Buddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism

From Buddha-Nature

< Articles(Redirected from Buddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism)

LibraryArticlesBuddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism

Buddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism
Citation: Duckworth, Douglas S. "Buddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism." In The Buddhist World, edited by John Powers, 235–47. London: Routledge, 2016. https://sites.temple.edu/duckworth/files/2016/01/logic-of-pantheism.pdf.

Article Summary

Buddha-nature (tathāgatagarbha) is a central topic the in Mahāyāna Buddhist thought. As the pure nature of mind and reality, it conveys the nature of being and the relationship between the buddha(s) and sentient beings. Buddha-nature is that which allows for sentient beings to become buddhas. It is the living potential for awakening.
      In this chapter I will look into interpretations of buddha-nature starting with the Sublime Continuum (Uttaratantra, ca. fourth century), the first commentarial treatise focused on this subject. I will then present its role(s) in Mahāyāna Buddhism in general, and in the interpretations of Yogācāra and Madhyamaka in particular. Next I will discuss the role of buddha-nature as a key element in the theory and practice of Buddhist tantra, which will lead into a discussion of this doctrine in light of pantheism ("all is God"). Thinking of buddha-nature in terms of pantheism can help bring to light significant dimensions of this strand of Buddhist thought. (Duckworth, introduction, 235)


  • Candrakīrti. 1957. Auto-commentary of the Madhyamakāvatāra (dBu ma la 'jug pa'i rang 'grel). In The Tibetan tripitika, Peking edition. Daisetz T. Suzuki (ed.), vol. 98, text no. 5263. Tokyo: Tibetan Tripitika Research Institute; also published in dBu ma la 'jug pa'i rang 'grel. Sarnath, India: Sakya Students' Union, 1999.
  • Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso). 1984. Kindness, Clarity, and Insight. Jeffrey Hopkins (trans.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications.
  • Densely Arrayed Sūtra (Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra). 1957. In The Tibetan tripitika, Peking edition. Daisetz T. Suzuki (ed.), vol. 29, text no. 778. Tokyo: Tibetan Tripitika Research Institute.
  • Gyeltsapjé (rGyal tshab rje dar ma rin chen). n.d. Commentary on the Uttaratantra (Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i ṭīka). Collected Works (lha sa ed.), vol. 3. Asian Classics Input Project, Release IV, S5434.
  • Hegel, G.W.F. 1873. The Logic of Hegel: Translated from the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. William Wallace (trans.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • _____1896/1995. Lectures on the History of Philosophy, vol. 3: Medieval and Modern Philosophy. E. S. Haldane and Frances Simon (trans.). London: Kegan Paul & Co., Ltd.
  • Hubbard, Jamie, and Paul Swanson (eds.). 1997. Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism. Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • Keller, Catherine. 2014. “The Body of Panentheism.” Lorilai Biernacki and Philip Clayton (eds.). Panentheism across the World's Traditions. New York: Oxford University Press: 63–82.
  • King, Richard. 1995. Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press.
  • Levine, Michael P. 1997. Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity. London: Routledge.
  • Longchenpa (kLong chen rab 'byams). 1996a. The Precious Treasury of Philosophies (Theg pa mtha' dag gi don gsal bar byed pa grub mtha' rin po che'i mdzod), vol. 2. Tarthang Tulku (ed.). Sichuan, China.
  • _____1996b. White Lotus: Autocommentary of the Precious Wish-Fulfilling Treasury (Theg pa chen po'i man ngag gi bstan bcos yid bzhin rin po che'i mdzod kyi 'grel pa padma dkar po). Published in Seven Treasuries (mdzod bdun), vol. 7. Tarthang Tulku (ed.). Sichuan, China: 139–1544.
  • MacIntyre, Alasdair “Pantheism.” 1971. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan.
  • Maitreya. 1957. Sublime continuum (Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos). In The Tibetan tripitika, Peking edition. Daisetz T. Suzuki, ed., vol. 108, text no. 5525. Tokyo: Tibetan Tripitika Research Institute; also published in theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i rtsa 'grel. Sichuan: Nationalities Press, 1997.
  • Masterson, Patrick. 1971. Atheism and Alienation: A Study of the Contemporary Sources of Atheism. Dublin: Gill and Macmillian.
  • Mipam ('Ju mi pham rgya mtsho). 1987a. Intelligent presence (gNyug sems 'od gsal ba'i don la dpyad pa rdzogs pa chen po gzhi lam 'gras bu'i shan 'byed blo gros snang ba). Mipam's Collected Works, vol. 24, 411–566. Dilgo Khyentsé (ed.). Kathmandu: Zhechen Monastery.
  • _____1987b. Lion's roar: Exposition of buddha-nature (bDe gshegs snying po'i stong thun chen mo seng ge'i nga ro). Mipam's Collected Works, vol. 4 (pa). Dilgo Khyentsé (ed.). Kathmandu: Zhechen Monastery: 563–607.
  • Ngok Loden Sherap (rNgog blo ldan shes rab). 2006. Summary of the Uttaratantra (Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa). Critical edition in Kazuo Kano, “rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab's Summary of the Ratnagotravibhāga,” 279–365. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Hamburg.
  • Owen, H. P. 1971. Concepts of Deity. New York: Herder and Herder.
  • Parkum, Virginia Cohn and J. Anthony Stultz. 2003. "Symbol and Narration in Buddhist Prison Ministry." Christopher Queen et al. (eds.). Action Dharma: New Studies in Engaged Buddhism. New York: RoutledgeCurzon: 237–50.
  • Powers, John (trans.). 1995. Wisdom of the Buddha: The Saṃdhinirmocana Mahāyāna Sūtra. Berkeley: Dharma Publishing.
  • Suzuki, D.T. (trans.). 1968. The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. London: Routledge.
  • Takasaki, Jikido. 1966. A Study on the Ratnagotravibhāga. Rome: Is. M.E.O.
  • Tillich, Paul. 1951–57. Systematic Theology, vols. 1–2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • _____1964. Theology of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Tsongkhapa (Tsong kha pa bLo bzang grags pa). 1995. The Great Exposition of the Stages of Mantra (sNgags rim chen mo). Qinghai, China: Nationalities Press; English translation in Jeffrey Hopkins. 1977. Tantra in Tibet. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  • Westphal, Merold. 1998. “Faith as the Overcoming of Ontological Xenophobia.” Orrin Summerell (ed.). Overcoming Ontotheology: Toward a Christian Faith. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press: 149–72.