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Of the nine folios, Tucci photographed both sides of seven of them, while he photographed only one side of the remaining two (here labelled 7.2 and 9.2). The two sides not filmed were probably blank or contained title pages (unfortunately, Tucci did not photograph title pages). Some images are out of focus and barely legible, and thus a complete diplomatic transcription is almost impossible. If Rāhula Sāṅkṛtyāyana photographed the same folios, this would be very helpful in deciphering them; however, I have yet to find evidence that he did. Therefore, I have only been able to go through the folios haltingly, and so identify a limited number of them. (Kano, introductory remarks, 381–82)
- The reproduction of these folios will appear together with a new critical edition of the Sanskrit text, a new edition of the Tibetan translation and an annotated English translation in a new issue of Manuscripta Buddhica which is being prepared by Francesco Sferra and Iain Sinclair.
- It should be noted that in the introduction of the editio princeps of the First Bhāvanākrama, Tucci states: "The manuscript is preserved in the monastery of sPos k’aṅ on a side valley to the right of the Myań c’u, between Gyantse and Shigatse" (Tucci 1956: 6-7). However, this information is most probably wrong for the following reasons: a) the same manuscript was most likely seen by Sāṅkṛtyāyana in Źwa lu Ri phug in 1936 (1937: 39); b) the envelope itself containing the negatives of Tucci’s photographs are labelled "Zha lu" (see above, p. 46); c) in Źwa lu Ri phug there were other manuscripts in Śāradā script, in particular a manuscript containing Sajjana’s Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa, which might be connected with the Sūtrālaḿkārapiṇḍārtha reproduced together with the first Bhavanākrama.
- Cf. Steinkellner 2004.
Takasaki argued that the first extant text to use the word tathāgatagarbha was the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra. Since Takasaki's research was published, there have been some remarkable advances in research on the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra, and in recent years scholars such as S. Hodge and M. Radich have begun to argue that it was the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra that was the first Buddhist text to use the word tathāgatagarbha. The question of which of these two sūtras came first has not yet been definitively resolved, but it may be generally accepted that both belong to the oldest stratum of Buddhist texts dealing with tathāgatagarbha.
On a previous occasion (Kano 2017), focusing on this point, I collected Sanskrit fragments of both texts containing the word tathāgatagarbha and discussed differences in the expressions in which it is used. In particular, taking into account the findings of Shimoda Masahiro, I argued that if the word tathāgatagarbha appearing in the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra is interpreted as a bahuvrīhi compound qualifying stūpa, this would accord with the word's usage in this sūtra and with the gist of the chapter "Element of the Tathāgata" (Habata 2013: §§ 375–418). This does not mean, however, that this understanding needs to be applied uniformly to every example of its use in the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra. Because in this earlier article I focused somewhat unduly on the interpretation of tathāgatagarbha as a bahuvrīhi compound, the fact that there are instances of wordplay making use of the multiple meanings of garbha in the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra needs to be added, together with some concrete examples. (In the passages of this sūtra, it is natural to understand the term tathāgatagarbha as a substantive in the sense of "garbha of tathāgata" or "garbha that is tathāgata," namely, tatpuruṣa or karmadhāraya, and I do not exclude this possibility as discussed in Kano 2017: 39–42.) In addition, there were some redundant aspects in the structure of my earlier article. In this article I rework these aspects so as to sharpen the focus on the points at issue and add some supplementary points. In the first half I clarify some grammatical characteristics to be observed in examples of the use of tathāgatagarbha in Sanskrit fragments of the Mahāparinirvāṇamahāsūtra, while in the second half I ascertain the polysemy of the word garbha on the basis of some concrete examples. (Kano, "A Syntactic Analysis," 17–18)
Here, we give the tex of the Tattvasańgraha along with the Tattvasańgrahapañjikā in full. Unlike in the previous fragment, our commentary is brief, and due to its fragmentary nature, it is hard to understand. Having the Tattvasańgrahapañjikā next to our text greatly helps in reconstructing and understanding our text. (Harimoto and Kano, introduction, 5)
The earliest masters of this period who quote or refer to the RGV are Maitrīpa (1007/1010-?), Jñānaśrīmitra (ca. 980–1030), and Ratnākaraśānti (late 10th to early 11th century).'"`UNIQ--ref-000001DF-QINU`"' Maitrīpa was the common disciple of Jñānaśrīmitra and Ratnākaraśānti, and, according to a story in Tibetan documents, rediscovered a Sanskrit manuscript of the RGV in a stūpa in Magadha.
If this rediscovery story is a historical event, Jñānaśrīmitra and Ratnākaraśānti would have received the teaching of the RGV from their common disciple Maitrīpa; but we have no concrete witness to corroborate it.
