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.