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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 27 |fall 2006 that is a part of the foundation for all east asian Buddhism. The basic teach- ing of this philosophy of interconnected- ness is the fourfold dharmadhatu. The first two of these four aspects of huayan reality clarify the two fundamental aspects of spiritual practice, and indeed of our whole lives: the universal and the particular. These two aspects have also been described with the terms ultimate and phenomenal, absolute and rela- tive, real and apparent, or sameness and difference. The ultimate, absolute reality – the first part of the fourfold dharmadhatu – is glimpsed in introspective meditation; the practice of turning the attention within can serve to deepen awareness of the uni- versal truth. in many religious traditions, seeing the universal oneness or reality is considered the goal of spiritual aware- ness and practice. But in huayan Bud- dhism, and in all east asian mahayana thereafter, the bodhisattva’s integration of that awareness into ordinary, every- day activities and reality – into the par- ticular, the second part of the fourfold dharmadhatu – is of crucial importance. as the eighth-century Chan master shitou (sekito in Japanese) declared, “merging with sameness is still not enlightenment.” seeing the oneness of the universal is only half of the practice, if that. The rel- evance of this insight must be realized and expressed in the realm of the rela- tive particularities and diversities of our world. The third aspect of the fourfold dhar- madhatu is the mutual, nonobstructing interpenetration of the universal and par- ticular. admittedly, this is difficult to take in at first, but with patience we see that universal truth can only exist in the con- text of some particular situation. There can be no abstract universal truth apart from its active presence in some specific causal condition. also, every particular context, when fully examined, completely expresses the total universal truth. more- over, the particular being or event and its universal aspect completely interact and coincide without hindering each other. Based on this integration of univer- sal and particular, the fourth part of the fourfold dharmadhatu is the mutual, non- obstructing interpenetration of the par- ticular with other particulars, in which each particular entity or event can be fully present and complementary to any other particular. Viewed from the vantage point of deep interconnectedness, particu- lar beings do not need to obstruct each other, but rather can harmonize and be mutually revealing. This has significant implications for how we can see our world as a field of complementary enti- ties, rather than a world of competitive and conflicting beings. indRa’s neT a frequently cited expression of this vision of reality is the simile of indra’s net from the avatamsaka Sutra, which was further elaborated by the huayan teachers. The whole universe is seen as a multidimensional net. at every point where the strands of the net meet, jew- els are set. each jewel reflects the light reflected in the jewels around it, and each of those jewels in turn reflects the light from all the jewels around them, and so on, forever. in this way, each jewel, or each particular entity or event, includ- ing each person, ultimately reflects and expresses the radiance of the entire uni- verse. all of totality can be seen in each of its parts. huayan teaching features a range of holographic samadhi instructions drawn from the Flower ornament Sutra. These practices help clear away limited pre- conceptions, foster fresh perspectives on reality, and expand mental capacities by expressing our deep interconnectedness. One example is the “lion emergence” samadhi, in which upon every single hair tip abide numerous buddha lands con- taining a vast array of buddhas, bodhi- sattvas, and liberating teachings. another model is the “ocean mirror,” or “ocean seal,” samadhi. in this image, awareness is like the vast ocean surface, reflecting and confirming in detail all phenomena of the entire universe. Waves of phenom- ena may arise on the surface of the ocean, distorting its ability to mirror plainly; but when the waves subside as the water calms and clears, the ocean mirror again reflects all clearly. Our individual minds are like this, often disturbed by turbu- lence but also capable of settling serenely to reflect clear awareness. The GOLden LiOn and the haLL of miRRORs Fazang (643–712), the third of the five patriarchs of the huayan school, was a brilliant teacher who might be consid- ered the true founder of the school. he was particularly adept at devising models and metaphors to illustrate the profound huayan truths to people. Fazang once taught the powerful empress Wu, a dedicated patron and stu- dent of Buddhism, using a golden lion in her palace as a metaphor. he explained the nonobstructing interpenetration of the universal and the particular by describing in detail how the gold, like the universal principle, pervaded the object completely, but that its particular unique form was that of a lion. We can see it either as gold or as a lion. But each part of the golden lion is completely gold, and each part is also completely part of the lion. another time, Fazang illustrated the huayan teachings for empress Wu by con- structing a hall of mirrors, placing mirrors on the ceiling, floor, four walls, and four corners of a room. in the center he placed a Buddha image with a lamp next to it. standing in this room, the empress could see that the reflection in any one mirror clearly reflected the reflections from all of the other mirrors, including the specific reflection of the Buddha image in each one. This fully demonstrated the unob- structed interpenetration of the particular and the totality, with each one contained in all, and with all contained in each one. moreover, it showed the nonobstructed interpenetration of each particular mirror with each of the others. along with these more accessible models, Fazang and the other huayan masters, such as the fourth patriarch Chengguan (738–839), developed many intricate philosophical descriptions of various aspects of interconnectedness, such as the tenfold causes for realization of totality, the nonobstruction of space and of time, and the ten nonobstructions of totality. Lengthier study is required to