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Iournal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies

Volume 27 Number 2 2004

Katsumi MIMAKI

In memoriam, Yuichi Kajiyama (2.1.1925-29.3.2004)



The Buddhist Canon and the Canon of Buddhist Studies


Klaus-Dieter MATHES Tiiraniitha's "Twenty-One Differences with regard to the Profound Meaning"


Richard D. McBRIDE, IT Is there really "Esoteric" Buddhism?


Jerome DUCOR

Les sources de la Sukhiivati, autour d'une etude recente de Gerard




Himalayan Conundrum? A Puzzling Absence in Ronald M. David-

son's Indian Esoteric Buddhism


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BUSWELL Robert COLLINS Steven Cox Collet GOMEZ Luis O. HARRISON Paul VON HINOBER Oskar JACKSON Roger JAINl Padmanabh S. KATSURA Shoryu



In memoriam




Professor Yilichi KAJIYAMA, Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at Kyoto University, died at 6:09 o'clock in the morning, March 29,2004, at the age of 79. Because he had practiced martial arts such as Kend6 and Jildo in his junior high school days, he had always felt confident about his health. But since his heart operation in the summer of 2000, he had begun to be anxious about his health. In fact, in January 2004, while taking a walk, he accidentally fell down and, hitting his face against the ground, broke his teeth. He said to me: "It was a shock for me, who had practiced so well the 'safe ways of falling down' (ukemi) of JUdo, to fall down and hit my face on the ground". The last time I saw him was in a hospital bed two days before he died. I had been asked by our office to find out whether he would be able to attend a ceremony to receive an award on May 12. He answered:

"By the time of the ceremony, I will be completely cured and will go by myself to receive the award." Who could have imagined that he would die suddenly two days later? The cause of his death was described in the news- papers as "cardiac insufficiency", but according to the official diagnosis it was in fact "stomach cancer" that deprived him of life. This is indeed an irrecoverable loss to the Buddhist Studies world. Professor Kajiyama treated several topics in Buddhist studies through a sharp insight and elucidated many unexplored fields through a clear inves- tigation. We could have expected still many many results from him. Here, from the depths of profound grief, I would like to pray for the peace of his soul by presenting a brief survey of his career and academic activi- ties, even if I am not truly competent to do so. Born in Shizuoka city on Jannary 2, 1925, Professor Kajiyama attended Shizuoka Junior High School and Shizuoka High School. He entered Kyoto

Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies

Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2004



University in October 1944, studying in the department of Philosophy (Buddhist Studies) of the Faculty of Letters until his graduation in March 1948. Then he became aspecial research fellow of the Graduate School of the same university. He married Hiroko MATSUURA in 1951 and had a daughter Tomoko in 1952. From April 1953 until March 1956 he contin- ued his research, while teaching, under the direction of Professors J. Kashab and Satkari Mookerjee at the Nalanda Pili Institute, in Bihar, India. After his return to Kyoto, he became an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Let- ters of Kyoto University in April 1956. Having received a prize from the Japanese Academy for his joint-work Ju yong guan ~,*IJi~~ in May 1959 as well as a prize from the Japanese Association of Buddhist Studies in October of the same year, he was promoted to Associate Professor in March 1961. From July 1961 until August 1962 he studied under the guid- ance of Professor John Brough as a fellow of the British Council in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of London Unversity. From September to December 1962 he continued his research under the guidance of Professor Erich Frauwallner at the Indological Institute of Vienna University. Promoted to Professor of Kyoto University in Novem- ber 1971 he concentrated on research and education for the sixteen years until his retirement in March 1988, and in April 1988 he was given the title of Emeritus Professor of Kyoto University. From April 1988 until March 1997 he was Professor at Bukkyo University (Faculty of Letters, Depart- ment of Buddhist Studies). There in April 1991 he founded the Compre- hensive Research Institute, and as its Director he inaugurated its Bulletin. From April 1997 until March 2001 he was Professor at Soka University. There in June 1997 he founded the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, and as its Director he inaugurated the Annual Report. It was amazing to see how easily he accomplished the difficult tasks of founding a new Institute and launching a new journal. The research of Professor Kajiyama was recognized and appreciated not only inside Japan, but also internationally. He had occasions to teach as Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin (1967-1968), the Uni- versity of California, Berkeley (1974; 1981; 1997), Harvard University (1986), Vienna University (1985), and Leiden University (1989). The formation of his knowledge and his method of guiding his disci- ples seemed to have been deeply influenced by his own research experi-

