thusness

It is good that you have set your mind on supreme perfect enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-sambodhi). The will for enlightenment is not developed by people who have not planted roots of goodness; the will for enlightenment is produced by those who have attained the illumination of all-sided roots of goodness, who are illumined by the light of knowledge of concentration on the path containing the means of enlightenment, who have accumulated a vast ocean of virtue as provisions for the path to enlightenment, who ceaselessly practice all that is pure and good, who tirelessly apply the methods set up by all spiritual benefactors, who are not worried about their physical subsistence, who are free from clinging to material things, whose minds are equanimous as the Earth, without high or low, who are by nature compassionate and friendly, who face up to all states of being, who seek the sphere of those who realize Thusness. In such people arises the mind of enlightenment (bodhicitta)—the mind of great compassion, for the salvation of all beings; the mind of great kindness, for unity with all beings; the altruistic mind, to repulse all that is not good; the mind of mercy, to protect from all fears; the unobstructed mind, to get rid of all obstacles; the broad mind, to pervade all universes; the infinite mind, to pervade all spaces; the undefiled mind, to manifest the vision of all buddhas; the purified mind, to penetrate all knowledge of past, present, and future; the mind of knowledge, to remove all obstructive knowledge and enter the ocean of all-knowing knowledge.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 1183

Note on the image: Avalokiteshvara yab/yum.

Just don’t seek from others,
Or you’ll be far estranged from Self.
I now go on alone;
Everywhere I meet It:
It now is me; I now am not It.
One must understand in this way
To merge with thusness.
—  Dongshan Liangjie

Bodhisattvas observe the mind is not outside
And also is not found within;
They know the nature of mind has no existence,
Detached from self and things, forever extinct.

Thus do those buddha-children know
The nature of all things is eternally empty,
And there’s not a single thing that can create—
They realize selflessness, same as Buddhas’.

They know that all worlds
Are equal to the nature and characteristics of true thusness;
Seeing these inconceivable characteristics,
They can know the uncharacterized.

If any abide in this profound truth,
Always happily cultivating enlightening practices,
Desiring to aid all living beings,
Adorned with great vows, unregressing;
They then transcend the mundane,
Not creating erroneous concepts of birth and death,
Comprehending the mind is like a magical production,
Diligently cultivating practices to liberate sentient beings.

Avatamsaka Sutra - Flower Ornament Scripture - 651

Note on the image: Buddha’s reply to an inquiry regarding the existence or nonexistence of gods.

True Thusness, free of falsehood, is ever silent;
Birthless, deathless, it is all pervasive.
The realm of the buddhas is also thus;
Essentially equal, not increasing or decreasing.

Just as ultimate reality has no limit,
Is in all times yet is not therein,
So is the realm of the Guide,
Pervading all times without obstruction.

The nature of things is uncreate, unchanging,
Fundamentally pure, like space:
So also is the purity of nature of buddhas—
Their fundamental nature is not a nature, is beyond being and non-being.

The nature of things is not in discussion,
It is speechless, beyond speech, eternally quiescent.
The nature of the realm of the Ten-Powered is also thus;
No words can explain it.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 980

Note on the image: Maitreya

Then the Buddha said to the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, “You should explain the ten concentrations for Universal Eye and the bodhisattvas in this assembly, so that they may be able to enter them and fulfill the practical vows of universal good. Because the great bodhisattvas expound these ten concentrations, they enable the bodhisattvas of the past, present, and future to attain emancipation. What are the ten concentrations? One, the great concentration of universal light; two, the great concentration of subtle light; three, the great concentration of successive journeying to the buddha-lands; four, the great concentration of the action of the pure profound mind; five, the great concentration of knowledge of the stores of adornments of the past; six, the great concentration of the treasury of light of knowledge; seven the great concentration of knowledge of the adornment of the buddhas of all worlds; eight, the great concentration of the differentiated bodies of sentient beings; nine, the great concentration of freedom in the elemental cosmos; ten, the great concentration of the unimpeded wheel.

