Hua-yen Buddhzsm: The Jewel Net. Avatara: The Humanzzation Antolllo T. Dedicated in memory of my father, Harold M. Includes bibliographIcal references and Index. Kegon Sect -Doctnnes.

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Hua-yen Buddhzsm: The Jewel Net. Avatara: The Humanzzation Antolllo T. Dedicated in memory of my father, Harold M. Includes bibliographIcal references and Index. Kegon Sect -Doctnnes. AvatarpsakasutraCntIClsm, interpretatIon, etc. C66 As scholars do, I staked out the tern tory in WhICh I wIshed to do my future explorations, and for the past several years, I have devoted most of my time to the translatlOn and close study of Hua-yen matenals.

I have come to admIre Hua-yen philosophy greatly. Keepmg m mmd the mIxed nature of readers of books of thIS sort, I have tned to be as thorough and accurate as such a study demands WIthout burdenmg the nonspecIalist with a heavy freIght of scholarly apparatus.

For speClalists, I have used notes wherever necessary and placed them m the back of the book. On the assumptlOn that the subject IS itself both interestmg and convincmg, I have aVOlded the temptatlOn to ovennflate the language WIth professlOnal or mtellectual Jargon in an attempt to further elevate the subject. Although It may be the deluded fancy of a person who has spent too many mghts pondermg over the meaning of seventh-century Chmese Buddhist texts, I would like to believe that the pIcture of eXIstence described m Hua-yen literature IS truly beautiful, grand, and mspmng.

What IS more, we are assured by WIse men of the Hua-yen tradition that we do m fact dwell m such a umverse. For the reader WIth a workmg knowledge of Western philosophy, religIOn, art, and SCIence, the Hua-yen world will prove to be not only new and different, but challengmg, and not at all self-evIdent.

The reader IS gomg to have to perform the very difficult task of opemng hIS or her mmd and makmg It flexible. Even the reader who can apprecIate only slightly such a VIew ofthmgs will have taken the first step of that Journey whIch Hua-yen texts refer to as "entenng the dharma-dhiitu. Some excellent studies of pre-T'ang Chmese BuddhIsm have appeared m Japanese and Western languages m the past few decades, and some notable studies of T'ang culture m certam areas have now appeared also, but next to nothmg has been wntten yet m the West on thIS form of Chmese BuddhIsm whIch has been acknowledged by OrIental religIOmsts and students of Chmese culture to be the hIgh-water mark of BuddhIst philosophIcal effort.

Finally, a thIrd reason. Perhaps, agam, It IS the lamentable result of too many mghts of coffee, pIpe smoke, and small Chmese characters, but I have come to ask myself if the structure and nature of reality as shown by the Hua-yen masters IS, after all, that remote and implausible, despIte the vast gulf that separates our own tIme and place from T'ang period Chmese BuddhIsm. Western presupposItions have brought us to a world VIew vastly different from that of a Chmese BuddhIst of the late seventh century.

But, WIth regard to the. The world of Jesus two thousand years ago on the eastern end of the Mediterranean sea and really an On ental world!

If a man livmg m London were to discover the Hebrew-ChnstIan Bible manuscrIpt for the first tIme today and hence we would not be hem to that traditIon , translate, and publish It, the world VIew as divulged by that old book would certainly appear to be as Implausible, Irrelevant, and perhaps silly as that gIven in Hua-yen books.

In other words, the plausibility or cogency of an Idea IS not always necessarily intrmsIC to the materIal, but often seems to come from familianty. Put m another way, they make sense to us, have meamng to us, because they have become part of what we are. But familianty does not make an Idea true.

The only real test of an Idea IS the effect it has on our lives, the way It helps us to orgamze our expenence m a satisfymg manner, m the general manner m whIch It forcibly shapes our thought and conduct. If a man's thoughts can do thIS, they can transcend the centunes. Often, we make a chOIce, frequently out of exhaustIOn, but oddly enough, when we choose, we always choose the close at hand, for we feel that there IS somethmg alien and Irrelevant and maybe unsafe m a philosophy created by OrIentals or someone else not more or less Just like us.

