The Sentient Reflexivity of Buddha Nature

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The Sentient Reflexivity of Buddha Nature
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Citation: Yü, Dan Smyer. "The Sentient Reflexivity of Buddha Nature: Metaphorizing Tathagatagarbha." The World Religious Cultures 6 (2012): 13–22.

Abstract

Buddha Nature, or tathagatagarbha in Sanskrit, is a core element of Buddhist philosophical discourse and doctrinal debate. Who or what possesses Buddha Nature, how it manifests itself, and what role it plays in Buddhist soteriology have been sustained questions in actual Buddhist practices and in the works of Buddhologists from ancient times to the present. Based on the author’s textual interpretation, this paper attempts to present a threefold argument: Buddha Nature is not separate from its alleged opposite, sentience; it is not a tangible substance but a state of being whose felt meaning is only metaphorically conveyed; and finally it is a heuristic device or a means of provoking a Buddhist or anyone who takes interest in Buddhism, to visualize the inner complexity of his or her sentient mode of being.