These ten great concentrations the great bodhisattvas can skillfully enter; all the buddhas of the past, future, and present have expounded, will expound, and are expounding them. If bodhisattvas gladly and respectfully cultivate and practice them without slacking, they will be able to accomplish them; such people are called buddhas; they are called those who have arrived at Thusness, and they are called people who have attained the ten powers, and they are called guides, and they are called great leaders, and they are called omniscient, and they are called all-seers, and they are called those who abide in non-obstruction, and they are called those who have comprehended all objects, and they are called masters of all spiritual truths. These bodhisattva enter into all worlds without being attached to anything in any world; they enter into the realms of all beings without grasping beings; they enter all bodies without being hindered by bodies; they enter all elemental realms and know the cosmos is boundless. They draw near all the buddhas of all times and clearly see all the buddha’s teachings; they skillfully explain all words and comprehend all provisional names. They accomplish the pure path of all bodhisattvas and are firm in all the different practices of the bodhisattvas. In a single instant they attain all knowledge of past, present, and future, and know all things in all times. They expound all the buddha’s teachings and turn all the irreversible wheels. In each age, past, future, and present, they realize all paths to enlightenment, and in each enlightenment comprehend what all the buddhas say. These are the gates of the characteristics of the principles of the bodhisattvas; they are the gates of the knowledge and awareness of bodhisattvas; they are the gates of the invincible knowledge of all means of liberation; these are the gates of the practices vowed by all Samantabhadra bodhisattvas; these are the gates of the undertakings of penetrating spiritual powers; these are the gates of all mnemonic command and powers of elucidation; these are the gates to the differentiations of all things of past, present, and future; these are the gates of manifestations of all buddhas; these are the gates to stabilizing all beings by universal knowledge; these are the gates to beautifying and purifying all worlds by means of spiritual powers of buddhas.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 816, 817

Note on the image: Vajradhara and the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas.

It is good that you have set your mind on supreme perfect enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-sambodhi). The will for enlightenment is not developed by people who have not planted roots of goodness; the will for enlightenment is produced by those who have attained the illumination of all-sided roots of goodness, who are illumined by the light of knowledge of concentration on the path containing the means of enlightenment, who have accumulated a vast ocean of virtue as provisions for the path to enlightenment, who ceaselessly practice all that is pure and good, who tirelessly apply the methods set up by all spiritual benefactors, who are not worried about their physical subsistence, who are free from clinging to material things, whose minds are equanimous as the Earth, without high or low, who are by nature compassionate and friendly, who face up to all states of being, who seek the sphere of those who realize Thusness. In such people arises the mind of enlightenment (bodhicitta)—the mind of great compassion, for the salvation of all beings; the mind of great kindness, for unity with all beings; the altruistic mind, to repulse all that is not good; the mind of mercy, to protect from all fears; the unobstructed mind, to get rid of all obstacles; the broad mind, to pervade all universes; the infinite mind, to pervade all spaces; the undefiled mind, to manifest the vision of all buddhas; the purified mind, to penetrate all knowledge of past, present, and future; the mind of knowledge, to remove all obstructive knowledge and enter the ocean of all-knowing knowledge.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 1183

Note on the image: Avalokiteshvara dharani mandala.

All buddhas have the same one reality-body, a body of infinite range, a body of boundless qualities, a body with no limit in the world, a body undefiled by the realms of desire, form, or formlessness, a body manifested at will, an impartial, pure body that is neither real nor unreal, an indestructible body with no coming or going, no compounding, a body of the inherent essence of phenomena (emptiness), of one form which is formless, an omnipresent body without position or location, a body of boundless forms produced by free psychic transformations, a body of all kinds of manifestations entering universally into everything, a body of skillful employment of subtle truth, a body of a treasury of knowledge illumining everywhere, a body showing the equality of phenomena, a body pervading the cosmos, a body of eternal purity without movement or discrimination, neither existent nor non-existent, a body manifest in accord with the various interests and understandings of all beings capable of being edified, which is not an expedient yet not inexpedient, neither perishes nor does not perish, a body born of the treasury of all virtues, a body of True Thusness, containing all the teachings of the buddhas, a body free from obstruction, its fundamental nature absolutely still, a body in which all qualities of non-obstruction are developed, a body omnipresent in all realms of pure principle, a body omnipresent in all worlds in multiple forms, a body of universal comprehension, free from clinging to objects, free from regression, forever liberated, imbued with omniscience. This is the ninth mighty quality of buddhas.

