Sudhana is the main character of the Gandavyuha Sutra, which belongs to the Avatamsaka Sutras. These are the sacred texts of the "Flower Garland" school, which still exists in China, Korea and Japan. These Sutras are typical Mahayanist texts. Besides teaching Mahayanist metaphysical doctrines, thes Sutras describe the path to enlightenment. Particularly, they contain the "Ten stages" to become a Bodhisattva. The last chapter of the Avatamsaka, the Gandavyuha Sutra, is generally believed to be the oldest component. The Gandavyuha Sutra describes a pilgrimage of the youth Sudhana to various lands in order to find salvation by interrogating different kinds of teachers. This is a popular motif in Mahayana art, for example illustrated by the Borobudur carvings. Though Sri Lanka is a Theravadic country, there are many remnants of Mahayany Buddhists sculptures from the Anuradhapura period. Some Bodhisattvas, such as Metteya (Maitreya) and Natha (Avalokitesvara) are venerated by Theravadins, too. However, excusively Mahayanist beings such as Sudhana are rarely seen in Sri Lanka's ancient art. There is one remarkable exception to that rule: Probably, one of the 7 rock-cut sculptures at Buduruwagala depicts Sudhana. At least 6 of these rock statues are definitely Mahayanist, this Sudhana sculpture being only one of them.
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Buduruwagala rock statues
Despite its being at the end of the Avataṃsaka, the Gaṇḍavyūha — and the Ten Stages — .
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