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2017, Vol., No.21

  • 1.

    Once Again on “Dhātu-vāda”

    Nobuyoshi Yamabe | 2017, (21) | pp.9~43 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    In 1986, Matsumoto Shirō published an article entitled “Nyoraizō shisō wa Bukkyō ni arazu” (The Doctrine of Tathāgata-garbha Is Not Buddhist). According to this article, the core doctrines of authentic Buddhism are no-self and pratītyasamutpāda. In Matsumoto’s opinion, pratītyasamutpāda consists of a temporal sequence of causal links without any solid spatial basis, which he calls “dhātu.” In contrast, the Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha traditions share a common doctrinal framework, which he calls “dhātu-vāda.” The “dhātu-vāda” model consists of “locus” and “super-locus,” in which the “locus” supports and gives rise to “super-loci.” Matsumoto calls this model a “generative monism” and considers it to be fundamentally different from the temporal causality model of “authentic Buddhism,” and thus, “not Buddhist.” In 1997, I published two articles discussing the validity of this model, and in 2004 Matsumoto published a detailed response to them. The present paper is an attempt to respond to Matsumoto (2004). In his article, Matsumoto focuses on two concepts: prakṛtistha-gotra and *tathatālambanapratyaya-bīja. Since I discussed *tathatālambanapratyaya-bīja in some detail in my paper published in 1990, I focus here on prakṛtistha-gotra. Rejecting my understanding of prakṛtisthaṃ gotraṃ in Bodhisattvabhūmi as “gotra existing by nature,” Matsumoto interprets this concept as “gotra located on prakṛti.” In order to support his interpretation, he takes prakṛti as a universal principle (tathatā, dharmatā). My examination of relevant passages suggests that no such universal element as tathatā or dharmatā is presupposed in the gotra definition of Bodhisattvabhūmi. Although the word dharmatā is used in the definition of prakṛtisthaṃ gotraṃ (as part of the expression, dharmatāpratilabdha), as Walpola Rahula argues (concerning the Pāli equivalent dhammatā), dharmatā here does not seem to refer to anything that stands behind worldly phenomena. Thus, I believe it is difficult to apply the dhātu- vāda model, at least in the case of the oldest portions of Yogācārabhūmi.
  • 2.

    Some Citations and Similes Common in the Ratnagotravibhāga and the Yogācāra Texts

    Ahn, Sungdoo | 2017, (21) | pp.45~84 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    It is well known that there are many similarities between the terms used in the Yogācāra texts and Ratnagotravibhāga (RGV), the latter being the most important treatise of the Buddha-nature idea in India. The aim of this paper is to compare some citations and similes that the RGV and the Yogācāra texts have in common. The common citations are the so-called ‘well apprehended emptiness’ of the CSS, the phrases ‘the natural luminosity’ and ‘the accidental dusts’, as well as verses I.154-155 of the RGV. Three similes were used for space, gold, and water respectively. Some parallel occurrences of these citations and similes in the RGV and the Yogācāra texts indicate, without doubt, the strong influence of the Yogācāra texts on the RGV. By examining these parallels, I attempted to show on which points these two texts correspond with, and deviate from each other. It goes without saying that there are some points of deviation between these two schools. The main difference can be summarized, in short, as follows: While the RGV tends to more or less reduce knowledge of The Ultimate to faith, the Yogācāra texts hold the position that the problem of The Ultimate can be solved by overcoming the subject-object-dichotomy through right knowledge.
  • 3.

    Rong-zom-pa’s Ontological Abyss: Where the Positivistic Ontology of the Tathāgatagarbha School and the Negativistic Ontology of the Sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhānavāda School Meet

    Dorji Wangchuk | 2017, (21) | pp.85~107 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Several years ago, I have made an attempt to present the various interpretations of the Tathāgatagarbha theory by leading scholars of the rNying- ma school, and by comparing and contrasting them with the interpretations of it offered by those scholars from the main-stream Sa-skya, dGe-lugs, and Jo-nang schools (Wangchuk 2004). There I also pointed out that although Rong-zom-pa, an eleventh-century rNying-ma scholar, was aware of the Tathāgagarbha theory from the Tathāgagarbha Sūtric scriptures, seems to be quite reticent about the theory. He does not interpret svayaṃbhūjñāna in the light of tathāgagarbha (as Dol-po-pa is wont to do) but seems to interpret the latter in the light of the former. In this paper, I wish to take a closer look at how Rong-zom-pa interprets the Tathāgatagarbha theory. My paper is divided into four sections. Section one attempts to provide a brief doctrinal-historical background to Rong- zom-pa’s interpretation of the Tathāgatagarbha theory. Section two deals with his understanding of the Sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhānavāda ontology. The word ontology is used here in the sense of the theory about the true reality of phenomena, and the Sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhānavāda, too, has its own theory of true reality, which, according to Rong-zom-pa, is the “indivisibility of the two modes of reality.” Section three examines briefly how Rong-zom- pa deals with the Tathāgatagarbha ontology. Finally, section four is devoted to answering the question as to whether the positivistic and negativistic ontologies can be reconcilable for Rong-zom-pa. I contend that although the overall philosophical doctrines of the Tathāgatagarbha school and Sarvadharmāpratiṣṭhānavāda school are different, there seems to be one crucial point of commonality, namely, the idea of “substratum-less-ness,” also expressed by Ratnagotravibhāga 1.55-57. It thus appears that the idea of “(metaphysical) groundless-ness and root-less-ness” would play pivotal role in reconciling the positivistic and negativistic ontologies.
  • 4.

    Grounds of Buddha-Nature in Tibet

    Douglas Duckworth | 2017, (21) | pp.109~136 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This paper discusses syntheses forged in Tibet among the doctrines of Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, and buddha-nature (tathāgatagarbha). Buddha-nature is a distinctively Mahāyāna Buddhist doctrine, taking a place along side of the Yogācāra doctrine of the basic consciousness (ālayavijñāna) and the universal emptiness (śūnyatā) of Madhyamaka. As a fundamental ground of reality, buddha-nature comes to be identified with a positive side of emptiness (in the case of Madhyamaka) and is assimilated with the basic consciousness (in the case of Yogācāra) as well. As the intrinsic purity of mind, buddha- nature also plays a causal role as the potential for complete awakening. Buddha-nature comes to shape a Madhyamaka interpretation of emptiness in a positive light in a way that parallels its place in a Yogācāra interpretation (as a positive foundation of mind and reality). Buddha-nature supplements a Yogācāra theory of mind and reality by offering a positive alternative to a theory of consciousness that otherwise functions simply as the distorted cognitive structure of suffering. It thus is not only the potential for an awakened mind, but the cognitive content of awakening, too. In Tibet we see the interpretation of buddha-nature converge with Mahāyāna doctrines in structually parallel ways. Paired with buddha-nature, the doctrine of emptiness in Madhyamaka pivots from a “self-empty” lack of intrinsic nature to an “other-empty,” pure ground that remains. In narratives of disclosure characteristic of the doctrine of buddha-nature, we also see parallel shifts in the foundations of Yogācāra, as grounds of distortion like the basic consciousness, the dependent nature, and self-awareness are reinscribed into a causal story that takes place within a pure, gnostic ground.
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