Buddhist Philosophy
THE MIRROR AND THE SOURCE-- Hua-yen Philosophy and Chinese Landscape Design
Dusan Pajin
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Hua-yen Philosophy and Chinese Landscape Design

Dusan Pajin
Belgrade University

International Review of Chinese Religion & Philosophy
Vol. 1, MARCH 1996


"The Chinese garden, considered as a special type
of landscape gardening, may with more reason than most other
parks or gardens be characterized as a work of the creative
imagination, or, in other words, as something corresponding
to the demands that must be made upon a work of art.... Such
gardens, in the nature of things, cannot be described or
analyzed as exhaustively as the geometrically arranged
gardens of Europe or the more stereotyped gardens of Japan.
Much of what is most essential in the Chinese garden eludes
formal analysis, for it is due less to the layout and the
formal arrangement than to what vibrates through and around
the various elements of composition, enhancing their power to
bring out the rhythm of Nature. (Note 1)



The introduction of the Avatamsaka-sutra into China
provided the scriptural basis for one of the most influential
philosophies in Chinese (and Japanese) Buddhism, developed by
Tu-shun, Chih-yen, Fa-tsang, Cheng-kuan, and Tsung-mi, during
the T'ang dynasty. This philosophy considers the entire
universe as a totality ( ªk¬É, fa-chieh, dharmadhatu ) of
conditions and effects, in which everything is simultaneously
a result of causes, and a cause in the network of dependent
origination ( ½t°_, yuan-ch'i, pratitya-samutpada).

Prior to the T'ang dynasty, Chinese landscape design in
the rural tradition had been shaped by Taoist influence. As
Hua-yen Buddhism gained momentum, it brought new principles
into landscape design and environmental aesthetics--first in
Buddhist temples, and later in private gardens of the
educated and merchants.

Some of the principles examined in this essay include
completeness, the mirror and mirroring, disclosure and
concealment, and the symbols of the tower and the garden. In
Chinese landscape design, the garden could mean a meeting
place of the inward and the outward, a mirror for the mind.
It was a living and aesthetic example of nonobstruction and
interpenetration, between part and whole, and small and
large, functional and beautiful; an entrance into totality,
ªk¬É, fa-chieh.


Hua-yen and the Chinese garden

The translation and introduction of the Avatamsaka-sutra
into china took several centuries (from 2-5 cent. A.D.) It
provided the scriptural basis for Hua-yen, one of the most
influential philosophies in Chinese (and Japanese) Buddhism
that was developed during the T'ang dynasty. ¡]Note 2¡^

Prior to the T'ang dynasty, Chinese landscape design in
the rural tradition, related to retired officials, literati,
and artists, developed for centuries under the Taoist
influence. As Buddhism gained momentum, increasing its
influence on culture and spiritual life, this also brought a
fruitful synthesis of Taoist and Buddhist principles in
landscape design. Between the 6th and 11th centuries. Chinese
landscape design and environmental aesthetics developed under
the Buddhist influence. One of the centers was the city of
Lo-yang.¡]Note 3¡^

What follows is an attempt to expose the intricate
relations between Hua-yen and principles present in
Chinese landscape design, highlighting certain aspects of
Hua-yen and the spiritual background of landscape design.
This does not mean that the designers were necessarily
affiliated to Hua-yen, but they operated on common
principles. In some cases they had training in landscape
painting, and it has been noted that Chinese landscape
paintings "can be thought of as plastic duplicates of Hua-yen
philosophy, in the sense that both attempt to express a
vision of the manner in which things exist.¡]Note 4 ¡^

Sudhana's pilgrimage and spiritual journey - as described
in the Gandavyuha - was the subject of art works in China,
Japan, and Java But in these cases art was used


for illustrative purposes - -to narrate Sudhana's pilgrimage
by means of art.¡]Note 5¡^Our goal is to relate landscape
design to Hua-Yen in order to demonstrate connections in


The relationship of Hua-yen to other Buddhist schools
has been defined as syncretic and philosophical.¡]Note 6¡^It was
syncretic attempting to reassemble the separate, diverse
threads of Buddhist thought into the all-inclusive (round -
yuan) doctrine, and various Buddhist vehicles into One
vehicle (i-ch'eng). It became the philosophical basis for
schools that were more concerned with meditation, and were
spreading the teaching by non-scriptural means and forms of
communication through parables, or the Ch/an dialogue, and
encounter. By one of the contemporary authors it was
designated as "the Buddhist teaching of totality.
¡]Note 7¡^In this sense "totality" was suggested as a
translation of the term fa-chieh, but also because of the
overall perspective of Hua-yen teachings. One of the frequent
metaphors in the Avatamsaka-sutra is "an ocean," suggesting
the vast, encompassing perspective of this teaching, which is
complete (yuan), and all-embracing like an ocean receiving
waters of all rivers, or like a vast circle that embraces
separate entities. The principle of completeness is also
present in landscape design.¡]Note 8¡^

