Gregory Forgues: A Reluctant Expression of the Inexpressible: Klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer (1308–1364) on Sugatagarbha

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Gregory Forgues: A Reluctant Expression of the Inexpressible: Klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer (1308–1364) on Sugatagarbha
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Gregory Forgues: A Reluctant Expression of the Inexpressible: Klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer (1308–1364) on Sugatagarbha

Longchenpa (Klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer, 1308–1364)'s works have been a major source of inspiration for scholars of the Nyingma tradition, such as 'Ju Mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho (1846–1912). In this paper, I will explore Longchenpa's understanding of the notion of Buddha-nature through his usage of the term bde gshegs snying po (sugatagarbha). In Chapter 18 of the Treasury of Wish-Fulfilling Jewels (Yid bzhin mdzod), Longchenpa gives a detailed teaching on Buddha-nature in the form of a pith instruction on the inconceivable and nondual fundamental sameness (mnyam nyid) that is the nonconceptual gnosis of luminosity (’od gsal), the indivisible truth (bden pa dbyer med) itself.

While Longchenpa gives this presentation on the ultimate nature of reality from the perspective of the resultant Vajra Vehicle, he also uses a series of technical terms as a bridge toward a more scholastic understanding of sugatagarbha. In this chapter, Longchenpa does not simply elucidate the meaning of this term. He also provides a concise summary of the highest view according to his tradition. In a way clearly influenced by rDzogs chen, Longchenpa points out the nonconceptual and nondual unity of the two truths and defines the contours of the notion of sugatagarbha.

My paper will therefore focus on the Chapter 18 of the Yid bzhin mdzod. I will also complement this material with additional sources drawn from Longchenpa's collected works. Since this collection of texts is quite large, I will use methods from the fields of corpus linguistics, text analytics, and corpus-based discourse analysis to investigate Longchenpa's understanding and usage of sugatagarbha.
Featuring Greg Forgues
Creator Tsadra Foundation
Director Perman, M.
Producer Tsadra Foundation
Event Old Topic, New Insights: Buddha-Nature at the Crossroads between Doctrine and Practice (July 2022, Prague)
Related Website Buddha-Nature
Creation Date July 2022
Citation Forgues, Gregory. "A Reluctant Expression of the Inexpressible: Klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer (1308–1364) on Sugatagarbha." Old Topic, New Insights: Buddha-Nature at the Crossroads between Doctrine and Practice. The 16th IATS Conference, Prague, July 3–9, 2022. Produced by the Tsadra Foundation Research Department. Video, 21:04. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa76N32sfUM.

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