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5/23/2014

Dedication to A Scripture: To the Avatamsaka Sutra

On Venerating the Avatamsaka Sutra

Excerpted from Admonitions for Monastics
By Meditation Master Wensui of Suizhou’s Dahong Mountain

Homage to my master teacher Vairochana, the Kindly Venerated One of the Flower Treasury. 
You proclaim the golden text and the jeweled verses, unfolding scrolls of sutras kept in book sachets. Objects for the senses lap onto land upon land, perfectly interpenetrating. 
The One Vehicle of the Perfect Teaching, the Flower Ornament Sutra with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas (the Flower Ornament Sutra), contains 10,095,048 characters. 
Anyone who wishes to know the Buddhas throughout time should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm -- everything is made from the mind alone.

So may I, always make offerings to and pay respects to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout the seven places and the nine assemblies.

May I always certify to and proclaim the Five Explanations of cause and effect and the Four Divisions of the Flower Ornament Sutra.

My I always make offerings to the multitudes of Bodhisattvas as many as dust motes in 90 lands without pause.

May I always awaken to and proclaim the Flower Ornament Sutra with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas.

May I, furthermore, in life after and life and in any and every place, 
always see this Sutra with my very eyes,
always hear this Sutra with my very ears,
always recite this Sutra with my very mouth,
always copy out this Sutra with my very hands,
and always gain real insight into this Sutra.

May I, in life after and life and in any and every place,
always draw near all sages and worthy individuals of the Flower Treasury.

May I always be blessed, thereby gathered-in by all sages and worthy individuals of the Flower Treasury.

May I certifiably experience all states described in this Sutra.

May I emulate Bodhisattva Sudhana, Bodhisattva Manjusri, Bodhisattva Maitreya, Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and Buddha Vairochana.

With the merit accrued from praising this Sutra and the making of these vows, 
may all four types of beings throughout the three existences of the Dharma Realm 
to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, 
dissolve their limitless karma of enmity that fill the Dharma Realm and space since time immemorial.

May all four types of beings throughout the three existences of the Dharma Realm  
to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, 
collect infinite blessings and wisdom that fill the Dharma Realm and space since time immemorial.

May we all travel the adorned sea of the Flower Treasury 
and together enter Bodhi’s great mandala.


Homage to the Flower Ornament Sutra with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas.

《緇門警訓卷第四》
隨州大洪山遂禪師禮華嚴經文

南無毘盧教主華藏慈尊。演寶偈之金文。布琅函之玉軸。塵塵混入剎剎圓融。十兆九萬五千四十八字。一乘圓教大方廣佛華嚴經。若人欲了知三世一切 佛。應觀法界性一切惟心造。常願供養常恭敬七處九會佛菩薩。常願證入常宣說五周四分華嚴經。常願供養無休歇九十剎塵菩薩眾。常願悟入常宣說大方廣佛華嚴 經。伏願某甲生生世世在在處處。眼中常見如是經典。耳中常聞如是經典。口中常誦如是經典。手中常書如是經典。心中常悟如是經典。願生生世世在在處處。常得 親近華藏一切聖賢。常蒙華藏一切聖賢慈悲攝受。如經所說願悉證明。願如善財菩薩。願如文殊師利菩薩。願如彌勒菩薩。願如普賢菩薩。願如觀世音菩薩。願如毘 盧遮那佛。以此稱經功德。以此發願功德。願與四恩三有法界一切眾生。消無始以來盡法界虛空界無量罪垢。願與四恩三有法界一切眾生。解無始以來盡法界虛空界 無量冤業。願與四恩三有法界一切眾生。集無始以來盡法界虛空界無量福智。同遊華藏莊嚴海。同入菩提大道場。南無大方廣佛華嚴經。

5/17/2014

A Glaring Void: The Possibilities for Buddhist Translation Theories to Emerge in the English-Speaking World



Abstract for an upcoming presentation. 
Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

 
Presently no coherent translation theories exist for Buddhist translators from Chinese to English. What elements might a Buddhist translation theorist in the predominantly Christian West consider and integrate as she gleams sacred text translation theories east and west? This paper theorizes that syntactical rules dictated by and spiritual development required of translators from Han to Tang dynasties and contemporary western sacred text translation theories can complement each other, which may help to complete the development of a system of Buddhist translation theories from Chinese to English.