A garden was supposed to recreate, within limited space,
a complete ambience (environment), to give isolation, and
serenity, with a feeling that there is nothing lacking,
nothing superfluous. This principle was present not only in


designing the vast imperial gardens, but also in much smaller
gardens, when the sizes of gardens were reduced, especially
among urban residents, where one could build only miniature
models of natural landforms. These small gardens were a
Chinese specialty, which was also transferred into Japan
between the 6th and the 13th centuries. The western gardener
would give up the whole idea of a garden under such
circumstances, and this was not known in Europe prior to
Chinese influence. The Chinese designers created gardens that
were meaningful, beautiful and complete (yuan) even under
space restrictions. That was possible with the principles of
"relativity of large and small," and "all in one, one in all"
which were developed in Hua-yen.

Large and small

"The reduction in scale of these gardens brought about
a major change in the way landscapes were conceived and
executed in China. Instead of massive earthwork, the
designers began to develop fondness and appreciation of
rocks, especially rocks that resemble mountain ridges. Often
they would be grouped together to evoke certain popular
mountain scapes." ¡]Note 9 ¡^

On the other side, in Fa Tsang's explanations of
Hua-yen principles, we find an explanation of how this was

"When we see, for example, the height and width of a
mountain, it is mind that manifests this largeness, there is
no largeness apart (from mind). Or when we see the utter


tinyness of a particle of matter, there again it is mind
that manifests this tinyness...¡]Note 10¡^

It is possible to "spread out" the garden design in a
vast estate, like the courtly landscape belonging to emperors,
or to "roll it up" within the confines of a few mu of land.

Or in words of Fa Tsang:

"Rolled up, all things are manifested within the
single particle of matter. Spread out, the single particle of
matter permeates everything.... That is why /the Absolute/
can freely be rolled up, or spread out.¡]Note 11¡^

The Chinese landscape designer could quote as his witness
the scripture which says: "In a single hair pore are infinite
lands, each having four continents and, similarly, polar and
surrounding mountains, all appearing therein, without being
cramped.¡]Note 12¡^

With such background it was possible to use rocks as simulacrum
for mountains, streams for rivers, ponds or basins for lakes, bushes
for forests, and patches of moss as plains.

The mirror and mirroring

In Buddhism mirror was a favorite metaphor for the
awakened, pure mind, which reflects unstained by ignorance or

China had its long tradition of various particular-purpose
metal mirrors, going back to 670 B.C., which especially
developed in the later Han dynasty.¡]Note 13¡^

But, the mirror metaphor was also used from the times


of Lao Tzu, and Chuang Tzu. In chapter 10 (chapter 54 in
Ma-wang-tui manuscript) , Lao Tzu speaks of cleaning the
mysterious mirror (hsuanlan or hsuan-chien) of the mind,
so that it becomes spotless.¡]Note 14¡^

In chapter 7, Chuang Tzu says: "The Perfect Man uses his
mind like a mirror -- going after nothing, welcoming nothing,
responding, but not storing." In Chapter 13 he adds: "Water
that is still gives back a clear image of beard and eyebrows;
reposing in the water level, it offers measure to the great
carpenter. And if water in stillness possesses such clarity,
how much more must pure spirit. The sage's mind in stillness
is the mirror of Heaven and earth, the glass of ten thousand
things.¡]Note 15¡^

In Hua-yen the mirror and mirroring are used to explain
the tranquil, serene mind, which reflects totality, and to
explain the principles of Hua-yen philosophy: mutual identity
(hsiang-chi), and interpenetration (hsiang-ju) - all in one,
and one in all. The ocean-mirror samadhi ( hai-ching san mei)
is related to the placid surface of the ocean, reflecting
totality like a vast mirror (ching). The unruffled,
completely still water of the ocean appears as the greatest
mirror, reflecting in its serenity the totality of the
universe, as infinitely interpenetrating (hsiang-ju),
originating (yuan-ch'i) without obstruction (wu-ai), and
simultaneously arising (t'ung-shin tun-ch'i).

Fa Tsang says: "The oceanic reflection' means the funda-
mental awareness of true thusness (chen-ju). When delusion
ends, he mind is clear, and myriad forms equally appear; it
is like the ocean, where waves are crested by the wind -
when the wind stops, the water of the ocean grows still and
clear, reflecting all images."¡]Note 16¡^


Mirroring is also present in the metaphor of the net of
Indra (Yin-t'o-lo kang). In the heavenly abode of Indra there
is a net stretching into all directions. In each "eye" of
the net is a jewel which reflects all other jewels, and is
reflected in all other jewels. It is like many mirrors
reflecting in each other, multiplied endlessly, with infinite
reflecting. Each dnarma (fa) is at once a cause for others,
and is caused (as effect) by others. Everything is absolute
and relative at the same time. Although transitory, dharmas
make up an endless series of conditioned origination
(yuan-ch'i). There is no central point or perspective - all
dharmas are equal (t'ung).