YDrcHI KAJIYAMA (2.1.1925-29.3.2004)


ence with three foreign teachers, as he often mentioned. The first was Professor MookerJee of the Nalanda Pali Institute, under whose direction he produced a Sanskrit reconstruction of the Vaidalyaprakara1J.a of Nagar- juna. The second was Professor Brough of London University, under whose direction he completed an annotated English translation of the

Tarkabhii>!ii of Mok~akaragupta (1l-12th c.). As one of the best intro- ductions to Indian Buddhist epistemology and logic, this work, first published in 1966 in Memoirs of the Faculty of Letters (Kyoto Univer- sity No. 10; included also below in Bibl. 1), was reprinted in the series of the Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies in Vienna (Bib!. 2; cf.

a Japanese translation in Bibl. 8). His third teacher was Professor Frauwall- ner, under whose guidance he completed a German translation of the first chapter of the Prajfi.iipradfpa of Bha(va)viveka (ca 500-570) (included in Bib!. 1). There is no doubt that his experience of the so-called person to person method under these three professors deeply influenced his own research as well as his method of guiding his students. When I was student preparing

a master's thesis, he read my text with me once a week during the summer

vacation. He did not seem to need much preparation, but he corrected my reading and each time gave me very useful comments and suggestions. It was indeed thanks to him that I could read this difficult text through. Need- less to say, I was not the only student to receive the benefit of his method-

ical attention. It was naturally the same not only for other Japanese but also for foreign students. This is the reason why so many of his disciples continue now their academic activities in many places all over the world. The research field of Professor Kajiyama covers several branches of Indian Mahayana Buddhism. It is almost impossible to present all of his works in this limited space, but we can at least enumerate the following five branches as his main SUbjects: (1) Madhyamaka philosophy, (2) Mahayana sutras, among others the Prajfi.iipiiramitiisittra, (3) Buddhist logic and epistemology, (4) analysis of the doctrinal positions of several Buddhist schools, and (5) Chinese and Japanese Buddhist thought, based on Indian Buddhist philosophy. As for the first field, we can mention his clear overview of the history of Indian Madhyamaka philosophy (Bib!. 11), and, in particular, as is shown by his above-mentioned German translation of the first chapter of



the Prajfiiipradzpa, which elucidates Bha(va)viveka's philosophy, one of Professor Kajiyama's contributions was to clarify the important role that

Another important

contribution was that, having critically reexamined various theories and using Bha(va)viveka for important evidence, he established the dates of

Sthiramati (510-570) and DharmapaIa (530-561). In the second field, we have his Japanese translations of the A!ftasii-

hasrikii-prajfiiipiiramitii-sutra (Bibl. 7) and the Pratyutpanna-buddha-

sarrtmukhtivasthita-samiidhi-sutra (Bibl. 21). He also treated several inter- esting topics such as the Bodhisattva, transfer of merit, transmigration, smpa worship, the Buddha-body, the origin of Mahayana Buddhism, Bud- dhist eschatology, miracles, and supernatural events. In the field of logic and epistemology we have his clear description of Buddhist logic (Bibl. 16). Besides the above-mentioned translation of the Tarkabhii!fii of Mok~akaragupta, the most important contributionin this field is his trans- lation of the Antarvyiiptisamarthana of Ratnakarasanti, in which we can see the final phase in the development of Indian Buddhist logic. This text of Ratnakarasanti had already been twice translated into Japanese by Professor Kajiyama (1959, 1989), but its final form was completed in a new edition of the Sanskrit text, juxtaposed with a collated text of the Tibetan versions, an English translation, and a facsimile edition of the San- skrit manuscript (Bibl. 3). In his fourth field, of special note is his study of Buddhist conceptions of existence and knowledge (Bibl. 12). Finally, in his fifth field, he studied East Asian Buddhist ideas, including the thought of Shinran (Bibl. 18). Recently Professor Kajiyama had occa- sions to discuss contemporary ethical problems (brain death, human cloning, nuclear weapons, etc.) from the perspective of Buddhist Studies. The above is only a partial summary of Professor Kajiyama's academic activities. His works are indeed so numerous and multi-faceted that it is impossible to mention all of them here. The attached bibliography lists his books and only his Western-language articles published after 1989. Let me also mention that a Collected Works of his Japanese publications (an estimated 8 volumes) is planned by the publisher Shunjilsha. His pre- 1989 Western-language articles have been published by Rinsen Publishc ers (Bibl. 1). Currently out of print, this collection will be reprinted soon. Rinsen will also undertake the publication of his post-1989 articles in Western languages.

the Madhyamika played in the history of Indian logic.

