Cataphatic Emptiness: rGyal-tshab on the Buddha-essence Theory of Asaṅga's Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā
This doctoral dissertation studies the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra), the only surviving Indian Buddhist treatise on the Buddha-essence doctrine, by way of one of its major Tibetan commentaries, rGyal-tshab Dar-ma-rin-chen (1364-1432)'s Theg pa chen po rGyud bla ma'i ṭīkā. This project consists of three parts: a special edition of the first chapter of the Theg pa chen po rGyud bia ma'i ṭīkā, an English translation of the selected sections of that commentary, and a comparative analysis which follows six distinct lines of inquiry.
The six lines are: rGyal-tshab's doctrinal classification of the text; his critiques of absolutism, skepticism, and quietism in connection with diverse interpretations of the Buddha-essence doctrine in Tibetan traditions as well as a tentative comparison with critiques of the theory of "Original-enlightenment" in modern Chinese Buddhism; his analysis of the title of Tibetan version and the structure of the text; rGyal-tshab's philosophical positions on reality, Element, and natural luminosity of the mind; his expositions of the tripartite Buddha-essence, its ten aspects, and the eighteen similes; and the notion "spiritual gene" understood by dGe-lugs-pas.
This comparative approach will provide a broader synthetic understanding of the role that Buddha-essence played as a doctrinal genre in Tibetan intellectual history.
|Jiang, Bo. "Cataphatic Emptiness: rGyal-tshab on the Buddha-Essence Theory of Asaṅga's Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā." PhD diss., Columbia University, 2008.