02 Sep Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 44
(Last week we ended with, “I make this clear, everybody then knows that all names of Buddha and Bodhisattva are for all different beings to have different styles of encountering and receiving.”)
This world of ours is impure and without a benevolent mind therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha is called “mighty in loving, kindness, and pureness”. When Shakyamuni Buddha goes to other places to enlighten living beings, he may use other names. Many experienced practitioners see in many Buddhist scriptures the names of Buddha and Bodhisattva; in fact, they are all the same people, the same one. Why? Different titles in different worlds.
Therefore, from the aspect of “phenomenal characteristics”, this is represented by the Hua-Yan (Avatamsaka) Sutra. The scene of the “Hua-Yan Ocean-Assembly of All Buddha” where other people make a statement:
The richness and honorability of the school of Buddhism is fully exposed in the Flower Adornment Sutra (Avatamsaka).
We commonly recite the “Hua-Yan Ocean-Assembly of All Buddha” at the beginning of Buddhist ceremonies, offering the Incense Praise:
Incense in the censer now is burning,
Innumerable Buddha from afar inhale the fragrance,
In everywhere, auspicious clouds are appearing,
With the ultimate state of sincerity,
All Buddhas manifest their perfect presence.
The scene of the “Ocean-Assembly of All Buddha”, is seen from where? It is in the Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra.
The Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra teaches us about the four unhindered experiential realms: Unhindered in all phenomena, Unhindered in the essence, Unhindered in both essence and all phenomena, Unhindered absolutely in all. By following these steps: “the teaching of the Buddha, the principle of the Buddha, the practice of the Buddha, the reward of being a Buddha”, and to have “firm belief, comprehend with wisdom, practice cultivation, verify into the state of nirvana”; this is the full package. This is remarkable. It is the Dharma Body cognitive sphere of Vairocana’s self-confirmation, and the sphere of his Reward Body attainment – the Rocana Buddha, plus the sphere of all Buddha’s Transformation Body; all are in the Ocean of Vows of Hua-Yan (Avatamsaka).
What is the “Ocean of Vows of Hua-Yan (Avatamsaka)”? It is the Ocean of Vows of Amitabha, and also the same Ocean of Vows of Vairocana Buddha. Therefore, the venerable Master Shan-Tao said:
The reason why Tathagata appears in this world, is only to explain Amitabha’s original vow is deep and wide like the ocean.
A person who learns the Buddha way should know this and everyone should not cultivate blindly and practice groundlessly.
What is the original vow of Amitabha? It is to meet and receive all living beings:
To attain together the way of Buddha, and to attain together the perfect omniscient wisdom of the seed of the cause of all phenomena.
What is the perfect omniscient wisdom of the seed of the cause of all phenomena? It is Prajna.
The way of Buddha refers to the way of enlightenment.
The Ten Vows of Pu-xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra), Pu-Xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra) in the Flower Adornment (Hua-yan) Sutra advises all Bodhisattva:
To lead and return to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land.
What is to lead and return to? To lead means to steer, return to means to rely on the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land.
All who has attained the status of Absolute Universal Enlightenment Bodhisattva (Samyak-Sambodhi) make vows to go to be born in the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land. The Pure Land of Amitabha is their original state of purity, equality, enlightenment, and is being the master of oneself, free and unfettered. He leads and returns, who serves as this representative? Sudhana (a disciple mentioned in the Flower Adornment Sutra) paid visits to 53 Buddhist masters in his quest for enlightenment.
Why are there 53 visits? There are 52 Bodhisattva cultivation ranks. Sudhana represents a practitioner of Buddhist austerities without any physical and mental defilement. In modern language, he represents a student of good disposition and good quality. He learned from 53 teachers leading them to the Buddha way.
His first teacher was to study with the Buddhist Master Monk De-Yun, (some people translated his name as Hai-Yun); the word “De or Hai” refers to the ocean of immeasurable merits, to cover all living beings like a cloud. Within the bodies and minds of all living beings there is immeasurable merits like the ocean. What did Monk De-Yun teach Sudhana? He taught him to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha to plant the seed of cause.
We have just explained the chain of cause and effect, and we have explained the lotus flower, which represents Buddha. The “cause” is the Lotus flower and the “effect” is the fruition of the lotus – the lotus seed. It represents “cause and effect occurring simultaneously” as:
Chanting Amitabha is the cause, becoming Amitabha is the effect.
Therefore, I continue to emphasize that our cultivation is “cause and effect occurring simultaneously”; it is not planting the cause first and achieving the effect later; you are mistaken about this. You plant the cause, the effect in future is precisely this way; it is impossible for you to plant grapes and have it turn into apples. Has anyone ever thought about this, planting what kind of “cause” will result in what kind of “effect”?
The first learning of Sudhana was from Master Monk De-Yun, who taught him to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, which has revealed that all living beings are Buddha originally and inherently possess the Buddha-nature in perfection. It is due to delusional thoughts and attachments that prevent us to experience entry into the truth. Therefore, Monk De-Yun taught Sudhana to plant the right “cause” seed.
《華嚴經》，理無礙，事無礙，理事無礙，事事無礙 – 四無礙法界，「教理行果」，「信解行證」；全部包了。這還得了。這毘盧遮那本身所自證的法身境界，跟他所成就的盧舍那「報身」境界，與一切諸佛的化身境界，全部入了「華嚴願海」。
什麼叫「導歸」？「導」是導向，「歸」是歸依 – 「歸」是依靠到極樂世界。
為什麼叫「五十三」？菩薩階位有五十二個階位 – 就是五十二個修行的層次。善財童子，「童子」表示身心沒有汚染的這麼一個修行人。現在話講就是非常有才分，非常有品性的一位學生。他去參學，參五十三位善知識。
善財童子五十三參，第一參德雲比丘教他念佛，顯示一切眾生本來是佛，本來具有佛性 – 圓滿佛性，就是妄想、執著沒有辦法證。所以教他種個「因」。