In this online book-launch event, Dr. Christopher Jones and Dr. Li Zijie discuss their new books on the topic of buddha-nature. Below are the respective abstracts from each author:
The Buddhist Self: On Tathāgatagarbha and Ātman (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2020) by Christopher Jones
It has long been recognized that Indian Buddhist writings concerned with buddha-nature, or more narrowly the enigmatic expression tathāgatagarbha, have a complex relationship with foundational Buddhist teachings about 'not-self' (anātman). Drawing upon and developing recent scholarship concerning the relative ages of Indian Buddhist works that deal with buddha-nature, The Buddhist Self explores the likely trajectory of this complex relationship. Constituent chapters deal with all Indian texts, across Indic, Chinese and Tibetan sources, that deal with buddha-nature and the matter of how far it should be conceptualized in terms of selfhood. I argue that it is likely that our earliest sources for teaching about tathāgatagarbha, perhaps beginning with the Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra, are those which understood this term to refer to what could also be called the self (ātman). It is only later in the development of tathāgatagarbha literature that teachings about buddha-nature were elaborated to stress that this is not, after all, something of a caveat to teachings about absence of self. As such, teaching about tathāgatagarbha was perhaps originally presented as the Buddha's revelation of what is enduring and precious in the constitution of all sentient beings, and was in part a dynamic move to enter wider Indian discourse about the nature and value of the self. In 2021 The Buddhist Self was awarded the Toshihide Numata Book Award.
Kukyō ichijō hōshōron to higashiajia bukkyō: Go—nana seiki no nyoraizō, shinnyo, shushō no kenkyū『究竟一乗宝性論』と東アジア仏教 ── 五—七世紀の如来蔵・真如・種姓説の研究 [The Ratnagotravibhāga and East Asian Buddhism: A Study on the Tathāgatagarbha, Tathatā and Gotra between the 5th and 7th Centuries] (Tokyo: Kokusho kankōkai, 2020) by Li Zijie
My monograph explores theories on tathāgatagarbha
in East Asian Buddhism between the 5th and the 7th centuries, with a focus on the influence of the Ratnagotravibhāga
[Chin. Jiujing yisheng baoxing lun
究竟一乘寶性論]. There are major differences between the Sanskrit text and its Chinese translation of the Ratnagotravibhāga
, which had an immeasurable influence on East Asian Buddhism and has yet to be explored. I furthermore discuss the background, such as the Pusa dichi jing
菩薩地持經 and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra
[Chin. Lengqie jing
楞伽經], and the influence of the Ratnagotravibhāga
on the Dasheng qixin lun
大乘起信論, Jizang 吉藏, Huiyuan of Jingying temple 淨影寺慧遠, Fazang 法藏, and some writings in Korean and Japanese Buddhism.
Jones, Christopher, and Li Zijie. "Book Launch: Revisiting Buddha-Nature in India and China." Produced by SOAS (University of London), Centre of Buddhist Studies, February 18, 2021. Video, https://youtu.be/Iu1YnEaEvWo