Another Few Little Steps Into The Flower Treasury Array Of Oceans Of Worlds

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A Dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi for a gathering of the No Abode community

AI Summary: 

In a Dharma talk delivered by Tenshin Roshi to the No Abode community, the focus is placed on the teachings of the Flower Adornment Scripture, exploring its implications for Zen practice and integration into everyday life. This talk draws connections between various Buddhist scriptures and Zen teachings, emphasizing the unity and continuity across these traditions, central to understanding and practicing Zen.

- **Scriptures and Concepts Mentioned:**
- Flower Adornment Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra)
- Lotus Sutra
- Heart Sutra
- Diamond Sutra
- Precious Mirror Samadhi
- Harmony of Difference and Unity (Isandokai)

The conversation explores how these works influence Zen, particularly highlighting how the Flower Adornment Scripture serves as a foundational text with profound implications for the Zen practice of Zazen, where the meditation is deeply tied to the sutra's teachings on unity and difference. This discourse underscores a fundamental idea: all beings are interconnected in their journey towards enlightenment, portrayed through the imagery of an ocean into which practitioners dip their toes, contributing to and partaking in an infinite exploration of Buddhist teachings.

AI Suggested Title: "Integrating the Flower Adornment: Zen Practice and Scriptural Unity"


The last time we met here, we had a commencement ceremony, a ceremony to commence the meditation on the Buddha, flower adornment. And the Buddha, flower adornment scripture. Now we have the opportunity to continue this contemplation of this flower adornment of Buddha. As I contemplate this flower adornment,


thoughts of sharing it with people arise in me. But at the same time, as I contemplate this ocean, the ocean of this adornment, the oceanic and the vast and unlimited quality of this adornment, in a way I get quite relaxed about it. Because it reminds me, as I look at the ocean, that there's so much there to offer, that all I need to offer is a tiny little thing. Because, tiny little thing by tiny little thing,


we will totally exhaust, no, we will totally embrace this teaching. But not today. Today, we're just going to offer a tiny little bit. And also, this sutra teaches that making offerings together is integral to the practice and the teaching of the sutra. We live in a world where there's many other humans and animals and plants,


and where there is a lot of feelings going on. We are sentient beings. We have feelings. And some of these feelings are joyful, and some of them are very painful. But we are sentient beings, and this sutra is for us. And in particular, it is for the sentient beings who are what are called bodhisattvas. This teaching is for bodhisattvas, and also it's for buddhas.


So, this sentient being says, this sutra is for sentient beings so that they may wake up and realize buddhahood. I don't know if this sutra says it, but the Lotus Sutra does say it. And this sutra and the Lotus Sutra are friends, and they're different. They're different. The Lotus Sutra teaches that we are all bodhisattvas. We don't know it. Not everybody knows it, and even if they hear about it, they reject it.


The teaching that, hey, you're a bodhisattva, and that means you're going to become a buddha, and also that means you want to become a buddha. Over the years of practice, when I meet with people, a number of them say, I confess, I confess, I'm not here to become a buddha. And I say, okay, you're welcome to be here too, even though you're telling me you do not want to become a buddha. And even some people also say, I do not want to become enlightened. Okay, I do not want to help all sentient beings. Okay, you can be here. The Lotus Sutra in me says, the person says that, but they do not know that they're a bodhisattva who's telling me they don't want to be a bodhisattva.


That's one type of bodhisattva. Very important type. There's a lot of them. This sutra is for sentient beings who are bodhisattvas. In other words, it's for everybody. For what purpose? So they can be buddhas. For what purpose? So they can awaken beings to become buddhas. It's to make the world a place of great wisdom and compassion, along with all the sentient beings who are suffering in many different ways. So I think I've already said, I'll say it again, that part of the causes and conditions leading to this commencement and this enterprise, this group exploration of the realm of buddhahood,


is that I heard over and over scholars say that this sutra is very influential on Zen. And I would say, and they say that because a lot of Zen students who go and practice at Zen centers, they don't hear about this sutra. They go and they hear about Zazen, they hear about sitting meditation, right? They hear the Heart Sutra, right? The Diamond Sutra, yeah? And they hear various Zen poems, like the Precious Mirror Samadhi, and the Harmony of Difference and Unity, which could also be called... Isandokai. That's another way to say it, Isandokai.