YDIcm KAJIYAMA (2.1.1925-29.3.2004)



1) Y. Kajiyama, Studies in Buddhist Philosophy, ed. by Katsumi MiMAKI et al.,

Rinsen, Kyoto, 1989.

2) An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy, an annotated translation of the Tarka-

bhii~iiof Mok~akaragupta, Arbeitkreis fUr Tibetische und Buddhistische Stu- dien Universitiit Wien, Wien, 1998.

3) The Antarvyiiptisamarthana of Ratniikarasiinti, Bibliotheca Philologica et

Philosophica Buddhica II, The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University, Tokyo, 1999. 4) Kil no Ronri <ChUgan> (The Logic of the Madhyarnaka School), Coau- thored with S. UEYAMA, Kadokawa, Tokyo, 1969; Reprint as a pocket-size


5) Bukkyo no Shiso (Buddhist Thought), Coauthored with S. UEYAMA, Chiio- Koronsha, Tokyo, 1974

Ryilju RonshU (Japanese translation of Nagarjuna's works), Daijo Butten 14,


Coauthored with R. URYDZU, ChilO-Koronsha, Tokyo, 1974. 7) Hassenju-Hannyakyo, (Japanese translation of the A~tasiihasrikii-Prajnii­ piiramitii-siltra), 2 Vols. (The second volume is coauthored with T. TANn), Chiio-Koronsha, Tokyo, 1974-5. 8) Ronri no Kotoba (The Language of Logic), A Japanese translation of

Mok~akaragupta's Tarkabhii~ii, Chiio-Koronsha, Tokyo, 1975.

9) Seshin Ronshil (Japanese translation of Vasubandhu's works), Daijo Butten 15, Coauthored with N. ARAMAKI and G. M. NAGAO, Chiio-Koronsha, Tokyo,


the World of Empti-

ness), Chiio-Koronsha, Tokyo, 1976. 11) ChUkan Shiso (Madhyarnaka Thought), Koza Daijo Bukkyo 7, Coauthored with R. URYUZU, M. TACHIKAWA, T. EnMA, M. IcmGo, K. MIMAKI, C. TAMURA, and S. HARADA, Shunjiisha, Tokyo, 1982 (first edition), 1995 (new edition). 12) Bukkyo ni okeru Sonzai to Chishiki (Existence and Knowledge in Buddhism), Kinokuniya, Tokyo, 1983. 13) Satori to Eko (Enlightenment and Merit Transfer), KOdansha,Tokyo, 1983.

14) Kil no Shiso-Bukkyo ni okeru Kotoba to Chinmoku (The Idea of Empti-

ness - Language and Silence in Buddhism), Jinbun-Shoin, Kyoto, 1983. 15) Bosatsu to iukoto (On Bodhisattvas), Jinbun-Shoin, Kyoto, 1984. 16) Ninshikiron to Ronrigaku (Epistemology and Logic), Koza Daijo Bukkyo 9, Coauthored with S. KATSURA, H. TOSAKI, A. AKAMATSU, K. MiMAKI, Y. MrYASAKA, S. KAWASAKI, and H. NAGASAKI, Shunjiisha, Tokyo, 1982 (first edition), 1995 (new edition). 17) Budda-charita (Japanese translation of the Buddhacarita), Coauthored with N. KOBAYASm, M. TACHIKAWA and K. MlMAKI, KOdansha Shuppan- Kenkyiisho, Tokyo, 1985. 18) Shinran (A Study of the founder of the JOdo-Shin school), Chiio-Koronsha, Tokyo, 1987.

10) Hannyakyo -

Kil no Sekai (Prajniipiiramitii-siltra -



19) Rinne no Shiso (The Buddhist Concept of Transmigration), Jinbun-Shoin, Kyoto, 1989. 20) Ku Nyumon (An Introduction to Emptiness), Shunjiisha, Tokyo, 1992. 21) Hanjuzanmai kyo (Pratyutpannabuddha-sarrzmukhiivasthita-samadhi-sutra:

partial translation and interpretation), in JOdo Bukkyo no Shiso (the Idea of Pure Land Buddhism) II, Kodansha, Tokyo, 1992. 22) Satori to Eko - Daijo Bukkyo no Seiritsu (Enlightenment and Merit Trans- fer - the origin of Mahayana Buddhism), Expanded version of Satori to Eko (1983), Jinbun-Shoin, Kyoto, 1997.

