With One Hearty Bowing to the City of 10,000 Buddhas
Heng Sure & Heng Ch'au
Sunday, June 18, 1978
140 miles south of San Francisco on Highway 1
The Avatamsaka Sutra is really wonderful. It is a flawless guide and light for every state of mind we experience. Moreover it's a manual on how to survive on the road, for everything that comes up from wild animals to car breakdowns we turn to the Sutra for the answer. People who have never heard sutras (as far as they can remember) come out time and again just to listen to Heng Sure make the Chinese characters come alive for them. They feel there's something special, almost magical, about the Sutra, and they are to a one really impressed that someone could sit down and take these ancient characters and translate them into words they know words that sink deep into their hearts. Said one man, "Why has no one ever done this before in the West? I can't understand it. This (Avatamsaka) is the most far out thing I ever read or heard. It says it like it really is. I could chew one verse for weeks and still not exhaust it." He was really glad when he found out about Vajra Bodhi Sea and the Avatamsaka translation and commentary in it.
Today the Avatamsaka gave me the answer I sought in two situations. The feel or the spirit was in my heart but the Sutra was able to put the light on it and make it bloom. The more we bow the closer our hearts mesh with this Sutra. And the closer our minds merge with the Sutra, the easier and cleaner our lives become.
Layperson: "It's cold and windy out here. When it rains it will be difficult for you."
"Every day is a little happier. The weather doesn't matter."
"Oh, you're almost there then."
"Almost where? Until everyone is there, we are not there. If we are there and someone else isn't, then how can we be there? As long as there is suffering in the world and until all beings get the peace and happiness they seek, our work isn't complete.
All of the most wonderful happiness that the Bodhisattva obtains,
He transfers to all living beings.
Although he transfers it to all living beings,
He is not attached to transference itself.
The Bodhisattva cultivates this transference,
And he gives rise to a measureless heart of great compassion.
The virtue of transference that Buddhas cultivate--
I vow to cultivate it fully to perfection.
Not for himself does he seek benefit.
He wants to cause all to be peaceful and happy.
Avatamsaka: Ten Transferences Chapter
So there's a lot of work to do and no time to false think about why or "getting there" or even transferring merit and virtue. Cultivating is natural, you don't have to think about it or make plans or goals. When we can bow with a single mind everything takes care of itself and differences disappear.
Layperson: "Someone said this is your favorite food so we brought lots of it."
"We have no favorites. Everything is our favorite. It's all the same." What ever makes people happy is our favorite. What people delight in doing, what they like to give is what we like too. "Do you need something, something special perhaps?" is often asked of us. We answer whatever you want to give, whatever makes you happy that's what we need."
The Avatamsaka says it clearly:
He attaches neither to self
Nor what pertains to a self...
He delights in Dharmas' true and actual benefits
And does not love the perception of desires.
He reflects upon the Dharmas he has heard
Far free from the practice of grasping.
He has no greed for benefits or offerings,
And he only delights in Buddhas' Bodhi.
With one mind he seeks the Buddhas' wisdom,
Concentration undivided with no other thought.
Avatamsaka: Ten Grounds Chapter
I have spent a lot of time and wasted effort seeking benefits and offerings for myself and trying to satisfy my desires. It’s much simpler and wonderfully carefree to not worry about that anymore, and, "With one mind seek the Buddhas’ wisdom." "Concentration undivided with no other thought" is just "Everything’s OK." Bringing forth a heart of "Everything’s OK" is repaying parents’ kindness and the highest gift one can give. Peace in the Dharma.
Disciple Kuo T’ing (Heng Ch’au)
P.S. Vajra Bodhi Sea is like having another sun in the world. It "produces a wonderful light which illuminates all things." (Avatamsaka).