Buddha-Nature: Through the Eyes of Go rams pa Bsod nams seng ge in Fifteenth-Century Tibet
This dissertation explores the evolving interpretation and understanding of the Buddha-nature in Fifteenth-Century Tibet, through the eyes of Go rams pa Bsod nams seng ge (1429-1489), a prominent scholar of the Sa skya school of Tibetan Buddhism. The previous work of European and American scholars in this field have led to our general understanding of Buddha-nature as an innate potential for enlightenment that lies within all sentient beings. The concept of Buddha-nature provides the primary answer to a question with which all Mahāyānists have been philosophically concerned, throughout history: are all sentient beings capable of attaining Buddhahood? The Mahāyāna, more specifically, Madhyamaka theory of Buddha-nature answers the question unequivocally: "Since all sentient beings possess Buddha-nature they are guaranteed to achieve the state of Buddhahood." This research has been mostly limited to the interpretations of Indian and Chinese texts and to a study of only certain Tibetan schools. This dissertation seeks to fill the gap in present scholarship by analyzing the systematic thought of Go rams pa, who set out to provide a critical analysis, explain the internal coherence, and map out the organization of diverse Indian and Tibetan interpretations of this complex idea. I demonstrate in two fundamental ways that Go rams pa developed an unique view of Buddha-nature in two ways: First, I explore the facts Go rams pa's interpretation of Buddha-nature that contribute to his unique perspective. Second, I analyze his opponents' views on the subject thereby illuminating its distinctive features in an historical context. Throughout this study, I deploy a comparative apparatus considering the different views that Go rams pa thought was wrong. Given this fifteenth-century debate, we realize that the understanding of Buddha-nature is subtle and complicated; yet this study is vital to explicate its implications. I conclude that according to Go rams pa, Buddha-nature is to be understood as unity of the emptiness of the mind and clarity which is the nature of mind.
|Citation||Jorden, Khenpo Ngawang. "Buddha-Nature: Through the Eyes of Go rams pa Bsod nams seng ge in Fifteenth-Century Tibet." PhD diss., Harvard University, 2003.|