In order to make obvious these principles, Fa Tsang
arranged a hall of mirrors. On the ceiling and floor, and on
four walls, he put mirrors facing one another. Then he
brought an image of a Buddha and a torch, which reflected in
the mirrors endlessly. This also shows that everything is
simultaneously a mirror and an image.

In landscape design the mirror principle was also applied.
The gardens had ponds, or much smaller basin ponds. A basin
pond was a clsy utensil that could hold water whose surface
served as a mirror laid on ground, between rocks, sand or
moss. It reflected the changing skies above, day and night.

Fao-Teh Han relates this element of garden design to the
T'ang dynasty, quoting a poem by Tu Mu:

"Partaking of the surface quality of jade, expressing the
contemplating mood of the lotus pond in the stillness of
the early dawn, in the deserted garden, crystal clear dew
collects in the basin.... As the birds sweep by under the
low flying clouds, one could mistake its


mirror-like surface for a portal into another universe."¡]Note 17¡^

He expresses a conclusion important for our subject:

"Whether it was the mirror basins of the T'ang, or the
natural water ponds of the Sung, the aesthetic directions
of these garden elements were the same. They were generally
directed inwards, towards the cultivation of the spirit...
The mirror basins of the T'ang dynasty reminded me of the
fact that all of Chinese landscape designing could be
considered as a reflection of the mind. In fact, all gardens
were the result of human action upon nature, and as such,
were a mirror of the human spirit in a general sense."¡]Note 18¡^

Actually, in garden mirroring we see interpenetration
of the inward and the outward. The garden was mirroring
the mutual causality (hsiang-yu) of natural elements, and
of the human mind. Aesthetics of landscape design blended
nature objects (rocks, water, plants), and serenity of the
mind, reflected into the environment. In aesthetic
contemplation the mind received back its serenity reflected
in the garden. The garden and the mind reflected each other
as two mirrors. Here we find principles of non-obstruction
(wu-ai), and interpenetration (hsiang-ju), and the garden as
entrance into the realm of dharmas (ju fa-chieh), a place of
returning to the source.

Disclosure and concealment

wonder and surprise

"Totality is usually hidden from man, because he tends
to see one thing at a time from one particular frame of


reference," says Garma Chang. "In the vocabulary of Hua-yen
this is called the obstruction of concealment and disclosure.
In contrast to this, Hua-yen stresses the co-existence, or
simultaneity of hidden and the displayed, which is also
called the non-obstruction of concealment and disclosure. ...
That which is elicited or stressed is called by Hua-Yen the
disclosed (hsien), or the host (chu), and that which is
ignored, or minimized, is called the hidden (yin), or the
guest (pin)." ¡]Note 19¡^

"Guest" and "host" are used in the Ts'ao-tung sect of
Ch'an Buddhism. With the "five positions" they are applied
to explain the dynamics of awakening, or integration of the
disclosed (seeming) and concealed (real).¡]Note 20¡^

The dynamics of concealment and disclosure is one of the
basic in human experiences of all kinds - from marketing and
scientific discovery, to art or religion. Art, religion, and
philosophy use various strategies of concealing, exposing,
revealing, or disclosing. In the process they utilize
curiosity, wonder, and surprise, or awe, as motivation and
reaction to the experience of disclosing.

In landscape design this strategy depends on whether the
garden supposes static viewing (observation from fixed angles)
or dynamic viewing (observation from changing angles while
moving). In small gardens the first is predominant, while in
large gardens the second is the rule. The dynamics of
concealing and disclosing in landscape design will mostly
depend on this general trait.

Concealing, which propels curiosity, is the general
principle which helps to create a sense of mystery. The
garden was not supposed to be seen in its totality from the
start. Therefore, a hill, a thicket, or a wall, was used


or in combination) to conceal the garden and save it for
disclosure, step by step. An opening (gate, or window) , a
passage, or tunnel (in the hill) would lead into the concealed
part and allow a partial glance.

A particular non-obstruction of concealing and disclosure
was present, for example, in combining a window (representing
opening and disclosure) and the tree branches (representing
concealment). "The window would be carressed by willow
branches,"¡]Note 21¡^says one of the texts. In relation to the
season and weather, the branches would conceal more or less.

