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Buddhist Concepts from the Hua-Yen School of Chinese Buddhism in the Kucha Caves
Kucha Academy of Xinjiang Miao Lihui
Kucha became an important management town following the building of the Grand Anxi Frontier Command. Lots of soldiers and common people relocated here during the Tang dynasty, when Hua-yan ideas were introduced into Kucha and the Han style frescoes of Kucha were created. Murals paintings depicting the Rocana Buddha with the Six Destinies were painted on the right sidewall of certain caves. Buddhist concepts of Hua-yan argue that Dharmakaya, the origin of all Buddhas with no material body or form, is everlasting and everywhere. Rocana Buddha comprehends the Six Destinies, i.e Sambhogakaya, and transforms and delivers all sentient beings according to their indriyas. Stories of Western Pureland sutras on the rear wall of main room mirrors the combination of Pure Land Thought and Hua-yan thought.
After nine centuries Uighurs coming from Moxi controlled Kucha converted from Manicheism to Buddhism, and were influenced by Chinese Buddhism, in which Hua-yan ideas played an important part.
The images embody Hua-yan ideas scattered throughout the Kumutula Caves. The main deities of Cave 13、38, and 45 are Dharmakaya, Sakyamuni, Burning Lamp Buddha, Amitabha, Maitreya Buddha. Buddhas belonging to the Pure Land and Nirvana Buddhas were painted on other walls, which makes clear that all kinds of Buddhist concepts including Hua-yan, Three Periods of Time, Pure Land, and Nirvana all met in Kucha.