In this paper, historical materials are employed to point the reader toward scriptural sources for the tathāgatagarbha
traditions of India and Tibet, including their relationship with theories of the mind-basis-of-all (kun gzhi
rnam shes, ālayavijñāna
). In addition, three primary tathāgatagarbha
traditions in Tibet are described and compared: those of the Jo-nang-bas following Döl-bo-ba Shay-rap-gyel-tsen (dol bo pa shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1292–1361), the Sa-ḡyas following Bu-don (bu ston, 1290–1364), and the Ge-luk-don following Dzong-ka-ba (tsong kha pa, 1357–1419). Doctrines concerning the basic constituent (khams, dhātu
) and three buddha bodies are examined insofar as these doctrines shed light on theories of tathāgatagarbha
. Since Dzong-ka-ba extensively refuted the Jo-nang position─often called Other Emptiness (gzhan stong
)─in his Treatise Differentiating Interpretable and Definitive Meanings: The Essence of Eloquence (drang ba dang nges pa'i don rnam par phye ba'i bstan bcos legs bshad snying po) and other works on the philosophical view of emptiness
, this paper examines Dzong-ka-ba's discussion and critique of the Jo-nang Other Emptiness. Ten specific criticisms of Other Emptiness made by Dzong-ka-ba and his followers are compared with presentations of Other Emptiness by Jo-nang authors. Two Jo-nang texts recently translated by Professor Jeffrey Hopkins are employed in this comparison: Döl-bo-ba Śhay-rap-gyel-tsen’s Mountain Doctrine, Ocean of Definitive Meanings (ri chos nges don rgya mtsho) and Tāranātha’s Essence of Other Emptiness (gzhan stong snying po
). These comparisons show that Dzong-ka-ba's critique does not always accurately reflect the Jo-nang philosophical view.
Magee, William. "A Tree in the West: Competing Tathāgatagarbha Theories in Tibet." Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal 19 (2006): 445–511.
Magee, William. "A Tree in the West: Competing Tathāgatagarbha Theories in Tibet." Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal 19 (2006): 445–511.; A Tree In The West: Competing Tathāgatagarbha Theories in Tibet; A Tree In The West: Competing Tathāgatagarbha Theories in Tibet; The doctrine of buddha-nature in Tibetan Buddhism; tathāgatagarbha; gzhan stong; Dol po pa; Tsong kha pa; ālayavijñāna; Madhyamaka; Jonang; Geluk; Yogācāra; William Magee;