Showing posts with label Huayan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Huayan. Show all posts

These lectures by Zen Master Hui Lu 慧律法师 are about Avatamasaka Sutra (Hua Yan Sutra), anatta, manifestation as clarity, and total exertion. This is a Chinese lecture.

[6:26 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: This is nice

[7:09 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: 一真、一真法界 is like anatta
[7:09 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Second part talks about limitless universe
[7:58 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: Very clear to u right?
[8:00 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Yeah u watched?
[8:00 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: Yes

[8:07 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: He is just emphasizing anatta, manifestation as clarity and total exertion.

[8:13 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: If there is no I as a background, u r left with manifestation.
[8:15 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: If u want to bring out the nature of phenomena, 现象界
[8:16 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: U must see through first the background and point directly to this foreground as one's radiance clarity.
[8:17 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: So first the direct pointing is important, second eliminate the mistaken view that clarity is always hiding behind.
[8:18 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: In between, one must keep refining the view of emptiness and DO.
[8:18 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: His elaboration and emphasis of 重重因缘 is good
[8:19 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: And 刹那
[8:19 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: Both r important
[8:20 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: But total exertion of 华严 is not only that
[8:21 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oic..
[8:21 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: in the second video he talks about limitless time, limitless space and using that limitless mind to experience everyday activities
[8:22 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: Second video?
[8:22 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu:
[8:24 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oh theres actually 5 videos
[8:24 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: only watched first two
[8:28 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: In the first video he talked about the mirror and reflection is also very good.
[8:29 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: But whether ppl can understand is a different matter.
[8:29 PM, 5/21/2020] Soh Wei Yu: oic.. yeah i remember he paused and ask do you understand? haha
[8:29 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: Yeah
[8:30 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: That reflection is the very mirror...not the mirrors that reflects, but the reflection as that mirror. I think that is very good.
[8:31 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: The way he described has a trigger point.
[8:31 PM, 5/21/2020] John Tan: I mean the way he puts it


(Tu-shun (557-640), a specialist in the Hua-yen (Avatamsaka) Austra, became the first patriarch of the Hua-yen school of Chinese Buddhism. He is remembered as a monk with exceptional healing abilities who lived close to the peasants. Translation by Thomas Cleary)

Question: Things being thus, what about knowledge?

Answer: Knowledge accords with things, being in one and the same realm, made by conditions, tacitly conjoining, without rejecting anything, suddenly appearing, yet not without before and after. Therefore the sutra says, “The sphere of the universal eye, the pure body, I now will expound; let people listen carefully.” By way of explanation, the “universal eye” is the union of knowledge and reality, all at once revealing many things. This makes it clear that reality is known to the knowledge of the universal eye only and is not the sphere of any other knowledge. The “sphere” means things. This illustrates how the many things interpenetrate like the realm of Indra’s net of jewels – multiplied and remultiplied ad infinitum. The pure body illustrates how all things, as mentioned before, simultaneously enter each other. Ends and beginnings, being collectively formed by conditional origination, are impossible to trace to a basis – the seeing mind has nothing to rest on.

Now the celestial jewel net of Kanishka, or Indra, Emperor of Gods, is called the net of Indra. This imperial net is made all of jewels: because the jewels are clear, they reflect each other’s images, appearing in each other’s reflections upon reflections, ad infinitum, all appearing at once in one jewel, and in each one it is so – ultimately there is no going or coming. 

Now for the moment let us turn to the southwest direction and pick a jewel and check it. This jewel can show the reflections of all the jewels all at once – and just as this is so of this jewel, so it is of every other jewel: the reflection is multiplifed and remultiplifed over and over endlessly. These infinitely multiplying jewel reflections are all in one jewel and show clearly – the others do not hinder this. If you sit in one jewel, then you are sitting in all the jewels too. And the reverse applies to the totality if you follow the same reasoning. Since in one jewel you go into all the jewels without leaving this one jewel, so in all jewels you enter one jewel without leaving this one jewel.

