(Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39)
The Avatamsaka Sutra, the basic text of the Avatamsaka School, is one of the longest sutras in the Buddhist Canon and records the highest teaching of Buddha Sakyamuni, immediately after Enlightenment. It is traditionally believed that the Sutra was taught to the Bodhisattvas and other high spiritual beings while the Buddha was in samadhi. The Sutra has been described as "the epitome of Buddhist thought, Buddhist sentiment and Buddhist experience" and is quoted by all schools of Mahayana Buddhism, in particular, Pure Land and Zen.
The main protagonist in the next-to-last and longest chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra is the youth Sudhana. Seeking Enlightenment, he visited and studied with fifty-three spiritual advisors and became the equal of the Buddhas in one lifetime. When he was born, myriad treasures suddenly appeared in his father's home. Thus the name "Sudhana" or "Good Wealth."
Below are excerpts from the Flower Adornment Sutra [Avatamsaka Sutra], ch. 39, Part II, p. 1ff. (Translation by Master Hsuan Hua.)
At that time, Manjusri Bodhisattva, after speaking the verses, told Sudhana, "Good indeed! Good Indeed! You have already brought forth the resolve for Supreme Enlightenment to seek the conduct of a Bodhisattva. Good man, if sentient beings can bring forth the resolve for Supreme Enlightenment, this is a difficult thing indeed. Moreover upon bringing forth the resolve, if they further wish to seek the Bodhisattva conduct, this is twice as hard.
"Good man, if one wishes to accomplish the wisdom of all wisdom, then one must decisively seek a true good knowing [spiritual] advisor. Good man, in seeking for a good knowing advisor, do not become weary or lax. And upon seeing a good knowing advisor, do not become satiated. As to a good knowing advisor and all his teachings, you must follow and accord. As to expedient devices employed by a good knowing advisor, do not find faults.
"Good man, south of here is a kingdom called Supreme Bliss. Within that kingdom is a mountain called Wonderful Summit, and on that mountain is a Bhiksu named Cloud of Virtue.
"Go to where he is and ask him how a Bodhisattva studies the Bodhisattva conduct, how a Bodhisattva cultivates the Bodhisattva conduct, up to and including how a Bodhisattva can swiftly perfect the conducts of Samantabhadra. The Bhisksu Cloud of Virtue will explain all of this to you."
At that time upon hearing this, the youth Sudhana was overjoyed. He bowed at [Manjusri's] feet, circumambulated him countless times, and gazed up at him with longing admiration. He sorrowfully wept. Bidding farewell, he took his leave and went south.
He went towards the kingdom of Supreme Bliss, and ascended Wonderful Summit Mountain. To the east, west, south, north, the four intermediate directions, above and below, he looked around and sought with thirsty aspirations, wishing to see the Bhikshu Cloud of Virtue. After seven days, he saw the Bhikshu on another mountain, leisurely taking a stroll. (34) Upon seeing this, he went to bow at his feet, circumambulated him three times to the right and then stopped before him and said,
"Sagely One, I have already brought forth the resolve for Supreme Enlightenment, but I do not know yet how a Bodhisattva studies the Bodhisattva conduct, how he cultivates the Bodhisattva conduct up to and including how he can swiftly perfect the conduct of Samantabhadra. I heard that the Sagely One is skilled at guiding and teaching. I only hope you will compassionately proclaim how it is that a Bodhisattva accomplishes Supreme Enlightenment."
At that time the Bhikshu Cloud of Virtue told Sudhana,
"Good indeed! Good indeed! Good man, you have already brought forth the resolve for Supreme Enlightenment. Moreover you can inquire about the Bodhisattva conduct. To do such a thing is difficult within the difficult ...
"Good man, I have only obtained this Dharma-door of Recollecting All the Buddhas' States of Wisdom Light and Universal Vision [i.e., mindfulness of the Buddha or Buddha Recitation]. But how could I possibly know the doors of the conduct of all great Bodhisattvas' boundless, pure wisdom? ...
"There is the Door of Causing all Beings to be Mindful of the Buddha whereby one accords with what pleases living beings' minds and causes them to obtain purity from seeing the Buddhas ... There is the Door of Mindfulness of the Buddha of Dwelling throughout All Times, whereby in every time, one always sees the Thus Come Ones, draws near to them, without leaving them ... There is the Door of Mindfulness of the Buddha of Dwelling in Subtlety, whereby on a single hairtip ineffable Thus Come Ones appear, and one can go to all their places and serve them ... There is the Door of Mindfulness of the Buddha of Dwelling in the Comfortable Mind ...
"How can I possibly know or speak of [all] such conduct of merit and virtue?
"Good man, south of here is a kingdom called Gate of the Sea, there is a Bhikshu known as Sea Cloud. Go to where he is and ask him how a Bodhisattva studies the Bodhisattva conduct, and how he cultivates the Bodhisattva path. The Bhikshu Sea Cloud can speak discriminately the causal conditions of bringing forth vast, great good roots ...
At that time the youth Sudhana bowed to the Bhikshu Cloud of Virtue, circumbulated him to the right, gazed up at him, bade farewell and took his leave.