Avatamsaka Sutra

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:59 pm

pael wrote:''He does not take even a blade grass not given to him''
Rulu's translation
Does this mean you can't collect grass/flowers?
I mean grass/flowers without owner.
I would guess that Earth being a giving planet and if no humans assert property, then any growing thing is a gift to any creature that eats it or picks it etc.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:02 pm

THEN, from the circle of white hair between his brows, the Buddha
emitted a great beam of light called manifestation of the realizer of
Thusness, accompanied by countless trillions of light beams. That light
illumined all the worlds in the whole cosmos, circling ten times to the
right, revealing the immeasurable powers of the enlightened, awakening
countless enlightening beings, shaking all worlds, extinguishing the
suffering of all states of misery, eclipsing the abodes of all demons, and
showing all buddhas sitting on the seat of enlightenment attaining perfect
awakening, as well as all the assemblies at the sites of enlightenment.
Having done all this, the light returned and circled the assembly of enlightening
beings, then entered the head of the enlightening being Wondrous
Qualities of Natural Origination of Buddha.
[chapter 37 begins - Cleary version]
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 37

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:46 pm

Now the masses at this enlightenment site were elated, ecstatic; they
thought, "How extraordinary! Now that the Buddha has radiated great
light, surely he will expound a most profound great teaching." Then the
enlightening being Wondrous Qualities of Natural Origination of Buddha,
on a lotus blossom seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right
knee, joined his palms, turned toward the Buddha with total attention,
and spoke these verses:

The Truly Awake, the Virtuous, the Great Sage, emerges,
Comprehending all objects, reaching the Other Shore,
Equal to the buddhas of past, present, and future;
Therefore I now pay reverent obeisance.

Having risen to the shore of the signless realm
And appeared in a body magnificently arrayed with wondrous marks,
He radiates thousands of undefiled beams of light
And destroys the hordes of demons entirely.

All the worlds in the ten directions
He causes to quake without exception,
Yet without frightening a single sentient being
Such is the spiritual power of the Felicitous One.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch 37

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:09 am

He abides in the dharma nature of equality
As do the domain of space and the dharma realm.
Although sentient beings are innumerable,
He enables them all to end their evils and afflictions.

After diligently training in ascetic practices for countless kalpas,
He has attained unsurpassed bodhi.
Having acquired hindrance-free wisdom-knowledge [jñāna] of all things,
He has become an equal of all Buddhas.

This guiding teacher emits vast radiance
And shakes worlds in the ten directions.
After displaying immeasurable transcendental powers,
His radiance returns and enters my head.

Innumerable Bodhisattvas, who can learn well
The definitive teachings, have assembled,
Inspiring me to ask for teachings.
Hence I now ask the Dharma King [for His teachings].
The huge multitude in this assembly is pure,
Well able to deliver the world.
With wisdom, boundless and untainted,
Such worthy elites have come to assemble.
[Rulu's translation]
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by joy&peace » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:55 pm

it's my favorite sutra. I like your signature quote, by the way, I would say... that's basically all there is. Kindness to others
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:02 am

joy&peace wrote:it's my favorite sutra. I like your signature quote, by the way, I would say... that's basically all there is. Kindness to others
Yes Joy, also my favorite.

Kindness yes, but wisdom needs to be in the mix too.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by joy&peace » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:18 am

Yep Yep :)

it was said beautifully, in Windbell by Rujing, Dogen's teacher;

The whole body is a mouth
Hanging in space
Not caring which way the wind blows
east, west, south or north
All day long it speaks
of Prajna Paramita for everyone
ting-ton, ting-ton, ting-tong

ok now back to Avatamsaka sutra :)

i love the descriptions and names of all the Bodhisattvas; much emphasis on Light.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:19 am

Which English translations are you familiar with, besides Cleary?
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by joy&peace » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:43 am

hm? i like Cleary very well. i am not entirely sure which one.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:16 pm

joy&peace wrote:hm? i like Cleary very well. i am not entirely sure which one.
The entire sutra has not been finished yet, but Master Hsuan Hua has commented on it all. Here is what is available online now:

http://www.cttbusa.org/fas1/fas_contents.asp

There are also printed books of the sutra.

