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Avatamsaka Sutra :Volume 1: The Wonderful Adornments of the Leaders of the World, the 1st section by Thomas Cleary

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(Taisho Tripitaka 0279)
Translated into English by Thomas Cleary

Volume 1: The Wonderful Adornments of the Leaders of the World, the 1st section

THUS HAVE I HEARD. At one time the Buddha was in the land of Magadha, in a state of purity, at the site of enlightenment, having just realized true awareness. The ground was solid and firm, made of diamond, adorned with exquisite jewel disks and myriad precious flowers, with pure clear crystals. The ocean of characteristics of the various colors appeared over an infinite extent. There were banners of precious stones, constantly emitting shining light and producing beautiful sounds. Nets of myriad gems and garlands of exquisitely scented flowers hung all around. The finest jewels appeared spontaneously, raining inexhaustible quantities of gems and beautiful flowers all over the earth. There were rows of jewel trees, their branches and foliage lustrous and luxuriant. By the Buddha's spiritual power, he caused all the adornments of this enlightenment site to be reflected therein.

The tree of enlightenment was tall and outstanding. Its trunk was diamond, its main boughs were lapiz lazuli, its branches and twigs were of various precious elements. The leaves, spreading in all directions, provided shade, like clouds. The precious blossoms were of various colors, the branching twigs spread out their shadows. Also the fruits were jewels containing a blazing radiance. They were together with the flowers in great arrays. The entire circumference of the tree emanated light; within the light there rained precious stones, and within each gem were enlightening beings (Bodhisattva), in great hosts like clouds, simultaneously appearing.

Also, by virtue of the awesome spiritual power of the Buddha, the tree of enlightenment constantly gave forth sublime sounds speaking various truths without end.

The palace chamber in which the Buddha was situated was spacious and beautifully adorned. It extended throughout the ten directions. It was made of jewels of various colors and was decorated with all kinds of precious flowers. The various adornments emanated lights like clouds; the masses of their reflections from within the palace formed banners.

A boundless host of enlightening beings, the congregation at the site of enlightenment, were all gathered there: by means of the ability to manifest the lights and inconceivable sounds of the Buddhas, they fashioned nets of the finest jewels, from which came forth all the realms of action of the spiritual powers of the Buddhas, and in which were reflected images of the abodes of all beings.

Also, by virtue of the aid of the spiritual power of the Buddhas, they embraced the entire cosmos in a single thought.

Their lion seats were high, wide, and beautiful. The bases were made of jewels, their nets of lotus blossoms, their tableaus of pure, exquisite gemstones. They were adorned with various flowers of all colors. Their roofs, chambers, steps, and doors were adorned by the images of all things. The branches and fruits of jewel trees surrounded them, arrayed at intervals.

Clouds of radiance of jewels reflected each other; the Buddhas of the ten directions conjured regal pearls, and exquisite jewels in the topknots of all the enlightening beings all emanated light, which came and illuminated them.

Furthermore, sustained by the spiritual powers of the Buddhas, they expounded the vast perspective of the Thus Come Ones (Tathagata) , their subtle tones extending afar, there being no place they did not reach.

At that time, the World Honored One (Bhagavan), in this setting, attained the supreme, correct awareness of all things. His wisdom entered into all the three times(*) with complete equality; his body filled all worlds; his voice universally accorded with all lands in the ten directions. Like space, which contains all forms, he made no discrimination among all objects. And, as space extends everywhere, he entered all worlds equally. His body forever sat omnipresent in all sites of enlightenment. Among the hosts of enlightening beings, his awesome light shone clearly, like the sun emerging, illumining the world. The ocean of myriad virtues which he practiced in all times was thoroughly pure, and he constantly demonstrated the production of all the buddha-lands, their boundless forms and spheres of light extending throughout the entire cosmos (Dharma-Realm), equally and impartially.

