‘No Place They did not Reach’

From the tow-path of the Lancaster Canal

Clouds of radiance of jewels reflected each other: the Buddhas of the ten directions conjured regal pearls, and the exquisite jewels in the topknots of the enlightening beings all emanated light, which came and illuminated them.
Furthermore, sustained by the spiritual power of all Buddhas, they expounded the vast perspective of the Enlightened Ones, their subtle tones extending afar, there being no place they did not reach.

The Avatamsaka Sutra, aka as The Flower Ornament Scripture.

As I sit here at Throssel in my room, recently returned from a visit to Cumbria and Lancaster, the not so ‘subtle tones’ of a chain saw whirring away enters my ears. I can hear it as I type, I didn’t hear it as I read the sutra earlier (perhaps it hadn’t started then). The chainsaw noise is part of a ‘sound scape’ just as visually there is a ‘visual scape’. They come together in my awareness. Not to mention, now I bring my mind consciously to my fingers, and the rest of me as well.

The chain sawing is a noise, it gets my attention. It is constant. Is that noise opposed to the peace that pervades when it isn’t there? Is the rubbish on one side of the canal opposed to the tranquil scene of the barge puttering up the canal?

From the visual, the radiance of jewels reflecting each other, to the subtle tones of the audible, the expounding of the teaching in the Flower Ornament brings EVERYTHING, every separate everything, together. That is the profound teaching of the Avatamsaka. The separate things are a product of our wonderful imaginings and are essential, on a particular level, to our human functioning. Are they not? I can no more bend my mind to make the noise a sound, any more than I can not recoil at the sight of the overflowing rubbish bin.

Very recently I have come to appreciate the profound link between the perception of audio and visual input, between sound and sight. The realization? Part of that is letting sound and sight come into (to receive) my senses eyes and ears, rather than going out and drag that in. Our senses, in themselves, are void (of individual self nature), unstained, and pure (empty of individual self nature). So sings the Scripture of Great Wisdom.

Why not read the extract from the sutra again, slowly. Then read it again more slowly. Perhaps read it again even more slowly? Perhaps now read the words aloud, the sound of your voice as you read to be there too.