All Beings Are Invited to the Avatamsaka Cosmos to Treat the Earth Well
Traditionally hailed as the King of all scriptures, the Avatamsaka Sutra also belongs as a quintessential pledge for daily chant at the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM), which just announced that an Avatamsaka Dharma Assembly will be conducted September 18 - October 4 2020 for all to join the Avatamsaka practice online to re-experience the course of enlightenment of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by collecting their body and mind for the studies via observation of the endless Dharma realms. The cosmic view of the Avatamsaka Sutra - One is All, All is One - refers to the notion that the humankind and all beings belong as one. Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the LJM, always emphasizes that people and all beings belong as part of the community of life as the foundation to promote the ‘Loving the Earth’ ideal. These all relate closely to the scientific finding that ‘mankind and all beings share one common origin’. The Avatamsaka Dharma Assembly invites all to join the practice of treating the Earth well and forge positive linkages to the cosmos to accomplish a truly rich and prosperous life.
As Buddha turned the first Dharma Wheel to Bodhisattvas in the audience right after his enlightenment, the Mahā-Vaipulya-Buddhâvataṃsaka-Sūtra was the topic. The Sutra stated that ‘one truth governs all phenomena, and only the mind transcends all ages’. The mind is accordingly the origin of all phenomena and all perceptions and sentiment. The Avatamsaka Sutra is a well-structured Buddhist scripture that clearly explains every step of Dharma practice methodically. The term ‘A Net of Jewels and Beads’ describes a network of glittering gemstones that shine with endless reflections lends itself well to symbolize the LJM constellation of goodwill enterprises, with each and every one of the endeavors bearing the strengths of their great vow and dedicated to the great compassion of caring about the Earth. Each gemstone shines in its own virtue and reflects the glittering of other gemstones to give off a kaleidoscopic ray collectively.
Scientists have further established that cosmic energies feed into one another as mutual interflows. Our thoughts generate energy that goes into the cosmos for bounce- backs. The consciousness affords us the recognition of all things beautiful and those painful, yet to interpret our sentiment with a positive mindset so as to feed into the cosmos with fulfilling positivity is our individual duty toward the universe. That notion embodies the Buddhist concept that ‘an action stems from an idea formed in the mind’. Physicist Nassim Haramein claims that we are exchanging communications with the cosmos at all times, and the Avatamsaka Sutra offers a wealth of cosmic truth and wisdom as evidenced by the quote that ‘one knows nothing about Buddha’s fortune and riches without studying the Avatamsaka Sutra’. And the paraphrase that ‘all phenomena are nothing but reflection of our mind, (they are) nothing but variation of our consciousness’ goes to illustrate how a change of mind can reach across the universe. Good intent and positive actions lead to positive karma that in turn generates positive energy which becomes the source of our spiritual fortune and riches.
All beings are inter-related as has been reaffirmed yet again by the year 2020 when the Earth encounters unprecedented crises with global COVID-19 infections still on the rise, global warming deteriorating, human habitat encroached by contaminating waste that causes shortages of food and gravely endangers ecology both on land and in the ocean. Even humans atop the food chain have been consuming contaminated perishables. A famous quote from the Persian poet and Sufi mystic Rumi goes ‘You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop’, which manifests that the humankind and the cosmos belong as one. It is a scientific notion that cosmic messages never disappear as illustrated by the example that the ripples caused by a stone dropped into a lake remain untethered by ripples from the drop of a second stone. Both retain individual memory of their own intact message respectively.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao has likewise always emphasized that people and all beings belong as one community of life and takes the notion further by stating that ‘every life shares a common phenomenon known as impermanence and a common origin of emptiness. Like the water in the ocean, where the tidal waves are always arising and ceasing in a similar fashion as our lives - arising and ceasing. Emptiness is thus our community of life.’ As impermanence is a constant, and that time awaits no one, the Buddhist doctrine encourages people to do good deeds diligently, and the Avatamsaka Sutra in all its chapters with all its verses hopes to see us sow the seed of good.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao goes on to say that our body is like a house with everything inside that functions like memory and memory storage. Our universe is full of memory storage with memories for all sorts of different beings that spring up into forms of existence. Like our Earth with the same soil can have a variety of life forms growing out of it. Let us take that as an example and do our best to enable any and all contacts in our lifetime to form their positive memories respectively - that of giving alms and all, that of the joy of letting go, and that of awakening. We as Buddhists, therefore, should manage our own lives, both now and future.
Master Hsin Tao has been persistent in installing in his Fourfold Assembly a common idea that ‘do it no matter how insignificant it might seem and changes will come when perseverance prevails’. The notion is exactly the power-house that drives the LJM signature campaign of ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’, and the cornerstone that provides support to LJM's flourishing goodwill enterprises. The Museum of World Religions (MWR) is a perfect case in point: widely sneered at as ‘a poor monk's big dream’ when first announced, the MWR has proven to be a widely admired catalyst for interfaith exchanges with exhibitions featuring religious artifacts from Japan, Mexico, Haiti, and Beijing, among other origins, to enrich visitors’ appreciation of different religions.
The University for Life & Peace is yet a further dimension of the LJM goodwill undertaking that Dharma Master Hsin Tao currently focuses on to ensure that our dedication to treating the Earth well will take deep rooting for lasting stamina by virtue of education. Members of the LJM Fourfold Assembly have taken steps to implement a nine-point environmental belief of ‘Loving the Earth’ in daily lives: tranquility, love, dialogue, Veganism, recycling, conservation, reduction of carbon dioxide, water conservation, and going Green. These followers dedicate time and energy to implementing LJM's beach cleaning campaign as a monthly exercise on-goingly, regardless how insignificant it might appear to be.
The 17-day Avatamsaka Dharma Assembly by LJM will begin on September 18 and it welcomes all to join in the online participation for accumulating positive thoughts by sowing Avatamsaka seeds. It would be most ideal to pledge a full course of 17 days of chanting the complete Avatamsaka Sutra, but options for fewer days or chapters of the scripture would be blissful as well. You are all cordially invited to witness the cosmic glamour depicted by the Avatamsaka vision and to enjoy the sea wisdom embedded deep in the holy scripture.