Question: If you say that one enters all the jewels in one jewel without ever leaving this one jewel, how is it possible to enter all the jewels?

Answer: It is precisely by not leaving this one jewel that you can enter all the jewels. If you left this one jewel to enter all the jewels, you couldn’t enter all the jewels. Why? Because outside this jewel there are no separate jewels.

Question: If there are no jewels outside this one jewel, then this net is made of one jewel. How can you say then that it’s made of many jewels tied together?

Answer: It is precisely because there is only one jewel that many can be joined to form a net. Why? Because this one jewel alone forms the net – that is, if you take away this jewel there will be no net.

Question: If there is only one jewel, how can you speak of tying it into a net?

Answer: Tying many jewels to form a net is itself just one jewel. Why? “One” is the aspect of totality, containing the many in its formation. Since all would not exist if there were not one, this net is therefore made by one jewel. The all entering the one can be known by thinking about it in this way.

Question: Although the jewel in the southwest contains all the jewels in the ten directions completely, without remainder, there are jewels in every direction. How can you say then that the net is made of just one jewel?

Answer: All the jewels in the ten directions are in totality the one jewel of the southwest. Why? The jewel in the southwest is all the jewels of the ten directions. If you don’t believe that one jewel in the southwest is all the jewels in the ten directions, just put a dot on the jewel in the south-west. When one jewel is dotted, there are dots on all the jewels in all directions. Since there are dots on all the jewels in the ten directions, we know that all the jewels are one jewel. If anyone says that all the jewels in the ten directions are not one jewel in the southwest, could it be that one person simultaneously put dots on all the jewels in the ten directions? Even allowing the universal dotting of all the jewels in the ten directions, they are just one jewel. Since it is thus, using this one as beginning, the same is so when taking others first – multiplied over and over boundlessly, each dot is the same. It is obscure and hard to fathom: when one is complete, all is done. Such a subtle metaphor is applied to things to help us think about them, but things are not so; a simile is the same as not a simile – they resemble each other in a way, so we use it to speak of. What does this mean? These jewels only have their reflected images containing and entering each other – their substances are separate. Things are not like this, because their whole substance merges completely. The book on natural origination in the Hua-yen Sutrasays, “In order to benefit sentient beings and make them all understand, nonsimiles are used to illustrate real truth. Such a subtle teaching as this is hard to hear even in immeasurable eons; only those with perseverance and wisdom can hear of the matrix of the issue of thusness.” The sutra says, “Nonsimiles are used as similes. Those who practice should think of this in accord with the similes.”

Vairocana Buddha’s past practices
Made oceans of Buddha-fields all pure.
Immeasurable, innumerable, boundless,
He freely permeates all places.
The reality-body of the Buddha is inconceivable;
Formless, signless, without comparison,
It manifests material forms for the sake of beings.
In the ten directions they receive its teaching,
Nowhere not manifest.
In the atoms of all Buddha-fields
Vairocana manifests self-subsistent power,
Promising the thundering sound of the ocean of Buddhahood
To tame all the species of sentient beings.

Robert Dominik posted something interesting on Hua Yen teachings in my Facebook group "Dharma Connection".
From Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.":

One day Empress Wu asked Fa Tsang the following question: Reverend Master, I understand that man's knowledge is acquired through two approaches: one is by experience, the direct approach, and the other by inference, the indirect approach. I also understand that the first five consciousnesses and the Alaya only take the direct approach; whereas, the mind, or the sixth consciousness, can take both. Therefore, the findings of the conscious mind are not always trustworthy. The superiority and reliability of direct experience over indirect inference is taught in many scriptures. You have explained the Hwa Yen Doctrine to me with great clarity and ingenuity; sometimes I can almost 'See the vast Dharmadhatu in my mind's eye, and touch a few spots here and there in the great Totality. But all this, I realize, is merely indirect conjecture or guesswork. One cannot really understand Totality in an immediate sense before reaching Enlightenment. With your genius, however, I wonder whether you can give me a demonstration that will reveal the mystery of the Dharmadhatu including such wonders as the "all in one" and the "one in all," the simultaneous arising of all realms, the interpenetration and containment of all dharmas, the Non-Obstruction of space and time, and the like? After taking thought for a while, Fa Tsang said, "I shall try, your Majesty. The demonstration will ·be prepared very soon."

