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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 29 |fall 2006 insightfully on many Chan issues. much of what we know about the historical realities of early ninth-century Chan is from Zongmi’s writings. in his teach- ings, Zongmi synthesized not only Chan and huayan, but also integrated native Confucian and daoist traditions in an understanding that strongly influenced all subsequent Chinese Buddhism. The huayan fourfold dharmadhatu is the direct inspiration and starting point for the important Zen teaching of the five ranks by dongshan (806–869), the founder of the Caodong Chan lineage, later brought to Japan as soto Zen by dogen (1200–1253). The five ranks teachings, which detail the five aspects of unfolding of the relationship between the universal and particular, became the philosophical foundation for Zen. This was not only true in the soto school; Linji (Rinzai in Japanese) also developed teachings that echoed the fourfold dhar- madhatu. hakuin (1686–1769), the great Japanese founder of modern Rinzai Zen, also commented on the five ranks, which remain one of the highest stages in the koan curriculum of modern Rinzai Zen. huayan in JaPan The Japanese Kegon school is descended from the Chinese huayan. One of the six early nara schools from seventh-cen- tury Japan, Kegon is a very small school today. But Kegon is still known for its Todaiji temple in nara, home of the larg- est wooden building in the world and of the largest bronze statue, the Great Bud- dha, which depicts Vairocana, the dhar- makaya Buddha. Probably the best-known Japanese Kegon teacher is the passionately devo- tional myoe (1173–1232), a fascinating figure who has recently drawn attention from Western scholars for his forty-year dream journal, celebrated by modern Jungian psychologists. myoe made con- siderable efforts to develop practical applications of the huayan teachings and the Flower ornament Sutra. For example, he presented his own dreams and medita- tive visions based on his understanding of the huayan teachings, and he encouraged others to use avatamsaka visions to sup- port and clarify their own practice. myoe was also a shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) priest. among his numerous other colorful activities, as an ardent young monk he cut off his ear like van Gogh to demonstrate his sincerity, and he is often depicted doing zazen on his sitting platform up in a tree at the temple where he taught. huayan in the WesT apart from its power to inform and illu- minate meditation practice, huayan phi- losophy is highly relevant to Buddhism’s potential contribution to environmental and ecological thinking. The dynamics of the mutual relationship of universal and particular in huayan has already been influential in the modern deep ecology movement throught its clear expression of the interrelationship of the total global environment to the well-being of particu- lar ecological niches. The implications of this intercon- nectedness and the importance of the bodhisattva’s responsibility in huayan is also a great encouragement and resource for modern engaged Buddhism and Bud- dhist societal ethics. This can be seen, for example, through the main avatam- saka bodhisattva, samantabhadra, who engages in specific projects for worldly benefit through his dedicated practice of vow as applied to benefiting all beings and all the societal systems of the world. huayan models of the interconnected- ness of totality also have implications for modern science. especially in cutting-edge realms of physics such as string theory, huayan visions may provide inspirations for clarifying the dynamic interactions of various dimensions of reality. Given how much huayan Buddhism has to offer contemporary practitioners seeking to deepen their experience and understanding, even in realms outside of practice, it is fortunate that more material about this ancient teaching is becoming available. We can perhaps look forward to a renaissance of this profound teaching of interconnectedness in response to the pressing needs of our day. FuRTheR ReadinG on huayan • The Buddhist Teaching of Totality: The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism, by Garma C.C. Chang (Pennsylvania state university Press, 1971). • manifestation of the Tathagata: Buddhahood according to the avatamsaka Sutra, translated by Cheng Chien Bhikshu (Wisdom Publications, 1993). • Entry into the Inconceivable: an Introduction to Hua Yen Buddhism, by Thomas Cleary (university of hawaii Press, 1983, 1995). • The Flower ornament Scripture: a Translation of the avatamsaka Sutra, translated by Thomas Cleary (shambhala Publications, 1984–1993). • Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel net of Indra, by Francis h. Cook (Pennsylvania state university Press, 1977). • Studies in Ch’an and Hua-yen, edited by Robert Gimello and Peter Gregory (Kuroda institute, university of hawaii Press, 1983). • Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism, by Peter Gregory (Kuroda institute, university of hawaii Press, 2002). • The Buddhist Priest myoe: a life of Dreams, by hayao Kawai; translated by mark unno (Lapis Press, 1992). • Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva archetypes and Their modern Expression, by Taigen dan Leighton (Wisdom Publications, 2002). • myoe the Dreamkeeper: Fantasy and Knowledge in Early Kamakura Buddhism, by George J. Tanabe Jr. (harvard university Press, 1992). WiThperMissionofTheroyalonTarioMuseuM©roM;921.32.110