|English & Chinese
|Year of Publication
The Lotus Sutra, an early Mahayana sutra, was compiled around the 1st century in India. In the text, Sakyamuni Buddha explains in a variety of different ways that all beings can reach Buddhahood, that all must believe in their own potential. The Lotus Sutra reached China in the 3rd century via the Silk Road and gradually took hold. The sutra later spread to Korea and Japan and became influential in the East Asian Buddhist tradition. The sutra’s“Universal Gate Chapter on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva” was chanted by followers throughout East Asia and played a key role in the propagation through this region of the faith of Avalokitesvara (Guanyin). The Lotus Sutra lauds the merits of transcribing its own text and of creating iconography and thus inspired many art works. It also accounts for the largest share of Buddhist texts in the National Palace Museum collection. A Buddhist sutra is often divided into three parts: introduction, main exposition, and dissemination. The first provides background information on where the sutra was preached and the figures involved; the second part details the teachings or paths of practice; and the third praises the benefits of adhering to the teachings and encourages followers to propagate the sutra. The structure of this exhibition follows the tradition, presenting the content of the Lotus Sutra in the first section, important artistic motifs and genres inspired by it in the second, and the circulation and dissemination of the text throughout history in the third. It is hoped that the exhibition will enable visitors to understand the Lotus Sutra as a canonical text that has inspired people in East Asia for over a millennium, and the artistic achievements born out of it.