"Garden walls were the principal device to createspatial
mystery and psychological anticipation in Kiang-nan gardens.
As such, they were more powerful than the corridors and
walkways. A moongate carried a potent symbolic connotation
as an opening into another world and possessed a strong
attractive force to draw people onwards," says Pso-Teh Han.
¡]Note 22¡^

Simultaneity of disclosure and concealment was also
attained when the window on the wall was set as a frame of a
painting, creating a feeling that the scenery behind was a
landscape painting. Sometimes inspired by landscape painting,
the landscape design now reflected back to the painting the
borrowed illusion, or rather equalized the "illusion" of the
painting and "reality" of the landscape.

Awe, wonder, and surprise (which here have asethetic
and cognitive qualities) add to the dynamics of concealment
and disclosure (which also have both qualities), confronting
man with something beautiful and mysterious. This can also
be also compelled by particular stimuli, like unusual birds,
exotic plants, or strangely shaped rocks, which look


beautiful and mysterious.

The importance of strangely shaped rocks in designing the
gardens goes back to the middle of the T'ang dynasty, but
particular affinity for them developed in the Sung dynasty.

"Rocks at this time began to lose their natural connection
to the ground, and came to be appreciated as isolated objects
that were precious and spiritual. Many of them came from the
bottom of Lake Tai...."¡]Note 23¡^

In the Sung dynasty, especially favored were rocks worn by
water, and these shapes, with odd forms and hollows, must have
been strange to Europeans in times before the 20th century.
However, with developments in 20th century art - especially
after abstract art - these shapes suddenly turned out to be
"very modern," and "understandable."

Wonder and surprise were also effected by some general
principles in design, like asymmetry, absence of straight
lines (in walkways, bridges, tunnels, passages) , and
frequently changing perspective. Kiang-nan gardens had
corridors and walkways that created changes and surprises
along the way. Unable to estimate the "real" size of the
garden the visitor was left with a feeling of unlimited
space, and an endless series of new possible scenes for
repaeated visits.

Osvald Siren (1949 and 1950), William Willets (1970),
and others, have noticed the asymmetry and polyperspectivism
as common traits of Chinese art and landscape design. Under
the rule of geometry, and symmetry, the classical European
taste slowly developed fondness for such principles, where
intentional "irregularity" was a norm. However, all these
came to the fore in our century.


Awe, wonder, and surprise were skillfully applied in the
Avaoamsaka-sutra narrative. The reader is confronted with
profound and powerful visions of magnanimity and vastness,
more impressive than visions of Dante Alighieri (Italian
poet, 13th cent.) when he describes paradise.

"Flames of pearls from the ocean ¤j®ü¯u¯]µK

Inconceivable nets of light: ¥úºô¤£«äij

Theworld systems like this ¦p¬O½Ñ«bºØ

All rest on lotus blossoms. ±x¦b½¬µØ¦í

The webs of light of each system ¤@¤@½Ñ«bºØ

Cannot be fully described ¥úºô¤£¥i»¡

In the lights appear all the lances ¥ú¤¤²{²³«b

Throughout the seas in ten directions."¡]Note 24¡^´¶¹M¤Q¤è®ü

Perhaps the final disclosure in big gardens (for example
in Lo-yang during the Sung dynasty) was related to the raised
platform, pavilion, or tower (t'ai) , which gave a view of
the distant panorama, or the garden scenery around it.

The final disclosure in the landscape design confronts us
with the inconceivable mystery of the beauty, beyond word and
thought, simultaneously concealed and disclosed. Fa Tsang says:
"Concealing and revealing are simultaneous; being one, they
have no beginning or end..." ¡]Note 25¡^

The tower and the garden

The Avatamsaka-sutra is like a vast kaleidoscope, or
panorama of separate sutras and episodes. This is present
in the Gandavyuha , starting with the assembly in the Jeta
grove, up to Sudhana's entrance into the Vairochana Tower,
which presents a climax in a series of disclosures.


"He saw the tower immensely vast and wide, as measureless
as the sky, as vast as all of space, adorned with countless
attributes... Also, inside the great tower he saw hundreds of
thousands of other towers similarly arrayed... appearing
reflected in each and every object of all the other towers.
Then Sudhana, seeing this miraculous manifestation of the
inconceivable realm of the great tower, was flooded with joy
and bliss; his mind was cleared of all conceptions and freed
from all obstructions."¡]Note 26¡^

This description reminds us of the kaleidoscope garden as
described in the novel The Story of the Stone (Dream of the
Red Chamber) , in chapter 17. The principle "many towers in
none" is here repeated as "many gardens in one." Even though
the garden was large, it had a hill immediately after the
entrance. "Without this hill" - says one of the characters -
"the whole garden would be visible as one entered, and all
its mystery would be lost."¡]Note 27¡^

Beside the hill there was a path which the company of
first visitors named "Pathway to Mysteries." Actually, a
well designed garden has this capacity - to be an entrance
or path connecting various realms and dimensions.

