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Affirmation in Negation: A Study of the Tathagatagarbha Theory in the Light of the Bodhisattva Practices
Author Chen, Shu-hui J. (著)=釋如念 (au.)
PublisherThe University of Wisconsin - Madison
Publisher Url
LocationMadison, WI, US [麥迪遜, 威斯康辛州, 美國]
Content type博碩士論文=Thesis and Dissertation
InstitutionUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison
AdvisorBuhnemann, Gudrun
Publication year1998
Note1. Thesis (Ph.D.) Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, oclc
KeywordAffirmation; Negation; Tathagatagarbha=如來藏; Bodhisattva=菩薩; Buddha nature; Mahayana; Practice=修行方法=修行法門
AbstractThe Tathagatagarbha theory, also known as the Buddha nature theory, is one of the most influential Mahayana doctrines in the East Asian Buddhism. In 1989, it was severely criticized by some Japanese scholars, namely, Shiro Matsumoto and Noriaki Hakamaya for being contradictory to the Buddha's teaching of non-self (anatman) and accused of being a non-Buddhist theory in disguise. The purpose of this study is to refute such an accusation and to demonstrate the relationship between this theory and the Bodhisattva practices which are the very core of the Mahayana Buddhism.

This dissertation begins with definitions of the term "tathagatagarbha" and some of its synonyms which are followed by a brief review of the historical development of the Tathagatagarbha theory from India to China. With these as the background knowledge, it is easier to point out the fallacies of the two Japanese scholars' criticism on this theory. A key issue in their criticism is that they viewed the Tathagatagarbha theory as the atman of the Upanisads in disguise. It is therefore necessary to discuss not only the distinction between the atman mentioned in the Tathagatagarbha theory and that in the Upanisads but also the controversy over the issue of atman versus anatman among the Buddhist scholars.

In the discussion to clarify the issue of atman in the Tathagatagarbha theory, it is demonstrated that the atman in the Tathagatagarbha theory is not only uncontradictory to the doctrine of anatman in Buddhism but very important to the Bodhisattva practices in the Mahayana Buddhism. It functions as a unity for the Bodhisattvas to voluntarily return to the world of samsara again and again. Furthermore, the purport of the entire theory, that all sentient beings are endowed with the essence of the Buddha, supports various Bodhisattva practices such as the aspiration to save all beings in the world, the six perfections, etc. In a word, the Tathagatagarbha theory is an excellent representative of the soteriology of the Mahayana Buddhism. Included in the end of this dissertation is an annotated translation of the Tathagatagarbha-sutra.
Table of contentsIntroduction 1

Chapter One: The Term Tathāgatagarbha and Some of Its Synonyms 8
1. Tathāgatagarbha 8
A. Tathāgata 8
B. Garbha 16
C. Tathāgatagarbha 17
2. Tathāgatagotra 20
A. Gotra 20
B. Tathāgatagotra 37
3. Dharmadhātu and Buddhadhātu 40
A. Dhātu 40
B. Dharmadhātu 45
C. Buddhadhātu 50
4.Dharmakāya 55
5. Prakṛtipariśuddhacitta 65

Chapter Two: The Development of the Tathāgatagarbha Theory in India (1) —The Earlier Period 74
1. Sūtras: 77
A. Tathāgatagarbha-sūtra 77
B. Anūnatvāpūrṇatva-nirdeśa 80
C. Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda-sūtra 85
D. Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra 95
E. Anuttarāśraya-sūtra 103
F. Some Minor Sūtras 104
2. Śāstras: 115
A. Ratnagotravibhāga-śāstra 115
B. Mahāyānadharmadhātvaviśeṣa-śāstra 126
3. A Chart of the Chronological Order of these Works 130

Chapter Three: The Development of the Tathāgatagarbha Theory in India (2)—The Later Period 131
1. Sūtras: 143
A. Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra 143
B. Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra 149
C. Ghanavyūha-sūtra 156
2. Śāstras: 160
A. The Buddha Nature Treatise 160
B. Mahāyānaśraddhotpāda-śāstra 167

Chapter Four: The Development of the Tathāgatagarbha Theory in China 173
1. The Place of the Tathāgatagarbha theory in Different Kinds of P'an-chiao Systems 174
2. The Influence of the MPN in Chinese Buddhism 181
A. The Issue of the Icchantikas 181
B. Different Kinds of Buddha Nature 184
C. The Direct Cause of Buddha Nature 195
3. The Buddha Nature in Some Chinese Buddhist Schools 213
A. The Nieh-p'an School 213
B. The T'ien-t'ai School 219
C. The Hua-yen School 225
D. The Ch'an School 230

Chapter Five: Refutation of Matsumoto's and Hakamaya's Criticism on the Tathāgatagarbha Theory 241
1. Fallacies Shared by Matsumoto and Hakamaya 242
A. The Issue of Time versus Space 243
B. The Issue of Unity versus Diversity 247
C. The Issue of Permanence versus Impermanence 250
2. Extreme Views of Matsumoto's Criticism 252
A. On the Concepts of Vimukti and Nirvāṇa 252
B. On the Concept of Dharmakāya 256
3. Misconceptions of Hakamaya's Criticism 261
A. On the Authoritarianism and the Lack of Real Altruism in the Theory of Fundamental Enlightenment 263
B. On the Anti-religious Faith in the Theory of Fundamental Enlightenment 270

Chapter Six: A Comparison between the "Ātman" in the Tathāgatagarbha theory and That in the Upaniṣads 277
1. The "Ātman" in the Upaniṣads 277
A. Ātman 280
B. Brahman 288
C. The Identification of Ātman and Brahman 296
2. Comparison of the Concept of Ātman in the Tathāgatagarbha Theory with That in the Upaniṣads 303
A. Downward versus Upward 303
B. Unitary Brahman versus Myriads of Buddhas 307
C. Knowledge Leading to the Oneness with the Ātman/Brahman versus the Great Compassion for the Salvation of All 315

Chapter Seven: The Purpose of Postulating the Concept of Ātmapāramitā in the Tathāgatagarbha Theory 329
1. Controversy over the Concept of Anātman Depicted in the Early Canons 330
A. The Doctrine of Anātman—the Negative Attitude towards the Idea of Ātman 330
B. Having the Self for an Island—the Positive Attitude towards the Idea of Ātman 335
C. The Silence of the Buddha—the Neutral Attitude towards the Idea of Ātman 339
D. The Controversy over the Issue of Ātman versus Anātman in Buddhism 345
(I)Those Who Maintain That There Is Absolutely No Self or Soul and Their Theories of Karman and Transmigration346
(II) The Other Side of the Controversy 356
2. The Absolute in the Mādhyamika and Yogācāra Schools366
A. The Concept of Anātman and the Absolute in the Mādhyamika School 367
(I) The Concept of Anātman 367
(II) Is the Supreme Truth the Absolute in the Mādhyamika Theory? 375
B. The Concept of Ālayavijñāna and the Absolute in the Yogācāra School 381
(I) The Substratum Consciousness—Ālayavijñā
Created date2008.04.22
Modified date2022.03.21

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