The Idea of Dhātu-vāda in Yogācāra and Tathāgata-garbha Texts

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The Idea of Dhātu-vāda in Yogācāra and Tathāgata-garbha Texts
Citation: Yamabe, Nobuyoshi. "The Idea of Dhātu-vāda in Yogācāra and Tathāgata-garbha Texts." In Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism, edited by Jamie Hubbard and Paul L. Swanson, 193–204. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1997.


No abstract given. Here are the first relevant paragraphs:

Hakamaya Noriaki and Matsumoto Shirō are convinced that tathāgatagarbha theory and the Yogacara school share a common framework that they call dhātu-vāda or "locus theory." The word dhātu-vāda itself is a neologism introduced by Matsumoto[1] and adopted by Hakamaya.[2] They argue that the dhātu-vāda idea stands in direct contradiction to the authentic Buddhist theory of pratītyasamutpāda or "dependent origination," which in turn leads them to consider tathāgata-garbha and Yogacara theories to be non-Buddhist. In their opinion, not only these Indian theories but also the whole of "original enlightenment thought" (hongaku shisō) in East Asia fell under the shadow of the dhātu-vāda idea,[3] with the result that most of its Buddhism is dismissed as not Buddhist at all.[4]

The idea of dhātu-vāda is thus an integral part of the Critical Buddhism critique and as such merits careful examination in any evaluation of the overall standpoint. Since Matsumoto first found the dhātu-vāda structure in Indian tathāgata-garbha and Yogacara literature, we need to begin with a look at the texts in question. My approach here will be purely philological and will limit itself to the theoretical treatises (sastras).

  1. I do not know exactly when Hakamaya Noriaki and Matsumoto Shirō began their critique of tathāgata-garbha thought and hongaku shisō, but the first time I myself ran across it was in Hakamaya's "Thoughts on the Ideological Background of Social Discrimination."
  2. A text quoted as the basis for the Mahāyāna-saṅgraha, but not extant.
  3. Sutra of Neither Increase Nor Decrease, T No. 668, 16.466–8.
  4. I have published an expanded discussion of this topic under the title "'Mushi jirai no kai' no saikō" [A reexamination of anādhikāliko-dhātuḥ] in Suguro Shinjō Hakase Koki Kinen Ronbunshū [Festschrift for Dr. Suguro Shinjō] (Tokyo: Sankibō Busshorin, 1996), 41–59.
  1. Matsumoto, "The Śrīmālādevī Sūtra and Ekayana Theory," 313
  2. Hakamaya, "Critical Notes on the Awakening of Mahayana Faith," 66.
  3. Matsumoto, "Deep Faith in Causality: Thoughts on Dõgen’s Ideas," 201–2 (581–2).
  4. Hakamaya, "The Significance of the Critique of Original Enlightenment," 8 et passim.