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Outline of Avatamsaka Sutra

By Dr. Tony Prince

The First Assembly


Chapter 1: The Sublime Adornments of the Lords of the World
The main topic of the first, long chapter is the nature of Buddhahood. It provides an introductory overview of the basic teachings of the Sutra which will be recapitulated in more concrete form in the even longer final chapter, through the story of Sudhanas quest for Enlightenment and the concluding hymn in praise of Buddhahood by Samantabhadra. It begins with a depiction of the Buddha under the Bodhi-tree. While this is on one level the historical Bodhi-tree in Magadha, it also appears here as a manifestation of ultimate reality. We then learn that the Bodhi-tree is located in a vast palace that is elaborately adorned and shining with a multicolored radiance.... and so on. The audience is then described. There are not only innumerable bodhisattvas, led by Samantabhadra, but also vast numbers of deities of all kinds: Vajra-wielders, attendant spirits, guardians of sites of Enlightenment, gods of towns and localities, gods of mountains, forests, healing herbs, crops, rivers and oceans; gods of water, of fire, of wind, of space, and of the directions; gods of the night and of the day; asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, yakshas, nagas, kumbhandhas, and gandharvas; gods of the moon and of the sun; and all the deities of the various heavens of traditional Buddhist cosmology. These beings represent the entire universe, in its animate and supposedly inanimate aspects, and they all rejoice at the Buddhas achievement of Enlightenment. For each group the names of ten representative figures are given, and for each of the ten, a stanza is then recited in praise of the Buddhas Enlightenment.

Chapter 2: The Display of the Tathagata


The assembled bodhisattvas ask a series of questions about the nature of the Buddha and of Buddhahood. In response, all the various world-oceans appear, ten of which are named and described (one for each of the ten directions). Bodhisattvas with their retinues come from all these worlds to the Lotus World of Vairocana and make offerings to the Buddha. (Shakyamuni and the Sahaworld here reveal their true form as Vairocana and the Lotus World, while still remaining what they were the scene is simultaneously both Magadha and the Lotus World.) The Buddha then emits light from his urna, and subsequently a bodhisattva also emerges from the urna and recites ten stanzas about the Buddhas knowledge and powers; finally ten other bodhisattvas appear and each recites ten similar stanzas.

Chapter 3: Samantabhadras Samadhi


Samantabhadra enters samadhi in the presence of the Buddha; this is then seen to be repeated endlessly throughout all time and space. The Buddha praises Samantabhadra and bestows knowledge on him. All the buddhas then place their hands on Samantabhadras head in a gesture of blessing. Samantabhadra then emerges from samadhi. Light radiates from the Buddhas pores, and this light is heard to recite ten verses in praise of Samantabhadra. All the bodhisattvas then sing a further ten stanzas in praise of Samantabhadra.

Chapter 4: The Formation of the Worlds


In verse and prose, Samantabhadra gives and account of the Huayen cosmology, and the number, variety and beauty of all the infinite worlds is described. Finally Samantabhadra explains the interpenetration of macrocosm and microcosm.

Chapter 5: The Lotus World


Samantabhadras account of Huayen cosmology is continued: first the vast size and intricacy of Vairocanas world is described, then some of the innumerable world-systems surrounding it are 2

listed and named. The name of the Buddha presiding in each one is given, showing that the entire universe is pervaded by the presence of Enlightenment, and sometimes the shape of the world-system and other details are also given. Finally Samantabhadra sums up the theme of the chapter in verse.

Chapter 6: Vairocana
Samantabhadra tells us something of the early history (in the remote past, as many aeons ago as there are atoms in a world) of the bodhisattva who became Vairocana. Thus we learn that bodhicitta and the quest for Enlightenment not only affect the individual but shape the very physical form of the universe, for the physical environment and the karma of its inhabitants are interdependent as the previous two chapters have also made clear.

The Second Assembly


Chapter 7: The Names of the Tathagata
This chapter marks a new Assembly and a change of scene; the Buddha is still in Magadha, but is now in the Hall of Universal Light. Manjusri and countless other bodhisattvas arrive from various worlds in the ten directions. Manjusri then names some of these worlds and, starting with this world Endurance, and thence proceeding to worlds in the east, south, west, northwest.... and so on, he gives, for each world, ten (=infinite) names by which the Buddha is known there.