This paper chooses to focus on early Chinese Buddhist translators' primarily linguistic ideas because the first climactic wave in Buddhist text translation occurred with these Sanskrit to Chinese translators. By analyzing western translation theories that usually surface in discussions about the translation of sacred texts, this presentation argues which extracted features will be most suitable or can be adapted for Buddhist translation as Buddhism migrates westward. Despite the distance in time and location, elements selected from sacred text theories during these two eras in history may counter-balance one another as a system of Buddhist translation theories struggles to emerge.

5/10/2014

Just Meditate!



"On Sitting Meditation: An Inscription"

Excerpted from Admonitions for Monastics
By Meditation Master Buddha Eye Qingyuan, of Longmen

The light of the mind shines in emptiness; its substance transcends extremes and pervades all. The light of the mind is like golden waves lapping, for the mind is always in deep absorption, whether in movement or in stillness. When thoughts occur, no need to stop them; when thoughts cease, no need to avoid them. The mind simply rides on the crests of waves freely, so when does it ever arise or cease? Mahakasyapa demonstrated for us how arising and ceasing of thoughts became extinct.

With not one gap in the mind whether we sit, stand, walk, or recline, why not sit and meditate? Why not meditate while we sit? Only when we understand what this means are we meditating. Who is sitting and what is meditation? For those who wish to meditate, use the Buddha to find the Buddha. But the Buddha need not be found, for the more we search, the more the Buddha is nowhere to be found.

Meditation is not about what you observe externally, for meditation is not a technique for seeking outwardly. The beginner’s mind is busy and inevitably fickle, hence one is taught many contemplation methods to quiet the mind. Focus as you sit erect. First a flurry of thoughts flies about, but after a long while, thoughts ease and lighten. Let your six senses pause in their judgement a bit. As soon as you make some of distinction, arising and ceasing have begun already. The arising and ceasing of thoughts and their changes manifest from the mind, which require the mind to contemplate them once more. When thoughts develop no more, we wear a perfect crown of light and beam with a spiritual flame. By then, the mind is unobstructed and can enter the horizontal and the vertical. The cycle of birth and death ends forever. That immortal pill let's you melt gold. Coarse and fine afflictions cannot seep in or out of your body or mind.

We may discuss confusion and enlightenment but not adverse or pleasant states of mind. As we recount the details of our days while meditating, we realize that the [enlightened] mind has not changed, it is still very messy. But in one brief moment, an ordinary being can become a sage because of it. As we go about our busy day, we should be extremely cautious with our thoughts. Anyone who does not know this -- sit and contemplate.

I wrote this article in a matter of a day, out of utter respect. 


《緇門警訓卷第二 
龍門佛眼遠禪師坐禪銘

心光虛映體絕偏圓。金波匝匝動寂常禪。念起念滅不用止絕。任運滔滔何曾起滅。起滅寂滅現大迦葉。坐臥經行未嘗間歇。禪何不坐坐何不禪。了得如是始號坐禪。坐者何人禪是何物。而欲坐之用佛覓佛。佛不用覓覓之轉失。坐不我觀禪非外術。初心鬧亂未免回換。所以多方教渠靜觀。端坐收神。初則紛紜久久恬淡。虛閑六門六門稍歇。於中分別。分別纔生已成起滅。起滅轉變從自心現。還用自心反觀一遍。一反不再圓光頂戴靈焰騰輝。心心無礙橫該竪入。生死永息。一粒還丹點金成汁。身心客塵透漏無門。迷悟且說逆順休論。細思昔日冷坐尋覓。雖然不別也大狼藉。剎那凡聖無人能信。匝地忙忙大須謹慎。如其不知端坐思惟一日築著。伏惟伏惟。 

5/02/2014

A Small Part of Translating Totality in Parts



The following is an excerpt from Translating Totality in Parts: Chengguan's Commentaries and Subcommentaries to the Avatamsaka Sutra by Guo Cheen. Published by University Press of America.

Book launch on May 9, 2014. Please purchase and review the book on Amazon.com that day!

Book review:   "Guo Cheen has made a substantial contribution to contemporary Buddhist Studies. Chengguan's commentaries on the Avatamsaka/Huayan Sutra were among the most important endeavors in Chinese Buddhist philosophy. Having them now available in English translation extends our realization that the philosophy of 'interrelatedness' is one of the greatest gifts from the Buddhist tradition to our moment in time."  -- Dale S. Wright, Gamble Distinguished Professor 
of Religious Studies/Asian Studies, Occidental College


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commentaries to the Flower Ornament Sūtra
with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas

Going and returning without bounds,
the source of movement and stillness is but one.
The extraneous exists, for it contains a multitude of wonders;
the outstanding soars, for it transcends words and thoughts
it can only be the Dharma Realm.