(* the three times: past, present and future)

He expounded all truths, like spreading great clouds. Each of his hairtips was able to contain all worlds without interference, in each manifesting immeasurable spiritual powers, teaching and civilizing all living beings. His body extended throughout the ten directions, yet without coming or going. His knowledge entered into all forms and realized the emptiness of all things. All the miraculous displays of the Buddhas of past, present, and future, were all seen in his light, and all the adornments of inconceivable eons were revealed.

There were great enlightenment beings (Bodhisattva-Mahasattva) numerous as the atoms in ten buddha-worlds surrounding him. Their names were: Universally Good (Samantabhadra), Light of the Supreme Lamp of Universal Virtue, Lion Banner of Universal Light, Subtle Light of Flames of Universal Jewels, Banner of Oceans of Qualities of Universal Sounds, Realm of Enlightenment of Radiance of Universal Knowledge, Banner of Flowers of a Topknot of Universal Jewels, Pleasing Voice of Universal Awareness, Light of Inexhaustible Virtue of Universal Purity, Mark of Universal Light, Great Brilliance of the Light of the Moon Reflected in the Ocean, Undefiled Treasury of Light of Oceans of Cloudlike Sounds, Born of Wisdom and Adorned with Virtue, Great Light of Sovereign Virtue, Brave Lotus Topknot, Sun Banner of Clouds of Universal Knowledge, Greatly Persevering with Indestructible Courage, Light Banner of Fragrant Flames, Deep Beautiful Sound of Great Enlightened Virtue, Born of Wisdom with the Light of Great Virtue. These and others were the leaders - there were as many as there are atoms in ten buddha-worlds.

These Bodhisattvas had all in the past accumulated roots of goodness along with Vairocana Buddha and were all Born from the oceans of roots of goodness of the Buddha. They had already fulfilled the various means of transcendence (Paramita), and their wisdom eye was thoroughly clear. They observed all times with impartiality. They were thoroughly purified in all Samadhis. Their eloquence was oceanic, extensive and inexhaustible.

They possessed qualities of Buddhahood, were dignified and honorable. They knew the faculties of sentient beings and taught them according to potential and necessity. They entered into the Matrix of the cosmos, their knowledge was nondiscriminatory; they experienced the liberation of the Buddhas, exceedingly deep and immensely vast.

They were able to enter into one stage, according to technical expediency, yet maintain all stages, supported by the ocean of all vows, always accompanied by wisdom, throughout the future.

They had thoroughly comprehended the rarely attained vast secret realm of all Buddhas. They were familiar with the equal teachings of all Buddhas. They were already treading the Buddhas Ground of Universal Light. They entered the doors of boundless Samadhis. They manifested bodies in all places and participated in worldly activities. Their memory power was enormous and they assembled the ocean of all the teachings. With intelligence, eloquence and skill, they turned the wheel which never turns back.

The vast ocean of merits and virtues of all Buddhas entered entirely into their bodies, and they were already able to arrive all Buddha-worlds according to their wishes. They had already made offerings to all Buddhas, over boundless eons, joyfully and tirelessly. In all places when the Buddhas attained enlightenment, they were always there approaching them and associating with them, never giving up. Always, by the Universal Goodness (Samanta-bhadra) Vows Ocean that they had attained, they caused the wisdom body of all sentient beings to be fulfilled. They had perfected innumerable such merits and virtues.

There were also present thunderbolt bearing spirits as numerous as atoms in a Buddha world, known as demigod of wonderful form, banner of swiftness of the sun, light of the flowers of the polar mountain, pure sound of clouds, sublime faculties, delightful light, sound of thunder in great trees, lion king white, auspicious eye of intense flames, jewel topknot of lotus light; these were the leaders, and there were as many of them as there are atoms in a Buddha World. All of them had constantly invoked great vows over countless past eons, vowing to always draw near to and serve the Buddhas. Their practices in accord with their vows had already reached fulfillment and they had reached the other shore. They had accumulated boundless pure good works. They had clearly arrived at all the realms of Samadhis, and had attained spiritual powers. They dwelled wherever a Buddha was, and entered into the realm of inconceivable liberation; taking their place in the assembly, their dignified light stood out. They manifested their bodies according to the needs of sentient beings and thereby pacified them. Wherever there were manifestations of Buddhas, they all went there magically. Wherever the Buddhas dwelt, they always diligently guarded and protected the place.

