Old Topic, New Insights: Buddha-Nature at the Crossroads between Doctrine and Practice

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Old Topic, New Insights
Buddha-Nature at the Crossroads between Doctrine and Practice
Presentations and Panel Discussion at the 16th IATS Conference, Prague, 3-9 July 2022

Panel Convenors: Karma Phuntsho and Gregory Forgues
Tsadra Foundation


Panel Description

Buddha-nature (tathāgatagarbha, དེ་བཞིན་གཤེགས་པའི་སྙིང་པོ་) is an important topic for both philosophical discourse and spiritual practice in the Mahāyāna Buddhist world. In Tibet, this notion is foundational with regard to philosophical debate, religious hermeneutics, and spiritual practice. As a doctrinal marker, buddha-nature contributed to defining sectarian identities that shaped social and historical interactions between Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Continued scholarly publications, Buddhist teaching events, the recent development of online buddha-nature resources, and the associated Tathāgatagarbha symposium in Vienna in 2019 have spurred greater interest in the topic both within Tibetan Buddhist traditions and among other spiritual traditions. This panel brings together experts to refine and deepen our understanding of buddha-nature both in terms of theoretical interpretations and practical applications in Tibetan Buddhist communities, past or present.

The main objective of the panel focuses on the interplay between points of doctrine and the practice of the path from the perspective of various Tibetan traditions and scholars. Contributions examine the interpretations of doctrines of tathāgatagarbha originally found in Indian scriptural sources. The methodological approach of these contributions range from historical-philological investigations to ethnographic research and comparative analysis.


Panelist Presentations