The Challenge of Tathāgatagarbha Tradition to Contemporary Political-Economic Discourse

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The Challenge of Tathāgatagarbha Tradition to Contemporary Political-Economic Discourse
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Citation: Brockman, David R. "The Challenge of Tathāgatagarbha Tradition to Contemporary Political-Economic Discourse." Paper presented to the Buddhist Theology Group at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the tathāgatagarbha tradition might shed light on the current political and economic impasse between the dominant voices in U.S. politics, conservative libertarians and reform liberals. I will begin by describing the two opposing sides and highlighting their implicit anthropologies, their views of human being. I will then lay out the nondual anthropology suggested by a key text in the tathāgatagarbha tradition, the fifth-century CE Ratnagotravibhāga. Finally, I will discuss what guidance this tathāgatagarbha perspective might offer in moving us past the current political and economic impasse.