Note to the Reader

The Avatamsaka Sutra, which is described by D.T. Suzuki as "the epitome of Buddhist thought, Buddhist sentiment and Buddhist experience," consists of eighty-one fascicles, divided into forty chapters. The chapter on "The Practices and Vows of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra," the last and best-known chapter, represents the essence of Bodhisattva practice.

The Great Vows of Samantabhadra are the right causes of Buddhahood and the pure conditions for rebirth in the Pure Land. For precisely this reason, the ancients, down through the centuries, have copied, printed and disseminated this chapter separately, so that everyone may recite it and put its teachings into practice.

Precisely because these practices and vows contain the right causes of Buddhahood as well as the pure conditions for rebirth in the Pure Land, the ancients have also excerpted several passages and incorporated them in the daily liturgy of the faithful.

During his lifetime, Elder Master Yin Kuang frequently lectured on this chapter to encourage Pure Land practice and to demonstrate that rebirth in the Western Land is the common vow of the Bodhisattvas in the Ocean-Wide Avatamsaka Assembly. (Master Thich Tri Tinh.)

The following passages are excerpted from the translation prepared by the Buddhist Text Translation Society, Talmadge, California. We have made a number of changes to correspond to the main part of this book -- for which we beg the indulgence of the original translators.

(From the appendix of "Pure-Land Zen, Zen Pure-Land", translated by Master Thich Thien Tam, edited by Forrest Smith)