Sammā Arahaṃ Meditation Self and Nibbāna: Equivalents of Buddha-Nature Discourse in Thai Buddhist Traditions by Potprecha Cholvijarn

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Sammā Arahaṃ Meditation, Self, and Nibbāna: Equivalents of Buddha-Nature Discourse in Thai Buddhist Traditions by Potprecha Cholvijarn
Potprecha Cholvijarn
Interview
Interview

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About the interview

Dr. Cholvijarn and Dr. Karma Phuntsho discuss similarities and dissimilarities in debates about interpretations of the ultimate in Thai and Tibetan Buddhism.

Potprecha Cholvijarn is the author of Nibbāna as True Reality beyond the Debate, a book about the recent debate in Thailand over the nature of nibbāna (nirvāṇa), the unconditioned, whether it is attā (self) or anattā (not-self). Western Buddhist studies, especially of recent years, have assumed that Theravāda Buddhism straightforwardly teaches the doctrine of anattā: that Theravāda Buddhism rejects attā in all respects, including in the ultimate sense. However, as the well-known debate in Thailand, which reached its zenith in 1999, has shown, there appears to be a significant minority of Theravāda monks, respected by significant numbers of Theravāda laity, arguing that nibbāna is attā.

In the book, Dr. Cholvijarn compares the Thai debate to the Tibetan Rang Stong and Gzhan Stong dispute and concludes that "they reveal two similar trends found in the history of Buddhist thought, one positing a substantial absolute beyond all conceptualization, and the other rejecting all kinds of substantial absolute. Both trends are found at various points in the history of Buddhism in different traditions."

Potprecha Cholvijarn holds a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol, in the UK. He is currently a special lecturer at the Thai Studies Centre, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

Clips from the interview

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