The Harmony of Difference and Unity, but it could also be called the Samadhi of the Harmony of Difference and Unity. It's a poem about the Harmony of Difference and Unity. The Harmony of Difference and Unity, it doesn't say... By the way, this teaching came from the Avatamsaka Sutra. This is from the Flower Adornment Scripture. What does the Flower Adornment Scripture teach? It teaches the Harmony of Difference and Equality. That's what it teaches. But when we go to Zen centers and we chant that chant, we are not told usually... By the way, this teaching comes from the Flower Adornment Scripture. And also the Precious Mirror Samadhi. That is actually called the Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi. The Precious Mirror Samadhi does not say... This teaching of the Precious Mirror Samadhi comes from this sutra.


It doesn't say that, but it does. So this is an example of where this sutra is influencing the ancestors. And the ancestors had made poems about this sutra without telling us that it's about this sutra. And then they give us this teaching of the sutra and then they encourage us to meditate on this. Enter the Samadhi of the Precious Mirror. What's the Precious Mirror? It's this sutra. What's the Harmony of Difference and Equality? It's the teaching of this sutra. So because of these various influences, I want to share with the Great Assembly of Bodhisattvas that our Zen practice really finds its source in this teaching. And our Zen practice is teaching this, is spreading this teaching.


I want us to celebrate that and realize that this sutra is about the Samadhi, the meditation, the concentration on this sutra. It's about the concentration of the Precious Mirror of the Buddha Mind, which in the Precious Mirror of the Buddha Mind is the harmony of sameness and difference. That's a little part of the motivation for me bringing this more or less infinite teaching into your presence. And again, I don't know if you will stay with me as I keep offering this sutra. And I'm not really teaching it, I'm exploring it with you.


And again, because it's so vast, we just put our toe into the ocean a little bit each moment. And we will never run out of this ocean, but we can swim together in it, and we can ride the boat of compassion in it. This is a great opportunity, and I would suggest to you that this is what we call Zen. Zen is a very short translation of this immense teaching. It's our house nickname. For the sutra. And another slightly longer expression of this sutra is what we call Zazen. This sutra is teaching Zazen. And again, and again,


and again, I come back to the beginning of this sutra, which is the beginning of many sutras, which is, thus I have heard. Thus I have heard. Or you could say, I have heard thusness. I have heard thus. I have heard thus. The teaching of thusness is intimately transmitted by Buddhas and ancestors. That's our family song. That helps us understand the first sentence, part of the first sentence of this sutra, and part of the first sentence of many sutras, is that Ananda heard, and now we hear, the teaching of thus. And again, I told you before, in this sutra, in this translation of the sutra,


on page 129, it says, clearly observe the dharma of the king of dharma. Actually, it doesn't say that. It says, clearly observe the king of dharma. The teaching of the king of dharma. The dharma of the king of dharma is thus. That's what it says on page 129 of this sutra. Did you remember that yet? It's a verse. Okay, ready? Clearly observe the king of dharma. The dharma of the king of dharma is thus. It says this, that's what it says in this verse. This sutra. And at the beginning of our home song, of our home song, starts by saying, the teaching of thusness.


And also, the first case of our family collection of Zen stories starts by saying, clearly observe the dharma of the king of dharma. The dharma of the king of dharma is thus. It's almost exactly the same, but it adds in one extra king of dharma. So, one might walk around and lie around and stand around and sit around with that frame of reference, which is the first part of the ... It's the first sentence, actually, no? Yeah, it's the first sentence. Thus I have heard. I have heard thus. The teaching of the Buddha is thus.


