Omniscient Ocean

budocea

Sagaramegha

Then Sudhana, reflecting on the instructions of that spiritual benefactor, pondering that enlightening liberation, polishing that enlightening method of concentration, peering into that conductor into the ocean of the essence of enlightenment, intent upon the sphere of buddhahood, seeking that direction to the vision of Buddha, thinking about that ocean of buddhas, remembering the succession of buddhas, following that approach to the means of enlightenment, looking throughout that sky of the enlightened, went gradually to the monk Sagaramegha in the region of Sagaramukha. When he got there, he paid his respects to Sagaramegha and said, “O noble one, I have set out for supreme perfect enlightenment and want to enter the supreme ocean of knowledge; but I do not know how enlightening beings get out of the host of worldlings and into the host of the enlightened, emerge from the ocean of the mundane whirl and enter the ocean of omniscience, die away from the state of ignorant sentient beings and are born in the family of buddhas, withdraw from the stream of the mundane whirl and follow the stream of enlightening practice, escape from the wheel of transmigration in the mundane whirl and turn to the wheel of practice and vows of enlightening beings, destroy the gang of all demons and make manifest the light of the host of all buddhas, evaporate the ocean of craving and increase the water of great compassion, close all doors of decadence and miserable states and evils which are inopportune for enlightenment and open the door of heaven and nirvana, break through the door of the city of the mundane and enter the door of the city of omniscience, give up craving for all luxuries and give rise to the determination to care for all being.”

After his encounter with the monk, Meghashri, Sudhana is beginning to fine-tune his own skill of Buddhagnosis having been empowered to peer into the oceanic depths of the story of Reality. In the spirit of Tsung-mi, he is beginning to discern that Supreme Perfect Enlightenment is akin to perfected tranquility: “Tranquility is the Awareness which is tranquil, and Awareness is the tranquility which is aware. Tranquility is the essence of the self-Nature which is aware, and Awareness is the functioning of the self-Nature which is tranquil.” This is beginning to dive into the great Omniscient Ocean of the Self-Awareness of the Tathagatas themselves. Sudhana has a great desire now to be divorced from samsaric-reality and to join the transcendent sphere of the family of Buddhas. His next encounter will empower him to make that first great step of divorcement—breaking-through the Twelve-fold links of Dependent Origination.

To this Sagaramegha replied, “It is good that you have set your mind on supreme perfect enlightenment… 

“Son, I have been living here in Sagaramukha (`Ocean-Door’) for twelve years, having focused my mind on the ocean and kept it present in my awareness, reflecting on the measureless vastness of the great ocean, its pure clarity, its unfathomable depth, its gradual deepening, its variety of deposits of precious substances, the measurelessness of its body of water, its infinity, its being the dwelling place of various immense creatures, its being covered by great clouds, and how it neither increases nor decreases. I think: is there anything else in the world as vast as the great ocean, as broad, as measureless, as deep, as various?”

Sagaramegha (Ocean Cloud) is so named because he was able to make the ocean of birth and death (samsara) into the great ocean of Dharmadhātu for the benefit of sentient beings. He indicates to Sudhana that he has been living in Sagaramukha (Ocean-Door) for twelve years. This is symbolic of having severed and transcended the twelve-fold link of Dependent Origination—thus opening the “Ocean Door” to the Realm of Buddhas. Having attained the Light of Highest Buddhagnosis, he clearly discerned that the ocean of pain and ignorance caused by Dependent Origination is none-other (in light of the Dharmadhātu) than the oceanic essence of ALL Buddhas in the ten directions. Thus, the former baselessness of all defiled-garbha is illumined and transformed into the Great Omniscient Ocean. He further describes this supreme transfiguration with the description of a vast Lotus:

