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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
fall 2006| 28 |buddhadharma fully appreciate and benefit from these various conceptual presentations. how- ever, they do not contain new and sepa- rate teachings; rather they expand on and elaborate the huayan dialectical philoso- phy of the interconnectedness of totality with all individual beings. imPLiCaTiOns for PRaCTiCe The huayan teachings present splendor- ous, inspiring visions of the wonders of the universal reality, far beyond the limited perspectives caught within the physical details and conditioned aware- ness of our everyday lives. This teaching first of all encourages the possibility of a fresh, deeper way of seeing our world and its wonders. With the encouragement of these teachings, we can sense levels of spiritual interconnection with others, and with the wholeness of reality, that lift us beyond our ordinary attachments and prejudices. such vision can help to heal our individual confusion, grasping, and sense of sadness or loss. But beyond this deeper connection with wholeness, the huayan teachings also offer guidance for more complete balance in practice. The emphasis on integration of glimpses into the ultimate with the particular problems and chal- lenges of our everyday situations can help practitioners not get caught up in blissful absorption in ultimate reality. attachment to the ultimate is considered the most dangerous attachment. But attending to the conventional realities of our world with some sense of the omnipresence of the totality helps to balance our practice, and can also further inform our deeper sense of wholeness. among the huayan tools for bringing the universal into our everyday experi- ence are gathas, or verses, which include many practice instructions to be used as enlightening reminders in all kinds of everyday situations. specifically, the eleventh chapter of the Flower orna- ment Sutra, titled “Purifying Practice,” includes 140 distinct verses to encourage mindfulness in particular circumstances. some of the following situations are cited: awakening from sleep; before, dur- Samantabhadra in an Elephant-Drawn Cart by Zheng Zhong (early 17th century) hanging scroll ing, and after eating; seeing a large tree, flowing water, flowers blooming, a lake, or a bridge; entering a house; giving or receiving a gift; meeting teachers, or vari- ous other kinds of people; and proceeding on straight, winding, or hilly roads. all the verses use the situation men- tioned to encourage mindfulness and as reminders of the fundamental intention to help ourselves and others more fully express compassion and wisdom, as in the following example: Seeing grateful people They should wish that all beings Be able to know the blessings of the buddhas and enlightening beings. historically, a selection of these verses has been recited in east asian monasteries as rituals before and after bathing, brush- ing teeth, taking meals, or while doing begging rounds. a number of present-day teachers, such as Thich nhat hanh and Robert aitken Roshi, have rewritten such verses for everyday mindful awareness, bringing them into our contemporary contexts, such as driving on the freeway or using the telephone. huayan models of interconnectedness point to the experience of wholeness that is one of the great joys of zazen. From the perspective of zazen, meditation practice is not about attaining some special, new state of mind or being, but about fully realizing the inner dignity of this present body and mind. huayan further expli- cates the importance of the relationship of wholeness to everyday activities, mir- roring the central emphasis of Zen train- ing on expressing clear awareness amid ordinary conduct. huayan in Chan and Zen The strong influence of huayan on Chan and Zen was initiated in the person of Zongmi (780–841), the fifth huayan patriarch, who was also a Chan master descended from the famous sixth Chan patriarch, huineng. a prolific scholar, Zongmi commented extensively on aspects of the Flower ornament Sutra and huayan teaching, but also wrote WiThperMissionofTheroyalonTarioMuseuM©roM;921.32.110