Posted by: Soh

Robert Dominik posted something interesting on Hua Yen teachings in my Facebook group "Dharma Connection".
From Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.":

One day Empress Wu asked Fa Tsang the following question: Reverend Master, I understand that man's knowledge is acquired through two approaches: one is by experience, the direct approach, and the other by inference, the indirect approach. I also understand that the first five consciousnesses and the Alaya only take the direct approach; whereas, the mind, or the sixth consciousness, can take both. Therefore, the findings of the conscious mind are not always trustworthy. The superiority and reliability of direct experience over indirect inference is taught in many scriptures. You have explained the Hwa Yen Doctrine to me with great clarity and ingenuity; sometimes I can almost 'See the vast Dharmadhatu in my mind's eye, and touch a few spots here and there in the great Totality. But all this, I realize, is merely indirect conjecture or guesswork. One cannot really understand Totality in an immediate sense before reaching Enlightenment. With your genius, however, I wonder whether you can give me a demonstration that will reveal the mystery of the Dharmadhatu including such wonders as the "all in one" and the "one in all," the simultaneous arising of all realms, the interpenetration and containment of all dharmas, the Non-Obstruction of space and time, and the like? After taking thought for a while, Fa Tsang said, "I shall try, your Majesty. The demonstration will ·be prepared very soon."

A few days later Fa Tsang came to the Empress and said, "Your Majesty, I am now ready. Please come with me to a place where the demonstration will be given." He then led the Empress into a room lined with mirrors. On the ceiling and floor, on all four walls, and even in the four corners of the room were fixed huge mirrors-all facing one another. Then Fa Tsang produced an image of Buddha and ·placed it in the center of the room with a burning torch beside it. "Oh, how fantastic! How marvelous!" cried the Empress as she gazed at this awe-inspiring panorama of infinite interreflections. Slowly and calmly Fa Tsang addressed her: Your Majesty, this is a demonstration of Totality in the Dharmadhatu. In each and every mirror within this room you will find the reflections of all the other mirrors with the Buddha's image in them. And in each and every reflection of any mirror you will find all the reflections of all the other mirrors, together with the specific Buddha image in each, without omission or misplacement. The principle of interpenetration and containment is clearly shown by this demonstration. Right here we see an example of one in all and all in one-the mystery of realm embracing realm ad infinitum is thus revealed. The principle of the simultaneous arising -of different realms is so obvious here that no explanation is necessary. These infinite reflections of different realms now simultaneously arise without the slightest effort; they just naturally do so in a perfectly harmonious way. . . . As for the principle of the non-obstruction of space, it can be demonstrated in this manner . . . (saying which, he took a crystal ball from his sleeve and placed it in the palm of his hand) . Your Majesty, now we see all the mirrors and their reflections within this small crystal ball. Here we have an example of the small containing the large as well as of the large containing the small. This is a demonstration of the non-obstruction of "sizes," or space. As for the non-obstruction of times, the past entering the future and the future entering the past cannot be shown in this demonstration, because this is, after all, a static one, lacking the dynamic quality of the temporal elements. A demonstration of the non-obstruction of times, and of time and space, is indeed difficult to arrange by ordinary means. One must reach a different level to be capable of witnessing a "demonstration" such as that. But in any case, your Majesty, I hope this simple demonstration has served its purpose to your satisfaction.


Garma C.C. Chang's "The Buddhist Teaching of Totality. The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism.":

"(...)we have found that the Totality and Non-Obstruction of Buddhahood are expressed in these terms:

1. That a universe can be infinitely vast or small depending on the scale of measurement, or the position from which a measurement is made.

2. That the "larger" universes include the "smaller" ones as a solar system contains its planets, or a planet contains its atoms. This system of higher realms embracing the lower ones is pictured in a structure extending ad infinitum in both directions to the infinitely large or the infinitely small. This is called in the Hwa Yen vocabulary the view of realms-embracing-realms.

3. That a "small" universe, (such as an atom) not only contains the infinite "lesser" universes within itself, but also contains the infinite "larger" universes (such as the solar system), thus establishing the genuine Totality of Non-Obstruction.

4. That "time" has lost its meaning as merely a concept for measuring the flow of events in the past, present, and future. It has now become an element of Totality which actualizes the total interpenetration and containment of all the events of past, present, and future in the eternal present.

5. Upon the grand stage of the infinite Dharmadhatu, countless various dramas of religion are being enacted in numerous dimensions of space/time throughout eternity.



Thusness: Is your experience beingness or maha suchness? (comments: on the term 'maha suchness' see Then in the most ordinary and mundane activities, every action is fully exerted.

Me: Yes, it is like universe activity... not drop of water dissolved into static beingness but oceanic activity in which drop and ocean is seamlessly arising.

Thusness: No sense of beingness anymore... that is good. Rather it is this maha suchness of total exertion in this immediate moment... yet empty. Mature this experience. Feel this maha suchness... until it becomes as natural as breathing.

Now you know the difference? Tell me the difference between anatta and this experience and what is exactly obscuring the smooth progress to this insight and experience?

Me: The dualistic agent may be gone but maha requires the replacement of inherent view with D.O. so that when you see this, you see that... you see everything as entirely seamless self-arising activity. Not just this but how this arise without self, this is, that is.

Thusness: Well said. First you must be left with only manifestation. Solely that. Then into the general [principle of] D.O. Before that, there is this mini sense of activity but will not be thorough. But you must make this a continuous practice and keep integrating the view of general D.O. to replace dualistic and inherent framework. Till even this view is also forgotten.

p.s. Yesterday a dream of clarity arose in conjunction with Thusness's visions and meditative experiences (due to karmic links this is not the first time it happened) regarding a drop of water placed in an ocean, upon hearing this phrase in the dream there was an immediate shift where dream dawns as non-dual clear light (without the dream dissolving into formless clear light) which is free from subject/object duality, boundless/oceanic, vividly intense, blissful and exhilarating.
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