From Buddha-Nature


sgron ma gsal bar byed pa zhes bya ba'i rgya cher bshad pa

A commentary on the Guhyasamāja Tantra attributed to Candrakīrti. This extensive commentary on Guhyasamāja Tantra discusses the six hermeneutic strategies of provisional and ultimate meaning, literal and non-literal reading, and interpretable or non-interpretable meaning. It also highlights the natural state of all phenomena such as five aggregates and five elements as enlightened buddhas, and described the innate mind as luminous and endowed with qualities of enlightenment.

The commentary is said to have been written relying on instructions passed down from Nāgārjuna who is said to have been prophesied in the Descent to Laṅka Sūtra to be a promoter of the higher yoga tantras. If one accepts the author of this text to be Candrakīrti, who is the Mādhyamika author of the Madhyamakāvatāra, as tradition has it, then it is evident he adopted here a position on buddha-nature which is different from the one in Madhyamakāvatāra, where his focus is on establishing all things as emptiness, and he argues the sūtras advocating buddha-nature are provisional teachings to lead those beings scared of non-self. In this text, the author accepts the nature of all things to be enlightened, and he argues that 'sentient beings are the base of all buddhas because they possess buddha-nature'(རྒྱལ་བ་ཀུན་གྱི་གནས་ནི་སེམས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་དེ། དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་སྙིང་པོ་ཅན་ཡིན་པའི་ཕྱིར་རོ། །). Traditional scholars would generally explain such a shift in philosophical stance as context-based and not see it as a contradiction or inconsistency. In the context of Guhyasamāja tantra, Candrakīrti could be said to have accepted the concept of buddha-nature as innate enlightenment.

Text Metadata

Text exists in ~ Tibetan
~ Sanskrit
Canonical Genre ~ Tengyur · Tantra · rgyud · rgyud 'grel
Literary Genre ~ Tantras - rgyud

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