成大智而不住生死觀空即色成大悲而不住涅槃。以色空無二悲智不殊。

Huayan Master Fazang once wrote, "Seeing that form is emptiness manifests great wisdom and one does not abide in samsara. Seeing that emptiness is form manifests great compassion and one does not abide in nirvana. When form and emptiness are non-dual, compassion and wisdom are not different."
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Will » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:29 am

:bow: :bow: :bow:

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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:30 am

Huifeng wrote:I'd also recommend asking Ven Heng Sure. While not strictly "Huayan" as in the school, he knows his Huayan sutra and some commentaries extremely well. He is still doing his ongoing lecture series on the sutra every Saturday night. http://www.dharmaradio.org/dharmatalks/index.htm


Avatamsaka-sutra podcasts -- I didn't know such things existed! :smile:

One thing I've concluded after researching a bit about Huayan is that there wasn't really internal consistency and strict doctrines until well after the patriarchs had passed away, and moreover while the Huayan-jing was their choice sutra it wasn't necessarily as important as the sect name suggests. For example in Fazang's commentary on the Brahma Net Sutra 梵網經 he cites Nagarjuna's 大智論 / Mahāprājñā-pāramitôpadeśa far many more times than the Huayan-jing. However, it isn't certain he ever self-identified with a Huayan sect. He became a patriarch well after his death. We know by his own doxography scheme that he placed the Avatamsaka-sutra/Huayan-jing as the prime representation of the Buddhadharma, but he utilized many other texts at the same time.

Interestingly, I've heard that Kegon here in Japan (the surviving cousin of Huayan) has been influenced greatly by Shingon and now many of their practises resemble Mantrayana. Unfortunately Kegon is such a small sect nowadays.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:45 am

While we're on a subject I like talking about but seldom ever have a chance to really speak about, I'll post this diagram for Chinese readers as it might be of interest:

Image

This is the "Flower Ornament Single Vehicle Dharma-Dhatu" diagram 華嚴一乘法界圖. It was composed in Silla (part of modern day Korea).

If I'm not mistaken, you start from the fa 法 in the middle and follow it around. In Korea some monks apparently still memorize the whole thing.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:41 am

That's interesting usage of 總相 and 別相. In Chinese Buddhism, these are originally terms to translate the Abhidharma expressions "samanya-laksana" and "svalaksana", respectively. In this sense, they are "common / shared characteristics" and "specific characteristics". For instance, though each of the people posting here has their specific individual names, they are are commonly human beings. Or, in the strict Abhidharma sense, real dharmas have specific characteristics such as "cognition cognizes, form obstructs, etc.", but all dharmas have the common characteristics of being not-self and empty.

Now, if I take this understanding to the passage 迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。, I'd say "through being deluded with regards to the common characteristics of body and mind, one upholds the "person" or "self" as really existent". It works well, as not self / emptiness are the only two common characteristics of all phenomena.

This is just my reading, I don't know if the Huayan people would read it like that or not, however. But in the same text:

《釋摩訶衍論通玄鈔》卷4:「人我見者計有總相主宰法我見者計一切法各有體性」(CBETA, X46, no. 775, p. 154, c20-21 // Z 1:73, p. 125, c7-8 // R73, p. 250, a7-8)

Seems to match.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:46 am

Huseng wrote:
Huifeng wrote:I'd also recommend asking Ven Heng Sure. While not strictly "Huayan" as in the school, he knows his Huayan sutra and some commentaries extremely well. He is still doing his ongoing lecture series on the sutra every Saturday night. http://www.dharmaradio.org/dharmatalks/index.htm


Avatamsaka-sutra podcasts -- I didn't know such things existed! :smile:



Ven Heng Sure first started reciting the text under his Shifu, Ven Master Hsuan Hua. On his bowing pilgrimage down the west coast, he also continued to study it. It was "Homage to the Avatamsaka Assembly" that was the chant accompanying his prostrations through that time. The talks, which are based on his own translations of the text, are for a lay and general audience. They aren't academic at all. But they are really great talks. Managed to sit in on a few of them over June this year! Worth checking out, for Sure (pun intended!).
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:32 am

Huifeng wrote:That's interesting usage of 總相 and 別相. In Chinese Buddhism, these are originally terms to translate the Abhidharma expressions "samanya-laksana" and "svalaksana", respectively. In this sense, they are "common / shared characteristics" and "specific characteristics". For instance, though each of the people posting here has their specific individual names, they are are commonly human beings. Or, in the strict Abhidharma sense, real dharmas have specific characteristics such as "cognition cognizes, form obstructs, etc.", but all dharmas have the common characteristics of being not-self and empty.


Venerable :namaste:

The liu xiang 六相 originates from Indian texts and is not an innovation by Huayan thinkers.

