The present volume analyses the inscriptions, murals, and manuscripts of the Avatamsakasutra of the Tabo Monastery. It particularly focuses on the Gandavyuhasutra, which forms part of the larger magnum opus and prescribes ways and means of attaining nirvana. It details the various stages through which a seeker of truth named Sadhana passed during his long spiritual sojourn
The murals comprise lively and continuous narratives that successfully visualize virtually incomprehensible Buddhist teachings on the clay-plastered walls. They were created by highly-skilled artists and enlightened members of the Buddhist community to communicate the principal ideas expounded in the sutra to a larger audience of both ordained monks as well as lay people. The author argues that the murals and inscriptions operate at multiple levels and enhance each other. They are part of the same narrative materialization, at times working simultaneously, and at times independently, according to the proficiency of the viewer.
Based on extensive fieldwork conducted by the author over a period of seventeen years in the Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti region, this book will fascinate students and scholars of Buddhist studies, comparative religion, and art history, especially those working on the relationship between religion and artistic representation.