There were also multiple body spirits, numerous as atoms in a Buddha World, known as flower topknot adornment, light illuminating all directions, oceanic sound conquering, pure flower adorned topknot, infinite dignified postures, a ray of supreme light, fragrant clouds of pure light, guardian sustainer, ubiquitous Shepard, immutable light, these were the leaders; there were as many as there are atoms in a Buddha World. They had all in the past fulfilled great vows and had provided for and served all the Buddhas.

Also there were footstep following spirits, numerous as atoms in a Buddha World. Their leaders were known as precious symbol, lotus light, topknot of pure flowers, embodying all beautiful visions, exquisite gem star banner, joyfully uttering sublime sounds, sandal wood tree light, lotus luminosity, subtle light, collection of fine flowers, and so on. Over innumerable past ages they had all associated with Buddhas, always following them.

There were also sanctuary spirits, as numerous as atoms in a Buddha World. Their leaders were known as banner of pure adornments, polar mountain jewel light, sign of the thunder banner, wonderful eyes raining flowers, garland light topknot, raining jewel arrays, courageous fragrant eye, diamond colored cloud, lotus light, radiance of ineffable light, and so on. All of them had in the past met innumerable Buddhas, perfected their willpower, and brought forth extensive offerings.

There were also city spirits, as numerous as atoms in a Buddha World. Their leaders were known as jewel peak radiance, beautifully adorned palace, jewel of pure joy, sorrow less purity, flower lamp flame eyes, flame banner clearly showing, light of virtue, pure light, fragrant topknot adornment, beautiful jewel light, and so on. All of them had, over innumerable, inconceivable eons, adorned the mansions in which the Buddhas Stayed.

There were also earth spirits, as numerous as atomic particles in a Buddha World. Their leaders were know as pure flower of universal virtue, adornment of stable blessings, beautiful flower adorned tree, universal distributor of treasures, pure eye observing the season, beautiful supreme eye, fragrant hair emitting light, pleasing sound, curled topknot of beautiful flowers, diamond adorned body, and so on. They had all in the past made profound grave vows, vowing to always associate with the Buddhas, and cultivate the same virtuous acts.

There were also innumerable mountain spirits led by such as jewel peak blooming flower, flower forest beautiful topknot, lofty banner shining everywhere, undefiled jeweled topknot, light illuminating all directions, light of great power, awesome light conquering all, light orb of subtle intensity, universal eye clearly seeing, adamantine eye of mystery. They had all attained pure eyes in regarding all things.

There were also an inconceivable number of forest spirits, led by such spirits as spreading flowers like clouds, outstanding trunk unfolding light, bearing branches emitting radiance, auspicious pure leaves, draped flame treasury, pure light, pleasant thunder, light and fragrance all pervading, subtle light shining far, flowers and fruits savoring of light, and so on. They all had infinite pleasing glows.

There were also innumerable herb spirits, led by such as auspicious, sandalwood forest, pure light, universal renown, radiant pores, universal purifier, roarer, banner of light outshining the sun, seeing in all directions, energy augmenting clear eyes, and so on. Their natures were all free from defilement, and they helped beings with kindness and compassions.

There were also innumerable crop spirits, led by such spirits as, gentle superb flavor, pure light of seasonal flowers, physical strength courage and health, increasing vitality, everywhere producing roots and fruits, wonderfully adorned circular topknot, moistening pure flowers, developing wonderful fragrance, liked all by all who see, undefiled pure light. All of them had attained perfection of great joyfulness.

There were also innumerable river spirits, led by such spirits as, everywhere producing swift currents, universally purifying springs and streams, dust free pure eye, roaring everywhere, rescuing sentient beings, heatless pure light, universally causing joy, supreme banner of extensive virtue, light shining on all worlds, light of oceanic virtues. All of them diligently concentrated on benefiting living beings.