Articles in Western languages, published after his collection, Studies in Buddhist Philosophy (see Bib). 1)

23) "Fundamentals of Buddhist Ethics", Zen Buddhism Today: Annual Report of the Kyoto Zen Symposium (The Kyoto Seminar for Religious Philosophy), 1990, pp. 61-70. 24) "On the Authorship of the Upay~daya", Proceedings of the 2nd Interna- tional Dharmakfrti Conference, Vienna, 1989, pp. 107-117. 25) "Presuppositions of Amitabha Worship in India", Bericht. Japanisch- Deutsche Studiengemeinschaft zur Kultur des Buddhismus, Bukkyo-Uni- versitat, Kyoto, 1990, pp. 11-24. 26) "Sthiramati, Uddyotakara, and Arcafa on Vyabhicara", Asiatische Studien XLVI. 1, Etudes bouddhiques offertes a Jacques May, Zeitschrift der Schweizerrischen Asiengeseilschaft, 1992, pp. 212-221. 27) "Prajnaparamita and the Rise of Mahayana", Buddhist Spirituality: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Early Chinese, ed. by Y. TAKEucm in asso- ciation with Jan Van Bragt, New York, Crossroad Publishing, 1993, pp. 137-


28) "Buddhist Eschatology, Miracles, and Power other than Self", A Compre- hensive Review of the Pure Land Buddhism of Honen, International Acade- mic Symposium, Bukkyo University-L.A. Extension, 1998, pp. 16-21. 29) "Buddhist Eschatology, Supernatural Events and the Lotus Sutra", The Jour- nal of Oriental Studies, Vol. 8, 1998, pp. 15-37. 30) "Sarp.ghabhadra und Nagarjuna uber die Theorie der zwolfgriedrigen Kausali- tat", Horin -Vergleichende Studien zur Japanischen Kultur, No.6, Eko-Haus

der japanischen Kultur, Dusseldorf, 1999, pp. 139-149. 31) "AIayavijfiana und Abhangiges Entstehen", Horin, Vergleichende Studien zur japanischen Kultur, No.7, Eko-Haus der japanischen Kultur, Dusseldorf, 2000, pp. 77-92. 32) "TheSaddharmapuQ.9arika and Siinyata Thought" (tr. by Wayne Yokoyama), The Journal of Oriental Studies, Vol. 10, 2000, pp. 73-96. 33) "Buddhist Cosmology as Presented in the Yogacarabhiimi", Wisdom, Com- passion, and the Search for Understanding: The Buddhist Studies Legacy of Gadjin M. Nagao, ed. by Jonathan A. Silk, University of Hawai'i Press, 2000, pp. 183-199.



In contemporary academia, the concept of a canon is rather unpopular!. The word 'canon'2 reminds us of elites who use their power to suppress opposing views by labeling them as non-canonical and heretic. It reminds us of colonialism and 'Orientalism,' ofthe ways Western scholars 'can- onized' the knowledge of 'the East.' And it reminds us of a 'classical' canon in education that conservative instructors and politicians attempt to save from postmodern randomness. In Buddhist Studies, such general reservations about the canon appear to become manifest in two demands:

In our research, we must focus on sources other than the Buddhist canon; and in teaching, we must abandon the inherited 'canon' of class readings, which again consists mainly of Buddhist canonical texts, and must teach contemporary Buddhist practice instead. In this paper, I will reconsider those demands by reflecting upon the Buddhist canon as a subject of research, and upon our own scholarly canonizations, the secondary canon of Buddhist Studies. The first part of the paper examines the role of the Buddhist canon in research and in teaching, the trend towards non-canonical sources, and the current affec- tion for contemporary practice. As a textual scholar who works with canonical texts, I intend to point to some risks that are, in my view, inher- ent in that general trend. To corroborate my critique and to illustrate what

1 Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the University of Bayreuth and at the University of Texas at Austin in spring, 2004. I thank the participants of the subsequent discussions for their responses and, in particular, Janice Leoshko for her comments and valuable suggestions. 2 The word 'canon' is derived from Greek kanan, "cane", "ruler", figurative: "rule", "norm", "model". See for the etymology and historical development of the term Gerald T. Sheppard, "Canon," The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade, vol. 3 (New York:

Macmillan, 1987), pp. 62-69.