It splices and shatters the esoteric and subtle,
illuminating and expanding the mind and states.
It reaches noumena exhaustively and the inherent nature thoroughly,
penetrating consequences and covering causes.

An oceanic expanse profound and profuse,
it is vast, huge, and replete with everything.
It can only be The Flower Ornament Sūtra
      with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas!

So when our World Honored One’s
Ten Bodies were initially perfected
and his Proper Enlightenment first realized,
he rode about the universe on his conduct and vows,
infusing into the nature of his essence, emptiness
rich with myriad virtues
swept clear of any fiber of dust he has.

The translucent waves of the pellucid sea of wisdom
nominally contain the myriad phenomena.
The full moon in the bright sky of his inherent nature
spontaneously cascades into streams in the hundreds.

Without arising, the king of trees
extends to seven places in the Dharma Realm.
Without negating future bounds,
upon his initial realization, he proclaims flowingly at the nine assemblies.
  
Exhausting the vast expanses of this profound study,
he blankets the inconceivable, oceanic assemblies.
Droplets of splendid sound flow forth
instantly circulating throughout the ten lands.
Over and over again, the host and his companions
simultaneously sing to reach the edge of the ten directions.

Though emptiness is emptied and devoid of one trace,
stars sparkle across the sky of meaning.
Though stillness is stilled and bereft of words,
waves in the sea of teachings tumble tumultuously.

Thousands of gates submerge only to gush forth,
casting a colossal fountainhead with a multitude of texts
so that the myriad of virtues intersect and return,
gathering-in various sūtras as retinue.

This is the purport.
The orphic true body in the realm of a myriad of transformations
reveals virtues’ form at the gate of exceptional quandary.
Functions flourish so they are everlasting;
wisdom pervasively mirrors and yet is always still.


The true and the false intersect thoroughly
so that through the ordinary mind the mind of Buddhas is seen.
Cultivate both phenomena and noumena
by relying on fundamental wisdom while seeking the wisdom of the Buddhas.

Noumenon changes according to phenomena
as boundless conditions give rise to the one and the many.
Phenomena become integrated with noumenon,
as thousands of differences relate without impediment.

So the Ten Bodies he attained are distinct but work together.
He interferes not with the Six Positions and enfolds them furthermore.
They are so vast they melt into ceaselessness.
Embraced and accommodated by a dust or a hair,
     nothing is outside of them.
Distinct and radiant, they manifest simultaneously
like mustard seeds in a jar.
Complete and concurrent,
they are droplets occupying the sea.

Obstructing neither one nor many,
equivalent to a thousand lamps in an empty hall.
Delivering both concealment and revelation,
such as a slice of moon in the autumn sky.

Layers and layers of their reflections intersect,
as if those on the dangling pearls of the Lord’s Net.
Perfect and interpenetrating are they in thought after thought,
similar to centuries in a dream overnight.

The Dharma doors stack up,
like clouds, mounting across the long sky.
The scent of their myriad of conduct drapes over,
comparable to flowers blooming on brocades.

Too lofty to behold,
just as Bodhisattva Accumulating Conduct
      exposes himself like a dessicated fish at the dragon gate,  
Too profound to catch a glimpse of,
just as the supremely virtuous Sound Hearers
      were visually and aurally obstructed at the celebratory assembly.
Seeing and hearing are seeds
in transcending the Eight Difficulties as steps to the Ten Stages.
Personally practice understanding and action,
in one lifetime, the fruits of vast eons are perfected.

The lion bolts
the oceanic multitudes spontaneously reach certification in the forest.
The elephant king turns
six-thousand realize the Way as soon as the words fall.

His enlightened explanation at the Eastern temple
shows that his wisdom is full, no different than the initial mindstate.
Entrusted with positions, he sought southward
consummating causes without having to exceed the bounds of a pore.

In dissecting the fascicles of the Sūtra in a particle,
fruitions are realized in thought after thought.
Through the door of fulfilling sentient beings’ vows,
his conduct is perfected in dust mote after dust mote.

Truly it can be called wondrous articulation throughout forever,
as these prevalent rules are versatile for any direction.
An ultimate expression that matches the inherent nature
and the essential track of the One Vehicle.

In the search for the esoteric aim,
I have browsed other sūtras;
but this one is like the radiant sun on a sunny day,
robbing brilliance from numerous other scenes,
as if Sumeru across the seas,
clipping the heights of summits in multiples.