There are few real converts. They are familiar and the change IS not radical. These developments have helped In no small way to make such a book as thIS feasible. BuddhIsm has had a long and extraordinarily nch hIstory, spannIng 2, years m tIme and half the globe we live on. Now, It would seem that the movement has reached the troubled shores of AmerIca and Europe In the mIddle of the twentleth century, where senous groups of Western BuddhIsts have sprung up all over.

If we are to cease belieVIng and sayIng the silly thIngs we do about BuddhIsm, we will have to have a much better understanding not only of the thIngs It does i. If the reader can understand the Hua-yen viSIon of reality, he will be better able to understand not only the more profound expenences of hIS Chmese and Japanese brothers, but also of those closer Western.

Wherever I have quoted from thIS text, I have Indicated the source by showmg the page and regIster withIn square brackets, thus [b], and such references are always only to the Treatlse.

Other sources will be cIted In the notes. I ha ve also relied hea vily on three of the most useful commentanes on Fa-tsang's TreatIse for my own reading and InterpretatIon of the text. Kegon go kyo sho shiji ki, m three volumes, composed dunng the Nara penod In Japan. Tsuro-ki, by the Japanese monk Gyonen. Only 39 of the ongInal72 volumes are extant. O, and In Bukkyo Taikei, volumes 13 and Wu chiao changJu ku chi, a Sung Dynasty commentary by Shih-hul. Wherever such a debt eXIsts, I have so Indicated.

Professor Minoru Kiyota, my fnend and teacher, first made me aware of the Importance and value of Hua-yen thought, and had he not encouraged me to look Into It, as well as to learn the Japanese necessary for Its study, there would be one fewer book on BuddhIsm. His InSIstence always on accurate readings of pnmary source matenals made success possible. His death m was a terrible loss for BuddhIst Studies, as well as a personal loss.

The memory of many frUItful and pleasant hours m theIr company IS one of the few treasures I am greedy enough to hang on to. Finally, my wife Betty contributed Immeasurably to my bemg able to pursue BuddhIst Studies while m graduate school and m Japan. Though her help took many forms, It would have been mvaluable if for no other reason than that she has always supported me m my belief that the study of BuddhIsm IS worthwhile.

My debts extend beyond these, also, but where do they end? May the help of all these earn them countless kalpas m the Tushlta Heavens. An earlier work, C. Chang's Buddhist Teachzng of Totality.

The reader could do no better than to read It before taking up thIS book. FranCIS H. Western man may be on the brmk of an entIrely new understanding of the nature of eXIstence. However, some have begun to wonder if we have not had too much success; the very vIrtuosIty WIth whIch we mampulate the natural world has brought us, according to some cntlcs, to the thm line separatmg success from terrible disaster. Only very recently has the word "ecology" begun to appear m our diSCUSSIOn, reflectmg the ansmg of a remarkable new conscIOusness of how all thmgs live m mterdependence.

The ecologIcal approach tends rather to stress the mterrelatedness of these same thmgs. Honey bees and apple blossoms remain what they have always been m our eyes, but added to thIS way of knowmg IS another, newer way-the knowledge that these entitIes need each other for surVIval Itself. It presents a view of man, nature, and their relationshIp whIch mIght be called ecologIcal m the more pervasIve and complicated sense mentIoned above, one which we might, m fact, call" cosmic ecology.

We may begm with an Image which has always been the favonte Hua-yen method of exemplifymg the manner m which thmgs eXIst. Far away m the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there IS a wonderful net whIch has been hung by some cunnmg artificer m such a manner that It stretches out mfimtely m ail directIOns.

In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deItIes. There hang the Jewels, glittermg like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these Jewels for mspectIOn and look closely at It, we will discover that mlts polished surface there are reflected all the other Jewels m the net, mfinIte m number.

If we take ten coins as symbolizmg the totality of eXIstence and examme the relatIOnship eXlstmg among them, then, according to Hua-yen teachmg, com one will be seen as being IdentIcal with the other nme coms. Simultaneously, com two will be seen as bemg IdentIcal With the other nme coms, and so on throughout the collectIOn of coms. Thus, despIte the fact that the coms may be of different denommatIOns, ages, metals, and so on, they are said to be completely IdentIcal.