As Professor Pao-Teh Han remarks: "In the story, the
kaleidoscope garden's own transient nature became a metaphor
of life itself. It reinforced the author's main theme: the
transmutsbility between reality and illusion."¡]Note 28¡^

The ideal landscape could be one that envelopes and
transports a man like a dream, transforming itself from loke-
dhatu (shin-chieh), to dharma-dhatu (fa-chieh) , although -
ultimately - they are the same. Various pathways, gates,
windows, tunnels and bridges, were leading from one to the
other, making up the kaleidoscope.


"Illusion" and "reality" equalize through the transformation
'painting-landscape-painting' (with the window in front and
a white wall in the backgrond, transforming segments of the
garden into paintings).

After entering the Tower, Sudhana saw a magnificent
kaleidoscopic universe of interpenetoating and repeating

"By the power of unwavering mindfulness, by all-
encompassing purity of vision... he saw this whole endless
manifestation of marvalous scenes.... Then, at finger snap,
Sudhana emerged from trance and Maitreya said to him: 'Did
you see the miraculous display of the magical power of
bodhisattvas?... Did you realize the inconceivability of
the liberation of the bodhisattvas?' ... Sudhana said:
'Where has that magnificent display gone?' Maitreya said:
'Where did it come from?"¡]Note 29¡^

Returning to the source

Lao Tzu speaks of 'returning' in six chapters (14, 16.
25, 28, 40, and 52 - silk manuscr. 58, 60, 69, 72, 4, 15).
"Infinite, boundless, and unnameable,
It returns to nothingness (wu) "¡]Note 30¡^
"All beings flourish
but each returns to its roots"¡]Note 31¡^
"Being far-reaching means returning."¡]Note 32¡^

In chapter 28 returning (fu-kuei) is mentioned three
times- returning to: infancy, nothingness, and simplicity

"Returning is the movement of Tao" (ch. 40)


"Use your light to return to enlightenment (ming)"¡]Note 33¡^

In a Buddhist context we find the phrase "return to the
root" (kuei ken) in Hsin-hsin Ming: "Return to the root and
attain the principle." Master Sheng-yen explains this as

"It is only by turning the illumination inward that you
return to the source and get to the meaning of all things.
If you can do this even for a split second, you will
transcend the state of emptiness. The source, or root, is
Buddha nature. How do you return to the root? By letting go
of all words and thoughts, and eliminating all grasping and
rejection.... This source, or Buddha nature, is the lively
manifestation of great liberation, or great wisdom."¡]Note 34¡^

Fa Tsang speaks of "returning to the source" (huan-yuan)
in the context of exposing the six gates. These gates are:
revealing one essence, activating two functions, showing
three universals, practicing four virtues, entering five
cessations, and developing six contemplations.¡]Note 35¡^Returning
to the source in this context means a bodhisattva career.

Aesthetic contemplation related to the landscape, or
garden, seems to have started sometime during the Han dynasty
(first century. A.D.). It was initiated by social circums-
tances and motivated by spiritual reasons. Men returned to
nature and simple life in order to get away from the
corruption of social life, or from turmoil of the city, and
to choose a purposeful lifestyle. Before the advent of
Buddhism this attitude was related to Taoism, which became
a "philosophy of art of living and aesthetics."¡]Note 36¡^Later,
this attitude combined Taoist and Buddhist ideas. The landscape
poet Hsieh Ling-Yun (385-433) expressed the desire to escape
from the city and social turmoil, into the


peace of the countryside, some thousand years before this
attitude was articulated in Europe. According to Kenneth
Clark, Petrarch was probably the first man in the West to
express the emotion on which the existence of landscape
painting largely depends.¡]Note 37¡^In China, the aesthetic
contemplation of nature, or a garden, meant "returning to
the source," either in the general sense (as "returning to
nature") or in particular spiritual sense.

In the general sense it was a basic feeling of regaining
oneness with the nature (returning to the roots, vitality, or
simplicity), or with the (home) land (infancy). As T'so Ch'ien
(T'ao Yuan-ming, 365-427) said:

"The tame bird
longs for his old forest -
The fish in the house-pond
thinks of his ancient pool.
I too will break the soil
at the edge of the southern moor,
I will guard simplicity
and return to my fields and garden. ...
Too long I was held
within the barred cage.
Now I am able
to return again to Nature."¡]Note 38¡^

In particular, "returning" had the meanings already
described in the Taoist context or the Buddhist context.
Returning to the source with a Buddhist meaning (enlighten-
ment, Buddha-nature) did happen in sequences of the solar
day (dawn, night of full moon), and places. To some people
the aesthetic experience in a landscape gave a favorable
context and stimulus for returning to the source.


From the diary of Hung Nong Tse (T'ang dynasty) we read:

"The reason why I am paying so much attention to the main-
taining of my water pond is that, to me, the pond represents
my heart and mind."