Maitrīpa’s knowledge of the RGV is attested by a quotation of RGV II. 61b in his Pañcatathāgatamudrāvivaraṇa; he introduces a Nirākāravijñānavādin’s propounding the arising of the Dharmakāya from the Saṃbhogakāya and Nirmāṇakāya, but does not discuss Buddha-nature.'"`UNIQ--ref-000001E0-QINU`"' In contrast to Maitrīpa, who does not discuss Buddha-nature, we find extensive discussions of the topic in compositions of Jñānaśrīmitra and Ratnākaraśānti.'"`UNIQ--ref-000001E1-QINU`"' In the present paper, I shall focus on quotations from the RGV in Jñānaśrīmitra’s Sākārasiddhiśāstra and Sākārasaṃgrahasūtra, and on his understanding of the RGV, so as to shed light on the reception of the RGV in the early 11th century. (Kano, introductory remarks, 7–8)
Tathāgatagarbha and Buddha nature are technical terms that indicate the existence of the true nature of the Buddha or Tathāgata who has attained enlightenment through totally unclouded insight (prajñā), within all living things, though these living things may be covered with the impurity of worldly desire and be seemingly incapable of attaining enlightenment. In essence, these terms refer to the fact that the Buddha or Tathāgata resides within the nature of all living things. The notions of Tathāgatagarbha and Buddha nature make assertions about the nature of enlightenment or salvation for living things still trapped in an unenlightened condition of suffering. They do so from the ideological position of those Tathāgatas or Buddhas who have already realized truth and been released from suffering and unenlightenment. These ideas are expressed as a kind of theodicy and soteriology, as they deal with the challenge of how super-temporal, absolute truth appears at a historical or personal level. Ideas that originate in the mature period of the history of an ideology produce higher-level notions that allow concepts born in various contexts in the previous history of the ideology to coexist. The ideas of Tathāgatagarbha and Buddha nature, which point to the Tathāgata or Buddha that dwells within all living things, encompass both all living things and Tathāgata, and so exist at a higher conceptual level than either.
There are two foundations of the ideas of Tathāgatagarbha and Buddha nature, which simultaneously problematize both unenlightenment and enlightenment: the features of soteriology in general religious thought, and the view of truth that is unique to Buddhism. Soteriology, as conceived of in general religious thought, considers the world in a dualistic fashion, as being split into the world of humanity and the world of gods, the world of suffering and the world of liberation, the endless cycle of life and death (samsara) and supreme enlightenment (nirvana). On the one hand is a relative, limited, and impermanent world, and on the other an absolute, infinite, and eternal world. The movement from the former aspect to the latter is not ceaseless but, rather, requires a change in the dimension of our existence, such as religious conversion or enlightenment. The experience of the individual transforms the aspect of the world, which formerly appeared as a single layer, thus exposing its mysterious and unseen facets. In contrast to many religions, which end their exposition at this point, Mahayana Buddhism takes the appearance of this duality itself as a subjective experience and seeks to reach the point at which both aspects ultimately become indistinguishable. The scenery of this world as seen from the world of libreration, worldly desire purified by enlightenment, Samsara illuminated by nirvana are all accepted as they are, without the necessity of any negation or denial. The duality of the world is therefore overcome, and a higher-level equality emerges that still acknowledges individual differences. (Source Accessed June 29, 2020)
Part I, the historical and doctrinal background, consists of six chapters: Chapter 1 describes the authorship and the history of the transmission of the RGV in India, using Indian and Tibetan materials. Chapter 2 studies six different Tibetan translations of the RGV, clarifying how the RGV was transmitted from India to Tibet. Chapter 3 outlines rNgog's life and writings. Chapter 4 presents rNgog's philosophical positions taught in his RGV commentary. Chapters 5 and 6 discuss the impact of his interpretations on the later Tibetan doctrinal developments, and reactions to them. Part II is a critical edition of rNgog-lo's RGV commentary, Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa (1a-46a5 and 65a5-66a4), preceded by an explanation of textual materials and an outline of the whole text. Part III presents an annotated translation of that commentary.
