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Stone Sūtra of eighty-fascicle Avataṃsaka Sūtra (八十華嚴, the eighty-fascicle Flower Adornment Sūtra) stored at the Memorial Temple of Jin (Jinci 晉祠) Sun, Mingli


The Stone Sūtra of Huayan jing (華嚴經, Skt. Avataṃsaka-sūtra; Flower Adornment Sutra) was a large project under the Wu Zhou Empire (690-705) in China. Nowadays, the stone slabs are collected at the Memorial Temple of Jin in Taiyuan city, Shanxi province. On this stone scripture were carved 80 fascicles of Avataṃsaka-sūtra, which was translated by the Khotanese monk Śikṣānanda (實叉難陀) around 699. Each fascicle of Avataṃsaka-sūtra was carved on two slabs. The size of each stone was determined by the amount of words in each fascicle. Most of the slabs were cuboids with four edge while few of them were of five or six edges. Almost every side of the slab is fully carved Chinese characters. The Stone Sūtra of eighty-fascicle Avataṃsaka at the Memorial Temple of Jin was an immense project by Wu Zetian (武則天), the emperor of Wu Zhou empire (690-705), who penned a preface for the scripture. The stone collection was not only the earliest, but also the only extant and the most complete example of the 80 fascicle Avataṃsaka-sūtra. It bears important value not only for Buddhist practitioners and historians, but also for archaeologists and artists.

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