Entry into the Absolute Dimension Sutra

- through Henry Oudin

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Is reading a Sutra of more than 600 pages within everyone's reach? Maybe, if you immerse yourself in it like a child in a fairy tale, a story every night. Sinologist and Tibetologist Patrick square got down to an incredible work and offers us years of effort, certainly full of merits! He translated from Chinese to French, the initiatory story of the young Sudhana, originally composed in Sanskrit (Gandavyihasutra). Wishing to study the conduct of bodhisattvas, Sudhana made this request to the great bodhisattva Manjushri. The latter, having recognized that the young man had "engendered the spirit of the unsurpassable, authentic and perfect Awakening", sent him to seek "true good friends". Thus begins the "journey of Sudhana", divided into fifty chapters narrating the successive encounters of the young man with beings as extraordinary as they are varied. They are called Good View monk, Blue Lotus perfumer, courtesan Friend of the Gods, Spring goddess… Each acts as a spiritual friend transmitting to Sudhana her approach to the absolute dimension in the form of a meditative practice.

In the footsteps of Sudhana

The curious or erudite reader will read these texts in order to experience the spiritual progression of Sudhana at the same time as the hero. But nothing prevents you from immersing yourself in a random chapter, just for the pleasure of savoring one of these extraordinary encounters. Against the backdrop of trees with ambrosial fruits, fountains lined with gold dust and parks overflowing with jewels, beings endowed with profound wisdom dispense precious advice to him (us). The set is decorated with inspiring photos of bas-reliefs representing Sudhana and his successive masters, treasures from the mandala-temple-stupa of Borobudur on the island of Java in Indonesia.

Sudhana had "engendered the mind of unsurpassable genuine and perfect Enlightenment."

Le Entry into the Absolute Dimension Sutra, as such, constitutes volume 2 of a diptych beautifully presented in an illuminated box. The first volume, intended for advanced readers, brings together several texts intended to deepen our understanding of Gandavyuhasutra and its translation context. We learn that this Sutra corresponds to the last part (the last twenty scrolls) of the Sutra of the Buddha's Adornments, translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Siksananda in 699. Patrick Carré highlights the romantic life of three characters from seventh-century China, who counted in the history of the Sutra: the terrible Empress Wu Zhao, empress reigning at the cost of blood, and follower of Buddhism; the literate monk Fazang, the greatest teacher of Buddha Adornments at that time. As for the hermit Li Tongxuan, his great commentary on Sutra of the Buddha's Adornments, say it Treaty, enlightened Patrick Carré so much that he wanted to share it. Thus, the French translation of part of the Treaty devoted to Entry into the Absolute Dimension Sutra reveals it under ever deeper lights.

Finally, connoisseurs of Tibetan Buddhism will be interested in the comparative analysis outlined by Patrick Carré. The translator wondered about the differences between this Sutra and the tantra, and on the alleged superiority of the latter in regard to perfect Buddhahood. Vast debate, to which there is no need to join to taste the joy of Sudhana as and when it achieves.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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