Thus, all day long. The teaching of Buddha is thus. All sutras say that. And this sutra says that. And this sutra kind of stays with that. Because this sutra not only says, thus I have heard, it says, the teaching of the Buddha is thus. It's right there in the first word. The first word is also the last word. And also I mentioned before, at what time? At one time. Thus I have heard. At one time. The sutra is saying that we hear thusness at one time. And at one time. And this one time does not exclude other times. It's just that all the other times are one time. That's the teaching of this sutra.


And it might also be some people's understanding of modern astrophysics. This long living universe is actually originally and fundamentally and still one time. Billions of years are one time. That's the sutra saying that. This sutra is saying, right now, includes infinite past and, by the way, infinite future. The physicists might say, all the time is at one time. All the places are originally one place. But they don't usually mention, but they're getting to there. Not only all time is one time, that means all the entire process is one time. Past of the universe is one time, but the future of the universe is also at one time.


They don't usually say that, but I think some of them are getting there. So at one time, thus I have heard, at one time. The Buddha. At one time, the Buddha. Where there is thus, where there is thusness, where there is the teaching of thusness, we have Buddha. And also Buddha is at a place. And the place where the Buddha is, guess what that place is? It's right here. And it's also called Buddha's place. The Buddha is at Buddha's place. Does that surprise you that the Buddha would be at Buddha's place? Buddha is always at Buddha's place. Buddha is at the place of Buddhahood.


Buddha is at the place of awakening. And that place cannot be other than this place, the sutra is saying. We are all in the congregation at Buddha's place. And at Buddha's place, we are encouraged to clearly observe that we're at Buddha's place and that the teaching is thus. This is a fundamental frame of mind for bodhisattvas, which I'm offering to you. And I hope you see the close, the intimate relationship between Zen teaching, between Zen and being at one place, at one time, always.


And that that is Zen, and that is the Avatamsaka Sutra. Yes. All shortcomings, all shortness, all greed, all delusion, all of that is separate than this. The realization of that which is created can be unified with this which is not created.


Did you say you want to realize that? I want to totally, totally, yes. Yeah, and that's what all sentient beings want to realize. In other words, all bodhisattvas want to realize that. Again, a lot of bodhisattvas do not know they want to realize that, but they do. I say, I say unto you. What time is it? Okay, yeah, so here we are. We're right here, right? And we are at the place of Buddha's awakening, because the place of Buddha's awakening pervades all of us, and we pervade it. And all the things that Homa just mentioned, each of those things


is intimately living with the realm of sameness. And all those things, and something she didn't mention, because she didn't mention everything, all the things she mentioned, plus all the other things, which are all different, all the things are different, they do not obstruct each other, and they are intimately interwoven with the sameness of all things. So the sutra says. And realizing Buddhahood is to realize that. Some of you have received copies of this scripture, right? It was sent to you by the generosity of this temple.


And if more of you want to see it, it's possible for you to receive a digital copy of this sutra. And not only one digital copy, but two different, oh excuse me, a digital copy of the English translation of this sutra. Is that possible for people to receive, Amanda? Yeah, so let Amanda know and she'll send you a digital copy of this sutra. And this translation I have before me right now is by the great Thomas Cleary, but we now have another translation by the great Dharma Mitra, which is a thousand pages longer than this one. And so you can have both of these translations to dive into and swim around in for the rest of time.


Yes, Amanda? Just wondering, do you guys talk about how this relates to the mind? Bodhisattvas are encouraged by the Buddha to find or give life to a mind that doesn't abide in anything. So, for example, not to abide in a color, or not to abide in blue rather than green or red. By having a mind of no abode, when it's green, we will realize that green does not obstruct red,


that pain does not obstruct pleasure, that good does not obstruct bad. But if we don't have this bodhisattva mind of no abode, then when it's bad, we abide in it. If we abide in it, we do not realize the harmony of bad and good. So we need, and also when we hear that the Buddha is sitting with us and we are sitting with the Buddha, right now, right now, and by the way, right now, if we want to realize that, we have to have a mind which doesn't abide here. The Buddha is always here and also not abiding here. The Buddha is always here for us and doesn't abide in here or us. Therefore, the Buddha's great vow is realized and we are awakened by the Buddha being with us and teaching


