Kazuo Kano at the 2019 Tathāgatagarbha Symposium
Kazuo Kano at the 2019 Tathāgatagarbha Symposium
Kazuo Kano discusses the term tathāgatagarbha and its appearance in tantric scriptures and commentaries composed by Indic authors and shows how and for what purposes this term has been integrated into tantric contexts. In terms of precursors to the tantric usages, he notes mentions such as that found in the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, in which practitioners are taught to think of themselves as a stūpa—that is, a reliquary that contains a buddha within it and as such are objects of worship. As for Indian authors, he discusses the views of Ratnākaraśānti as representative of the Yogācāra school and the notion of the three vehicles (triyāna), and he discusses Abhayākaragupta as representative of the Madhyamaka school and the notion of a single vehicle (ekayāna). Some brief mention is also made of Kamalaśīla, who represents a synthesis of the two schools.
Abstract from the Author
Examples of the Term tathāgatagarbha Appearing in Indic Tantric Literature
This presentation focuses on the term tathāgatagarbha appearing in tantric scriptures and commentaries composed by Indic authors. In general, it has been pointed out that the tathāgatagarbha teaching has a strong doctrinal impact on tantric teachings, but actual examples of tathāgatagarbha appearing in tantric literature are rather rare in comparison with other terms of non-tantric Mahāyāna origin, such as the five jñānas of the Buddha, buddha’s bodies, etc. Through this investigation I shall clarify purposes of integration of this term into tantric contexts in each example. I have in my previous article in 2012 dealt with the literature of the Yoginītantra and the Highest yogatantra classes, and will here include those of Yogatantra-class.
The Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra is one of the main scriptural sources for buddha-nature in China and Tibet. Set around the time of Buddha's passing or Mahāparinirvāṇa, the sūtra contains teachings on buddha-nature equating it with the dharmakāya—that is, the complete enlightenment of a buddha. It also asserts that all sentient beings possess this nature as the buddhadhātu, or buddha-element, which thus acts as a cause, seed, or potential for all beings to attain enlightenment. Furthermore, the sūtra includes some salient features related to this concept, such as the single vehicle and the notion that the dharmakāya is endowed with the four pāramitās of permanence, bliss, purity, and a self.
Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra;Buddhabhadra; Devacandra;Gewai Lodrö;དགེ་བའི་བློ་གྲོས;dge ba'i blo gros;Dharmakṣema;Wangpabzhun;ཝང་ཕབ་ཞུན;Wang phab zhun;Gyatso De;རྒྱ་མཚོའི་སྡེ;rgya mtsho'i sde;Jinamitra;ཇིནམིཏྲ;slob dpon dzi na mi tra;Jñānagarbha;rgya gar gyi mkhan po dznyA na garbha;Kamalagupta;Faxian;Fa-Hien;Fa-hsien;Xie Lingyun;Huiyan;Hui-yen;Huiguan;Hui-kuan;'phags pa yongs su mya ngan las 'das pa chen po theg pa chen po'i mdo;'phags pa yongs su mya ngan las 'das pa chen po'i mdo chen po;'phags pa yongs su mya ngan las 'das pa chen po'i mdo;འཕགས་པ་ཡོངས་སུ་མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།;Great Nirvāṇa Mahāyāna Sūtra;Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra;大般泥洹經;महापरिनिर्वाणसूत्र;འཕགས་པ་ཡོངས་སུ་མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།
Maitreya, Asaṅga: Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra
The Ratnagotravibhāga, commonly known as the Uttaratantra, or Gyu Lama in Tibetan, is one of the main Indian scriptural sources for buddha-nature theory. It was likely composed during the fifth century, by whom we do not know. Comprised of verses interspersed with prose commentary, it systematizes the buddha-nature teachings that were circulating in multiple sūtras such as the Tathāgatagarbhasūtra, the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, and the Śrīmaladevisūtra. The Tibetan tradition attributes the verses to the Bodhisattva Maitreya and the commentary to Asaṅga, and treats the two as separate texts, although this division is not attested to in surviving Indian versions. The Chinese tradition attributes the text to *Sāramati (娑囉末底), but the translation itself does not include the name of the author, and the matter remains unsettled. It was translated into Chinese in the early sixth century by Ratnamati and first translated into Tibetan by Atiśa, although this text is not known to survive. Ngok Loden Sherab translated it a second time based on teachings from the Kashmiri Pandita Sajjana, and theirs remains the standard translation. It has been translated into English several times, and recently into French. See the Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā, read more about the Ratnagotravibhāga, or take a look at the most complete English translation in When the Clouds Part by Karl Brunnholzl.
Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;byams chos sde lnga;Uttaratantra;Maitreya;བྱམས་པ་;byams pa;'phags pa byams pa;byams pa'i mgon po;mgon po byams pa;ma pham pa;འཕགས་པ་བྱམས་པ་;བྱམས་པའི་མགོན་པོ་;མགོན་པོ་བྱམས་པ་;མ་ཕམ་པ་;Ajita; Asaṅga;ཐོགས་མེད་;thogs med;slob dpon thogs med;སློབ་དཔོན་ཐོགས་མེད་;Āryāsaṅga;Sajjana;ས་ཛ་ན་;sa dza na;paN+Di ta sa dza na;sa dzdza na;པཎྜི་ཏ་ས་ཛ་ན་;ས་ཛཛ་ན་;Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sherab;རྔོག་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;rngog blo ldan shes rab;rngog lo tsA ba;lo chen blo ldan shes rab;blo ldan shes rab;རྔོག་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་;ལོ་ཆེན་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;Ngok Lotsāwa;Ngok Loden Sherab;Lochen Loden Sherab;Loden Sherab;Ratnamati;Rin chen blo gros;རིན་ཆེན་བློ་གྲོས;theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos;ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོ་རྒྱུད་བླ་མའི་བསྟན་བཅོས།;The Treatise on the Ultimate Continuum of the Mahāyāna;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;究竟一乘寶性論;रत्नगोत्रविभाग महायानोत्तरतन्त्रशास्त्र;ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོ་རྒྱུད་བླ་མའི་བསྟན་བཅོས།
One of the more prominent sūtra sources for the Ratnagotravibhāga, this text tells of the story of Śrīmālādevī taking up the Buddhist path at the behest of her royal parents based on a prophecy of the Buddha. It includes mention of important concepts related to the teachings on buddha-nature, such as the single vehicle and the four perfections, or transcendent characteristics, of the dharmakāya. It also mentions the notion that buddha-nature, which is equated with mind's luminous nature, is empty of adventitious stains but not empty of its limitless inseparable qualities. In his commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga, Asaṅga quotes this sūtra more than any other source text. In particular, it is considered a source for the fifth of the seven vajra topics, enlightenment.
Śrīmālādevīsūtra;Bodhiruci; Jinamitra;ཇིནམིཏྲ;slob dpon dzi na mi tra;Surendrabodhi;lha dbang byang chub;Yeshe De;ཡེ་ཤེས་སྡེ་;ye shes sde;sna nam ye shes sde;zhang ban+de ye shes sde;སྣ་ནམ་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྡེ་;ཞང་བནྡེ་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྡེ་;Guṇabhadra;'phags pa lha mo dpal phreng gi seng ge'i sgra zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo;འཕགས་པ་ལྷ་མོ་དཔལ་ཕྲེང་གི་སེང་གེའི་སྒྲ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།;Lion's Roar of Śrīmālādevī Sūtra;Śrīmālādevīsūtra;勝鬘夫人會;श्रीमालादेवीसूत्र;འཕགས་པ་ལྷ་མོ་དཔལ་ཕྲེང་གི་སེང་གེའི་སྒྲ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ཐེག་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་མདོ།
Secondary Publications Mentioned
Buddha-Nature and Emptiness
An essential study of a key text that presents buddha-nature theory and its transmission from India to Tibet, this book is the most thorough history of buddha-nature thought in Tibet and is exceptional in its level of detail and scholarly apparatus. It serves as a scholarly encyclopedia of sorts with extensive appendices listing every existent commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantraśāstra), as well as covering Ngok Lotsawa's commentarial text and his philosophical positions related with other Tibetan thinkers.
Kano, Kazuo. Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 91. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2016.
Kano, Kazuo. Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 91. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2016.;Buddha-Nature and Emptiness;Buddha-nature as Emptiness;History;History of buddha-nature in Tibet;Madhyamaka;Ngok Tradition;Textual study;The doctrine of buddha-nature in Tibetan Buddhism;Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa;Sajjana;Rngog blo ldan shes rab;Geluk;Maitrīpa;Jñānaśrīmitra;Ratnākaraśānti;Prajñākaramati;Vibhūticandra;Kazuo Kano; Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sherab;རྔོག་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;rngog blo ldan shes rab;rngog lo tsA ba;lo chen blo ldan shes rab;blo ldan shes rab;རྔོག་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་;ལོ་ཆེན་བློ་ལྡན་ཤེས་རབ་;Ngok Lotsāwa;Ngok Loden Sherab;Lochen Loden Sherab;Loden Sherab;Buddha-Nature and Emptiness: rNgog Blo-ldan-shes-rab and A Transmission of the Ratnagotravibhāga from India to Tibet;rngog blo ldan shes rab
About the video
|Creator||University of Vienna, Tsadra Foundation|
|Event||Tathāgatagarbha Across Asia (18 July 2019, University of Vienna, Austria)|
|Related Website||Buddha-Nature Project|
|Video Web Location||Tathāgatagarbha Across Asia|
|Creation Date||18 July 2019|
|Citation||Kano, Kazuo. "Examples of the Term tathāgatagarbha Appearing in Indic Tantric Literature." Paper presented at the University of Vienna Symposium, Tathāgatagarbha Across Asia, Vienna, Austria, July 2019. Video, 42:13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIVDu1Ig7H8.|