Avatamsaka Sutra - Flower Ornament Scripture 928, 929

Note on the image: Dharmakaya Samantabhadra

‘May all sentient beings go to see Buddhas of their own accord, without being urged to do so, and may they serve, provide for, and gladden them all; may all sentient beings always enjoy seeing Buddhas, without any feeling of rejection; may all sentient beings always diligently cultivate vast knowledge, absorbing and retaining the treasury of all Buddha teachings; may all sentient beings understand all Buddha teachings they hear and cultivate enlightening practice for immeasurable eons; may all sentient beings abide in right mindfulness, and always see the Buddhas’ emergence with the eye of knowledge; may all sentient beings not think of different occupations, but always think of seeing Buddha and diligently cultivate the ten powers; may all sentient beings always see Buddhas in all places, comprehending that the realization of thusness pervades the realm of space; may all sentient beings become equipped with the free body of Buddhahood, realizing enlightenment and expounding the truth throughout the ten directions; may all sentient beings meet good teachers, always hear the Buddha teachings, and attain unbreakable faith in the Buddhas; may all sentient beings be able to eulogize the emergence of Buddhas, and cause those who see them to attain universal purity.’ This is the bodhisattvas’ dedication of the roots of goodness of praising Buddhas’ appearance in the world, to cause sentient beings to see all Buddhas, provide for and serve them, and attain ultimate purity in the highest teaching.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 606

Note on the image: Vajradhara yab-yum.

In one Buddha-body

He produces infinite Buddhas,

Thunderous sound pervading all lands

Expounding the teaching, the deep ocean of thusness.


No abiding, yet no departing…

No substance, no abode,

And no origin that can be found;

No signs, no form: What appears is like reflections.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 164, 165

Note on the image: Sambhogakaya Samantabhadra and Consort.

Buddhas have ten kinds of skill in means. What are they? All buddhas know all things are beyond idle philosophizing, yet can demonstrate the roots of goodness of all buddhas. All buddhas know all things have no vision and are unknown to each other, have no bondage or release, no reception or assembly, and no consummation, and independently ultimately reach the other shore. Meanwhile, they know the true reality of all things is unvarying, not different, and they attain freedom, selflessly, without grasping, not destroying ultimate truth. Having already reached the state of great freedom, they always observe all realms of reality. All buddhas are forever aloof from all appearances; their minds do not dwell on anything, yet they know all appearances are without confusion or error. While they know all appearances have no intrinsic nature of their own, yet they’re able to perceive them all in accord with their essence and also manifest the infinite appearances of the various adornments of innumerable physical bodies and pure buddha-lands, gather lamps of knowledge and wisdom, and destroy the delusions of sentient beings. All buddhas abide in the realm of reality; they do not dwell in the past, future, or present, because in Thusness as such there are no marks of the three time frames of past, future, or present; yet they can speak about the emergence in the world of the innumerable buddhas of past, future, and present, causing those who hear to see the realms of all the buddhas. All buddhas, in their physical, verbal, and mental actions do not create anything, have no coming or going, and no abiding. Beyond all categories, they reach the other shore of all things, yet are treasuries of all truths, imbued with immeasurable knowledge, comprehending all kinds of mundane and transmundane things, their knowledge and wisdom unhindered, manifesting immeasurable autonomous spiritual powers, edifying the sentient beings of all realms. All buddhas know that all things cannot be seen, are neither one nor different, are neither finite nor infinite, are not coming or going, all being without inherent nature of their own, yet they do not contravene the phenomena of the world. The all-knowers see all things in the midst of non-existence of own being or inherent nature; being independent of things, they extensively explain things well, always abiding steadily in the real nature of True Thusness. All buddhas know all times in one time; and endowed with pure virtues, they enter the absolute state, yet without any attachment to it. In regard to time frames such as day, month, year, eon, becoming, and decomposition, they neither remain within them nor abandon them, yet they’re able to show day or night, beginning, middle, and end, one day, one week, a fortnight, a month, a year, a century, an eon, many eons, inconceivable eons, inexpressible eons, as far as all the eons throughout the future, always turning the wheel of the sublime Dharma for the sake of sentient beings, without interruption, without retreating, without pause. All buddhas always remain in the realm of reality, develop the infinite fearlessness of the buddhas, as well as their countless, measureless, inexhaustible, ceaseless, boundless, unique, endless, and true intellectual powers, appropriately demonstrating explanation of all expressions and explanation of all principles, delivering untold millions of discourses using various doctrines adapted to faculties and natures, inclinations and understandings, all ultimately good in the beginning, the middle, and the end. All buddhas, abiding in the pure realm of reality, know all things originally have no names, there being no name of past, present, or future, no name of sentient beings, no name of inanimate beings, no name of country or land, no name of non-country, no name of law or no law, no name of virtue or non virtue, no name of bodhisattva, no name of buddha, no names of sets, no names of non-sets, no name of birth, no name of extinction, no name of existence, no name of non-existence, no name of unity, no name of variety, because the essential nature of things is inexpressible — all things are without location or position, cannot be explained as assembling or dispersing, as one or many, no verbalization can reach them, all words fail; though the buddhas speak in various ways according to conventional usage, they do not cling to anything as mental objects, do not make anything up, and avoid all false conceptual attachments: in this way they ultimately reach the other shore. All buddhas know the fundamental nature of all things is null: because it has no birth, it is not form; because it has no manifestation, it is not sensation; because it has no names or categories, it is not conception; because it has no action, it is not conditioning; because it has no grasping, it is not consciousness; because it has no access, it is not sense medium; because it apprehends nothing, it is not sense elements — yet it does not negate things, because the original nature has no origination, is like space. All phenomena are empty and quiescent; there is no action or effect, no cultivation, no accomplishment, no production. They are not in sets, yet not out of order; not existing or non-existent; not born or annihilated; not defiled or pure; not entering or existing; not abiding, not transitory; not edifying, not unedifying; not beings, not not beings; not living, not lifeless; not caused, not causeless. While knowing this, the buddhas know all sentient beings, whether they are rightly stabilized, wrongly stabilized, or not stabilized, and teach them the subtle truth to enable them to reach the other shore, attain the ten powers and four fearlessnesses, be able to roar the lion’s roar, be imbued with universal knowledge, and abide in the realm of buddhahood. These are the ten kinds of skill in means achievef by buddhas.