us how to be here together with a mind that doesn't abide in anything. So that teaching I first heard from the Diamond Sutra, which leads to this temple being named, but that teaching is also at the heart of Buddha's seat, at the heart of this sutra. Yes? I would like to thank you for your passion and your compassion in this teaching. You are so welcome. May your good health continue as we explore this ocean. Yes? So you were saying that things don't strike when they are great and they don't strike when they are great. Is there something that, if we could go further and say that it's almost necessary to


have good people to appreciate the good, or is that going too far? So that thing you just said, that it's necessary to have evil, that statement, is a particular phenomena. And that phenomena, which you just said, does not hinder another phenomena, which is, let's get rid of all bad. Let's get rid of evil. That's another phenomena. And that phenomena of we don't need evil around here, let's get rid of it, those two phenomena, those are two different phenomena, those phenomena are in harmony with we need evil. We need the bad. Those are phenomena. They're not reality. They're different from each other. Reality is not


different. So we need evil, we don't need evil. Or even we want to make evil, we want to get rid of evil. Those are all phenomena that do occur. So the phenomena called let's get rid of evil, or we can get rid of evil, those are two phenomena. Now some people would not agree that it is possible to get rid of evil. Some people would not agree with that. They say, I'm fine with getting rid of it. If we had none, I would still be here, I'd still be with you. But I don't think we're going to get rid of it. It's not like, you know, all the world's best people have been around for a long time. Some of them have been trying to get rid of evil, and some have not been trying to get rid of evil. It says in here sometimes eliminate,


but I don't think the Buddha is trying to get rid of evil. I think the Buddha is trying to liberate evil. I think it's trying to free evil. I think it's trying to not abide in evil. But anyway, as you may have noticed, we have not been successful at getting rid of evil. We have been somewhat successful, I think, at getting distracted from good, but we haven't got rid of good either. Can't get rid of it. I mean, you can try, but it just keeps coming back at you. So yeah, this teaching is completely respecting all things because in each thing, in each tiny little thing, there are infinite Buddhas sitting in each tiny, not just one Buddha in everything, but many, and also one, one and more than one. And around


those Buddhas are many bodhisattvas and so on. That's the teaching of this sutra. In other words, everything is inconceivably wonderful. And if we realize that, we will be working to liberate beings from good and evil, or evil and good. What attracted me to Zen was not stories of people being good, but people being free of good and evil. And some people would say, because not everybody's under my control, some people would say, well, being free of good and evil, that's really good. But some people who I have met very many of, they might think it's evil to be free of good and evil. If you're free of good and evil, you're evil. Some people might say that. And this sutra is saying, listen to them. Listen to them. Whatever they're saying,


listen to them. Because if they're saying something, they're giving you a difference in their ascension being, and they want to be Buddha. And people who want to be Buddha would like to be listened to. And everybody wants to be Buddha, so everybody wants to be listened to, wants to be observed with eyes of compassion. Yes? I have a friction when I hear wanting to be loved. So the friction is you can't. The friction is we cannot become Buddha. Buddha is, and I also heard when you said


this was the first time I was hearing, the phenomenon is actually an opportunity to recognize, realize Buddha. Buddha, because my mind separates stillness, Buddha, and the phenomenon. So this, this, I go back to this duality. Yes, so duality is difference. So this teaching, this is teaching, duality is in harmony with non-duality or sameness. It's in harmony with that. And trying to get, and, you know, so we need, we are called to practice compassion with all dualities.


All phenomena are dualities. Okay, I thought I might just mention a little, a little bit more about the beginning of this huge scripture. The, which is a surveying or a celebration of the leaders of the wonderful adornments that the leaders of the world are. So this sutra starts out by talking about the, the leaders of the world that are at the Buddha's sight and time of awakening. So again, this sutra teaches that this sutra is talking about right at the time that Buddha attains awakening, which is seen to be in this sutra before the Buddha taught other things.