If we take these same ten coms agam and examme their dynamic relatIOnshIp, then, according to the Hua-yen masters, they will be seen as bemg totally mterdependent or mtercausal. Seen in thIS way. Com one, that IS. Since that particular totality could not eXist Without the support of com one, that coin is saId to be the sole cause for the totality.

However, if we shift our attentIon to com two and now examme Its relatIOnship to the other nme coms, the same can now be saId of thIS com. It IS the sole cause for the eXIstence of the totality of ten coms. From the standpomt of each of the ten coins, It can be saId that that com IS the sole cause for the whole.

However, the cause-result relatIonship IS even more flUId than thiS, for while each com can, from the standpomt of the one com, be said to act as sole cause for the whole, simultaneously the whole acts as cause for the one com m questIOn, for the com only eXIsts and has any functIon at all wlthm the total environment.

It can never be a questIon of the com eXIstmg outSIde Its enVironment, because smce the ten coms symbolize the totality of being, a com outSIde the context of the ten coms would be a nonentIty. Thus each individual IS at once the cause for the whole and IS caused by the whole, and what IS called eXistence IS a vast body made up of an infimty of mdividuals all sustammg each other and definmg each other.

The cosmos IS, m short, a self-creatmg, self-mamtammg, and self-defimng organism. Hua-yen calls such a UnIverse the dharma-dhatu. It differs m several respects. First, It has been, and to some extent stinls, a UnIverse which must be explamed m terms of a divme plan.

WIth respect to both Its begmnmg and its end. The Hua-yen world IS completely nonteleologIcal. There IS no theory of a begmnmg time, no concept of a creator, no questIOn of the purpose of it all. How am I related to a star mOnon? How am I even related to an EskImo m Alaska. I certamly don't feel related to these other thmgs. In short, we find It much easIer to thmk m terms of isolated beings, rather than one. Bemgs are thought of as autonomous, Isolated wlthm their own skms, each mdependent by and large from all the rest of the bemgs both anImate and manImate.

The "mysuc" who speaks of identity with such thmgs as anImals, plants, and manImate objects, as well as other men, IS an object of ndicule. The Hua-yen UnIverse IS essentially a UnIverse of identity and total mtercausality; what affects one Item m the vast mventory of the cosmos affects every other mdivldual therem, whether It IS death, enlightenment, or sm. Finally, the Western view of eXistence IS one of stnct hierarchy, traditionally one m which the creator-god occupies the top rung in the ladder ofbemg, man occupies the middle space, and other anImals, plants, rocks, etc.

Even with the steady erOSlOn of relimous mterest m the West, where the top rung of the ladder has for many become empty, there still eXists the tacit assumptlOn that man IS the measure of all thmgs, that thiS IS hiS UnIverse, that somehow the mcalculable history of the vast umverse IS essentially a human history.

The Hua-yen UnIverse, on the other hand, has no hierarchy.

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Hua Yen Buddhism Jewel Net Indra by Francis Cook

The metaphor's earliest known reference is found in the Atharva Veda. It was further developed by the Mahayana school in the 3rd century Avatamsaka Sutra and later by the Huayan school between the 6th and 8th centuries. In this metaphor, Indra's net has a multifaceted jewel at each vertex, and each jewel is reflected in all of the other jewels. In the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism , which follows the Avatamsaka Sutra , the image of "Indra's net" is used to describe the interconnectedness of the universe. Cook describes Indra's net thus:. Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number.


Download Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Iaswr Series)

Francis H. The founders of the Hua-yen school regarded the Avatamsaka Sutra as their foundational text. As he did this creatively, Chinese elements came to be integrated in his understanding of Indian Buddhist views, and a distinctly Chinese form of Buddhism came into being with a special focus on a sophisticated elaboration of the doctrine of co-dependent origination pratitya-samutpada. The metaphor itself goes back to the Atharva Veda — hence the reference to Indra which may sound strange in a Chinese setting.


Hua-Yen – The Jewel Net of Indra

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