With Commentary By The Venerable Master Hua
A.D. 700 | 42,486 words
The Flower Adornment Sutra (Avataṃsaka Sūtra) is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The Avataṃsaka Sūtra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one another. The Avataṃsaka Sūtra was written in stages, beginning from at least 500 years after the death of the Buddha....
It may truly be called:
Wonderful speech of constant duration,
Vast model of universal scope,
Ultimate expression congruent with the nature.
Main track of the single vehicle.
It may truly be called. National Master Ch’ing Liang is praising the Flower Adornment Sutra by saying that it may truly be called: Wonderful speech of constant duration. This kind of Dharma is constant and unchanging. It is the most subtle, wonderful and inconceivable Vast model of universal scope. On the one hand you can say that it is of universal scope, that is, that everyone can use this kind of method, this vast model and great guideline. This kind of method is not restricted to a given area, but works anywhere and everywhere, being of universal scope. It may also be called the Ultimate expression congruent with the nature. That means that the expression of virtue is identical with, not separate from, other than, or different from the nature. The nature is the Buddha Nature, from which if flows forth in congruence. That is, these most wonderful, lofty and profound principles are proclaimed from the Buddha’s Dharma Body, from the Buddha’s self-nature, and so are described as the ultimate expression, meaning that the principles are spoken to the ultimate.
Main track of the single vehicle. This means the one supreme Vehicle.
There is just the Buddha Vehicle,
And no other Vehicle besides.
Main means the most important, and track means a rail. For example, the steel rails that railroad trains go along are called “tracks.” This main track is the guiding rail along which every single individual should go in cultivation. Therefore, the principles of the Sutra are most important. The great Dharma within the Flower Adornment Sutra is difficult to encounter and difficult to meet. It is not easy to hear it. You figure it out: Dragon Tree Bodhisattva went to the Dragon’s Palace and memorized it, and so we are able to hear it.
To examine its profound purport,
And then look into other Sutras:
It is like a sunrise glorious in the sky
Dimming multitudes of luminaries’ splendor;
Like Sumeru which spreads across the seas
Lowering retinues of peaks’ high altitudes.
National Master Ch’ing Liang, bringing up another example to act as an analogy for the Flower Adornment Sutra, goes on to say, To examine its profound purport. If you investigate this mysterious and wonderful Sutra, and examine its mysterious and wonderful purport, and then look into other Sutras ... If, after having read the Flower Adornment Sutra, you then go on to read other Sutras, or recite them, it is like a sunrise glorious in the sky. It resembles the time when the sun, upon first arising, makes the light of the stars all disappear, thereby Dimming multitudes of luminaries’ splendor. The multitudes of luminaries are all the other stars and the moon, the splendor, that is, the light of which the sun absorbs, to the point of virtually extinguishing them, since it makes all their light disappear. Even though in the evening there are so many stars and the moon is so bright, they are still not as bright as the sun. The Flower Adornment Sutra is like the light of the sun which dims the light of all the stars and the moon, outshining them so that they are no more. That is to say, within the Flower Adornment Sutra are exhaustively discussed all of the principles found in all the other Sutras, and so it is described as dimming all their splendor, all their light.
It is also like Sumeru which spreads across the seas. Mount Sumeru is “Wonderfully High” Mountain, which is in the midst of seas of fragrant water, and acts as if it spread out across the seas, lowering retinues of peaks’ high altitudes. Other mountains, when compared to Mount Sumeru, all fall, and so it is said to lower them. That is, the peaks of all other mountains are lower, none of them being as high as that of Mount Sumeru. Now, the Flower Adornment Sutra is higher than any other sutra, in the same way that Mount Sumeru, King of Mountains, is higher than any other mountain, so says, like Sumeru which spreads across the seas, lowering retinues of peaks’ high altitudes.