Chapter 8: The Four Holy Truths


Again, starting with the Sahaworld and proceeding to the same ten worlds (though in a different order), Manjusri lists the various names by which the Four Truths are known in those worlds, giving in each case ten names for each of the Four Truths. This chapter thus illustrates the universality of the Dharma.

Chapter 9: Awakening by Light


Light radiates from the wheelmarks on the soles of the Buddhas feet, illuminating worlds in all ten directions. As each direction is lit up, the same scene in the Hall of Universal Light appears multiplied to infinity. All the Manjusri in those countless worlds chant verses praising the Buddha and expounding the Dharma.

Chapter 10: A Bodhisattva Asks for Clarification


Manjusri asks each of the other chief bodhisattvas from the other nine directions (as in chapter 7) questions about the nature of the mind and the senses, of sentient beings, of the Buddhas teaching activities, of karmic cause and effect, and so on. In each case the bodhisattvas reply in verse. The teachings in this chapter emphasize conditionality (pratitysamutpada), emptiness (sunyata), relativity, and the need to adapt the Teachings to the capacity of the audience.

Chapter 11: Pure Conduct


The bodhisattva Bhadramukha asks a series of questions about the proper conduct of bodhisattvas. In reply, Manjusri lists 140 acts or situations which can be purified by mental transformation, i.e. by considering them symbolically and dedicating them to some goal or ideal in keeping with the Bodhisattva Path.

Chapter 12: Bhadramukha


Manjusri in turn asks Bhadramukha about the practices cultivated by bodhisattvas. Bhadramukha replies in 360 verse stanzas providing an outline of the entire Bodhisattva Path. Among the topics dealt with are the awakening of the Aspiration to Enlightenment (bodhicittotpada), the fundamental importance of faith, the truths understood by the bodhisattvas, the results of cultivating bodhisattva practices (samadhis, miraculous powers and so on), and the different methods used by bodhisattvas in order to communicate the Dharma to sentient beings.4 4

The Third Assembly


Chapter 13: Ascent to the Summit of Mt. Sumeru
The Buddha ascends (though without leaving the foot of the Bodhi-tree) to the peak of Mt. Sumeru, to the Trayastrimsa Realm, where Indras palace is located. He then proceeds to Indras palace, and Indra (Sakra) chants ten welcoming stanzas in which he alludes to similar visits by ten previous buddhas.

Chapter 14: Eulogies on Mt. Sumeru


Bodhisattvas arrive in Indras palace from all ten directions. The Buddha emits light from his toes, illuminating the entire universe. Each of the ten chief bodhisattvas then chants ten stanzas (gatha) praising Buddhahood as true knowledge of reality free from distortions and limitations.

Chapter 15: The Ten Abodes


Dharmamati, one of the bodhisattvas who arrived in chapter 14, enters samadhi and is blessed by buddhas as numerous as the atoms in a thousand buddha-realms, all of whom are also called Dharmamati. He then emerges from samadhi and expounds the Ten Abodes, the second section of the 52 Stages of the Path. These ten are: (1) Awakening the Aspiration to Enlightenment; (2) Preparing the Ground; (3) Cultivating the Practices; (4) Noble Birth [i.e. into the family of the buddhas]; (5) Perfection of Skilful Means; (6) Rectification of the Mind; (7) Nonregression; (8) Childlike Simplicity; (9) Crown Prince of the Dharma; and (10) Consecration. Dharmamati then repeats his exposition in a lengthy verse explanation in which he describes the inspiration, aspirations, conduct and achievements of the bodhisattvas. 5

Chapter 16: Spiritual Conduct


In response to a question by one of the deities, called Samyaksmriti, Dharmamati discusses the conduct of bodhisattvas who have entered the monastic life. He also explains that Emptiness (sunyata) is the basis of all Buddhist practices. This chapter contains the famous statement that Perfect Enlightenment is achieved the moment on aspires to it.

Chapter 17: The Merit of Awakening the Aspiration to Enlightenment


In response to a question by Indra, Dharmamati explains, with a wealth of hyperbole, the amount of merit that is achieved by awakening the Aspiration to Enlightenment. He concludes with a long verse passage in which he describes the 5 scope of Bodhicitta and the great powers and wisdom that are acquired by bodhisattvas who cultivate it. (This chapter and a similar, even longer, eulogy of Bodhicitta with a great profusion of similes, in the Gandavyuha Sutra illustrate the immense importance of Bodhicitta for the Sutra and for the Huayen School.)