A few days later Fa Tsang came to the Empress and said, "Your Majesty, I am now ready. Please come with me to a place where the demonstration will be given." He then led the Empress into a room lined with mirrors. On the ceiling and floor, on all four walls, and even in the four corners of the room were fixed huge mirrors-all facing one another. Then Fa Tsang produced an image of Buddha and ·placed it in the center of the room with a burning torch beside it. "Oh, how fantastic! How marvelous!" cried the Empress as she gazed at this awe-inspiring panorama of infinite interreflections. Slowly and calmly Fa Tsang addressed her: Your Majesty, this is a demonstration of Totality in the Dharmadhatu. In each and every mirror within this room you will find the reflections of all the other mirrors with the Buddha's image in them. And in each and every reflection of any mirror you will find all the reflections of all the other mirrors, together with the specific Buddha image in each, without omission or misplacement. The principle of interpenetration and containment is clearly shown by this demonstration. Right here we see an example of one in all and all in one-the mystery of realm embracing realm ad infinitum is thus revealed. The principle of the simultaneous arising -of different realms is so obvious here that no explanation is necessary. These infinite reflections of different realms now simultaneously arise without the slightest effort; they just naturally do so in a perfectly harmonious way. . . . As for the principle of the non-obstruction of space, it can be demonstrated in this manner . . . (saying which, he took a crystal ball from his sleeve and placed it in the palm of his hand) . Your Majesty, now we see all the mirrors and their reflections within this small crystal ball. Here we have an example of the small containing the large as well as of the large containing the small. This is a demonstration of the non-obstruction of "sizes," or space. As for the non-obstruction of times, the past entering the future and the future entering the past cannot be shown in this demonstration, because this is, after all, a static one, lacking the dynamic quality of the temporal elements. A demonstration of the non-obstruction of times, and of time and space, is indeed difficult to arrange by ordinary means. One must reach a different level to be capable of witnessing a "demonstration" such as that. But in any case, your Majesty, I hope this simple demonstration has served its purpose to your satisfaction.


Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.":

"(...)we have found that the Totality and Non-Obstruction of Buddhahood are expressed in these terms:

1. That a universe can be infinitely vast or small depending on the scale of measurement, or the position from which a measurement is made.

2. That the "larger" universes include the "smaller" ones as a solar system contains its planets, or a planet contains its atoms. This system of higher realms embracing the lower ones is pictured in a structure extending ad infinitum in both directions to the infinitely large or the infinitely small. This is called in the Hwa Yen vocabulary the view of realms-embracing-realms.

3. That a "small" universe, (such as an atom) not only contains the infinite "lesser" universes within itself, but also contains the infinite "larger" universes (such as the solar system), thus establishing the genuine Totality of Non-Obstruction.

4. That "time" has lost its meaning as merely a concept for measuring the flow of events in the past, present, and future. It has now become an element of Totality which actualizes the total interpenetration and containment of all the events of past, present, and future in the eternal present.

5. Upon the grand stage of the infinite Dharmadhatu, countless various dramas of religion are being enacted in numerous dimensions of space/time throughout eternity.



Thusness: Is your experience beingness or maha suchness? (comments: on the term 'maha suchness' see Then in the most ordinary and mundane activities, every action is fully exerted.

Me: Yes, it is like universe activity... not drop of water dissolved into static beingness but oceanic activity in which drop and ocean is seamlessly arising.

Thusness: No sense of beingness anymore... that is good. Rather it is this maha suchness of total exertion in this immediate moment... yet empty. Mature this experience. Feel this maha suchness... until it becomes as natural as breathing.

Now you know the difference? Tell me the difference between anatta and this experience and what is exactly obscuring the smooth progress to this insight and experience?

