Hua-yen

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Hua-yen

Hua-yen, Mahayana Buddhist sect important in China, Korea, and Japan. The school of thought was founded in China by Tu-shun, a Chinese monk who lived during the late 6th and early 7th centuries. Tu-shun based his teachings on the "Hua-yen" (Garland Scripture, also called "Avatamsaka Sutra" in Sanskrit), which was allegedly dictated by the Buddha Vairocana. The earliest known version of the "Hua-yen" is the fifth century Buddhabhadra Chinese translation from the Sanskrit. The scripture describes the glory and power of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, his attending bodhisattvas, and the systems of Buddhist cosmology.

The Hua-yen sect`s doctrines were organized

The Hua-yen sect`s doctrines were organized by its third patriarch, Tu-shun`s pupil Fa-tsang. The sect stressed the unity and mutual interdependence of things and the presence of the universal Buddha-nature in them all. It proposed an infinite number of worlds and Buddhas, with countless Buddhas present in the smallest particle of dust, and held that the Buddha-nature in mundane reality could be realized. Hua-yen Buddhism was transmitted to Korea as the Hwaom school in the late 7th century and to Japan as the Kegon school between 725 and 740. The sect was patronized by the Japanese imperial family, who founded the great Kegon monastery of Todaiji in Nara and sponsored the construction of its colossal statue of Vairocana, known in Japanese as the Daibutsu. The sect declined in China after the anti-Buddhist persecutions of 845, but it was a formative influence on Chinese Neo-Confucianism and Esoteric Buddhism. The sect remains strong in Japan.

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