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Abhayākaragupta(11th century - circa 1125)

Indian tantric Buddhist master who was born into a brāhmaṇa family in either Orissa or northeast India near Bengal. Sources vary regarding his dates of birth and death, although most agree that he was a contemporary of the Pāla king Rāmapāla, who began his reign during the final quarter of the eleventh century. Abhayākaragupta became a Buddhist monk in response to a prophetic vision and trained extensively in the esoteric practices of tantra, while nevertheless maintaining his monastic discipline (vinaya). Abhayākaragupta was active at the monastic university of Vikramaśīla in Bihar and became renowned as both a scholar and a teacher. He was a prolific author, composing treatises in numerous fields of Buddhist doctrine, including monastic discipline and philosophy as well as tantric ritual practice and iconography. Many Sanskrit manuscripts of his works have been preserved in India, Nepal, and Tibet, and his writings were influential both in India and among Newari Buddhists in Nepal. Translations of his works into Tibetan were begun under his supervision, and more than two dozen are preserved in the Tibetan canon. To date, Abhayākaragupta’s writings best known in the West are his treatises on tantric iconography, the Vajrãvalī and Niṣpannayogāvalī, and his syncretistic abhidharma treatise Munimatãlaṃkāra. (Source: "Abhayākaragupta." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 2. Princeton University Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n41q.27.)

On the topic of this person

Philosophical positions of this person

Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 109; he cites Ruegg for this, and agrees.

More specifically he asserts that buddha-nature is equivalent to the selflessness of the dharmatā. This is not exactly the same as buddha-nature = emptiness. Kano explains that this is a precursor to that position. Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 111 et passim.

Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 109: he cites Khedrubje for this designation.

Other names

  • ཨ་བྷ་ཡཱ་ཀ་ར་གུཔྟ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • འཇིགས་མེད་འབྱུང་གནས་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • པཎྜི་ཏ་ཨ་བྷ་ཡཱ་ཀ་ར་གུཔྟ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • a b+ha yA ka ra gup+ta · other names (Wylie)
  • 'jigs med 'byung · other names (Wylie)
  • paN+Di ta a b+ha yA ka ra gup+ta · other names (Wylie)
  • Abhayākara · other names
  • Paṇḍita Abhayākaragupta · other names

Affiliations & relations

  • Suvarṇadvīpa Dharmakīrti · student