Chapter 18: Clarifying the Dharma


Replying to a lengthy question by the bodhisattva Viryamati, Dharmamati explains the bodhisattva practices with a wealth of concrete detail and many lists of specific practices and virtues.

The Fourth Assembly


Chapter 19: Ascent to Yamas Realm
The Buddha, without leaving the foot of the Bodhi-tree or the peak of Mt. Sumeru, ascends to Yamas realm (the third of the traditional 28 heavenly realms) and visits the palace of King Yama. Yama welcomes him with ten stanzas similar to those of Indra in chapter 13.

Chapter 20: The Eulogies in Yamas Palace


This chapter is similar to chapter 14. Bodhisattvas arrive from all ten directions, light radiates from the Buddhas insteps; then the ten chief bodhisattvas each recite ten stanzas praising the Buddha and speaking of Emptiness and the nature of the mind. This chapter also contains a very famous passage comparing the mind and its creation of an external world to the creative work of a painter.

Chapter 21: The Ten Practices


This chapter parallels chapter 15: One of the bodhisattvas, called Gunavana, enters samadhi, is blessed by countless buddhas, all of whom are also called Gunavana, and he then emerges from samadhi and expounds the Ten Practices, the third set of ten in the traditional 52 Stages. These Ten Practices are as follows: (1) Giving Delight; (2) Bestowing Benefits; (3) Nonresentment; (4) Inexhaustible Practice; (5) Transcending Ignorance and Confusion; (6) Skilful Manifestation; (7) Nonattachment; (8) Reverence for the Supreme Practice [of Prajnaparamita]; (9) Cultivation of Good Qualities; (10) Cultivation of Truth. After a lengthy exposition of these ten virtues, there follows another long passage in verse, in which Gunavana praises the buddhas and bodhisattvas and the universality of their wisdom and of their teaching activities.

Chapter 22: The Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries


In this chapter Gunavana goes on to expound the 10 Inexhaustible Treasuries a further set of ten virtues cultivated by bodhisattvas. (These are not, however, included in the official list of 52 Stages.) The ten are as follows: 7

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Faith; Ethical Discipline; Repentance; Shame [with regard to past wrongdoing]; Learning or Acquiring Knowledge [of the Dharma]; Generosity; Wisdom; Mindfulness; Sustaining or Supporting [the Dharma]; Eloquence.

The Fifth Assembly: Tushita


Chapter 23: Ascent to the Tushita Heaven
The next two chapters again parallel chapters 13-15 and 19-21. This time the Buddha, without leaving the foot of the Bodhitree or Yamas palace, ascends to the Tushita Heaven and goes to the palace of the presiding king. Offerings of flowers, jewels, incense, robes, banners, conch-shells etc. are made to the Buddha by countless trillions of deities. The scope of the Buddhas knowledge is then praised and described in detail. Finally the Tushita king sings ten verses of welcome like those of Indra and Yama.

Chapter 24: The Tushita Eulogies


As before, bodhisattvas assemble from the ten directions. Then light radiates from the Buddhas knees, illuminating the universe. Finally the ten chief bodhisattvas each sing ten stanzas in praise of the Buddha and of Enlightenment, which like space is unborn and imperishable.

Chapter 25: The Ten Transferences (of Merit)


The bodhisattva Vajradhaja enters into samadhi, is blessed by countless buddhas, all called Vajradhvaja, and, emerging from samadhi, he expounds these ten transferals or dedications of merit. The transferal has two aspects: (a) transferal upwards to 8

Enlightenment (i.e. to universal Enlightenment, not Enlightenment as an individual goal); and (b) transferal downwards to all sentient beings. The Ten Transferences are as follows: (1) Protecting all beings and delivering them from suffering while transcending the very notion of a being; (2) Indestructible Dedication of Merit (to the Path); (3) Equality with All theBuddhas; (4) Reaching All Places (with the merit of ones practices); (5) The Treasury of Inexhautible Merit; (6) Developing the Roots of Goodness in Accordance with the Equality of All Things; (7) Contemplating All Beings in theLight of Equality; (8) The Quality of Suchness; (9) Liberation from All Bondage and Attachment; (10) The Inexhaustibility of the Dharmarealm. This chapter is the second-longest in the entire HYS, after the Gandavyuha Sutra (which makes up about a third of the total length of the entire HYS). (The third-longest is the chapter Transcending the World, which comes immediately before the Gandavyuha Sutra.) This reflects the great importance placed on the Aspiration to Enlightenment, the bodhisattvas career, and the Transferal of Merit throughout the Avatamsaka Sutra.