So the Buddha in this sutra is teaching in a different way than the Buddha taught later, you could say, at a place called Deer Park to five people. So the first scripture of the Pali and Sanskrit, so-called the Pali Nikayas and the Sanskrit Agamas, the first sutra, is called setting the wheel of Dharma rolling, and therein the Buddha tells human beings that a middle way has been found. This sutra is before that sutra, and also this sutra is emphasizing that this sutra is right now, whereas that sutra didn't emphasize so much, however it did say thus. So even though it was supposedly talking about something that happened before,


and this sutra is saying that those things happened after, the after of the Buddhist teaching is included in the present. This teaching, again, was offered to bodhisattvas, and it was also offered to beings who are not yet ready to be bodhisattvas, and they were not ready for it. So the Buddha gave a different teaching. So this sutra is going back to the beginning before the early teachings were appearing in human history. And there was this great assembly, and that great assembly had tremendous variety. It had many types of bodhisattvas, and had many other types of spiritual beings who were there,


and who could witness this Buddha sitting, who could witness this awakening, this sitting awakening, they could witness that. So we have very nice setup here, very nice physical setup, and then that's where the Buddha is, and then we're told who's there with the Buddha. And the name of the world where the Buddha is, in this sutra, in this translation, is called the Flower Bank Array of Oceans of Worlds. That's the world where the Buddha is sitting. The Flower Bank Array of Oceans. We've got Flower Bank Array of Oceans of Worlds. Not just oceans, but oceans of worlds. That's the


world where the Buddha is sitting. That's the world where awakening is sitting in this sutra. The other translations says, Flower Treasury Adornment of Oceans of Worlds. The Chinese character translated as bank doesn't mean like a bank of a river, it means like Bank of America or U.S. Bank. The character means a treasury. So the great translator chose bank, and before I saw the Chinese, I thought the bank meant like


an embankment of worlds, but it means a treasury, a flower treasury of what? Of arrays or adornments of oceans. So the Buddha is at the center of an array of oceans. The Buddha is at the center of an array of oceans of what? Of worlds. Not just an array of oceans of beings, but oceans of beings. And this array could also be called adornment. So the Buddha is adorned by oceans of worlds. That's where we're actually sitting right now, with the Buddha, at a place that's adorned with oceans of worlds. And this adornment is a


fluorescent, it's a flower adornment. The Buddha is beautifully, inconceivably lovely adorned by oceans of worlds. And then it gets into the, so the Buddha is surrounded by oceans of world, and that's the name of the world he's in. So the place where the Buddha is, is named and describes the world where the Buddha is. But also there are other worlds than this one. So this is the flower treasury adornment ocean of worlds, but there's other oceans of worlds. So we're in this one, and this one is surrounded by other Buddhas who have other worlds which are actually at the center of oceans of worlds. And so we hear about the congregation in this world,


which is very extensive. And so the way the first chapter is set up is that it gives about 58 types of spiritual beings and many bodhisattvas, and then it describes 10 of those 58 types of spiritual beings. From each category it takes 10 leaders, but the 10 leaders are the 10 leaders, for example, one type is city spirits, another type is mountain spirits and water spirits, and thunderbolt bearing spirits, and many body spirits. All these different types of spirits are almost infinite in number, and we hear about 10 of them for each category. And each of these 10, by the power of being in the presence of the Buddha,


they can see. They can see the Buddha. And so they tell us about what they see the Buddha as. So this first chapter is these many different types of spiritual beings, by the power of the Buddha can see the Buddha. And then the leader, in each case you have 10, in each case one of the 10 tells us what the other nine can see, including what that one can see. So the one leader of the 10 it says what they can see, and then it tells you what the other nine can see. And what they're showing us is many different aspects of the jewel of the Buddha. So the first verse, which is the first way of seeing the Buddha, by the Buddha's power. So the Buddha isn't talking about herself. The Buddha is enabling everybody in this congregation to see the Buddha. So the Buddha is emanating the radiance, the light of awakening, and by that light all the


