Re: The Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-essence/Buddha-nature)
May 29, 2007 02:16 PM
by Jacques Mahnich
For the seekers (who can read french), a new translation of the
Ratnagotravibhaga Mahayanottaratantrasastra was published in 2001 by
Editions DERVY - Paris - ISBN 2-84454-124-0.
It is a translation from the sanskrit and tibetan texts, by François
Chenique, and every stance is translated word by word from the two
languages, together with the Asanga comments. It is using the previous
translations (Jikido Takasaki - 1966, David Ruegg - 1973, and Shenpen
Hookham - 1991) for some comments and comparisons.
The translator received teachings from Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso
Rinpoche and among them the Ratanagotravibhaga.
It is quite a detailed version with a lot of references and comments.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "danielhcaldwell"
> The Tathagatagarbha
> In the book MAHAYANA BUDDHISM, especially Chapter 5 on "The
> Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-essence/Buddha-nature)", pp. 96-115,
> the author Paul Williams writes:
> "[The Mahayana Maha-parinirvana Sutra]...teaches
> a really existing, permanent element...in sentient
> beings. It is this element which enables sentient
> beings to become Buddhas....it otherwise fulfils
> several of the requirments of a Self in the Indian
> tradition. Whether this is called the Real, True,
> Transcendental Self or not is as such immaterial,
> but what is historically interesting is that this
> sutra in particular....is prepared to use the word
> 'Self' (atman) for this element...." page 99
> And on page 101 Williams quotes from the
> Buddhist scripture Srimula Sutra that
> describes the "dharmakaya" as:
> "beginningless, uncreate, unborn, undying,
> free from death; permanent, steadfast, calm,
> eternal, intrinsically pure...."
> Then turning to Tibetan Buddhism, below is a brief description of a
> book about one Tibetan school that teaches something very similar to
> what is given in H. P. Blavatsky "Secret Doctrine":
> "The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the
> Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen"
> by Cyrus Stearns
> (Suny Series, Buddhist Studies)
> "The Buddha from Dolpo examines the life and thought of the
> Tibetan Buddhist master, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361). Known
> as 'The Buddha from Dolpo,' he was one of the most important and
> original thinkers in Tibetan history, and perhaps the greatest expert
> on the tantric teachings of the Kalacakra or 'Wheel of Time.' Based
> largely upon esoteric Buddhist knowledge believed to be preserved in
> the legendary land of Shambhala, Dolpopa's theories continue to
> excite controversy in Tibetan Buddhism after almost 700
> years.. 'Dolpopa emphasized two contrasting definitions of the
> Buddhist teachings of emptiness: 'emptiness of self-nature,' which
> applies only to the, level of relative truth, and 'emptiness of
> other,' which applies only to the level of absolute truth. Dolpopa
> identified ultimate reality as the Buddha-nature inherent in all
> living beings. This view of an 'emptiness of other,' known in Tibetan
> as Zhentong, is Dolpopa's main spiritual legacy.. "
> And David Reigle has written in BLAVATSKY'S SECRET BOOKS:
> Some seven centuries ago there arose in Tibet a school of teachings
> which has many parallels to Theosophy. This is the Jonangpa school.
> Like Theosophy which attempted to restore teachings from "the
> universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world"
>  it attempted to restore teachings of the earlier Golden Age. Like
> Theosophy which teaches as its first fundamental proposition "an
> omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable principle on which all
> speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human
> conception,"  it teaches a principle which is permanent, stable,
> quiescent, and eternal, which is devoid of anything but itself,
> or "empty of other" (gzhan stong), and which therefore transcends
> even the most subtle conceptualization.
> More from David Reigle:
> The Jonangpa teachings are based primarily on Kalacakra and the works
> of Maitreya. I have elsewhere provided evidence linking the "Book of
> Dzyan" on which The Secret Doctrine is based and the lost mula
> Kalacakra Tantra. An important passage from a letter of H.P.
> Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett also links the Book of Dzyan and the work
> of Maitreya:
> "I have finished an enormous Introductory Chapter, or Preamble,
> Prologue, call it what you will; just to show the reader that the
> text [of The Secret Doctrine] as it goes, every Section beginning
> with a page of translation from the Book of Dzyan and the Secret Book
> of "Maytreya Buddha" Champai chhos Nga (in prose, not the five books
> in verse known, which are a blind) are not fiction."
> Blavatsky here refers to a secret book of Maitreya as opposed to the
> five books known. It is noteworthy that there came to Tibet from
> India two schools of interpretation of the Maytreya works: a
> doctrinal or analytical school whose textual exegesis is still
> current, and a meditative or practice school thought to have
> disappeared several centuries ago. According to Leonard van der
> Kuijp, this school did not die out but rather became the basis of the
> Jonangpa teachings:
> As such, future research may show two things. Firstly, the forerunner
> of the so-called Jo-nang-pa position and the 'Great madhyamaka' was
> the meditative, practical school that grew up around these teachings
> of Maitreya[natha]. In course of time, other texts which expressed
> similar sentiments, or which were interpreted as maintaining similar
> ideas, were added to the original corpus of texts on which this
> tradition based itself. In the second place, it may become possible
> to show that Dol-po-pa's efforts could be characterized as an attempt
> to redress the 'Meditative School' according to the normative
> methodology of the 'Analytical School'.
> The specific book of Maitreya on which the fundamental Jonangpa
> doctrine of shen-tong or "empty of other" is based is the Ratna-gotra-
> vibhaga, also called the Uttara-tantra. This book contains a
> synthesis of the tathagata-garbha or "Buddha-matrix" teaching. The
> tathagata-garbha teaching of a universal matrix or Buddha-nature,
> which all people have, is so different from other Buddhist teachings
> that Buddhist writers disagreed on how to classify it. In Tibet, it
> was classified by some writers as a Madhyamaka teaching, and by
> others as a Yogacara teaching, though it did not fit well in either
> category. An early Chinese writer, Fa-tsang (643-712), put it in its
> own separate category beyond the three accepted ones of Hinayana,
> Madhyamaka, and Yogacara. Analogously, H.P. Blavatsky speaks of
> a seventh school of Indian philosophy (darsana) beyond the six
> accepted ones, the esoteric school....
> [quoted from: http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/reigle04.html
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