The Sixth Assembly: the Paranirmitavasavartin Palace


Chapter 26: The Ten Stages
The Sixth Assembly consists of a single chapter, on the ten levels or stages of the Bodhisattva Path. This chapter still survives in Sanskrit as an independent work under the title of Dasabhumika Sutra. This text was an extremely influential work in the Mahayana tradition generally, and the ten stages it explains in such detail came to be generally accepted as an authoritative outline of the bodhisattvas progress towards complete 9

Enlightenment. Here, in the Avatamsaka Sutra, it forms an Assembly by itself. The scene is the principal palace in the Paranirmitavasavartin realm (the sixth of the traditional Buddhist heavens and the highest in the World of Pure Form (rupaloka). The chief of the assembled bodhisattvas, Vajragarbha, enters samadhi and is blessed by innumerable bodhisattvas, all called Vajragarbha. Light from the Buddhas urna illuminates the universe, and Vajragarbha, having emerged from samadhi, expounds the Ten Stages, which are as follows: (1) The Joyful; (2) The Immaculate; (3) The Brilliant; (4) The Blazing; (5) The Unconquerable; (6) The Manifest; (7) The Far-reaching; (8) The Imperturbable; (9) True Awareness; (10) The Dharma Cloud.

The Seventh Assembly: The Hall of Universal Light


The Seventh Assembly consists of eleven relatively short chapters of a miscellaneous character. (In the earlier translation of the Sutra there are only ten chapters, since it lacks the chapter on the Ten Concentrations.) The whole Assembly is supposed to correspond to two kinds of ultimate Enlightenment, and the chapters, as usual, include many lists of ten (virtues, samadhis, supernormal powers etc.) that are not included in the official 52 Stages.

Chapter 27: The Ten Concentrations


This chapter begins with the Buddha again in the Hall of Universal Light surrounded by a host of bodhisattvas, of whom a hundred are named. One of these bodhisattvas, called Samantanetra, asks the Buddha about samadhi. The Buddha suggests that he ask Samantabhadra, whom he describes as a master of all kinds of samadhi. Accordingly the bodhisattvas 10

search everywhere for Samantabhadra but are unable to find him, and the Buddha explains that this is because Samantabhadras accomplishments transcend the scope of their knowledge. As a result the bodhisattvas are filled with faith in Samantabhadra. Prostrating themselves three times and chanting Homage to all the buddhas and to the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, they all vow to cultivate the same practices as Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra then appears and expounds the Ten Concentrations to them. These ten are as follows: (1) Universal Light; (2) Subtle Light; (3) The Power of Traveling to All Buddharealms; (4) Practice of the Pure and Profound Mind; (5) Knowledge of the Treasury of Past Adornments (of Buddharealms); (6) The Bright Treasury of the Light of Wisdom; (7) Understanding the Adornments of the Buddhas in All the Worlds; (8) The Different Physical Forms of Beings (assumed by the bodhisattvas for teaching purposes); (9) The Perfect Freedom of the Dharmarealm; (10) The Unimpeded Wheel.

Chapter 28: The Ten Supernormal Powers


In this chapter Samantabhadra explains the ten supernormal powers (abhijna) of the bodhisattvas: (1) Telepathy; (2) The Divine Eye; (3) Knowledge of Past Lives; (4) Complete Knowledge of the Future; (5) The Divine Ear; (6) Traveling to All Buddharealms Without Moving; 11

(7) (8)

Mastery of the Different Languages of All Beings; The Power to Display Splendid Physical Forms (to enlighten beings); (9) Knowledge of All Dharmas; (10) Knowledge of the Samadhi of the Extinction of All Dharmas.

Chapter 29: The Ten Types of Patience


Here Samantabhadra explains ten types of patience or forbearance: (1) Learning (patient acceptance of the Teachings); (2) Compliance; (3) Acceptance of Nonorigination (anutpattikadharmaksanti); (4) Acceptance of Illusoriness; (5) Acceptance of Flamelikeness; (6) Acceptance of Dreamlikeness; (7) Acceptance of Echolikeness; (8) Acceptance of (dharmas) Being Like a Reflection; (9) Acceptance of (dharmas) Being Like a Magical Illusion; (10) Acceptance of (dharmas) Being Like Empty Space.