beings in this very large assembly can see the Buddha. And the way they see the Buddha is quite varied, so we have 58 times 10 verses, which are views of the Buddha. And the first verse is the body of Buddha extends throughout all assemblies. For example, the body of Buddha extends throughout everybody in this assembly, and also outside this temple, all the other assemblies, the Buddha's body extends throughout them. It fills the Dharma realm without end. It doesn't stop any place, it just keeps extending through the latest whatever, through the latest good and evil, through the latest opinions and fears, all the phenomena of all sentient beings, it extends throughout them. The body of Buddha, the first spirit tells us this.


It is quiescent. What's quiescent? The body of Buddha is quiescent. It is free of any nature and it cannot be grasped. So we've got this Buddha that we're sitting with right now, who's quiet, is free of everything, and cannot be grasped. And because it cannot be grasped, we cannot get away from it, we cannot move towards it or away from it, and it doesn't move towards or away from us. It is with us. There's no other place to be. And this body of Buddha, the final line of the verse, the body of Buddha appears. It appears. It's not an appearance. It can't be grasped. It's so quiet. You can't hear it. It totally penetrates us all. However, for our sake, the Buddha appears,


and then we can see the Buddha and hear the Buddha. That's the first verse. And this statement is made more or less in different ways throughout thousands of pages. This is also our practice. Our practice is extending throughout all assemblies, and all assemblies extending throughout us. We, our practice is to fill the realm of Dharma, and our practice is quiet, beyond any nature, and inconceivable. But our practice appears for the sake of the world. So here we are, appearing to practice together. But our actual practice is inconceivable and ungraspable,


and our appearances are celebrations of the reality of our practice. Which is the reality of the Buddha's body. That's the first verse. And the traditional Buddhist verse form is four lines. So I guess in Sanskrit it's four lines, the Chinese translation is four lines, and the English translation is four lines. So again, in the first chapter, each category of spirit, ten of the leaders give us ten verses to help us see what the Buddha body is. And then later, after all the spirits, the Bodhisattvas also tell us what they see in the Buddha. The Buddha is not telling us directly about itself.


Awakening is not telling us directly. It tells us through the worlds, through the oceans of worlds. It shows us in that way. So that's a brief overview of the first chapter. And at the end of the first chapter, there's this wonderful thing that happens, which is all these beings in this ocean of worlds, so all the beings which we mentioned, 58 plus all the Bodhisattvas, all these beings, together with the ones who weren't mentioned, who were in all those other sanghas, plus all the beings in all the other worlds beyond this ocean, so we have not just other worlds, but other oceans of worlds at which other Buddhas are sitting in the center. That's why I'm wearing this robe, to show you that there's not just one Buddha, there's infinite Buddhas,


and each Buddha is living in an ocean of worlds. And in all those oceans of worlds, and all the beings in the ocean of worlds, all of them are making offerings to the Buddhas. So the oceans give rise to clouds of offerings. At the end of this big first chapter, which is a hundred pages long, at the end, all these beings, which again, this sutra doesn't say they're all Bodhisattvas, it says all these spirits and all these Bodhisattvas produce, each one produces oceans, excuse me, each one in the ocean produces clouds, vast clouds of offering, and these clouds of offering rain down on themselves and everybody else. So we have oceans of worlds, oceans of beings, making clouds of offering, which rise up and then rain down on everyone in the assembly.