Another translation of 10 or so chapters of the 'Buddha Adornment' sutra by Rulu is online - books also available:

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra0.html
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri May 06, 2016 6:42 pm

Buddha-Son, to benefit sentient beings, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva masters all worldly knowledge and skills, including words, numbers, texts, seal making, and various theories on earth, water, fire, and wind. He also masters medical prescriptions to treat illnesses caused by insanity, atrophy, possession by a ghost, or insect venom. He can cure them all. He is versed in writing, praising, singing and dancing, playing music, joking, and speaking. He properly cares for cities, towns, palaces, houses, gardens, fountains, ponds, grass, trees, flowers, and medicinal plants. He knows the [locations of] stores of gold, silver, gems, pearls, aquamarine, conch shells, jade, and corals, and reveals them to others.
He studies the sun, the moon, the planets, and the constellations, as well as bird calls and earthquakes. He interprets others’ night dreams as good or evil and correctly reads others’ physical appearances for good or evil signs. He observes the precepts, practices meditation, and acquires transcendental powers. He is accomplished in meditation, attaining even the four samādhis of the formless realm. As he handles worldly matters, he never distresses sentient beings. Instead, he gives them teachings to benefit them, enabling them gradually to abide in the unexcelled Buddha Dharma.
[Ch. 26, on the Fifth Ground bodhisattvas; Rulu trans.]

An example of bodhisattvas doing far more than just teaching and writing about the buddhadharma.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by joy&peace » Sat May 07, 2016 2:37 am

this is what i think of when i think of avatamsaka sutra;

'The essence of the doings of the world is inconceivable—
The Buddha teaches all about it for the confused,
Skillfully explaining the true principle of causality
And the different doings of all sentient beings.

Looking at the Buddha in various ways, there’s nothing there;
Seeking him in all directions, he can’t be found.
The manifestations of the reality body have no true actuality:
This is truth is seen by Silent Sound.

The Buddha cultivated many practices over oceans of eons
In order to extinguish the ignorance and confusion of the world.
Therefore his purity is the most radiant light:
This is the realization of the mind of Light Power.

Of the sublime sounds and voices in the world,
None can compare to the Buddhas Sound.
The Buddha pervades the ten directions with a single sound:
Entering this liberation is the Master of Adornment.

All the power of wealth in the world
Is not equal to a single characteristic of the Buddha—
The virtues of the Buddha are like space:
This is perceived by Mindful Light.

The infinite ages of past, present, and future,
The various aspects of their becoming and decay,
The Buddha can show in a single pore—
Supreme Cloud Sound can comprehend this.

The extent of all space may be known,
But the extent of a pore of Buddha cannot be apprehended.
Such non-obstruction is inconceivable:
Exquisite Topknot has been able to realize this.

The Buddha, in countless past ages
Fully cultivated the far reaching transcendent means,
Working diligently with non-flagging vigor:
Joyful Intelligence knows this teaching.

The causes and conditions of the nature of actions are inconceivable—
The Buddha explains them for all the world.
The nature of things is fundamentally pure, with no defilements:
This is the entryway of Flower Light.

You should gaze on a pore of the Buddha—
All sentient beings are therein,
And they neither come nor go:
This is the understanding of Universal Sight.'

-Avatamsaka sutra (i'll try to find where).
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 07, 2016 3:43 pm

Joy,

From Cleary, pp 75-76 (one vol. edition), chapter one
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:43 pm

At that time Celestial King Ocean of Wondrous Flames received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of the Heavens of Great Self-Mastery, and spoke the following verse:

Commentary: [by Master Hsuan Hua]

There are four kinds of verse:

1. Anustubh: whether it is prose or verse, any four-line verse with eight words to a line, comprising thirty-two words, is called an anustubh.