Me: The dualistic agent may be gone but maha requires the replacement of inherent view with D.O. so that when you see this, you see that... you see everything as entirely seamless self-arising activity. Not just this but how this arise without self, this is, that is.

Thusness: Well said. First you must be left with only manifestation. Solely that. Then into the general [principle of] D.O. Before that, there is this mini sense of activity but will not be thorough. But you must make this a continuous practice and keep integrating the view of general D.O. to replace dualistic and inherent framework. Till even this view is also forgotten.

p.s. Yesterday a dream of clarity arose in conjunction with Thusness's visions and meditative experiences (due to karmic links this is not the first time it happened) regarding a drop of water placed in an ocean, upon hearing this phrase in the dream there was an immediate shift where dream dawns as non-dual clear light (without the dream dissolving into formless clear light) which is free from subject/object duality, boundless/oceanic, vividly intense, blissful and exhilarating.

This is a line by line translation of the Huayan Patriarch Cheng'guan's work.


Examination of the Five Aggregates
Written by Śramaṇa Chéngguān
It is asked, “The common person seeks liberation. How should he practise?”
We respond saying that one should practise the two examinations.
What are the two examinations? The first is the examination of the emptiness of persons. The second is the examination of the emptiness of phenomena (dharma).
The root of birth and death – nothing goes beyond the two attachments of persons and phenomena.
One misunderstands the body and mind's characteristic of totality and thus grasps the self of the person as an actual existent.
One misunderstands the five aggregates' individual characteristics and thus conceives the self of a phenomenon as an actual existent.
For the conception of the self of person we utilize the first examination and investigate it.
We then know the five aggregates come together and are provisionally called a person.
Each are carefully examined. We only see the five aggregates. We seek out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.
What are called the five aggregates? They are form (rūpa), sensation (vedanā), perception (saṃjñā), volitional formations (saṃskāra) and consciousness (vijñāna).
How does one examine them?
The body is the aggregate of form. This is said to be earth, water, fire and wind. What are their characteristics?
Solidity is earth. Moistness is water. Warmth is fire. Movement is wind.
In examining the mind there are four aggregates. These are said to be sensation, perception, volitional formations and consciousness. What are their characteristics?
Feeling is sensation. Apprehending characteristics is perception. Creating actions is volitional formations. Cognition is consciousness.
If we rely on these characteristics of body and mind, carefully examine and see clearly, then in all places we only see the five aggregates. We search out the self-characteristic of the person and in the end it cannot be found.
We call this the examination of the emptiness of persons. If one utilizes this examination then one departs birth and death within the six realms and forever abides in nirvāṇa. We call this the liberation of the two vehicles.
For the conception of the self of a phenomenon we utilize the later examination and investigate it. We then know that each of the aggregates all arise from conditions and all are without self-essence. We seek out the characteristics of the aggregates and they cannot be found and so the five aggregates are all empty.
We call this the examination of the emptiness of phenomena. If we investigate with both examinations we understand the person's self and the phenomenon's self are ultimately empty without existence.
Free from all fears, crossing over all pains and emerging into existence as a Bodhisattva – we call this ultimate liberation.
It is asked, “Seeking liberation is only just understanding delusion and realizing the truth. It is merely being able to realize the principle of tathātā – in quietude without thoughts and then binds are removed. How does one provisionally arouse the mind, examine the aggregates and then seek liberation? Is this not in opposition to the principle?”
We answer: with what do you stand without aggregates, truth and delusion? For the moment the five aggregates are a different name for the body and mind. Supposing the practitioner is not aware of the truth and delusions of body and mind, how could they completely understand them?
They do not reach the source of truth and delusion and practises are vainly undertaken.
Thus the scripture states, “It is like in emptiness ultimately nothing being able to be established.”
The conception of the self of the person is a delusional attachment of the ordinary person. The conception of the self of a phenomenon is a hindrance of the two vehicles.
Thus we have them practice the two examinations and then they are able to understand delusion and realize the truth. How could you do without this?