Chapter 30: The Incalculable


In response to a question by the bodhisattva Cittaraja, the Buddha explains some 120 transfinite numbers, from koti = 100 lakhs = 10,000,000) to 1,000,000120, as used in Buddhist texts to indicate infinite amounts of merit, huge distances and so on.

Chapter 31: The Life-spans of the Tathagatas


Cittaraja now discourses on the relativity of time, by explaining the different scales of time in different buddharealms, beginning with a comparison of the Sahaloka and Sukhavati, one kalpa (aeon) in the former being equivalent to a single day and night in the latter.

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Chapter 32: The Abodes of the Bodhisattvas


Cittaraja names various worlds in the ten directions where bodhisattvas reside; he also names the bodhisattvas themselves and their retinues. This chapter demonstrates the omnipresence of enlightened activity in all worlds, as personified by Samantabhadra, the principal figure in this Assembly.

Chapter 33: The Inconceivable Qualities of Buddhahood


The bodhisattvas ponder the inconceivability of the qualities (dharmas) of the buddhas. The Buddha, reading their minds, inspires the bodhisattva Utpalagarbha to describe 320 of these qualities.

Chapter 34: The Limitless Attributes of the Ten Bodies of the Tathagata
In this chapter Samantabhadra describes the Buddhas physical attributes, of which nearly a hundred are listed.

Chapter 35: The Merit of the Radiant Minor Attributes


The Buddha, speaking to the bodhisattva Ratnapani, names and describes certain minor physical attributes of the buddhas which emit purifying light. He also speaks of the past lives of the bodhisattva Vairocana.

Chapter 36: The Conduct of Samantabhadra


In this chapter Samantabhadra speaks of (a) obstacles to Enlightenment that arise from anger, attachment and delusion, (b) practices that all bodhisattvas should cultivate, and (c) the great wisdom and compassion of the bodhisattvas.

Chapter 37: The Manifestation of the Tathagata


Light from the Buddhas urna illuminates the universe, and the bodhisattva Tathagatagotrasadguna praises the Buddha. A ray of light from the Buddhas mouth circles the universe ten times and then enters the mouth of Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra 13

proceeds to instruct Tathagatagotrasadguna in the omnipresence of Buddhahood and in the various ways in which the Buddha manifests to sentient beings.

The Eighth Assembly: The Hall of Universal Light


Chapter 38: Transcending the World
This chapter, the second-longest in the Avatamsaka Sutra, is classed as an Assembly by itself, although the location (The Hall of Universal Light) remains unchanged from the previous assembly. Now Samantabhadra enters the Avatamsaka Samadhi and the entire universe quakes. The bodhisattva Samantajnana asks Samantabhadra two hundred questions regarding the bodhisattvas conduct and career. For each question Samantabhadra provides ten answers, making a total of two thousand answers dealing with different aspects of the Bodhisattva Path. The chapter concludes with a long section in verse in which Samantabhadra sings the praises of the bodhisattvas and their conduct.

The Ninth Assembly: The Jetavana Grove


Chapter 39: Entering the Dharmarealm
This final chapter, which is also the last Assembly, takes up nearly a third of the entire Avatamsaka Sutra. It forms the entire content of the third translation of the Sutra (in 40 fascicles), and is still extant in Sanskrit under the title Gandavyuha Sutra. The preceding parts of the HYS have dealt at length with the Bodhisattva Path and the nature of Enlightenment. In this final section all these teachings are illustrated by a concrete example, the story of a young man called Sudhanas quest for Enlightenment. The vision of Enlightenment with which the Sutra began (and which in its essentials has remained unchanged, just as the Buddha has never really left his seat) is thus given concrete 14