While I was engaged in these thoughts, an enormous lotus from the bottom of the ocean appeared before me. Its stem was of unsurpassed jewels, sapphires, and diamonds, with a wreath of agate; its broad leaves of pure gold, with an array of buds of yellow sandalwood and filaments of emerald, as measureless in breadth as the ocean; its calyx was on a stem held by a million titan chiefs, it was covered by a net of a million various jewels, sprinkled by rain from clouds of fragrant water by a million chief water spirits, with a million bird chiefs trailing silks and strings of jewels over it, a million centaur chiefs gazing at it benevolently, a million serpent chiefs bowing to it in respect, a million goblin chiefs honoring it with bowed bodies, a million celestial musician chiefs celebrating it with music and song, a million celestial leaders raining on it clouds of heavenly flowers, fragrances, garlands, incenses, perfumes, aromatic powders, cloths, parasols, banners, and pennants, a million Brahma chiefs bowing their heads in respect, a million celestial beings of the pure abodes paying respect with joined palms, a million human rulers making offerings of precious substances, a million ocean deities emerging to pay respect; it was illumined by arrays of light beams from a million luminous jewels, adorned with a million pure jewels in orderly arrays, containing a million radiant jewels, blazing with the great splendor of a million dazzling jewels, shining endlessly with a million jewels from various sources, adorned with a million jewels symbolic of earth arrayed all around, incomparably arrayed with a million of the finest diamonds, brilliantly covered with a million sun-containing jewels, decorated with a million beautiful jewels in various colors, blazing with the light of an endless array of a million wish-fulfilling jewels. That great lotus is born from the transcendental roots of goodness of the enlightened; it appears everywhere, directed to the will of enlightening beings; it comes forth from the principle of illusoriness; it is produced by pure deeds; it is adorned by the principle of the state of noncontention; it is a presentation of the nature of being equal to a dream; it is marked by the principle of non-fabrication; it accords with the principle of nonattachment; it pervades all universes everywhere; it is in the realm of illumination by the light of the sphere of Buddha. It would be impossible to reach the end of the array of characteristics, qualities, forms, and appearances of that lotus even in countless hundreds of thousands of eons. Also I saw an embodiment of Buddha clearly manifest sitting cross-legged on that great lotus, completely filling it; I saw that embodiment of Buddha reaching from here to the very summit of being. I also saw the inconceivable adornments of the Buddha’s throne, the inconceivable adornments of the Buddha’s congregation, the inconceivable adornments of his aura of light, his inconceivable marks of greatness, various embellishments, and inconceivable majesty, the inconceivable projection of Buddha, the inconceivable purity of appearance of the Buddha; I heard the Buddha’s inconceivable eloquence and drew near to the inconceivable infinity of Buddha’s power, the inconceivable purity of his adornments of expertise, and his inconceivable accomplishment of the power of analytic knowledge; I recalled his past consummation of practices as an enlightening being, I saw the inconceivable transformation of the attainment of enlightenment, I heard of the inconceivable array of senses conveying universal insight and saw the inconceivable infinite division of his body into left and right and his consummate attainment of physical being beneficial to all creatures.

budinlotus

This immeasurable and Titanic Lotus is held aloft by Titans symbolizing that Its colossal-array of Buddhaic-Illumination does not sink into the volatile-ocean of samsara, but rather rides high on the ocean of non-contention with Primordial Principles that are invincible. This is highlighted by the embodiment of a Titanic Buddha resting upon and fully encompassing the full circumference of the Oceanic Lotus. This vision is indicative of the Inconceivable Wisdom that is the hallmark of the summit of the Light-Spheres of All Buddhas. Then Sagaramegha is anointed by the Buddha:

“Then the Buddha extended his right hand, rubbed my head, and
revealed to me a teaching called universal eye, which is the sphere of all Buddhas, revealing the practice of enlightening beings, showing the
differentiation of the planes of all universes, showing the spheres of all
truths together, the light purifying all lands, dispersing all challengers,
crushing all demons and devils, making all beings happy, illumining the
hidden recesses of all beings’ minds, communicating to all beings in accord
with their mentalities, illuminating the turning of the wheels of the senses
of all beings. And I have taken up that teaching of the universal eye, keep it
in mind, apply it, and contemplate it, taking it in this way—even if it were
being written by a collection of pens the size of the polar mountains with as
much ink as water in the oceans, it could never be finished; it would be
impossible to finish even a part of a single line of a single formula of a single
principle of a single doctrine of a single chapter of the teaching—it cannot
be even partially exhausted, let alone fully exhausted or comprehended.