Han Shan (8th cent) . noted:

"Spring water in the green creek is clear

Moonlight on cold mountain is white

Silent knowledge - the spirit is enlightened of itself

Contemplate the void: this world exceeds

stillness."¡]Note 40¡^

It is said in the Avatamsaka-sutra :¡]Note 41¡^

"Just as the guide is seen Ä´¦p¨£¾É®v

In various different forms ºØºØ¦â®t§O

All beings following the mind ÀH²³¥Í¤ß¦æ

Also everywhere see the lands." ¨£½Ñ«b¥çµM

In one of the latest contributions towards understanding
the Chinese gardens by western authors, we find these
important conclusions: "Historically, Chinese garden design
was under- written by complete philosophies of scholarly
thought and was an integral part of the whole physical
environment. The scholar was devoted to a particular mode of
life brought to perfection by its designers. Here, in the
garden, city- dwelling scholars and intellectuals created, in
miniature, their own image of nature, and here urban
bureaucracy discovered the ideal physical form to satisfy
that dialectical relationship of man and nature that is the
essence of Chinese thought. From such motivation there
emerged a highly complex, highly successful and perfectly
delightful environment.... The Chinese garden was thus a
device for contemplative study as well as for the enjoyment


of nature, its physical form strongly influenced by its urban
setting."¡]Note 42¡^

However, if "returning to the source" in this context
meant keeping in touch with nature, via the garden
contemplation, we disagree with Johnston that the creation
of a town garden was a response to a feeling of "spiritual
claustrophobia"¡]Note 43¡^because that would mean that in
times when gardens were not developed (in China or elsewhere),
man was free from such claustrophobia. Considering the
miserable European towns in the Middle Ages, in all
probability it was just the opposite. Anyway, in order to
free oneself from spiritual claustrophobia one has to
follow the Buddhist Dharma as a principal means of release
from being "closed in the world," i.e. in samsara (lun-hui).
¡]Note 44¡^



1. O. Siren, Gardens of China (New York: The Ronald Press,
1949), p.3.

2. In his thesis Chih-yen and the Foundations of Hua-yen
Buddhism (Columbia University, 1976), Robert M. Gimello
analysed thoroughly the early history of Hua-yen, and
tested the historicity of the "patriarchal lineage of
Hua-yen, especially the relationship between Chih-yen
and Tu-shun.

3. See Pao-Teh Han, See Pao-Teh Han, The Story of Chinese
Landscape Design (Tapiei: Youth Cultural Enterprise, 1992),
trans. by C. Shen, pp.76-102. Johnston says that "Three
distinctive types of garden developed in China: the smaller
private gardens belonging to scholar-officials...; the large
extravagant and exotic gardens of the emperor and the impe-
rial household; and the gardens to be found in temples,
ancestral halls and natural scenic parks" (R. S. Johnston,
Scholar Gardens of China: A Study and Analysis of the Social
Design of the Chinese Private Garden, Cambrdige University
Press, 1991, P.1).

4. F. H. Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism (The Pennsylvania State
University, 1981), p.8.

5. See J. Fontein, The Pilgrimage of Sudhana (The Hague,

6. Cook, Ibid., pp.25-26.

7. Garma Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality (London:
Allen & Unwin, 1971).

8. Yuan means round or complete. The relatedness of
roundness, completeness, and perfection is recognized in
other traditions as well-Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe.


Completeness as a principle of the philosophy of art is
present in various contexts. (a) In the context of large
and small this means that the work of art should have the
inner quality of completeness (with nothing lacking), no
matter how small, and unity and coherence (with nothing
superflous), no matter how large. (b) Completeness of
totality and the part can be explained by the simile of
the Indra's net. If one takes some gems, or cuts a part of
Indra's net, it is still complete. If one takes one gem
(one detail) from the net, this one gem still represents
the totality because it reflects all other gems (for this
reason Indra's net was related to the holographic
paradigm). When an excavated sculpture has lost its hands
and/or nose it is still complete in its beauty. Or when
only a hand is found, it still can reflect the beauty of
the whole figure if it is a masterpiece. Therefore, Siren
(1949: III) remarked: "What has stood out most clearly in
my recollection has been, not the formal elements of the
gardens, but the impressions of them as a whole, the
atmosphere and the emotional values attaching to this...
despite the far advanced decay that has overtaken them...
a certain measure of living charm and expressiveness." (c)
In the context of finished and unfinished work,
completeness is an inner proportion, meaning that
art-works are complete even when they seem unfinished from
some formal point. On the other hand, some art-works are
"overdone" ("over-finished"), and it would be better if
the artist had stopped before he actually did. (d)
Art-works have their own balance of the main construct and
the details. Too many details suggest an "overdone" work.
Siren's remark


(1949: 3) relating to some gardens is valid for some other
art-works: "It may also degenerate to artificial
intricacy, and an almost bewildering lack of unifying
plan! The dynamics of art history in China and the West
seem to swing in a pendulum fashion, between overabundance
and minimalism.

