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Visualizing a Buddhist SutraText and Figure in Himalayan Art$
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Laxman S. Thakur

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195673142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195673142.001.0001

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A Study of the Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra

(p.1) 1 Prologue
Visualizing a Buddhist Sutra

Laxman S. Thakur

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a short history of the Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra. It also investigates the fascinating murals, inscriptional panels, and manuscripts of the Tabo monastery. It provides an analysis of the principal idea of Bodhisattvahood versus Śrāvakahood, the concept of dharmadhātu: The realm of reality, and the Bodhisattva’s ten stages. The Śrāvaka is unable to cherish the great vows of Samantabhadra, and has not opened the wisdom’s eye, thus he does not have the capacity to see the transfigurations of the Buddha. The Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra tries to explain the spiritual powers of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and dharmadhātu is the ultimate aim of all the living beings. Dharmadhātu is not a philosophical interpretation of existence reached by cold logical reasoning, nor is it symbolical representation of the imagination. Finally, the salient features of the ten birth stages of Bodhisattva are investigated as elaborated by the Lumbini goddess.

Keywords:   Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra, Bodhisattvahood, Śrāvakahood, dharmadhātu, Śrāvaka, Buddha, Bodhisattva, Lumbini goddess, Tabo monastery

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