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Avataṁsaka or “Flower Adornment” Sutra

What is Huayen?

The Huayen (Korean Hwaŏm, Japanese Kegon) teachings are based on the Avataṁsaka or “Flower Adornment” Sutra. They emphasize the nonduality of appearances and reality, the interconnectedness of all things , and the importance of awakening the Aspiration to Enlightenment (bodhicitta).

 

A frequently used metaphor is that of a great network of jewels which is said to be magically suspended above the palace of the god Indra. Each of these jewels is like a mirror, reflecting all the others, and each reflection reflects all the other reflections, and so on. This metaphor is meant to demonstrate that all phenomena are essentially empty [śunya] of substance or illusory, but that they are at the same time everywhere interconnected and interimplicated.

 

Another way of summarizing the Huayen teachings is to be found in the scheme of Four Realms of Reality (dharmadhātu) first formulated by Cheng Guan [澄觀 738-839]:
(1) The Realm of Phenomena. This is the world of things and events as normally perceived.
(2) The Realm of Ultimate Reality. This refers to the single ultimate reality underlying the apparent diversity of phenomena.
(3) The Realm of the Nonobstruction [apratighāta] of Reality and Phenomena. This refers to the nonduality of illusion and reality, Samsara and Nirvana, form and emptiness.
(4) The Realm of the Nonobstruction of Phenomenon and Phenomenon. This means that everything that exists is contained in each individual thing, as in the parable of Indra’s Net.

 

The Avataṁsaka Sūtra
The Huayen Jing [華嚴經] or Avataṁsaka Sūtra is the longest coherent text in the Chinese Buddhist Canon. It was first translated into Chinese by Buddhabhadra in 418-422, and a second, slightly longer, translation was done by Śikṣānanda in 695-699. Its main concern is with the practice of the Bodhisattva Path, from the initial Aspiration to Enlightenment until the final realization of Buddhahood.

 

More than just a text, the Avataṁsaka Sūtra, as a direct expression of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and is itself a concrete embodiment of the Teaching, as well as a guide to practice. In the Sutra two bodhisattvas in particular are of great importance: Manjushri and
Samantabhadra, who symbolize innate wisdom and tireless practice respectively.

 

Ven. Hai Yun
Ven. Hai Yun was born in Taiwan in 1951. While pursuing a successful worldly career, he began to undertake the intensive study and practice of Buddhism, and finally received ordination as a monk in 1991.

 

Although he is widely read in all forms of Buddhism, and has long experience in the practice of Chan meditation, he has devoted himself since his ordination to the teaching and practice of Huayen Buddhism, on which he has now published more than twenty books in Chinese.

 

According to Ven. Hai Yun, “the practice of Huayen rests on three basic premises”:
• that you yourself and all beings are fully endowed with the Buddha-nature and will certainly achieve Buddhahood
• that every plant and tree, every grain of sand and mote of dust in the world in which we live is the realm of Samantabhadra
• that all your actions of body and mind, all your deeds and thoughts are the sublime practices of Samantabhadra.”

 

With regard to individual practice, there is in Huayen no fixed technique or sequence of steps to be followed, and it is up to the individual practitioner to listen to the advice of the teacher or guru, to study the Sutra itself carefully, and then to find the method of practice that is best suited to his or her own current stage of development. If we do this properly, then all the activities of our daily life can become part of the Path, for as Ven. Hai Yun says: “No matter what
you are doing, if you can base it on wisdom and turn it towards Enlightenment, then you are doing the right thing.”

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An efficient tool to drop mental and physical inertia, re-arrange resources and time in life

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Listen, feel, incorporate, value, respect, allow other points of views of the same external moment

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Class-less uni, when there are human endeavours, there are Huayen classrooms

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