I was reading about this sutra the other day, and came across a wesbite with some information on it. The claim it made was this:
Over 1,600 pages in Thomas Cleary’s translation, the Flower Ornament Sutra is a samadhi text, designed to inspire luminous visions and exalted experiences of mind and reality through its use of lush, psychedelic, evocative imagery.
Because of the book’s length, but also because of its unique quality as a text, most practitioners need some guidance on how to read the Flower Ornament Sutra, as it may seem impenetrable at first glance. This is not a book to read to gain intellectual comprehension. Rather, the cumulative impact of its profuse imagery inspires heightened states of samadhi, or concentrated meditative awareness. This effect can best be appreciated by bathing in the imagery, as if listening to a symphony, rather than trying to decipher a textbook. Reciting it aloud, by oneself or together with a small circle of practice friends, is a traditional approach.
This claim I've seen elsewhere as well. Is it true that the text is primarily read for these purposes? Also, does anyone know where the Hua-Yen philosophy survived the strongest in major Buddhist schools? I've read that the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Hua-Yen school influenced Zen, and I believe this is the case in Shingon as well as Kukai listed Kegon as the highest school after Shingon. Do any modern Buddhist schools read or use the Avatamsaka Sutra?