Fazang specifically clarifies the source of the idea here:

《華嚴經探玄記》卷3〈2 盧舍那佛品〉:「第八六相者。十地論第一云。一切所說十句皆有六種相門。一總相。二別相。三同相。四異相。五成相。六壞相。具釋如下十地品中。」(CBETA, T35, no. 1733, p. 148, c29-p. 149, a3)

Here he specifies it is from the 十地論 or Daśabhūmikasūtra-śāstra, which was composed by Vasubandhu and translated into Chinese by Bodhiruci. He's citing this:

《十地經論》卷1:「六種相者。謂總相別相。同相異相。成相壞相。」(CBETA, T26, no. 1522, p. 125, a1-2)

If we look at the commentary we find the six classifications as part of the sutra which is being commented upon:

《十地經論》卷3:「經曰。又發大願。所謂一切菩薩所行廣大無量不雜諸波羅蜜所攝。諸地所淨生諸助道法。總相別相同相異相成相壞相。說一切菩薩所行如實地道。及諸波羅蜜方便業。教化一切令其受行心得增長故。廣大如法界究竟如虛空。盡未來際盡一切劫數行數增長無有休息。

論曰。第四大願心得增長者。以何等行令心增長。一切菩薩所行教化一切令其受行心得增長故。彼菩薩行有四種一種種二體三業四方便。以此四種教化令其受行。何者是菩薩行種種世間行有三種。廣者從初地乃至六地。大者七地。無量者從八地乃至十地。不雜者法無我平等觀出世間智故。如經一切菩薩所行廣大無量不雜故。體者如經諸波羅蜜所攝故。業者如經諸地所淨生諸助道法故。方便者如經總相別相同相異相成相壞相故。說一切菩薩所行如實地道及諸波羅蜜方便業故。」(CBETA, T26, no. 1522, p. 139, a14-b3)


Anyway, Fazang developed his ideas from here. I don't think he had any Abhidharma definitions in mind.


Now, if I take this understanding to the passage 迷身心總相。故執人我為實有。, I'd say "through being deluded with regards to the common characteristics of body and mind, one upholds the "person" or "self" as really existent". It works well, as not self / emptiness are the only two common characteristics of all phenomena.


I'd say since this is Cheng'guan's remark it would reflect Fazang's definition of 總相 rather than an Abhidharma definition. As I understand it the "totality characteristic" of body and mind is the relative and conventionally existent (=empty) sum of the particular components which is easily reified into a self 人我 that is taken as actually existent 為實有.

However, I could be wrong because this text of his is not specifically Huayan in content and actually employs Abhidharma ideas. It is also possible the text was mistakenly ascribed to Cheng'guan...
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby kirtu » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:09 pm

Huseng wrote:Interestingly, I've heard that Kegon here in Japan (the surviving cousin of Huayan) has been influenced greatly by Shingon and now many of their practises resemble Mantrayana. Unfortunately Kegon is such a small sect nowadays.


You haven't visited the Kegon people yet?

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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby kirtu » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:38 pm

Huseng wrote:Image

This is the "Flower Ornament Single Vehicle Dharma-Dhatu" diagram 華嚴一乘法界圖. It was composed in Silla (part of modern day Korea).


What does the diagram depict/teach?

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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:31 am

kirtu wrote:
Huseng wrote:Interestingly, I've heard that Kegon here in Japan (the surviving cousin of Huayan) has been influenced greatly by Shingon and now many of their practises resemble Mantrayana. Unfortunately Kegon is such a small sect nowadays.


You haven't visited the Kegon people yet?

Kirt


I've visited Todai-ji before. However, here in Tokyo, or even the Kanto region, I don't know of any active Kegon temples that do more than funerals.

As for the diagram it depicts the truth of the dharma-dhatu from the Huayan perspective.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby kirtu » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:07 pm

Huseng wrote:As for the diagram it depicts the truth of the dharma-dhatu from the Huayan perspective.


Yes I know - you said that in a previous post. But what does it actually say?

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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:37 pm

kirtu wrote:
Huseng wrote:As for the diagram it depicts the truth of the dharma-dhatu from the Huayan perspective.


Yes I know - you said that in a previous post. But what does it actually say?

Kirt


It basically in short syllables describes the dharma-dhatu.

I don't think you could really translate it.
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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby kirtu » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:55 pm

Huseng wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Huseng wrote:As for the diagram it depicts the truth of the dharma-dhatu from the Huayan perspective.


Yes I know - you said that in a previous post. But what does it actually say?

Kirt


It basically in short syllables describes the dharma-dhatu.

I don't think you could really translate it.


So it's a kind of mnemonic device ?

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Re: Hua-Yen in English

Postby Indrajala » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:10 pm

kirtu wrote:So it's a kind of mnemonic device ?

Kirt


Perhaps meditative is the right way to put it.

One goes through the whole interweaving chain of syllables and produces insight.
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