Asian Philosophy > Chinese Philosophy > Chinese Buddhist Philosophy > Tathagatagarbha Thought in Chinese Buddhism
Edited by Ching Keng (National Chengchi University)
|Summary||Tathāgatagarbha thought in Chinese Buddhism is a transmission and development of Tathāgatagarbha thought in Indian Buddhism. Literally meaning "Buddha-containing," the notion "tathagatagarbha" emphasizes that all sentient beings without exception contain (in what way, of course, is controversial) Buddhahood (Chinese: foxing 佛性). Historically speaking, probably three major phases can be discerned of the development of Tathāgatagara thought in China: (1) the translation of the Mahāyāna-parinirvāṇa-sūtra by Dharmakṣema in the early 5th century and the commentarial tradition initiated thereby; (2) the incorporation of Tathāgatagarbha thought into the Chinese Madhyamaka schools and the Consciousness-only School during the 6th century, claiming that the notion of "tathāgatagarbha" is compatible or even superior to the notions of "emptiness" and "consciousness-only." This culminates in the work entitled the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna, which later became the most influential Tathāgatagarbha text throughout East Asia; (3) the popularity of this trend of thought in China after the 9th century via the pervasiveness of Chan Buddhism, which is heavily influenced by the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna. The jury is still out regarding whether Tathāgatagarbha thought embodied in the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna deviates from its Indian predecessors.|
|Key works||Much about the development of this filed remains murky. Hakeda & Abe 2005 is a must read. Lai 1975 is a guide for how to read the Awakening of Faith in the Chinese Buddhist context. Liu 1985 touches upon the Chinese interpretation of Buddha-nature.|
|Introductions||Williams 2008, Lai 2008 and Liu 1989 can be a good beginning.|
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