The Avatamsaka Sutra introduces multifold realms of tathagatas and a way to attain Buddhahood. There is a distinctive practice included in the sutra, which is the recitation of the 42-syllable Mantra of Avatamsaka. The chanting of this mantra is so melodious and resonating that many lay practitioners like to join the year-end Avatamsaka Retreat Puja at Ling Jiou Mountain every year.
Besides the pleasant chanting, the 42-syllable Mantra of Avatamsaka is a method of practice. These syllables are skillful in terms of guiding the practitioner to the gateway of prajnaparamita. Many people have asked me, “What’s the point of reciting mantra?” Mantras encapsulate the aspirations of buddhas and bodhisattvas. When we recite mantras, our body, speech, and mind resonate with the three vajras of buddhas and bodhisattvas. That’s how we can connect with the aspirations of buddhas and bodhisattvas.
These syllables are the “essence, notion, application” of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Upon hearing the recitation of the 42-syllable Mantra of Avatamsaka, one's body, speech, and mind can be purified. Meanwhile, one can aspire to the boundless aspiration and compassion to attain the “perfect enlightenment with the same tathagatagarbha”, meaning that all beings share the same nature and wisdom as all buddhas. Hence, we can make the same aspirations and convictions as buddhas.
The reason that we practice Dharma is to attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment, we need to engender bodhicitta. May all beings encounter, study, and practice Buddhadharma. May they engage in virtues, believe in karmic principles, and sow the seeds for enlightenment. Lastly, may all beings accomplish the trikaya (Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya) and the Buddha fields of aspiration. Every being is “like a flower, a leaf, a world, and a tathagata”. This is a well-known phrase from the Avatamsaka Sutra which explains that even in a leaf or a flower, there is Dharmadhatu. Not only that, Buddha-nature is present within every being. Never underestimate ourselves as everyone is the future Buddha. Tathagatas of the three times are the same in oneness.
That being said, we need to have the right belief with the right view. That’s how we can create a pure land. Let’s transform our consciousnesses into wisdom. What kind of wisdom? The wisdom, the aspiration, and the intent to fulfill twofold goals of buddhas and bodhisattvas. If we could push ourselves and remind ourselves consistently, our aspiration, bodhicitta, and altruism will never regress. Let wisdom arise so our space of life would be more spacious without obstacles.