[National Treasure]Transcription of Avatamsaka Sutra
Name: Transcription of Avatamsaka Sutra (The Flower Garland Sutra), Zhenyuan Version, in Silver on Indigo Paper, Volume 31
Period: Goryeo (918-1392)
Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul
Status: National Treasure No. 215
Avatamsaka Sutra (the Flower Adornment Sutra) in Silver on Indigo Paper is also called by its shortened name the Avatamsaka Sutra.
The main idea in this Buddhist scripture is that the Buddha and all other living things are not two different entities, but one. Along with the Lotus Sutra, this principle scripture of the Avatamsaka Sutra is one of the books that has had the greatest influence on the establishment of Korean Buddhist philosophy.
This book is carefully hand-copied from Book 31 of the 40 books of the Avatamsaka Sutra Original Edition translated by Banya of the Tang Dynasty of China. With the help of a Buddhist monk named Gyoyeon, a man named Choe An-do and his wife made this book in 1337 (the 6th year of King Chungsuk of Goryeo) to pray for greater blessings for themselves and their parents, protection from evils and an easy passage into eternity after their deaths.
The paintings and writings were made on dark blue papers using gold and silver powder. The book was made in the form of a scroll 881.7 centimeters (28.9 feet) long and 31 centimeters wide. The cover is decorated with magnificent flowers painted in a gold color. The title of the scripture as well as the hangul jeong, implying that this is one of the correct, original versions.
At the beginning of the book is a story written in silver that explains how this book came into the existence. Following it is a sophisticated gold painting of the summary of the book. The main text following the painting is written in silver. Although this book is made for personal purposes, it is an excellent piece of work produced in a formal manner and displays superb technique.
The photos and text for National Treasure are provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration. For more information, call (042) 481-4650 or visit www.cha.go.kr.