Geshe Jigme Gyatso at the 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference
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Understanding Buddha-Nature in the Geluk Yigcha Literature
Geshe Jigme presents the interpretation and understanding of specific controversial points according to the yigcha textbooks of the main Geluk monastic colleges. In general, he states that the yigcha writers agree on most points and are consistent in their interpretation. The topic of buddha-nature in most of the textbooks is covered while discussing the section on gotra, or spiritual gene, in the Ornament of Realization. He presents the discussion of buddha-nature through the five points of (1) the nature or definition of buddha-nature, (2) types, (3) etymology, (4) the manner in which the spiritual gene is made manifest, and (5) the issue of those without the gene.
The Geluk authors agree that in the Vaibhaśika school the mental state of being nonattached or content is considered as the gotra for enlightenment. In the Sautrāntika school, it is the seed which is able to generate stainless qualities of nirvāṇa. In these two schools, there is no classification of naturally present spiritual genes or acquired spiritual genes.
Geshe Jigme states that for the Cittamātra school of thought, the Geluk authors have two schools: those accepting the store-consciousness and those who do not accept it. Both accept the spiritual gene to be a seed passed down primordially in one's mindstream, which enables one to eliminate impurities and give rise to transcendental qualities. Some regard this to be a specific quality of the six internal senses or mindstream, while others consider it to be an aspect of the store-consciousness. This seed or nature of the consciousness has four features according to the Bodhisattvabhūmi.
When this seed is not aroused or made manifest through faith, study, etc., it is known as the naturally present spiritual gene, and when it is aroused or being made partially manifest, it is known as the acquired spiritual gene. There are different assertions among the Geluk textbook authors of the monastic colleges as to whether these two are mutually exclusive, the same, or overlapping. The authors also agree that the spiritual gene is considered inherently existent in the Cittamātra school of thought and that there are beings who do not possess this spiritual gene.
In both the Cittamātra and Mādhyamika schools of thought, whatever is able to reach buddhahood is necessarily endowed with the spiritual gene. Thus, the spiritual gene is limited to sentient beings and not applicable to inanimate objects such as earth and rocks. In the Mādhyamika tradition, buddha-nature is clearly identified as the emptiness or reality of the mind, as a nature which serves as the basis for sublime qualities to rise. However, not all authors are clear on whether the spiritual gene is synonymous with buddha-nature or not.The Geluk authors agree that in the Mādhyamika school there is no sentient being who lacks the spiritual gene, and thus the teachings on the absence of the spiritual gene in some beings are provisional and not to be taken literally. Geshe goes on to explain how the Geluk textbook authors interpreted the verses in the Ultimate Continuum. For example, the ten aspects of formulation are considered to focus on the luminous stainless nature of the mind and indirectly show that the impurities can be removed, whereas the nine analogies demonstrate directly how the impurities can be removed and show the stainless nature of the mind indirectly.
Abstract from the Author
About the video
|Featuring||Geshe Jigme Gyatso|
|Event||2023 Buddha-Nature Conference Kathmandu (, Shechen Monastery, Kathmandu)|
|Creation Date||3 June 2023|
|Citation||Jigme Gyatso, Geshe. "Geshe Jigme Gyatso at the 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference." Day 3, Talk 6. 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference, Shechen Monastery, Kathmandu. Produced by the Tsadra Foundation Research Department. Video, 1:00:37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkXoUdYva1o.|