From Buddha-Nature

Atiśa(982 - 1054)
Indian Buddhist monk and scholar revered by Tibetan Buddhists as a leading teacher in the later dissemination (phyi dar) of Buddhism in Tibet. His name, also written as Atisha, is an Apabhraṃśa form of the Sanskrit term atiśaya, meaning “surpassing kindness.” Born into a royal family in what is today Bangladesh, Atiśa studied Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy and tantra as a married layman prior to being ordained at the age of twenty-nine, receiving the ordination name of Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna. After studying at the great monasteries of northern India, including Nālandā, Odantapurī, Vikramaśīla, and Somapura, he is said to have journeyed to the island of Sumatra, where he studied under the Cittamātra teacher Dharmakīrtiśrī (also known as guru Sauvarṇadvīpa) for twelve years; he would later praise Dharmakīrtiśrī as a great teacher of bodhicitta. Returning to India, he taught at the Indian monastic university of Vikramaśīla. Atiśa was invited to Tibet by the king of western Tibet Ye shes 'od and his grandnephew Byang chub 'od, who were seeking to remove perceived corruption in the practice of Buddhism in Tibet. Atiśa reached Tibet in 1042, where he initially worked together with the renowned translator Rin chen bzang po at Tho ling monastery in the translation of prajñāpāramitā texts. There, he composed his famous work, the Bodhipathapradīpa, or “Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment,” an overview of the Mahāyāna Buddhist path that served as a basis for the genre of literature known as lam rim (“stages of the path”). (Source: "Atiśa Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 77. Princeton University Press, 2014.

On the topic of this person

Philosophical positions of this person

He uses it as a support for his position on a single vehicle and describe it is a disposition which is a causal potential for buddhahood.
"The term “innate śīla” means that all sentient beings have a single [or universal] spiritual disposition (gotra), Buddha-nature, or the spiritual disposition of the Mahāyāna." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 100.

Actually Great Madhyamaka. See Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 101.

"In his auto-commentary on the Bodhipathapradīpa, Atiśa explains the term so sor thar pa’i sdom pa and associates the Buddha-nature doctrine with that of the Great Madhyamaka (dbu ma chen po), which teaches that there is nobody who is not a recipient of the Mahāyāna (i.e. ekayāna)." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 101.

"Atisa explains “the innate śīla" abiding in every being as a cause that brings one attainment (i.e. nirvāṇa), but as being covered with defilements in the state of ordinary beings. He takes it as synonymous with Buddha-nature or the mahāyānagotra." Kano, K., Buddha-Nature and Emptiness, p. 101.

Other names

  • དཔལ་མར་མེད་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • སློབ་དཔོན་ཆེན་པོ་དཔལ་མར་མེ་མཛད་ཡེ་ཤེས་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་མཁན་པོ་དཔལ་ལྡན་མར་མེ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་མཁན་པོ་དཔལ་ལྡན་མར་མེ་མཛད་བཟང་པོ་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྙིང་པོ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • དཱི་པཾ་ཀ་ར་ཤྲཱི་ཛྙཱ་ན་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • པཎྜིཏ་དཱི་པཾ་ཀ་ར་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • མགོན་པོ་ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་ · other names (Tibetan)
  • dpal mar med mdzad dpal ye shes · other names (Wylie)
  • slob dpon chen po dpal mar me mdzad ye shes · other names (Wylie)
  • rgya gar gyi mkhan po dpal ldan mar me · other names (Wylie)
  • rgya gar gyi mkhan po dpal ldan mar me mdzad bzang po ye shes snying po · other names (Wylie)
  • dI paM ka ra shrI dz+nyA na · other names (Wylie)
  • paN+Dita dI paM ka ra · other names (Wylie)
  • mgon po a ti sha · other names (Wylie)
  • Atīśa · other names
  • Atiśa Dīpaṃkara · other names
  • Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna · other names
  • Śrī Dīpaṃkarajñānapada · other names
  • Dīpaṃkararakṣita · other names

Affiliations & relations

  • Nāropa · teacher
  • Suvarṇadvīpa Dharmakīrti · teacher
  • Bodhibhadra · teacher
  • 'brom ston pa · student
  • rin chen bzang po · student
  • lha btsun byang chub 'od · student
  • mgos khug pa lhas btsas · student
  • rngog legs pa'i shes rab · student