Monthly Archives: December 2015

Closing Reflection: Entry into the Dharmadhātu

Traveling with Sudhana during his spiritual sojourn in the Gandavyūha-sūtra has oftentimes been ultra-cinematic in context. J.J. Abrams would not have been able to capture one iota of its stellar-scope. If totally entered into with a sincere spirit one is empowered and privileged to experience this majestic-mystic landscape and thus gain a full appreciation of the Hua-Yen Spirit that created it. One clearly discerns how the whole Avatamsaka Saga is a syncretic recapitulation of the entire Mahāyāna Enterprise. Nothing else comes close in terms of its dynamic-range of metaphoric interpretation of divine refuge, liberation, and transformation in the Buddhadharma. The Bodhisattvic-formation, as revealed through Sudhana’s visitation with the 52 Spiritual Benefactors—53 when one includes Sudhana’s hypostatic-union with Bodhisattva Samantabhadra—is fine-tuned to such a degree that the reader and spiritual adept gains an unparalleled appreciation of the high-road to Bodhisattvahood and the crowning appellation—Buddhahood Itself. David L. McMahan in his seminal text, Empty Vision: Metaphor and Visual Imagery in Mahāyāna Buddhism, succinctly narrows down this process in the following knowledge metaphors: read more

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The Vow of Practice of Universal Good

Of all the twists and turns in this marvelous Avatamsaka Saga, who would have suspected that Sudhana’s search for the “supreme perfect enlightenment” would simply return him to the beginning of his quest—in the presence of Mañjuśrī. It’s like Glinda telling Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz that she need not had journeyed any further than within her deepest and inmost-self. Maitreya sets the stage: read more

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Maitreya and Vairocana’s Tower


We are now entering into the climatic-conclusions of the Gandavyūha-sūtra. First up: Maitreya and the Marvelous “Tower of the adornments of Vairocana”. Throughout this sutra, as well as the Avataṃsaka as a whole, we see that Vairocana rather than Gautama, occupies the premier-position of Supreme Buddha, remaining a silent—Resplendently Transcendent—figure bracketing the entire Avataṃsaka Enterprise. The Tower symbolizes the entire Dharmadhātu, the realm of Suchness, wherein the All interpenetrates the all—the entire macro and micro cosmos. Thus in the Undivided and All-Encompassing Realm of the Dharmadhātu, all things are interpenetrative. Hence, this tower is also illustrating what we referred to in an earlier blog of this series: the Fourth Dharmadhātu, or complete and undivided interconnectedness. What Sudhana will encounter in the Tower are emanations of the ultimate quiescence of All Buddhas, or the True Reality of THAT which Vairocana represents. When Sudhana gazes at the Tower, he comes to the ultimate realization: read more

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Unimpeded Recollection


Sudhana’s meeting with Surendrabha is the final encounter with the goddesses. Hence, Sudhana sojourned to Trayastrimsa Heaven to visit her in the abode of the gods. Surendrabha, whose name broken-down is “divine-maiden” (deva-kanyā), informs him that she has attained an enlightening liberation called pure manifestation of unimpeded recollection. read more

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Gopa, Maya, and the City of Mind


Gopa was the wife of Siddhartha Buddha and her name is indicative of a “sense of watching over, or protecting.” She says to Sudhana that she has “attained an enlightening liberation whose sphere is observation of the ocean of concentrations of all enlightening beings.” She also lets him know that the practice of Bodhi-Beings depends on the following: read more

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Ladies of the Night: Part 2


Sarvanagararakshasambhavatejahshri tells Sudhana that she has “attained an enlightening liberation, entry into the profound miracle of pleasing sound.” Entry into this “pleasing sound” is most profound: read more

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Ladies of the Night: Part 1

Impressed with the immaculate virtues of the first Night Goddess, Vasanti, Sudhana sets out to meet with Eight other Night Goddesses. These meetings constitute a hefty portion of the Gandavyūha-sūtra but for our purposes, in these next two blogs, we will be encapsulating them in the following snapshots; their names constitute lengthy Sanskrit compounds. Such “Buddhist epithets integrates them into the Mahayana salvational scheme and commends them as advanced beings well on their way to enlightenment, worthy of reverence and discipleship.” (Mirenda Shaw: Goddesses of India, pg. 160). read more

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Unassailable Asylum of Gnosis


The earth Goddess, Sthavara, assures Sudhana of his progress and showers him with countless jewels: “These billions of treasuries of jewels accompany you and are at your service, to be used as you wish; they have been produced as a result of your good works and are preserved by the power of your good works. Take of them and do whatever should be done.” These are no ordinary jewels. They radiate with Buddha-gnosis and are symbolic of the great treasure that awaits those who honor this unassailable Wisdom. Sthavara herself is representative of this treasure, having had received a liberation known as the ‘unassailable asylum of knowledge.‘ What is amazing in these revealing passages is that she has served as an asylum for Vairocana himself, protecting him with a Mantle of Gnosis: read more

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Speeding-forth in All Directions


The Bodhi-Being Ananyagamin first appears at the end of the Avalokiteshvara segment, “descending from the eastern sky and standing on the top of the mountain range surrounding this world.” He tells Sudhana that he once associated with a Buddha named “Born of Universal Light.” While spending time in the majestic Buddha-land of the Buddha, he assimilated that Tathagata’s Bodhi-field thus awakening with that Self-Same Mind of Light. Being thus liberated he was enabled to “speed-forth in all directions.” This is indicative of the Light-Empowerment of such a Bodhi-field and the supernal-gnosis produced echoes forth in all ten-directions. Yet, because the Essence of this Buddha-gnosis is so omnipresent, It can extend Itself instantaneously without actually having to “speed-forth” anywhere, since It is already everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. Hence, Ananyagamin was able to pass through so many Buddha-fields in one single instant of thought—yea, actually “prior-to” any thought instant: read more

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Extinction-less Compassion


Then Sudhana went to Veshthila’s house in the city of Shubhaparamgama…
Veshthila said, “I have attained an enlightening liberation called ‘not ultimately exhausted.’ To my way of thinking, no buddha in any world ever has, does, or will become finally extinct, except as a docetic device. When I
opened the door of the shrine of the buddha Sandalwood Throne, I attained
an enlightening concentration called ‘manifestation of the endless lineage
of buddhas.’ I enter this concentration in each mental moment, and every
moment understand many kinds of excellence.” read more

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