There were also innumerable ocean spirits, led by such spirits as, Producing Jewel Light, Diamond Banner, Undefiled, Palaces In All Waters, Auspicious Jewel Moon, Beautiful Flower Dragon Topknot, Everywhere Holding The Flavor Of Light, Jewel Flame Flower Light, Beautiful Diamond Topknot, Thunderer Of The Ocean Tide. They had all filled their bodies with the great ocean of virtues of the Buddhas.

There were also innumerable water spirits, led by such spirits as, Ubiquitous Cloud Banner, Cloud-Like Sound Of The Ocean Tide, Beautiful Round Topknot, Whirlpool Of Skills, Store Of Undefiled Fragrance, Virtue Bridge Light Sound, Freedom Of Contentment, Good Sound Of Pure Joy, Everywhere Manifesting Awesome Light, Roaring Sound Filling The Sea. They always diligently strived to rescue and protect all beings.

There were also countless fire spirits, led by such spirits as, Repository Of Flames Of Universal Light, Banner Of Universal Assembly Of Light, Great Light Shining Everywhere, Palace Of Wonders, Inexhaustible Light Topknot, Eyes Of Various Flames, Palaces In All Directions Like Polar Mountains, Sovereign Of Awesome Light, Light Destroying The Darkness, Thunder And Lightning. All of them manifested various kinds of light, causing the irritations of sentient beings to vanish.

There were also innumerable wind spirits, led by such spirits as, Unimpeded Light, Everywhere Manifesting Courageous Action, Wind Striking Cloud Banner, Arrays Of Light, Power Able To Dry Up Water, Great Voice Howling Everywhere, Tree Branch Hanging Topknot, Unimpeded Wherever It Goes, Various Mansions, Great Light Shining Everywhere. They all worked to dispel the mentality of conceit.

There were also innumerable space spirits, led by such spirits as, Pure Light Shining All Around, Traveling Everywhere Deeply And Extensively, Producing Auspicious Wind, Abiding Securely Beyond Obstruction, Broad Steps And Beautiful Topknot, Unhindered Light Flames, Unobstructed Conquering Power, Spotless Light, Deep And Far Reaching Sublime Sound, All Pervading Light. Their minds were all free from defilement, broad, vast, clear, and pure.

There were also innumerable direction spirits, led by such spirits as, Dwelling Everywhere, Ubiquitous Light, Array Of Light Beams, Traveling Everywhere Unhindered, Forever Ending Confusion, Roaming Everywhere In Pure Space, Great Sound Of Cloud Banners, Topknot And Eyes Undisturbed, Universally Observing The Doings Of The Worlds, Traveling Everywhere Watching. They were able, by means of their skills, to emanate light in all directions, always illuminating the ten directions continuously without interruption.

There were also innumerable night spirits, led by such spirits as, Pure Light Of Universal Virtue, Observing The World With Joyful Eyes, Everywhere Manifesting Auspicious Omens, Everywhere Causing Tree Flowers To Bloom, All Senses Always Joyful, Producing Pure Bounty. They all practiced diligently, taking delight in the truth.

There were also innumerable day spirits, led by such as, Displaying Palaces, Bringing Forth The Fragrance Of Wisdom, Delighting In Superb Adornments, Exquisite Light Of Fragrant Flowers, Collecting All Wonderful Herbs, Liking To Make Joyful Eyes, Appearing In All Places, Light Of Great Compassion, Radiance Of Goodness, Garlands Of Beautiful Flowers. They all had certain faith in the sublime truth, and always strived diligently in concert to adorn the palace.

There were also innumerable Asura Kings, led by such as Rahula, Bhimacitta, Skillful Magical Arts, Great Following, Great Strength, Universal Shining, Wonderful Adornment of Firm Action, Vast Causal Wisdom, Magnifying Superior Qualities, Sublime Voice. They had all worked energetically to conquer pride and other afflictions.

There were also innumerable Garuda Kings, led by such as, Power of Great Swiftness, Unbreakable Jewel Topknot, Pure Speed, Non-Regressing Mind, Sustaining Power in the Ocean, Steady Pure Light, Artistically Decorated Crown Topknot, Immediate Manifestation Everywhere, Surveying the Ocean, Universal Sound and Broad Eyes. They had already perfected the power of great skill in expedient methods of liberation and were able to rescue all beings.

