Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood—The Universal Buddha of the San-chieh-chiao

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Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood—The Universal Buddha of the San-chieh-chiao
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Citation: Hubbard, Jamie. "Absolute Delusion, Perfect Buddhahood—The Universal Buddha of the San-chieh-chiao." In Buddha Nature: A Festschrift in Honor of Minoru Kiyota, edited by Paul J. Griffiths and John P. Keenan, 75–94. Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1990.

Article Summary

Jamie Hubbard explores some specifically Chinese materials in his contribution "Perfect Buddhahood, Absolute Delusion—The Universal Buddha of the San-chieh-chiao". [sic] The San-chieh-chiao wanted to hold together a radically pessimistic view of the capacities of human persons for religious practice with a strong assertion of a fundamental identity between living beings and Buddha. The subtle scholastic discussion by the San-chieh-chiao of how these two affirmations were to be held together focused upon the theoretical question of the relations between pure, undefiled Suchness (tathatā) and the realm of ordinary living beings—for the assertion of a fundamental identity between the two cannot be allowed to call into question the pressing apparent reality of defilements in this degenerate age. The central soteriological affirmation running through these discussions is that all beings will inevitably realize Buddhahood; the metaphysical problem is to show how this can be the case; and the practical problem is to delineate the kind of religious practice that is appropriate if it is the case. All these challenges the San-chieh-chiao attempted to meet, and it is the burden of Hubbard's careful exegesis to detail the subtle metaphysical and exegetical distinctions they constructed to do so. (Griffiths and Keenan, introduction to Buddha Nature, 4–5)