Engaging Invisibilities Along Sudhana’s Pilgrimage into the Realm of the Huayan Sutra (80857)

Session Information: Buddhist Literature
Session Chair: Marc Nürnberger

Saturday, 25 May 2024 12:15
Session: Session 2
Room: Room 707
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

The special relation of religion toward the invisible has ever since troubled religious seekers and phenomenologists alike. The threshold between the sacred and the profane, as well as the spiritual and the material seems to be hard to cross – either way. While the struggles in the realms of the Abrahamic religions are well documented, the proposed presentation will focus on pictorial strategies of Chinese Buddhism, specifically Sudhana’s pilgrimage to his 53 teachers as remembered in the Huayan Sutra. Our theoretical starting point will be the so-called “three-body” doctrine of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, i.e., the union of the “transformation body,” the “reward body,” and the “dharma body” – the Buddha’s eternal, indestructible, and all-pervasive thusness. After an illustration of the visual challenges this “trinity” poses, we will turn toward Sudhana’s pilgrimage at the end of the Huayan Sutra. Taking the main sutra as a visual exercise in face of the apparent invisibility of the buddha lands revealed by the eye of Buddha, we will present Sudhana’s entry into the inconceivable as a gradual re-formulation of this endeavor. While a soteriological contextualization of the various “invisibilities” of the sutra will help to uncover the inherent temporal structures, a final discussion of selected illustrations of the sutra will hopefully be an invitation to rethink the question of “mediations” of invisible things beyond the context of Chinese Buddhism.

Marc Nürnberger, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
Jiehua Cai, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

About the Presenter(s)
Dr. Marc Nürnberger is currently Senior Lecuturer at the Institute of Sinology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00