T'ien-t'ai Chih'i's Concept of Threefold Buddha Nature-A Synergy of Reality, Wisdom, and Practice

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T'ien-t'ai Chih'i's Concept of Threefold Buddha Nature-A Synergy of Reality, Wisdom, and Practice
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Citation: Swanson, Paul L. "T'ien-t'ai Chih'i's Concept of Threefold Buddha Nature—A Synergy of Reality, Wisdom, and Practice." In Buddha Nature: A Festschrift in Honor of Minoru Kiyota, edited by Paul J. Griffiths and John P. Keenan, 171–80. Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1997. https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/en/files/2012/11/Chih-i-on-Buddha-nature.pdf.

Abstract

Paul L. Swanson's contribution, on Chih-i's threefold concept of Buddha Nature, places T'ien-t'ai thought on this matter in a broader conceptual context. He presents it as one more application of the fundamental T'ien-t' ai idea of synergy—that there is a deeply symbiotic relationship between the way things really are (reality), the awareness of the way things really are (wisdom), and the religious practice that produces such an awareness (practice). Swanson bases his exposition on the Fa-hua hsüan-i, in which Buddha Nature, along with nine other Buddhist concepts, is interpreted through the threefold pattern already adverted to. Swanson shows how Chih-i, drawing upon both the Nirvāṇa Sūtra and the Lotus Sūtra, accommodates Buddha Nature terminology and concepts into the structure of his own thought. (Griffiths and Keenan, introduction to Buddha Nature, 6)