Buddha-Nature and the Logic of Pantheism

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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.

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)


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