Avatamsaka Sutra - 917, 918, 919

Note on the image: artist unknown

so you’ve learned
  the lost-then-found
   language of the Dead
       the Timeless Tongue,
  which to know
    is to keep
  with the silence
    of the Moon
 sliding through space
    waxing
     & waning
  when the time is
          Just Right 

Hongaku

there is no-thing,
no movement, no gesture,
no sound, whether crowded 
laughter, lover’s voice, or 
cat’s trill,
no bringing cup to lips
or lace to lace, no concrete 
texture, no look, no drop of
blood, no dog’s shed
hair,
no falling blossom, no 
furrowed brow,
no grass,
no tree, no mountain speck,
no flash of light, no pain, no
shadow,
that is not
thus and so,
that is not
through and through
buddha, 
and thus,
there is no-thing
that is not
sacred, 
calling you to 
be
unhurried,
spontaneous,
most fully
thus and so.

Like the fundamental essence of true thusness,
Such a great mind do bodhisattvas awake:
True thusness’s whereabouts is everywhere—
Such practice do they dedicate.

As in the fundamental essence of true thusness
There has never been a single thing,
Ungraspable essence the true essence,
Such work do they dedicate.

As is the character of true thusness, so is their work;
As is the essence of true thusness, so is their work:
As the essence of true thusness is basically real,
So is their work the same as true thusness.

Just as true thusness has no limits,
So too is their work boundless—
And yet they have no ties therein,
Therefore this work is pure.

Thus are brilliant true children of Buddha,
Their will steadfast, unwavering;
By their power of knowledge they comprehend well,
And enter the treasury of Buddha’s techniques.

Avatamsaka Sutra - Flower Ornament Scripture - 650

Note on the image: Padmasambava, Guru Rinpoche.

The Way Out

there is no more room in this head,
   Pure Mind
       has taken the empty lot,
         filled it full of Wild Flowers;
   their pungency filling this Nose:
       just Bugs & Squirrels
           for thoughts.

  a stream of Birds pass by
          between this Mind
              & oceans of thick,
                   Clouded Sky
      nothing but the subtle flutter
 of a hundred rushing wings, fleeting,
          & the chill autumn air.

stop agonizing over This and That:
    allow Pure Mind Sovereignty.
 there is no solution to your worries,
        no answer,
                 simply
                       Thus.