Appendix A presents a diplomatic edition of rNgog-lo's “topical outline” of the RGV, his other work related to the RGV (discovered at Kharakhoto and preserved in the British Library). Appendix B presents a critical edition of a versified summary of the RGV in Sanskrit, the Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa composed by the Kashmiri Paṇḍita Sajjana, a teacher of rNgog-lo. Appendix C provides another Sanskrit commentary on the RGV, Vairocanarakṣita's Mahāyanottaratantraṭippaṇī, while appendix D presents translations of relevant passages from the Sākārasiddhi and Sākarasaṃgraha of Jñānaśrīmitra. Appendix E presents rNgog-lo's identification of the passages of the RGVV that refer to the Nidānaparivarta (“introductory chapter”) of the Dhāraṇīśvararājasūtra, as well as a topical outline of this chapter of the sūtra. Appendix F investigates the dating of Blo-gros-mtshungs-med, who among later Tibetans criticized rNgog-lo's position most severely. Appendix G presents a list of commentaries on the RGV. Appendix H listsrecords of the RGV's transmission lineage from gsan yigs. (Kano, introduction, 12-13)
2) Rngog lo seems to have used the term bsdus don (or its equivalents) to refer to two kinds of works, namely “topical outline” and “essential meaning,” for he composed two works on the RGV―a brief topical outline and a lengthy essential meaning―which bear titles containing the term bsdus don and its equivalent don bsdus pa, respectively. Among Rngog lo’s available writings, our Khara Khoto manuscript and the Byang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ’jug pa’i don bsdus pa offer the only testimony that bsdus don (and its equivalent don bsdus pa) refers to a “topical outline,” as he often uses the term bsdus don to indicate a lengthy “essential meaning” in his other commentarial works. The first usage was common among Tibetan masters during the early and middle phyi dar period, whereas the latter was generally rare. This rare usage is most likely influenced by the piṇḍārtha sub-genre of Indian commentaries.
3) Our manuscript has some serious textual problems, such as missing words, illegible words, syntactic ambiguity, and a missing folio. However, we can solve many of those problems by referring to corresponding sentences in the other two works on the RGV, namely, Rngog lo’s Essential Meaning and Phywa pa’s Topical Outline.
4) The colophon of our manuscript does not tell us when the work was composed or copied. We can only deduce an approximate date of the manuscript to be some time between ca. 1092 (a possible terminus post quem of the composition of the work) and 1374 (the year of the destruction of Khara Khoto). The contents of our manuscript and other relevant works discovered at Khara Khoto show that the Tibetan scholastic tradition of the
Both Indian and Tibetan traditions struggled with the question of the ontological status of Buddha-nature. One finds indeed in some sūtras descriptions of Buddha-nature as permanent and pervading every sentient being, which are also characteristics ascribed by non-Buddhists to the Self (ātman). But if Buddha-nature were to be understood as a permanent entity akin to a Self, how could this teaching be compatible with the standard Buddhist doctrine that everything is impermanent and selfless?
Some Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, would offer support for the assimilation of Buddha-nature with a Self. The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra is quite explicit in associating the two notions, characterizing in particular the dharmakāya in terms of “perfection of Self” (ātmapāramitā), but warns about the confusion of the “correct” ātman, which is Buddha-nature, with ātman taken in its ordinary sense.1
RGV I.37 and RGVV also speak of the “perfection of Self” as an epithet of the dharmakāya, interpreting however this notion of “Self” (ātman) in the sense of selflessness (nairātmya) or quiescence of conceptual proliferations (prapañca), thus distinguishing Buddha-nature from the notion of a personal, permanent Self (ātman).2
Nevertheless, the RGV does not promote the doctrine of emptiness in the sense that everything is ultimately empty of intrinsic nature. Quite on the contrary, the RGV stresses the real existence of Buddha-nature, and proclaims the superiority of the Buddha-nature doctrine to the emptiness doctrine of the Prajñāpāramitāsūtras.3
The RGV thus on the one hand distinguishes Buddha-nature from the disapproved view of a Self, while on the other hand it admits Buddha-nature as ultimately existent4—an ambiguous viewpoint, and a challenging one for its interpreters. . . .
The present paper deals with a selection of rṄog’s most significant views on the doctrine of Buddha-nature and considers some reactions to his interpretations in the works of his followers. Since the RGV commentaries attributed to two of rṄog’s "four main [spiritual] sons" (sras kyi thu bo bźi), Źaṅ Tshes spoṅ ba Chos kyi bla ma and Gro luṅ pa Blo gros byuṅ gnas,19 as yet remain to be found,20 we will concentrate on the next-earliest available work, a commentary by Phywa pa Chos kyi seṅ ge (1109–1169).21 (Kano, introduction, 249–55)
1. The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra equates ātman with Buddha-nature (see P 788 tu 105b5 [≈T vol. 12, 407b; 883b]: bdag ces bya ba ni de bźin gśegs paʼi sñiṅ poʼi don to //) and characterizes the dharmakāya (that is, the resultant aspect of Buddha-nature; see below [i]) in terms of “perfection of permanence” (nityapāramitā), “perfection of bliss” (sukhapāramitā), “perfection of Self (ātmapāramitā), and “perfection of purity” (śubhapāramitā) (see P 788 tu 33b3–34a2 [≈T vol. 12, 377c-378a; 862b]).
