- (A note appears after the article title) Improvements to my English by Casey Kemp (Univ. of Vienna) are gratefully acknowledged.
- Mahāyāna Uttaratantra is the ornamental title of the Ratnagotravibhāga.
- These are the last four of the five Maitreya works, the first one being the Abhisamayālaṃkāra.
- This being the common assessment of Yogācāra by the Dge lugs pa, see Mathes 1996: 168-71.
- Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra 40.13—14: "Even though suchness is undifferentiated in all [living beings], in its purified form it is the state of the Tathāgata. Therefore all living beings have the 'nature' (garbha) of the [Tathāgata]." (sarveṣām aviśiṣṭāpi tathatā śuddhim āgatā / tathāgatatvaṃ tasmāc ca tadgarbhāḥ sarvadehinaḥ //).
- I.e., following the Tibetan tradition of ascribing the Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā to Asaṅga.
- Ratnagotravibhāga 1.148: "Its nature being unchangeable, sublime, and pure, suchness is illustrated by a piece of gold." (prakṛter avikāritvāt kalyāṇatvād viśuddhitaḥ / hemamaṇḍalakaupamyaṃ tathatāyām udāhṛtam //), Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā 71.5-6. The commentary on this verse is as follows: "Although the mind is accompanied by limitless phenomena which are defilements or suffering, it itself does not undergo change on account of its natural luminosity. This is why it is called suchness, for it will never become something else, any more than sublime gold will." (yac cittam [tad?] aparyantakleśaduḥkhadharmānugatam api prakṛtiprabhāsvaratayā vikāraṃ na bhajate [?]* kalyānasuvarṇavad ananyathī**bhāvārthena tathatety ucyate /), Ratnagotravibhāgavyākhyā 71.7—8. *Johnston edition: -vikārānudāṛter ataḥ; **Johnston edition: ananyathā-. As for the corrections, see Schmithausen 1971: 156.
- See Mathes 2012: 190-98.
The Pith Instructions on the Mahayana Uttaratantra (Theg chen gryud bla'i gdams pa): A Missing Link in the Meditation Tradition of the Maitreya Works
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|Citation:||Mathes, Klaus-Dieter. "The Pith Instructions on the Mahāyāna Uttaratantra (Theg chen gryud bla'i gdams pa): A Missing Link in the Meditation Tradition of the Maitreya Works." In The Illuminating Mirror: Tibetan Studies in Honour of Per K. Sørensen on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, edited by Olaf Czaja and Guntram Hazon, 303-20. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichter Verlag, 2015.|
In four of the five Maitreya works (i.e., the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, Madhyāntavibhāga, Dharmadharmatāvibhāga, and the Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyāna Uttaratantra), we find an interesting synthesis of Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha thought. The result is a doctrine that can be defended as a teaching which asserts definitive meaning (nītārtha) as it does not include any possible short-comings of the Yogācāra tenet that may lead to an extreme position that either sentient beings are completely cut off from any potential for liberation or that a dependently arising mind exists on the level of ultimate truth. While the first extreme is excluded by embracing the tathāgatagarbha doctrine that everybody is a Buddha within, or has at least the potential to become a Buddha, the second extreme of an ultimate mind is avoided by restricting the dependent nature (paratantrasvabhāva) of mind to the level of relative truth. This then allows for paratantra to be included within the Ratnagotravibhāga 's adventitious stains that cover buddha nature (tathāgatagarbha). Thus mind's perfect nature (pariniṣpannasvabhāva), or suchness, is equated with buddha nature in the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra IX.37, and luminosity in Asaṅga's commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga 1.148 That this luminous perfect nature is empty of the adventitious stains of the imagined (parikalpitasvabhāva) and dependent natures follows in final analysis from the Ratnagotravibhāga and the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga, two texts that appear to have been mostly ignored in India for more than five centuries. Things seemed to have changed, however, when Maitrīpa (ca. 1007- ca. 1086) started to integrate tantric mahāmudrā teachings he received from his teacher Śavaripa into mainstream Mahāyāna. Maitreya's synthesis of the three-nature theory and buddha nature proved to provide good doctrinal support for Maitrīpa's approach. The importance of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and the Ratnagotravibhāga for Maitrīpa's mahāmudrā is further underlined by the traditional account that Maitrīpa rediscovered and taught these two texts to *Ānandakīrti and Sajjana. With the help of the latter, the Tibetan scholar Rngog Blo ldan shes rab (1059-1109) translated the Ratnagotravibhāga and its vyākhyā into Tibetan.