9. Ibid. p. 104.

10. Fa Tsang quoted after Fung Yu-lan, History of Chinese
Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 1973), Vol. II,

11. Ibid. p. 349

12. Taisho, vol.10, p. 36b quoted after Thomas Cleary, Entry
Into the Inconceivable (Honolulu: University of Hawaii
Press, 1983), p.166.

13. So-called TLV metal mirrors are described by Joseph
Needham, The Shorter Science and Civilization in China
(Cambridge University Press, 1981) , Vol. II, pp.138-140.
He also described concave mirrors of two types: one (yang-
sui) to start a fire concentrating sun-rays, and the other
(fang-chu) to collect dew on a moonlit night (Needham,
Ibid, 351-354). TLV mirrors also had protective
¡]talismanic) , and meditstive purposs.

14. The difference in manuscripts (lan = blue; lan = to
perceive; chien = to oversee) is noted by A. Rump, and
Wit. Chan.

15. John McRae (1986: 144-147) has analysed the metaphor of
the mirror in Ch'an. The perfectly reflecting mirror is
the metaphor for "the consummation of both the static
realm of the Buddha nature and the dynamic realm of the
perfection of ongoing perceptual processes"


(ibid. p. 144). In the Platform Sutra "the 'bright mirror'
is equated with the constantly shining sun, and the dust
that occurs on the mirror's surface, obscuring its
reflective capacity, corresponds to the clouds and mists
of the eight directions' that block the light of the sun."
"The purpose of this idealized conception of the mirror
should be immediately obvious: to make the mirror a
fitting match for the mind of the Buddha, whom the Chinese
regarded as omniscient" (ibid., p. 145).

16. Quoted from Cleary, Ibid ., p.152.

17. Pao-Teh Han, Ibid., PP.106-107.

18. Ibid ., p. 113

19. Chang, G. Ibid ., PP.126-128.

20. These are thoroughly analysed by Charles Luk, Ch'an and
Zen Teaching (second series), p. 127-180. Also, by Alfonso
Verdu, in Dialectical Aspects in Buddhist Thought. Robert
Gimello made an important remark on "five positions", or
"five ranks" (wu-wei). "'Five rank' thought, of course, is
usually treated under the rubric of Ch'an, or Ts'ao-tung
Ch'an particularly. But need it be assigned to that
category alone? After all, some of the basic motifs of
'five-rank' thought are of Hua-yen origin, and 'five-rank'
theory is a genuinely innovative use of those motifs.
Moreover, even the traditional view allows that much of
the essence of Hua-yen was absorbed by Ch'an during that
period when the Hua- yen 'school' strictly defined as an
institution, was in decline. We need not be so respectful
of sectarian distinctions as to omit from future surveys
of Hua-yen so fascinating a variation on, or transmutation
of, Hua-


yen themes as 'five-rank' theory"( Studies in Ch/an and
Hua-yen , 1983: 326).

21. Pao-Teh Han, Ibid., P.80.

22. Ibid., p. 153

23. Ibid., p. 132

24. The Flower Ornament Scripture , 1984:242-243.

25. Quoted after Cleary, Ibid ., PP.168-169.

26. Thomas Cleary, Entry Into the Realm of Reality (The
Gandavyuha) (Boston: Shambhala, 1987), PP.365-366.

27. Cao Xueqin (Tsao Hsueh-chin), The Story of the Stone
(I-V) (The Dream of the Red Chamber), trans. by David
Hawkes, Penguin, 1973, P.327. Speaking about this Osvald
Siren remarks: "The Chinese garden can never, in the
same way as the formal parterre garden, be completely
surveyed from a certain point. It consists of more or
less isolated sections which, though they succeed one
another as parts of a homogeneous composition, must
nevertheless be discovered gradually and enjoyed as the
beholder continues his stroll: he must follow the sinuous
paths as they take him past mountains and lakes, wander
through tunnels or winding galleries, linger for a while
to ponder the water which flows under worn stone bridges,
to reach finally, perhaps, on steps of unhewn stone a
pavilion on a height from which a fascinating view
unfolds between trees" (O. Siren, Gardens of China, New
York: The Ronald Press, 1949, P.4).

28. Pao-Teh Han, Ibid ., P.270.

29. Entry into the Realm of Reality, PP.372-374.

30. In ch. 14 we find fu-kuei for 'returning' - also in
ch. 28, and ch. 52.


31. In the second line we find kuei ken - returning to
the root

32. In ch. 25 we find fan for 'returning' - also in ch. 40.

33. For wider discussion of "returning" in Lao-Tzu , see:
Fung Yu-lan, Ibid., I, 182-3.

34. See Master Sheng-yen, Faith in Mind (Taipei: Tungshu
Publ. Co., 1989), PP.45-46. The phrase "return to the
source (or root)"was common in teachings of Ch'an masters,
who used it to say - ignorance is to be ignorant of one's
original mind, not knowing how to return to the source,
being attached to name-and-form, and creating karma.

