Taigen will introduce and discuss complexities of the Huayan Buddhist school in China (Kegon in Japan), often considered the pinnacle of Mahayana philosophy. The Huayan dialectical approach to reality has been a major influence on Soto Zen, going back to its Chinese founders like Dongshan. The Huayan School was inspired by the massive colorful Avatamsaka Flower Ornament Sutra. This sutra is described as the very first awareness of Shakyamuni Buddha upon his great awakening, too lofty for anyone at that time to hear. The sutra is a samadhi inspiring text. It expresses the development and unfolding of the practice activities of bodhisattvas. The Huayan ancestors garnered images from the sutra like Indra’s Net, the hall of mirrors, and the golden lion to demonstrate deep interconnectedness to patrons such as Empress Wu. We will explore teachings of the Huayan ancestors, including the Fourfold Dharmadhatu, the unfolding of the relationship between Principle and Phenomena and their non-obstruction. This was a direct precursor of the Soto five ranks or degrees of Universal and Particular. The Huayan holographic vision of radical interconnectedness is an inspiration for the world today.
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