At every year end to the new year, Ling Jiou Mountain (LJM) would hold an annual Avatamsaka Retreat Puja. This event takes place from December 21st, 2018 to January 6th, 2019. Over the past year, monastic and lay students of LJM have completed the Spring Term Retreat; 21-Day Great Compassion Mantra Retreat; circumambulating the mountain on the founding anniversary of LJM; the Water Earth Repentance Ceremony, and lastly, the recitation of Avatamsaka Sutra to conclude the year.
Initially, this is meant to be the Avatamsaka Retreat only for the monastics. However, in order to reach out to the general public and to express our gratitude to sponsors, we’ve turned the retreat into a public puja. May the merits generated be dedicated to all the students who’ve been supporting LJM. It is our sincere wish that everyone enjoys good health, longevity, best wishes, harmonious relations with family and all. Therefore, the puja is also a year-end appreciation event.
Avatamsaka Sutra was expounded by the Buddha to numerous great Bodhisattvas after he attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Through Vairocana, Buddha’s form of Sambhogakaya, he elucidated the Realm of Avatamsaka that is presented by Buddha’s realization. The Three Kayas (Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya) were shown simultaneously. The Realm of Avatamsaka is the realization of Buddha. It is an object of the Buddha field. In the sutra, stories of how the Buddha engaged in altruistic activities, benefiting and inspiring sentient beings incessantly were told. He had repeated the activities nonstop until the ultimate accomplishment.
When teaching on the Avatamsaka Sutra, all the devas and gods praised and followed. The qualities of the Buddha are pervasive and interconnected. Being touched by the Buddha and Dharma, devas and great Bodhisattvas were inspired to liberate sentient beings with pervasive connection and compassion.
Like other religions, they are meant to inspire us sentient beings. Better yet, directing every being to the perspective of the Buddha. We can learn the wisdom of Dharmadhatu from different angles. As we are fortunate to walk the path towards Buddhahood, we’d eventually acquire greater wisdom with a deeper understanding of this entity of interdependence - among sentient beings and us. We’ll realize that this world and these cosmos are nothing but the realm of Buddha.
Hence, we praise the Buddha as the perfect sage. He knows that it is through mind can one enter the infinite cosmos. As every being possesses this nature of mind, should we investigate it, understand it, and enter it - we’d experience the wisdom that the Buddha has realized. Our mind is that expansive and luminous, namely “sagaramudra-samadhi” that encompasses the entire Dharmadhatu. Like all rivers running to the ocean, all lives are not parted from this nature of mind. By entering the state of mind, Buddhahood or the Realm of Avatamsaka is realized.
How fortunate it is that we’ve encountered Dharma in this life. Why don’t we seize this opportunity for liberation? We’ll never know where to end up in this turning of samsara. Cherish this opportunity and recognize our innate potentials, this “primordial Buddha”, infinite luminosity of Dharmadhathu. We are luminous by nature. By reciting the Avatamsaka Sutra attentively, our nature of mind is opened to infinite luminosity.