2. RGVV 31, 13–16: tathāgatas tua punar yathābhūtajñānena sarvadharmanairātmyaparapāramiprāptaḥb / tac cāsya nairātmyam anātmalakṣaṇena yathādarśanam avisaṃvāditatvātc sarvakālam ātmābhipreto nairātmyam evātmetid kṛtvā / yathoktaṃ sthito ʼsthānayogeneti /
(a Schmithausen [1971: 143] corrected tathāgataḥ to tathāgatas tu; b Johnston xvi; c Schmithausen [1971: 143] corrected avisaṃvāditvāt to avisaṃvāditatvāt;d Schmithausen [1971: 143] corrected evātmani to evātmeti)
RGVV 32,9–10: prajñāpāramitābhāvanayākāśopamasattvabhājanalokanairātmya- niṣṭhāgamanād.
See also RGVV 33,8–10: tām eva cāvidyāvāsabhūmiṃ pratītya sūkṣmanimittaprapañca- samudācārayogād atyantam anabhisaṃskārām ātmapāramitāṃ nādhigacchanti.
Schmithausen (1971: 143–144 and 1973: 135) links this sentence to the Madhyamaka view. For instance, the Madhyamakahṛdaya (III.284cd) similarly defines dharmakāya as quiescence of conceptual proliferations (buddhānāṃ dharmakāyo ʼyaṃ prapañcopaśamaḥ śivaḥ).
3. The alternative title of the RGV, mahāyānottaratantra “supreme doctrine of the Mahāyāna," hints to the superiority of the Buddha-nature doctrine to the emptiness doctrine. Cf. RGV I.160: pūrvam evaṃ vyavasthāpya tantre punar ihottare / pañcadoṣaprahāṇāya dhātvastitvaṃ prakāśitam /
4. Cf. RGV I.53, I.165; RGVV 2,11–13.
19. The other two are Khyuṅ rin chen grags and ʼBre śes rab ʼbar. Cf. bKaʼ gdams chos ʼbyuṅ gsal baʼi sgron me, 151.
20. Both A khu Chiṅ Śes rab rgya mtsho and gŹon nu dpal ascribe RGV commentaries to these two authors. (Cf. respectively Tho yig, nos. 11333 and 11339, and rGyud bla me loṅ, 4,23, 574,5.) gŹon nu dpal also lists RGV commentaries by Chos kyi bla ma’s disciple Ñaṅ braṅ pa Chos kyi ye śes (12th century); Phywa pa’s disciple gTsaṅ nag pa brTson ʼgrus seṅ ge (12th century); and Dan ʼbag sMra baʼi seṅ ge (12th century). See gŹon nu dpal, rGyud bla me loṅ, 4,23–24. A khu Chiṅ Śes rab rgya mtsho most likely copied gŹon nu dpal’s references (see Tho yig nos. 11331, 11334, 11335).
The Triśaraṇasaptati is a small versified work consisting 68 ślokas, the full text of which is preserved only in Tibetan translation. We find two versions (i.e. recensions) of the Triśaraṇasaptati in all the Tanjurs. The two versions are almost the same, having been translated by the same translation team (Atiśa and Rin chen bzang po).
Sorensen translated the Tibetan text into English and added to them six verses (12, 13, 33, 45, 46, and 47) in Sanskrit traced in the form of quotations in other works. Sorensenʼs English translation is for the most part faithful to the Tibetan text. The Tibetan translation itself, when compared with the Sanskrit original, is seen on occasion to be imprecise (see below, "Philological Remarks").
Other quotations from the Triśaraṇasaptati have been found in two passages in the Munimatālaṃkāra: Passage A (Skt. Ms. 7v1-4; Tib. D 82a7-b3; verses 1, 34, 51, 54, 55, 67) in Munimatālaṃkāra chapter 1 (the Bodhicittāloka chapter)'"`UNIQ--ref-00000440-QINU`"' and Passage B (Skt. 132r1-3; Tib. D 219a5-b1; 7-9ab, 22-23) in chapter 3 (the Aṣṭābhisamayāloka chapter). When we collate these 11½ verses with the 6 verses independently collected by Sorensen, the total number becomes 17½, which is about 26% of the whole text of the Triśaraṇasaptati. (Kano and Xuezhu, introductory remarks, 4)
In the following, I shall (1) sketch the challenges faced by explorers trying to access the manuscript collection of Retreng monastery in the early 20th century, and then try to (2) trace the origin of the collection in Tibetan historical sources, (3) collect references to the manuscripts belonging to the collection, (4) draw up a title list of scriptural texts contained in it, (5) trace and identify its current location, and finally (6) evaluate the historicity of Atiśa’s ownership of the manuscripts. (Kano, introductory remarks, 82–83)
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