2. Gatha is translated as “verse for chanting,” because it can be chanted; or “solitary verse,” because it arises on its own, apart from others. It is also called “direct verse,” because it directly speaks the Dharma in verse form. Gatha has those three meanings.

3. Geya is translated as “fitting verse,” meaning it is proper and fitting for a verse to be spoken.

4. Udana is a type of verse that uses few words to encompass many meanings.

There are eight reasons for using verses in Sutras:

1. To express many meanings with a few words.

2. To praise the Buddhas. The praises of the sages and worthies of the ten directions, as well as the Buddhas, are usually written in verse form. We also write verses in praise of the Patriarchs, one per week.

3. To reiterate the meaning for beings with dull faculties, that is, for beings who are not as quick to grasp the meaning.

4. To reiterate the meaning for people of the future, that is, people who were not present at the assembly but who will come later, such as ourselves in this present time.

5. To speak in the way one likes to speak. According to how one feels inspired, one can enter that kind of samadhi and speak verses.

6. To facilitate remembering and maintaining, to make it easier to remember the principles.

7. To further clarify what has been spoken before, that is, to shed more light on the previous sutra text.

8. To express in verse form that which was not previously expressed in the prose section.
From chapter one.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:48 pm

At that time Celestial King Ocean of Wondrous Flames received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power.
Why doesn’t the sutra say that the Celestial King Ocean of Wondrous Flames himself spoke those verses? Why does it say that he “received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power”? This is an act of honoring the Dharma-speaking host.

These beings achieved the wonderful functioning of spiritual powers by means of the Dharma of the Buddhas of the ten directions. The Dharma of all Buddhas nurtured them and helped them complete their work in the Way and become “disciples of Buddhas.” By means of the Buddhadharma, they understood the principles and cultivated, so their achievements are due to the Buddha’s awesome power. If it were not for the Buddha’s awesome power, they wouldn’t know how to cultivate, nor would they attain the wondrous functioning of spiritual powers and transformations. They wouldn’t attain any of those powers.

These beings were all born from the Buddhadharma; they have grown up within the Buddhadharma and have achieved realization within the Buddhadharma. That’s why the text says, “receiving the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power.” That refers not only to the awesome power of Sãkyamuni Buddha, or Vairochana Buddha, or Nisyanda Buddha, but rather to the power of the Buddhas of the ten directions reaching to the ends of space throughout the Dharma Realm.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by CedarTree » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:05 pm

Indrajala wrote:Does anyone else think a new translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is in order?

Cleary certainly worked hard and we should commend him for his efforts, but the translation he produced lacks citation and as I understand it only is a translation from the Chinese.

It would be interesting to do a translation (with several scholars maybe?) and include the Tibetan, Chinese and Sanskrit remnants, as well as provide extensive citation.
This would be amazing to see with the full Mahayana pantheon and Tantric canon as well.

We should try to set up some kind of fundraising thing or something for this on Dharma wheel! :)

Practice, Practice, Practice

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 1

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:05 pm

The Buddha’s body pervades all great assemblies everywhere,
Filling the infinite reaches of the Dharma Realm.
Still and quiet, ungraspable, devoid of nature,
He yet appears in order to save the world.


The Buddha’s body pervades all great assemblies everywhere. This refers to Sãkyamuni Buddha’s body, which is nowhere and everywhere at the same time. There isn’t a place even as small as a mote of dust where the Buddha cannot be found. “All great assemblies” refers to the gatherings where all Buddhas speak Dharma. Since all Buddhas share the same Way, when one Buddha speaks the Dharma, other Buddhas will come to support the Dharma assembly.

Therefore, the Buddha’s body pervades all assemblies, filling the infinite reaches of the Dharma Realm. All of space to the ends of the Dharma Realm is filled with the Buddha’s bodies. It fills this world and other worlds. This world, that world, infinitely many worlds; this land, that land, countlessly many lands are all filled with the Buddhas’ bodies, without end. Once some empty space appears, the Buddha’s body also appears therein. Or, if a country appears, the Buddha’s body also appears therein.