“So, son, having taken up this teaching of the universal eye for a full
twelve years—taking it up in this way: in one day I master countless chapters
by the light of mental command to retain what is heard; I penetrate countless
chapters by the light of mental command that is a way of access to
tranquillity; I plunge into countless chapters by the light of mental command
that progresses endlessly; I contemplate and investigate countless
chapters by the light of mental command that is imbued with fiery energy; I
put countless chapters into practice by the light of mental command
adorned with lotuses; I elucidate countless chapters by the light of mental
command that is beyond words; I analyze countless chapters by the light of
mental command that is a mass of brightness; I arrange countless chapters in
order by the light of mental command containing the ocean—whatever
beings come to me from the ten directions, I direct and introduce them all
into this teaching of the universal eye, the manifestation of the practice of
enlightened and enlightening beings; to all of them I elucidate, represent,
illumine, describe, show, analyze, expound upon, open up, explain, unlock,
and clarify the teaching of the universal eye.

When Sagaramegha is anointed, the Buddha also expounds to him the inconceivable “Universal-Eye” Scripture, which is so all-encompassing that an ocean made of ink and a brush composed of mountain peaks would not be able to write even one little-part of one minuscule doctrine and chapter from the Scripture. This is symbolic of having been conferred the Universal Dharma-Eye of the Tathagatas. This Dharma-Eye is Oceanic in scope and represents THAT Supernal Buddha-Eye of Omniscience wherein (in Hua-yen fashion) all time is One—At-One-Ment: “The Dharmakayic-Eye that beholds All As One: the inner supracognition of Its own immutable Absolute Substance that precedes (and at the same moment encompasses) any time-bound notions of past, present, or future.” Sagaramegha states that he had taken-up this Universal-Eye Scripture for twelve-years, thus obtaining the Buddhagnosis of proper expedients that could overturn and transmute the “twelve-hundred afflictions”—in essence, transcending and becoming liberated from the time-bound conditions of the Dependent Origination of Samsara.

“I know this teaching, son, but how can I know the practice or tell of the
virtues of the enlightening beings who have entered into the ocean of all
enlightening beings’ practices in accord with pure vows; who have entered
into the ocean of all vows, to remain in the world through all ages; who have
entered into the mundane whirl of all beings, to act appropriately according
to their mentalities; who have entered the ocean of minds of all beings, to
communicate knowledge; who have entered the ocean of all virtues, to produce the vision of the knowledge of the ten powers without obstruction;
who have entered the ocean of all beings’ faculties, to guide them to maturity
and perfection with appropriate timing; who have entered the ocean of
all lands, by carrying out the vow to purify all lands; who have entered the
ocean of all Buddhas, by the power of the vow to honor and attend all
enlightened ones; who have entered the ocean of all truths, for the communication of knowledge; who have entered the ocean of all virtues by
pursuing their realization; who have entered the ocean of languages of all
beings, to carry out the turning of the wheel of the teaching in all
languages?

“Go, son, to a place called Sagaratira, in the region of Sri Lanka, sixty
leagues south of here. A monk named Supratishthita lives there; go to him
and ask how a great enlightening being is to purify enlightening practice.”

Then Sudhana, paying his respects, departed from the presence of
Sagaramegha.

Sagaramegha has fully absorbed the Oceanic-Gnosis of the Buddhas, yet he like Meghashri before him, cannot speak for others who have also attained the similar supernal prize of All Buddhas. This will be a common refrain as we proceed in the series. Sudhana has procured what he needed from Sagaramegha, yet he must now resume his mystical journey in the quest of the complete Buddhagnosis that will win for him his own Bodhisattvic-Crown.

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