The Avatamsaka Sutra (Sanskrit; Chinese: 华严经; pinyin: Huáyán Jīng) is one of the most influential Mahayana Sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture. An extant Sanskrit manuscript has the longer name Mahāvaipulya Buddhāvataṃsaka Sūtra.
The Avatamsaka Sutra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one other. The vision expressed in this work was the foundation for the creation of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism, which was characterized by a philosophy of interpenetration. Huayan is known as Kegon in Japan.
The last chapter of the Avatamsaka also circulates as a separate text known as the Gandavyuha Sutra. The Gandavyuha Sutra details the journey of the youth Sudhana, who undertakes a pilgrimage at the behest of the bodhisattva Manjusri. Sudhana will converse with 52 masters in his quest for enlightenment. The antepenultimate master of Sudhana's pilgrimage is Maitreya. It is here that Sudhana encounters The Tower of Maitreya, which along with Indra's net is one of the most startling metaphors for the infinite to emerge in the history of literature across cultures.
In the middle of the great tower... he saw the billion-world universe... and everywhere there was Sudhana at his feet... Thus Sudhana saw Maitreya's practices of... transcendence over countless eons (kalpa), from each of the squares of the check board wall... In the same way Sudhana... saw the whole supernal manifestation, was perfectly aware it, understood it, contemplated it, used it as a means, beheld it, and saw himself there.
The penultimate master that Sudhana visits is the Manjusri Bodhisattva, the bodhisattva of great wisdom. Thus, one of the grandest of pilgrimages approaches its conclusion by revisiting where it began. The Gandavyhua suggests that with a subtle shift of perspective we may come to see that the enlightenment that the pilgrim so fervently sought was not only with him at every stage of his journey, but before it began as well—that enlightenment is not something to be gained, but "something" the pilgrim never departed from. The final master that Sudhana visits is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, who teaches him that wisdom only exists for the sake of putting it into practice; that it is only good insofar as it benefits all living beings.
- in Simplified Chinese
- include 80 chapters of the Avatamsaka Sutra plus last chapter known as 普贤行愿品
- include Amitabha chant
- include explanation of the 普贤行愿品 by 宣化上人
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