He is still and quiet, ungraspable, devoid of nature. Although the Buddha’s body pervades all assemblies and fills the Dharma Realm, he is still and quiet, without a nature, and intangible. The Buddha’s body cannot be grasped, nor can it be rejected. If you try to take hold of it, you won’t be able to grasp anything. You may try to reject it, but you won’t be able to, either. The Buddha is quiescent in nature, without shape or form, and yet completely embodies the principle of reality. Whether you grasp or reject him, you are actually dealing with nothing. Originally there is nothing to begin with, so what is there to grasp or reject?

He yet appears in order to save the world. All dharmas are originally quiescent in nature. If the Buddha didn’t want to appear in the world, that would be possible. However, there would be no one to save sentient beings. Sentient beings would sink and drown in the sea of love and emotion, not knowing to escape.

The Buddha appeared in the world to save sentient beings, but sentient beings refuse to heed the Buddha’s instructions. They remain muddled, unable to awaken from their sleep. They don’t want to leave this world of suffering and vexation. They might wish to leave the Saha world in one thought, but in the next thought, they don’t wish to leave it anymore. They vacillate back and forth, advancing and then retreating, and never manage to get out of the Saha world. They don’t wish to get out. The Buddha has been waiting for sentient beings, but sentient beings still do not know to return to their origin. Finally, the Buddha can wait no longer; he runs out of patience. And so he says, “I might as well go into the world and find some work to do, even where there is nothing to be done.” So he comes to the Saha world to teach and transform sentient beings. He says, “You’d better quickly wake up from your dreams! You’d better return to your original home. Don’t be so muddled and confused that you forget your roots.”

The Buddha appears in order to save the world. He comes to the world wishing to rescue you and me, us beings laden with deep offenses. If it weren’t for you and me, who are so lost that we don’t know how to return to purity, the Buddha wouldn’t need to come here. Therefore, we should contemplate this and feel very ashamed. Ah! We have taxed the Buddha’s energy, making him come and look for us. Today some of us want to return to lay life; tomorrow someone else wants to go out and find a job; and the day after that, we want to be doing something else. Our idle daydreams are countless in number. We really are shameless!
Master Hua commentary.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:28 am

The Thus Come One’s voice transcends bounds and impediments.
No one who is ready to be taught will fail to hear it.
And yet the Buddha remains still, forever unmoving.
The god Delightful Knowledge is liberated thus
.

Commentary:

The Thus Come One’s voice transcends bounds and impediments. Once, the Venerable Maudgalyayana, using his spiritual powers, traveled a great distance to the east. He traversed countless hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhalands until he was very far away, and yet the Buddha’s voice was still as clear as if Maudgalyayana were in the presence of the Buddha, hearing his voice directly. He could hear the Buddha’s voice very clearly. Therefore, the Buddha’s voice transcends bounds and impediments.

No one who is ready to be taught will fail to hear it. If beings are ready to be taught and they have affinities with the Buddha, then they will, without exception, be able to hear the Buddha’s sound. And yet the Buddha remains still, forever unmoving. Beings in lands throughout the ten directions can hear the Buddha speak Dharma, and yet those beings have not come to where the Buddha is, nor has the Buddha gone to where they are. The Buddha stays seated in quiet meditation, cultivating the virtues of eternity, bliss, true self, and purity. But the Buddha’s voice extends everywhere. The god Delightful Knowledge is liberated thus. This verse expresses the principles of liberation that Celestial King Delightful Knowledge attained.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:25 pm

Moreover, Celestial King Bright Banner of Delight in the Dharma gained a passage into liberation of comprehensively observing the faculties of all sentient beings so as to speak Dharma for them and dissolve their doubts.

Commentary:


Moreover indicates that the principle in the previous section has not been discussed completely. The Celestial King named Bright Banner of Delight in the Dharma is extremely fond of the Dharma, and his wisdom is vast like a bright jeweled banner. He gained a passage into liberation of comprehensively observing the faculties of all sentient beings so as to speak Dharma for them and dissolve their doubts. He has attained a kind of samadhi called “observing all sentient beings’ faculties.” Sentient beings have their individual faculties. Take people, for instance. Everyone’s disposition is different. Although we say that all beings share an identical Buddha nature, within that sameness there are many differences. Every person has his or her individual nature. The same applies to other beings as well.