This great assembly of beings in oceans of worlds conclude the chapter with this infinite weather system of dharma, of making offerings to Buddha, and having the offerings then rain down on Buddha, and everybody else who's making them. And that sets up the next chapter. But for now, I'll just leave you with that concept of our practice. So I would say Zazen is like that too. Each of us is sitting, when we sit, and our sitting is actually an ocean of offerings. And the ocean of offerings which our sitting makes also rains back on us and everybody else. Our sitting is a vast clouds of offerings to all beings,


at the center of which is Buddha. Buddha and all beings, that's our practice, to make these offerings and then have the offerings rain back down on us who are making it, and everybody else that we've made it to, and all of them are doing the same things. This is the Buddha's vision in this sutra. Just a minute. Okay, so that's a brief overview of the narration of the first chapter, which you're welcome to read. And I also might just mention at this point that some of you have already started to pick one. I picked some. Did you see me pick it? I picked the first one. Do you remember the first one? The body of Buddha extends throughout all the great assemblies. It fills the dharma realm without end.


It is quiet, free of any nature, and ungraspable. For the sake of the world, it appears. That's the first verse of the sutra, which I memorized, and you can memorize it, too. And you can hold that verse as a frame of reference for your practice. And I also told you another one I memorized, which is on page 129, the second verse. Thus, clearly observe the king of dharma. The dharma of the king of dharma is thus. So I would encourage you to memorize one or more gathas, eventually the whole sutra, but start with one. And then live and just meditate on that.


Meditating on one verse, one gatha from this sutra, is very compatible with daily life. It won't hurt you. Even though you're busy, you can still look at things through this avatamsaka, zazen frame. And, yeah. So is there anything else you'd like to offer? Yes? Yes. When you talked last month about paying homage before reading the incense, did you take incense, and it was, remember, precepts, samadhi, was... Traditionally... Oh, oh, offering incense. So there's an incense verse, which is raise up the incense, and the incense verse is precepts, incense, samadhi, incense, nirvana incense.


Now I offer this like clouds, like luminous clouds. This incense is offering luminous clouds to boundless Buddhas. Precept incense, samadhi incense, nirvana incense. This offering pervades the dharma realm like bright clouds, like cloud forms. Know that offering incense realizes nirvana. I forgot the last one, nirvana. Yeah. Yes, Karen? Well, I just wanted to say there's something very pleasing about hearing you talk about the adornment of this scripture, and I'm looking at the altar here, and sitting on this altar,


and I think this is a lotus sutra altar, but I think maybe it's also a flower adornment altar. What makes you think it's a lotus sutra altar? Because I think once upon a time there was a dedication, and parts, bits of the lotus sutra were included in the dedication inside the Buddha. Inside the Buddha is the whole lotus sutra, English translation of Sanskrit. But I don't think that makes it a lotus sutra. I think I would like it to be all the sutras, but the one we put in was a lotus sutra. And it was the first one I read, but fortunately I found another copy of it. So it's the English translation from the late 19th century from Sanskrit. It's very nice, and it's inside that Buddha. And there's other dharma treasures inside the Buddha. The ornateness goes with the lotus sutra, but it even goes more with the Avatamsaka Sutra.


The Avatamsaka Sutra is the most ornate. And as a matter of fact, it's called the Flower Ornateness Sutra. And again, we do not tell people how ornate Zazen is at the beginning. Now you're being informed. Zazen is an infinite adornment of Buddha. And Buddha is an infinite adornment of our sitting practice. Yes? This is the first time I'm hearing it. It's timeless from the offering. Yeah, it's timeless. This sutra is about at one time. It starts out by saying, at one time. And then later in the sutra, many paragraphs start with, at that time.


at that time, at that time. And it's often referring to something that just happened, just before it. Like, for example, Bodhisattva said this or did that at that time. But that time is the same as this one time. The teaching of Buddha totally embraces all time and is not stuck in time. So it's free of time, but not by denying it, but by embracing it. Time is like difference. All the different times are in harmony with all times are the same. Those two are in harmony, but we don't deny this happened first, that happened second, this took that... Those are the differences which we honor with great compassion. And without a mind of abode, we don't abide in time. We learn to do that.