Hence the Bodhisattva searched for the mystical in the Dragon Palace
and greatly worthy ones proclaimed it in China.
Concerned only about how in the era of the Proper Dharma
a clear illumination is shrouded still.

Fortunately during the concluding hours of the Image Age,
we occasion mysterious transformations.
Not to mention encountering a sagely lord
at the top of Vulture Peak.
So we ponder earnestly the mysteries of this School
how can we not jump for joy?

The title The Flower Ornament Sūtra
      with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas
is a general name for an inexhaustible sūtra.
Chapter one, Wondrous Adornments of Leaders of Worlds,
is a distinct topic for a variety of meaning in these sections.

“Greatly” vastly covers boundlessness.
“Proper” upholds the orthodox Dharma on its own.
“Extensive discourses” reach with their consistent essence.
“Buddhas” awaken to that which is esoteric and wondrous.
“Flower” is a metaphor for the meritorious virtues of a myriad of conduct.
“Ornament” refers to the adorned Dharmas that make for people.
Sūtra” is the eternal spring pouring forth,
threading the wonderful meanings mystically coalesced
and gathering-in limitless seas of assemblies
as the perpetual guidelines throughout eternity.

Buddhas and all kings
are both called lords of worlds.
All Dharma doors that rely on externals
are termed wondrous ornaments.
  
Divided into types of meanings to clarify the titles of books,
the crowning chapter among them is called the first.
This Sūtra contains 39 books.
This chapter is initial in form,
therefore it is named Chapter One of The Flower Ornament Sūtra

      with Greatly Proper and Extensive Discourses by the Buddhas

大方廣佛華嚴經疏

往復無際、動靜一源.含眾妙而有餘、超言思而逈出者,其唯法界歟。剖裂玄微、 昭廓心境.窮理盡性、徹果該因.汪洋冲融、廣大悉備 者.其唯大方廣佛華嚴經焉。故我世尊十身初滿。正覺始成。乘願行以彌綸。混虛空為體性。富有萬德。蕩無纖塵。湛智海之澄波。虛含萬象。皦性空之滿月。頓落百川。不起樹王。羅七處於法界。無違後際。暢九會於初成。盡宏廓之幽宗.被難思之海會.圓音落落, 該十剎而頓周.主伴重重,極十方而齊唱。雖空空絕跡。而義天之星象燦然。湛湛亡言。而教海之波爛浩澣。若乃千門潛注。與眾典為洪源。萬德交歸。攝群經為眷屬。其為旨也。冥真體於萬化之域。顯德相於重玄之門。用繁興以恒如。智周鑑而常靜。真妄交徹。即凡心而見佛心。事理雙修。依本智而求佛智。理隨事變。則一多緣起之無邊。事得理融。則千差涉入而無礙。故得十身歷然而相作。六位不亂而更收。廣大即入於無間。塵毛包納而無外。炳然齊現。猶彼芥瓶。具足同時。方之海滴。一多無礙。等虛室之千燈。隱顯俱成。似秋空之片月。重重交映。若帝網之垂珠。念念圓融。類夕夢之經世。法門重疊。若雲起長空。萬行芬披。比華開錦上。若夫高不可仰。則積行菩薩曝腮鱗於龍門。深不可闚。則上德聲聞杜視聽於嘉會。見聞為種。八難超十地之階。解行在躬。一生圓曠劫之果。師子奮迅。眾海頓證於林中。象王迴旋。六千道成於言下。啟明東廟。智滿不異於初心。寄位南求。因圓不逾於毛孔。剖微塵之經卷。則念念果成。盡眾生之願門。則塵塵行滿。真可謂常恒之妙說。通方之洪規。稱性之極談。一乘之要軌也。尋斯玄旨。卻覽餘經。其猶杲日麗天。奪眾景之耀。須彌橫海。落群峰之高。是以菩薩搜祕於龍宮。大賢闡揚於東夏。顧惟正法之代。尚匿清輝。幸哉像季之時。偶斯玄化況逢聖主。得在靈山。竭思幽宗。豈無慶躍。題稱大方廣佛華嚴經者。即無盡修多羅之總名。世主妙嚴品第一者。即眾篇義類之別目。大以曠兼無際。方以正法自持。廣則稱體而周。佛謂覺斯玄妙。華喻功德萬行。嚴謂飾法成人。經乃注無竭之涌泉。貫玄凝之妙義。攝無邊之海會。作終古之常規。佛及諸王。並稱世主。法門依正。俱曰妙嚴。分義類以彰品名。冠群篇而稱第一。斯經有三十九品。此品建初。故云大方廣佛華嚴經。