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....
Hence the Bodhisattva sought the secret in the Dragon’s Palace.
Great Worthies had it published in the Eastern expanse.
Considering that in the Proper Dharma Age
Its pure glory still remained concealed,
How fortunate that in semblance and final times
This profound teaching is happened upon!
Moreover, when one meets a sagely ruler,
obtaining it on Vulture Mountain,
Exhaustively reflecting on its esoteric meaning,
How can one but jump for joy?
Hence the Bodhisattva sought the secret in the Dragon’s Palace. National Master Ch’ing Liang’s literary style is very fine. Each phrase is matched. Hence means because of the previous principles, therefore the Bodhisattva, that is, Nagarjuna, “Dragon Tree” Bodhisattva, sought the secret in the Dragon’s Palace. You could say that this Sutra was a secret Dharma that was not transmitted, a secret teaching which had been cut off and did not exist among people.
Consequently Dragon Tree Bodhisattva went in search of this secret, hidden Dharma which did not exist among people. Inasmuch as he had read everything written among people, and having no books to read, he went to the Dragon Palace. Because he was a Bodhisattva who had certified to the fruit and had spiritual penetrations, on his way he waters of the sea spontaneously parted and made a path for him, as they regularly do for those who have certified to the fruit. As he was making his way to the Dragon Palace, the Dragon King saw him coming, and didn’t dare put surveillance on the Bodhisattva. He just said, “Do as you please. I have a library here. If you want to look through it, go right ahead and take a look at any book you want.”
The Bodhisattva was most delighted by the Flower Adornment Sutra. Consider the number of volumes that comprise the first and second versions, whereas the third version is the shortest. When he had read it through once and impressed it in his thought, he remember it all. Then he said, “Okay, I’m off.” This is because if he had said he was going to take the volume of the Flower Adornment Sutra with him, the Dragon King would not have...and even though he was a Bodhisattva and far greater than the Dragon King, still he was incapable of using his power to bully the Dragon King so he simply memorized it. His memory was so strong that he remembered it after reading it only once, and that is how he took it away with him. When he returned to the realm of people, he wrote it out. That’s the meaning of “Hence the Bodhisattva sought the secret in the Dragon King’s Palace.”
The Dharma Masters Buddhabhadra and Shikshananda among others, who are discussed in the Record of the Lives of High Monks, propagated an translated the Flower Adornment Sutra, and so are said to be the Great Worthies who Had it published in the Eastern Expanse. The Eastern Expanse is China, which is known as the Country of Glorious Expanse.
Considering that in the Proper Dharma Age... “When I take into consideration, think it over, consider, reflect upon it in this manner when I thus take thought of it ...” this is being said by National master Ch’ing Liang. “When I think about how in the Proper Dharma Age when the Buddha was in the world, its pure glory still remained concealed. They stored away this kind of radiant glory by sending it to the Dragon’s Palace; that is how important it was. If it had not been an important Sutra, why would they have stored it in the Dragon’s Palace?
How fortunate. “How lucky!” he is saying, “I’m really happy. I’m really fortunate!” By “fortunate” he means it is really lucky, auspicious, and very fine, That in semblance and final times. Semblance means the Dharma Semblance or Dharma Image Age. National Master Ch’ing Liang lived at the very end of the Dharma Semblance Age and the very at beginning of the Dharma Ending Age, so it says, that in Semblance and Final times, This profound teaching is happened upon! That it was happened upon means that this was most unexpected, as for example a chance encounter when it had never occurred to you that you would run into a certain person. By this profound Teaching he means the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, giving it that further name.
Moreover, when one meets a sagely ruler. This was during the T’ang Dynasty when all of the Emperors believed in the Buddhadharma, took refuge with the Triple Jewel, and listened to Sutra lectures. They would issue personal invitations to Dharma Masters to come to the Palace and lecture Sutras for them. Obtaining it on Magic Mountain. This Sutra was transmitted from Vulture Peak in India, obtained from there, from Vulture Mountain.
Exhaustively reflecting on its esoteric meaning. National Master Ch’ing Liang says that he exhausts his reflective powers to the utmost and totally uses up his reflection in the investigation of the esoteric meaning of its mysterious doctrines and inconceivable principles, so How can one but jump for joy? This means, how could one do anything but jump for joy? He is so delighted, so terrifically happy, that it is as if he were about to dance and leap for joy. He is saying, “I’m so happy to have encountered this inconceivable Sutra that I could jump for joy!”