And then we wake up to, oh, oh... My God, this is the same thing that just happened a moment ago. Simon? I often find myself translating Buddha into awakening or enlightenment when I'm reading something. Yeah, that's fine. Buddha... You can translate Buddha into awakened one or you can even translate it into awakened. So Buddha is a past participle of bud. So you can say that. Enlightenment was sitting at this place... Enlightenment sits at an enlightenment spot. And that seems to work like in that example. But in other examples, it seems like what's being referred to is the sonification or personifications


like all the Buddhas. And my translation doesn't work so well for the enlightenments. So am I missing something in translating it that way? Well, it's fine. All the enlightenments are the same. So it says here over and over, all the Buddhas are the same. But you can say that enlightenment was sitting at the place of enlightenment surrounded by infinite other enlightenments sitting at enlightenment. But in this particular ocean of worlds, there's just one Buddha sitting there. But that one awakening is sitting at that spot. So the sutra stays with that spot of this. But it also tells us in the first chapter that the offerings that are made in this world to this Buddha by this Great Assembly and which rain down on this Great Assembly


and this awakening and awakening are surrounded, it's the same in infinite other worlds where Buddhas are sitting, where awakenings are sitting at awakening. Infinite awakenings, all the same. And so the singular of the Buddha, is that a flavor we need? I don't know how Sanskrit deals with that, but in Chinese they just say all the Buddhas. In other words, all the awakenings. All the awakenings of all the Buddhas. And also, Tom Cleary translates bodhisattva as


enlightening beings, right? Enlightening beings. But the actual word is bodhi. And so, when I read it, I'm reading awakening beings, awakening beings, rather, bodhi beings, bodhisattvas, rather than enlightenment. And the other English translation, I think, says awakening beings. Yes. Yes. I think I'm having a little trouble with it, and I'm trying to, as Simon was doing a little bit, when you're talking about awakening being like an embodiment in a person, I tend to think of it more as mind of awakening, or more like a bright light, and so, I mean, are we talking about a personification here,


or are we talking about the beingness? The awakening being is a sentient being. It's an actual living being. It's not exactly personified. It's what the living being, who you could call a person, is what it is. It's the awakening being of that sentient being. Okay, so maybe what I'm doing is like thinking there's this bright light of awakening, or a mind of awakening that exists everywhere, permeates everything, but that would mean it would exist apart from an individual, and you're saying, well, are you saying something different? You said something in which you said


the implication would be that the light exists separate from an individual? Well, that it permeates everything, and is everything, and everything is it, and yet... Yeah, so I guess I have a kind of a reluctance or resistance to thinking of it as this Buddha, this person, whereas, yeah. You're resisting thinking of the Buddha as this person? Yeah. Instead of Buddha, mind, or... Yeah. This person, this person, this person... So, the Buddha is not this person, this person, this person. The Buddha is ungraspable. But, for the sake of the world, the Buddha can appear graspable. But that's an appearance of the Buddha. The Buddha is not graspable.


But for the sake of beings, for the sake of the world, the Buddha appears. But when you see an appearance of Buddha, you can remember that this is an appearance and wonder what this appearance is, wonder at the ungraspable, quiet... The Buddha can talk when it appears. It can talk, it can give light that people see, but it also gives light even when people don't see it, even when it doesn't appear. It basically is all the time extending even before it appears, or separate from... not separate from... It's not the appearance. It's the light. So, maybe that's enough for this morning. What do you think? Is that enough for this morning? Oh, Jim, did you... Oh, you're just helping Linda. Did you want to say something, Amanda?


What? Go ahead. Well, one is... Sanskrit, I was remembering that word, Bodhimanda, and I was understanding that to be a waking place, or Buddha's awakening place, and that each of us is sitting, more or less, Bodhimanda, and then this connection to the Mother Sutra of sitting in the seat of emptiness is also kind of flowing into the culture, isn't it? Yeah. In a place that's ungraspable. An ungraspable thing puts on a robe and sits on that seat of emptiness and opens up the room for business,


so people can come and see emptiness wearing a robe. May our intention fully extend...