embodiment in the form of Sudhanas pilgrimage. This movement parallels the path of individual practitioners, who first receive a vision of the ultimate truth, faith in which sustains them throughout their career, then proceed to cultivate the innumerable bodhisattva practices described in the following chapters, and finally, like Sudhana, learn from their teachers how to realize in their own lives the Enlightenment that was shown to them at the beginning and that is their own essential and inalienable nature. The story opens in the Jetavana, a large park in Sravasti, in a (mythical) building called the Great Adorned Multistoried Pavilion. The Buddha is teaching here, surrounded by a retinue of some 140 bodhisattvas (all named) with Manjushri and Samantabhadra at their head, 500 arhats and others. After some discussion, the Buddha enters a samadhi called the Lions Yawn or the Lions Stretch. The grove and pavilion suddenly appear to be infinite in extent and to be adorned with jewels, music etc. (The assembled Shravakas fail to perceive these phenomena.) At the same time the same transformation is perceived to be taking place everywhere throughout the universe. Bodhisattvas then arrive in vast numbers from the ten directions, all of them sprung from the practices and vows of Samantabhadra. Each of the ten chief bodhisattvas recites ten verses of praise in honor of the Buddha, who radiates light from his urna, revealing infinite buddharealms in every atom throughout the universe, and causing all the bodhisattvas to enter simultaneously into the Lions Yawn Samadhi. The bodhisattvas then also radiate light from every pore of their bodies and, assuming various forms, they go off in different directions to teach beings in the land of Jambudvipa (India). Manjushri, accompanied by a vast retinue, sets off towards the south, preaching the Dharma as he goes. Eventually he comes to a city called Dhanyakara. A member of his audience there, a young man called Sudhana, is inspired to awaken the Aspiration to Enlightenment (bodhichitta), and he asks Manjushri how he should practice the Bodhisattva Path. In response, Manjushri 15

sends him off on a pilgrimage throughout India, visiting a series of fifty or so gurus and learning from what they have to teach. Sudhanas first guru, after Manjushri himself, is a monk called Meghasri, and the rest of the story describes how Sudhana travels from guru to guru, each teacher directing him to the next one in the series. He proceeds through the length of India in this way, from north to south and finally back to the north again, to the Bodhimanda (the Seat of Enlightenment) itself. He approaches each of these teachers with the same basic questions: he has already awakened the Aspiration to Enlightenment, but how should he now cultivate it, how should he practice Dharma according to the Bodhisattva Path? His gurus include monks and nuns, householders, businessmen, brahmins, ascetics, scholars, kings, a courtesan, and various deities. Each of these has mastered some particular samadhi and has some particular insight to impart to Sudhana. The landscape and the cities that Sudhana travels through are intended to be real places in India, but they are seen through the prism of Huayen Enlightenment, like the Bodhi-tree at the beginning of the Sutra. So the king Mahaprabha (No. 19) says to Sudhana: What one sees varies according to the hearts desires. You may see this place as a tiny, cramped town or as a vast city; the ground as made of earth and sand or as adorned with countless jewels; you may see it as surrounded by an earthen wall or by far-flung jeweled ramparts. The land it is built on may appear to be uneven and littered with shards and stones, or as level as the palm of your hand and made beautiful with countless gems. You may see buildings of wood and clay, or palaces and pavilions with staircases, courtyards, verandahs, and many windows and doors. In this way everything can become something rare and wonderful. Young man, if the minds of beings are pure; if they have planted roots of goodness and made offerings to the Buddhas; if they have awakened the Aspiration and set out on the path to Omniscience, making that their ultimate goal; and if they have taken up the cultivation of the practices of a 16

bodhisattva, as I did long ago; then they will see this town as pure and adorned with jewels. The rest will see only rubbish At the end of his pilgrimage Sudhana is directed to the bodhisattva Maitreya. Maitreya bids him enter a great tower called the Matrix Adorned with the Splendors of Vairochana. The jeweled interior of this tower is infinite in size and contains an infinite number of equally infinite and identical towers, in each of which Sudhana sees himself. This represents the climax of Sudhanas quest and the moment of his final awakening, and he becomes immersed in deep samadhi. Sudhana is then roused from his samadhi by Maitreya, who has also entered the tower. Maitreya gives him further instructions and tells him to seek confirmation of his experience from his first guru, Manjushri. After a long search he finally encounters Manjushri again. Manjushri blesses Sudhana by placing his hand on his head and transfers his own powers and wisdom to him. Sudhana is now filled with great reverence for all his gurus and feels a great longing to see Samantabhadra. His final vision therefore is of the cosmic body of Samantabhadra, in which he sees Samantabhadra performing deeds of wisdom and compassion everywhere throughout the universe, he also sees himself similarly engaged in bodhisattva conduct throughout the universe. Then Samantabhadra also blesses and instructs him, bestowing further knowledge and psychic powers (i.e. samadhis) on him. Finally the Sutra concludes with a long hymn by Samantabhadra in praise of the Buddhas. Thus the Sutra itself, like Sudhanas quest, ends by returning to its starting point.

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