From December 13th to 29th, we held a 17-day Avatamsaka Puja to conclude the year. Besides the monastic members of Ling Jiou Mountain (LJM), students from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and more joined this great event. This puja also acts as an occasion of appreciation as we express our gratitude for everyone’s effort and hard work in Dharma activities.
As we approach the end of the year, it is also a time for our minds to take a break. The Avatamsaka Sutra opens up our mind so we can break through from delusion. We can finally let go of those that we cling on so tightly through the sutra recitation. So, the Avatamsaka Puja is also the New Year celebration at LJM. As we enter a new year, we can start fresh again from the mind.
After the Buddha attained enlightenment, the Avatamsaka Sutra was the first scripture he expounded. The subject of this text was primarily Bodhisattva-mahasattvas who were on their path towards the enlightenment. The Avatamsaka Sutra was preserved in the naga palace and later retrieved by Nagarjuna. He then propagated this scripture in the human realm. That’s how we could get a taste of its auspiciousness and wonder. The sutra is well-expressed beautifully. The teaching on being unselfish and the selfless dedication is of utmost supreme. On our path of Dharma practice, we can learn to affirm an altruistic mind. At the same time, we practice stabilizing this mind to never regress throughout the course.
What can we do so to prevent regression? It is to recognize our Buddha nature or the emptiness. Every being has the Buddha-nature or primordial awareness. In other words, this awareness is the essence of the universe. The realization of the Buddha is the awakening of the nature of life. As the nature is awoken, the realm of Avatamsaka would come to fruition. The mind is all-pervasive. We’d discover that all beings are an entity of interdependence when we realize that awareness is all-pervasive. We see oneself in another being. Vice versa, all beings are within oneself. When we can regard our lives as others’ lives, our love would enhance to be an immense loving-kindness and compassion.
After receiving the teaching from the Buddha, Bodhisattvas make a vast connection and apply compassion to all by connecting with beings. Such selfless dedication starts from the Ten Faiths. Then, the Ten Abidings helps one to affirm and abide in the altruistic intention. That way, regression doesn’t happen easily. Next, one applies the Ten Conducts to carry out acts without flaws. Following that, one does the Ten Dedications so to dedicate the merits of our acts in wholesomeness. Lastly, the course of the Ten Stages reaffirms the virtues we engage in and never regress. We will progress on this path until the realization of universal and wondrous awareness, or the fruition of Buddhahood.
Over the years, many of you have been attending the pujas held by LJM. One can cultivate the foundation of the three higher trainings (ethical disciplines, meditative stabilization, and wisdom) on these occasions. In the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly, one learns about the Ten Minds of Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara). In the year-end Avatamsaka Puja, we dedicate and pray that all beings could attain Buddhahood. Meanwhile, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors and supporters of LJM over the years. May the merit be dedicated to the fulfillment of virtues and the eventual Buddhahood without regression. Finally, I’d encourage you to fulfill the aspiration of realizing the enlightenment by the Ten Great Aspirations of Samantabhadra; and the wisdom of emptiness with the Ten Minds of Guan Yin.