35. Fa Tsang, quoted after Cleary, 1983: 147-169

36. Pao-Teh Han, Ibid ., P.52.

37. See M. Sullivan, Symbols of Eternity (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1979), PP.26-27. While wandering in a landscape,
in one moment Petrarch sat down, and read a passage from
St. Augustine's Confessions that reminded him not to
indulge in enjoying nature, instead of looking inward
upon his soul. He felt like a sinner. For the Renaissance
man nature had two faces. It represented the new prized
values of life and vitality, that were surpressed in the
Middle Ages, it was beautiful and exciting, but at the
same time it was a trial, full of "temptations of the

38. Cyril Birch, ed., Anthology of Chinese Literature (Penguin,
1967), PP.201-202.

39. Pao-Teh Han, Ibid ., P.112.

40. Cyril Birch, Ibid , P.216.

41. Compare The Flower Ornament Scripture , (Boston:
Shambhala, 1984), trans. by Thomas Cleary, Vol. I,



42. Johnston, Ibid ., PP.1-3.

43. Actually, Johnston says: "The philosophy of man's
interdependence with nature, for so long an essential
part of Chinese thought, crystallised at this point in
response to a feeling of 'spiritual claustrophobia.' Busy
scholar officials were unable to commune directly with
nature and therefore strove to recreate nature's image
within the confines of their urban homes" Ibid., PP.2-3.
However, Pao-Teh Han has shown that in many cases,
historically, private gardens were first developed by
retired literati outside the cities, later influencing,
as models, the gardens of city dwellers.

44. Explaining one of the purposes of a miniature garden in a
Taoist context, Rolf Stein says: "Hermits, although
confined to the narrow world of their retreat, still had
access to the entire universe in all its variety....
Whenever hermits draw or cultivate dwarf plants in a
miniature landscape, they create for themselves... a
separate world in miniature.... That is how a Taoist
magician could escape this world of ours to hide himself
in the mythic world reserved for initiates, by means of
miniature" (Stein, The World in Miniature, Stanford
University Prsss, 1987, PP.51-53). However, in the
context of Hua-yen, garden design and contemplation wre a
possible exemplification of the doctrine by means of art
and ambiance design, like the hall of mirrors, or the
great Borobudur.



Chen-ju ¯u¦p true suchness (thusness)
chien ºÊ to oversee
ching Ãè mirror
chu ¥D host
fa-chieh ªk¬É¡@¡@ dharma-dhatu (totality)
fan ¤Ï returning
fang-chu ¤è½Ñ mirror to¡@ collect dew
fu ´_ returning
hai-ching san-mei ®üÃè¤T¬N ocean-mirror samadhi
hai-yin san-mei ®ü¦L¤T¬N¡@ ocean-mudra samadhi
hsiang ¹³ mirage
hsiang-chi ¬Û§Y mutual¡@¡@ identity
hsiang-ju ¬Û¤J interpene - tration
hsien Åã disclosed
hsuan-lan ¥ÈÄý mysterious mirror
hsuan-chien ¥ÈºÊmysterious
huan-yuan ÁÙ·½ returning¡@ to the source
i-ch'eng ¤@­¼ One vehicle
ju fa-chieh ¤Jªk¬É entrance dharma-dhatu
kuei ken Âk®Ú returning to the root
Lo-yang ¬¥¶§
lan ÂÅ blue Äý to perceive
Lake Tai ¤Ó´ò
Lun-hui ½ü°j samsara
Mi-le-fo À±°Ç¦ò Maitreya
ming ©ú enlightenment
mu /mou/ ¯a Chinese land-measure
The Net of Indra ¦]ªûùºõ Yin-t'o-lo kang
pin »« guest
pu-ssu-i-chieh ¤£«äij¬É ¡@acintya-dhatu inconceivable realm
p'o ¾ë simplicity
Sudhana µ½°]µ£¤l
shih-chieh ¥@¬É loks-dhatu
ta yuan-ching chih¤j¶êÃè´¼
t'ai ¥x tower
Ts'ao tung sect ±ä¬}©v
t'ung ¦P equality
t'ung-shih tun-ch'i ¦P®É¹y°_ simultaneous arising


Vairochana ¤j¤é Ta-jih
yang-sui ¶§Àæ mirror to start fire
yin Áô concealed
yuan ¶é garden
yuan ¶ê complete (round)
yuan-ch'i ½t°_ conditioned origination (pratitya-samutpada)
wu µL nothingness
wu-ai µLê non-obstruction
wu-wei ¤­¦ì five ranks (five positions)

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