Among people, there are those with dull and sharp faculties. Those with dull faculties are deluded. They will not understand the Dharma after you explain it to them once. Even if you explain it twice, they still don’t understand. In fact, the more they ask about it, they more muddled they become. The more muddled they are, the more they want to ask questions. As for those with sharp faculties, upon hearing one principle they will understand ten; they can infer many principles from one principle. Then there are those of average faculties; that is, they are neither dull nor sharp, but mediocre. In general, people are endowed with different dispositions. Some are very compassionate by nature, while others have very little compassion. But bit by bit they can change their own thinking and increase their compassion. Although our faculties differ, we are all studying the same thing—the Buddhadharma.

This Celestial King understands beings’ faculties as well as their desires. He knows what every type of being likes. There are many people in this country, yet not that many of them like to cultivate Buddhism, especially in a place where cultivation of the Buddhadharma is taken very seriously. Even fewer people are interested in a place like that. We can see from this that sentient beings are not easy to save. In this country, [USA] people didn’t truly understand the Buddhadharma before, so it’s not easy to teach them to cultivate. You are studying Buddhism now, so that in the future you can go throughout the world to propagate the Buddhadharma. If you want to propagate the Buddhadharma worldwide, first you have to understand beings’ faculties and desires—the things they like. My lecturing of this sutra for you now is like clearing an overgrown piece of land and planting seeds. In the future it’s up to you to cultivate the vast fields of Buddhism and sow bodhi seeds. From now on, every one of you should be independent. Don’t rely on others. Don’t be like Ananda who, when Sãkyamuni Buddha was about to enter nirvana, broke out in tears because he was too dependent on the Buddha.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:03 pm

Celestial King Delightful Great Knowledge gained a passage into liberation of traveling everywhere throughout the ten directions to speak Dharma, while neither moving nor relying on anything.

Commentary:

He can go everywhere throughout the ten directions, and yet he hasn’t gone anywhere. His body pervades the ten directions, and yet he hasn’t gone anywhere. He remains unmoving; he hasn’t come back from anywhere. He has no coming and no going. He is his own master; he doesn’t rely on people or dharmas. Since he is independent of all things, he gained this passage into liberation, literally, “liberation door.” Don’t think there is an actual door or passage.

This is a metaphor. There really isn’t a door. If there were a door, there wouldn’t be any liberation. Don’t take the text literally, thinking there is a door through which one can enter or exit. Actually there is none. If there were a door and liberation were inside it, then there could be no liberation outside it. Or, if liberation were outside the door, then there could be no liberation inside it. And if you said that liberation is both within and without, then what would be the purpose of having a door, anyway?

Therefore, door is simply a metaphor for the attainment of self-mastery and liberation. Don’t go looking for an actual door. Although the text refers to a passage, literally a door, don’t become attached to the notion of a door, thinking that you have to find a door through which to enter. If that were the case, then, through which door should you exit? If there is still entering and exiting, how could that count as liberation? Be sure to understand the meaning of a passage into liberation.

In listening to the sutras, you shouldn’t think, “I’ve listened to an entire lecture, and I haven’t gained anything.” To hear even one important line would be enough. If you know how to listen to the sutras, you will listen for the underlying meaning. If you don’t know how to listen, you will only listen for a literal interpretation of the words. In everything people do, there are those who know how to go about it, and those who don’t. Listening to the sutras is no exception. Some people, upon hearing a sutra lecture, feel as if they’ve tasted the flavor of sweet dew or as if they’ve gained a precious treasure. To people who don’t know how to listen to the sutras, it seems that the Dharma Master keeps talking and talking and still they cannot quite understand what he’s saying. The more they listen, the more they want to go to sleep. The more they want to sleep, the less they are able to stay awake. They doze off for the entire lecture, and that’s a great shame.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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