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  ( 法界, 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 ( 緣起, 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,
法界, 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            大海真珠焰

       Inconceivable nets of light:               光網不思議

       Theworld systems like this                 如是諸剎種

       All rest on lotus blossoms.                悉在蓮華住

       The webs of light of each system           一一諸剎種

       Cannot be fully described                  光網不可說

       In the lights appear all the lances        光中現眾剎

Throughout the seas in ten directions."(Note 24)普遍十方海

    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            譬如見導師

       In various different forms           種種色差別

       All beings following the mind        隨眾生心行

       Also everywhere see the lands."      見諸剎亦然

    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 真如 true suchness (thusness)
chien 監 to oversee
ching 鏡 mirror
chu 主 host
fa-chieh 法界   dharma-dhatu (totality)
fan 反 returning
fang-chu 方諸 mirror to  collect dew
fu 復 returning
hai-ching san-mei 海鏡三昧 ocean-mirror samadhi
hai-yin san-mei 海印三昧  ocean-mudra samadhi
hsiang 像 mirage
hsiang-chi 相即 mutual   identity
hsiang-ju 相入 interpene - tration
hsien 顯 disclosed
hsuan-lan 玄覽 mysterious mirror
hsuan-chien 玄監mysterious
huan-yuan 還源 returning  to the source
i-ch'eng 一乘 One vehicle
ju fa-chieh 入法界 entrance dharma-dhatu
kuei ken 歸根 returning to the root
Lo-yang 洛陽
lan 藍 blue  覽 to perceive
Lake Tai 太湖
Lun-hui 輪迴 samsara
Mi-le-fo 彌勒佛 Maitreya
ming 明 enlightenment
mu /mou/ 畝 Chinese land-measure
The Net of Indra 因陀羅綱 Yin-t'o-lo kang
pin 賓 guest
pu-ssu-i-chieh 不思議界  acintya-dhatu inconceivable realm
p'o 樸 simplicity
Sudhana 善財童子
shih-chieh 世界 loks-dhatu
ta yuan-ching chih大圓鏡智
t'ai 台 tower
Ts'ao tung sect 曹洞宗
t'ung 同 equality
t'ung-shih tun-ch'i 同時頓起 simultaneous arising


Vairochana 大日 Ta-jih
yang-sui 陽燧 mirror to start fire
yin 隱 concealed
yuan 園 garden
yuan 圓 complete (round)
yuan-ch'i 緣起 conditioned origination (pratitya-samutpada)
wu 無 nothingness
wu-ai 無礙 non-obstruction
wu-wei 五位 five ranks (five positions)