There were also an inconceivable number of Kinnara Kings, led by such as, Heaven Of Light Of Refined Intellect, Exquisite Flower Banner, Various Adornment, Pleasing Sound, Jewel Tree Light, Delight To The Beholder, Adornment Of Supreme Light, Delicate Flower Banner, Earth Shaking Power, Conquering Evil Beings. They had all made diligent efforts, contemplating all things, their hearts were always blissful, roaming freely.

There were also innumerable Mahoraga Kings, led by such as, Beneficent Wisdom, Pure Dignified Sound, Adornment of Supreme Wisdom, Lord of Sublime Eyes, Lamp Like Banner, Refuge of the Masses, Supreme Light Banner, Lion Guts, Sound Adorned by Myriad Subtleties, Stable as a Polar Mountain, Delightful Light. They had all diligently cultivated great and extensive skills in method to cause sentient beings to forever tear apart the net of ignorance.

There were also innumerable Yaksha Kings, led by such as, Vaishravana, Independent Sound, Solemn Weapon Bearer, Great Wisdom, Lord of Flaming Eyes, Adamantine Eye, Arm of Courage and Strength, Bravely Resisting General, Rich in Material Goods, Power to Smash High Mountains. They all strived to guard and protect all living beings.

There were also innumerable Great Dragon Kings, led by such as, Virupakasha, Shakra, Subtle Banner of Cloud Sounds, Flaming Mouth Ocean Light, Ubiquitous High Cloud Banner, Unbounded Steps, Pure Form, Great Sound Traveling Everywhere, No Heat or Torment; they all worked hard making clouds and spreading rain to cause the heat and afflictions of all beings to vanish.

There were also innumerable Kumbanda Kings, led by such as, Increase, Dragon Lord, Banner of Adornments of Goodness, Universally Beneficial Action, Most Fearsome, Handsome with Beautiful Eyes, High Peak Intellect, Brave and Strong Arms, Boundless Pure Flower Eyes, Enormous God-Like Face with Titan¡¯s Eyes. They all diligently practiced and studied the teachings of freedom from impediment, and emitted great light.

There were also innumerable Gandharva Kings, led by such as, sustaining the nation, tree light, clear eyes, flower crown, universal sound, joyously moving beautiful eyes, wondrous sound lion banner, diamond tree flower banner, joyfully causing adornments to appear everywhere. They all had deep faith and appreciation of the great teaching, rejoiced in it, and respected it, and diligently practiced it tirelessly.

There were also innumerable Moon Deities, led by such as Moon Godling, Flower King Topknot Halo, Myriad Sublime Pure Lights, Pacifying the Hearts of the World, Luminosity of tree king eyes, manifesting pure light, immutable light traveling everywhere, sovereign monarch of constellations, moon of pure awareness, great majestic light. All strived to bring to light the mind jewel of living beings.

There were also innumerable sun deities, led by such as Sun Godling, Eyes Of Flames Of Light, Awesome Light, Undefiled Jewel Arrays, Non-Regressing Courage, Light Of Beautiful Flower Garlands, Supreme Banner Light, Universal Light Of A Jewel Topknot, Eyes Of Light. All of them diligently learned and practiced to benefit living beings and increase their roots of goodness.

There were also innumerable kings of the thirty three heavens, led by such as Shakra-Indra, Everywhere Intoning Fulsome Sound, Kind Eyes Jewel Topknot, Jewel Light Banner Fame, Joy-Producing Topknot, Admirable Right Mindfulness, Supreme Sound Of The Polar Mountain, Perfect Mindfulness, Pleasing Flower Light, Eye Of The Sun Of Knowledge, Independent Light Able To Enlighten. All of them strived to bring forth great works in all worlds.

