The Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra is the Sutra of the Dharma Realm. It is also the Sutra of empty space. To the ends of empty space and pervading the Dharma Realm, there is not a single place where the Flower Adornment Sutra is not present. Any place where the Flower Adornment Sutra is found is also a place where the Buddha is, a place where the Dharma is, and a place where the Sangha of sages is.
──Venerable Master Hua
Because the Venerable Master Hua deeply understood the inconceivable state of the great Flower Adornment Dharma and wanted his disciples to begin at the most basic level, he frequently exhorted his disciples to recite the Flower Adornment Sutra and even to memorize it. In his final instructions, the Master also said, “After I leave, you can recite the Flower Adornment Sutra.” Therefore on June 8, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas began a forty-nine day Flower Adornment Dharma Assembly, hoping to offer everyone the opportunity to steep themselves in the Great Flower Adornment Dharma, understand a little bit of its flavor, and plant limitless good roots.
When every thought is sincere, every thought penetrates;
In silence, responses are quietly received.
When you reach the end of the mountains and rivers,
You are free to roam throughout the Dharma Realm.
The Venerable Master wrote this verse explaining the secret of reciting the Buddha’s name and the responses obtained. The Master said, “It’s as if there is a telephone wire connecting Amitabha Buddha in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss and all living beings who recite the Buddha’s name. If you don’t make the call, who’s going to pick up the phone and receive your call?”
As long as we recite the Buddha’s name with utmost sincerity, the Buddha will use his boundless Dharma-power to liberate us, enabling us to leave suffering and attain bliss. This kind of bliss is an ultimate bliss, the ultimate bliss of the Western Land. In other words, if one recites the Buddha’s name, not only can one escape all worldly sufferings, one can be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, see the Buddha when one’s lotus flower opens, and attain the pure and ultimate bliss of “permanence, bliss, true self, and purity.”
Honoring the Venerable Master’s final instructions, the four assemblies of disciples have been sincerely reciting the Flower Adornment Sutra and the Buddha’s name since the Venerable Master completed the stillness.
The Venerable Master often says, “The Flower Adornment Sutra is just like an auspicious cloud in empty space, pervading the three thousand great thousand worlds and giving moisture to all living beings. Once a week, the disciples solemnly and with proper deportment performed the Flower Adornment Repentance, in which they universally bowed in homage to the infinitely infinite Triple Jewel of the Flower Adornment Sealike Assembly. Cleansing body and mind with the Flower Adornment Dharma rain, they sincerely repented and reformed themselves, began anew, and purified their actions, speech, and thought. This is what the Venerable Master had hoped his disciples would do.
Currently at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, four Dharma assemblies are held simultaneously every day: the Chinese Flower Adornment Assembly is held in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the English Flower Adornment Assembly is held in the Hall of Rebirth, and the Vietnamese Flower Adornment Assembly is held in the Dao Yuan Hall.
An intensive Buddha’s Name Recitation Assembly is held twenty-four hours a day in the Hall of No Words, where the Venerable Master’s coffin is located. Recently, the Master’s disciples from around the world have been arriving at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to gaze upon the Master and take part in the memorial Dharma events.
At Gold Mountain Monastery, located in San Francisco’s Chinatown, five rolls of the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra are recited every day and the Buddha’s name is recited nightly after evening recitation. A Flower Adornment Repentance Ceremony is also held weekly.
At the City of the Dharma Realm located in West Sacramento near the California State Capitol, people recite the Flower Adornment Sutra five hours a day. After evening recitation, they recite the Buddha’s name for two hours and do the Great Transference Ceremony.
At the World Religions Institute in Berkeley, the Flower Adornment Assembly is held in English and Vietnamese. Gold Wheel Monastery in Los Angeles, Long Beach Monastery and Blessings, Wealth, and Longevity Monastery in Long Beach, Gold Summit Monastery in Seattle, Avatamsaka Monastery in Calgary, and Gold Buddha Monastery in Vancouver are also following the Venerable Master’s instructions and holding Flower Adornment Dharma Assemblies and taking time to recite the Buddha’s name intensively.
At the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Association in Taiwan, people are reciting four rolls of the Flower Adornment Sutra during the day and holding a Buddha’s Name Recitation Assembly in the afternoon. Another roll of the Flower Adornment Sutra is recited in the evening, so that those who work or study during the daytime can participate. Amitabha Monastery in Hualien, Blessings and Wisdom Monastery in Meinong, and Perfect Penetration Hermitage in Taijung are also holding Flower Adornment Dharma Assemblies and Buddha’s Name Recitation Assemblies.
At Purple Cloud Monastery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Flower Adornment Sutra is recited from eight in the morning till four in the afternoon, and the Buddha’s name is recited from six-thirty to nine in the evening.
The Flower Adornment Dharma Assemblies and the Buddha’s Name Recitation Assemblies held at all of the above monasteries will last for forty-nine days and be completed on July 25. When the assemblies are completed, the Venerable Master’s disciples at the various monasteries will all gather at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas from July 26–28 to attend the memorial services in honor of the Venerable Master and the cremation ceremony.