There were also innumerable kings of the Suyama Heavens, led by such as Timely Portion, Delightful Light, Banner Of Inexhaustible Wisdom And Virtue, Skilled In Miraculous Displays, Great Light Of Memory Power, Inconceivable Wisdom, Circular Naval, Light Flames, Illumination, Greatly Famed For Universal Observation. All of them diligently cultivated great roots of goodness, and their minds were always joyful and content.

There were also an inconceivable number of kings of the Tushita Heavens, led by such as Contented, Ocean Of Bliss Topknot, Supreme Virtue Banner, Still And Silent Light, Pleasing Beautiful Eyes, Clear Moon On A Jewel Peak, Supreme Courage And Strength, Subtle Diamond Light, Constellation Array Banner, Pleasing Adornments. All of them diligently kept in mind the names and epithets of all the Buddhas.

There were also innumerable kings of the heavens of enjoyment of emanations, led by such as Skilful Transformation And Emanation, Light Of Silent Sound, Light Of The Power Of Transformation And Emanation, Master Of Adornment, Light Of Mindfulness, Supreme Cloud Sound, Supreme Light Of Myriad Subtleties, Exquisite Topknot Light, Perfect Joy And Intellect, Flower Light Topknot, And Seeing In All Directions. All of them worked diligently to tame living beings and enabled them to attain liberation.

There were also countless kings of the heavens of free enjoyment of others emanations, led by such as Sovereign Freedom, Sublime Eye Lord, Beautiful Crown Banner, Courageous Intelligence, Wonderful Sound Phrases, Subtle Light Banner, Gate Of The Realm Of Peace, Array Of Splendid Discs Banner, Flower Grove Independent Intellect, And Light Of Beautiful Adornments Of The Power Of Indra. All of them diligently practiced and studied the vast and great teaching of independent skill in means of liberation.

There were also uncountable kings of the great Brahma heavens, led by such as Shikhin, Light Of Wisdom, Radiance Of Beneficent Wisdom, Sound Of Ubiquitous Clouds, Independent Observer Of The Sounds Of Speech Of The Worlds, Eyes Of Still Light, All Pervading Light, Sound Of Magical Displays, Eyes Of Shining Light, And Pleasing Ocean Sound. All of them had great compassion and took pity on living beings; unfolding light that illuminated everywhere, they caused them to be joyful and blissful.

There were also innumerable kings of the heavens in which light is used for sound, led by Pleasing Light, Pure Subtle Light, Sound Of Freedom, Supreme Awareness And Knowledge, Delightful Pure Subtle Sound, Sound Of Skilful Meditation, Universal Sound Illuminating Everywhere, Most Profound Light-Sound, Pure Name Light, And Supreme Pure Light. All of them dwelt in the unhindered state of great peace, tranquility, joy, and bliss.

There were also innumerable kings of the heavens of universal purity, led by such as Pure Reputation, Supreme Vision, Virtue Of Tranquility, Sound Of The Polar Mountain, Eye Of Pure Mindfulness, Light Flame Sovereign, Enjoyer Of Mediation On The Truth And Creating Demonstrations, Banner Of Miraculous Displays, And Exquisite Array Of Constellation Sounds. They were all already abiding securely in the great teaching, and worked diligently to benefit all worlds.

There were also innumerable kings of the heavens of vast results, led by such as Banner Of The Delightful Light Of Truth, Ocean Of Pure Adornments, Light Of Supreme Wisdom, Independent Wisdom Banner, Delight In Tranquility, Eye Of Universal Knowledge, Delight In Use Of Intellect, Light Of Intellect Sown With Virtue, Undefiled Tranquil Light, And Vast Pure Light. They all dwelt at peace in the palace of tranquility.

There were also countless kings of the heavens of great freedom led by such as Sea Of Subtle Flames, Light Of The Name Of Freedom, Eye Of Pure Virtues, Enjoyable Great Intelligence, Freedom Of Immutable Light, Eyes Of Sublime Adornments, Light Of Skilful Meditation, Delightful Great Knowledge, Universal Sound Array Banner, And Light Of Fame Of Extreme Exertion. All of them diligently contemplated the truth of formlessness, and their actions were all equanimous, and impartial.

(End of Volume 1)