Journal of the International Association

of Buddhist Studies

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I consider the value of canonical texts for scholarship, I will, in the second part of the paper, examine one exemplary issue: the image of the laity in early Buddhism. I intend to demonstrate that canonical texts are, in con- trast to the common view, a rich source for current scholarly interests (such as the issues of religious practice and diversity). I will argue that the image of the canon as being consistent, one-dimensional, and purely normative - an image that underlies the current rejection of canonical texts - is to a large extent the product of a 'canonization' carried out by earlier generations of scholars. Discussing further implications in the third part of the paper, I will argue that by excluding the canon, Buddhist Stud- ies runs the risk of canonizing other sources for research and, at the same time, enhances particularism in teaching. Rather, the opposite approach appears to be useful: a roughly 'canonized' introductory education in Buddhist Studies, spiced with selected data that are suitable for under- mining simplification, and an attitude in research that is open for all kinds of sources, including canonical texts.

1. The Buddhist Canon in Research and in Teaching

When scholars of religion apply the term 'canon' to a certain corpus of texts, they usually wish to emphasize two aspects: its normative, author- itative character on the one hand, and its fixed and standardized form on the othez3. The latter feature is the result of a process of canonization. Gen- erally speaking, this process begins when within a tradition certain insti- tutions select a limited number of texts and define them as authoritative,

3 Jonathan Z. Smith defmes a canon broadly as "the arbitrary fixing of a limited num- ber of 'texts' as immutable and authoritative." "Sacred Persistence: Toward a Redescrip- tion of Canon," id., Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago/London:

University of Chicago Press, 1982), pp. 36-52, here: 44. Gerald Sheppard describes those two aspects as follows: "On the one hand, [the term 'canon'] can be used to refer to a

rule, standard, ideal, norm, or authoritative office or literature, whether oral or written. On the other hand, it can signify a temporary or perpetual fixation, standardization, enumeration, listing, chronology, register, or catalog of exemplary or normative persons, places, or things. The former dimension emphasizes internal signs of an elevated status. The latter puts stress on the precise boundary, limits, or measure of what, from some pre-

outside of a specific 'canon. ", Sheppard,

understood standard, belongs within or falls "Canon," p. 64.



that is, 'canonicaI.' Subsequently, those or other institutions will need to protect and defend this canon 4 Following this deftnition, scholars of Buddhism are used to la,beling certain Buddhist text collections 'canonical.' I focus in this paper on the so-called Pili canon of the Theravada school. Although little is known about the fonnation of the texts after the death of the Buddha, scholarship holds that for a couple of centuries, Buddhists transmitted the constantly increasing text collection orally, until, according to the Theravada tradi- tion, it was written down for the fIrst time in Sri Lanka, in the 151 century before the Common EraS. From the 5 th century commentaries onwards, at the latest, both canonical features are observable: the Pali canon is regarded as nonnative and authoritative, and its textual contents are deftned and ftxed.

1.1. Leaving the Canon Behind: Alternative Sources for Research

From its very beginning, Westemschoil,lIship has focused on the Pili canonical texts, assuming that historically they were the most reliable source for reconstructing the life of the Buddha, his original teachings, and the new religion's early development. In recent decades, scholars have raised new questions and brought up a number of critical method- ological issues: the problem of the alleged objectivity of the scholar; the

4 According to Aleida and Jan Assmann, we can distinguish three tasks these institu- tions have to fulfill: censoring; maintaining the text; and maintaining its meaning (Zen- sur, Textpflege, and Sinnpflege). Censoring means delimitating the text from the extrane- ous and false; maintaining the text means immunization against change, the orthopraxy of language within the tradition; maintaining the meaning of the text means compensating the semantic deficiencies of the orthopraxy of language, a phenomenon which is often mani- fest in commentaries of canonical texts. Aleida and Jan Assmann, "Kanon und Zensur," Kanon und Zensur: Beitrage zur Archaologie der literarischen Kommunikation II, ed. Aleida and Jan Assmann (Miinchen: Fink, 1987), pp. 7-27. See also the articles in the same volume by Alois Halm, "Kanonisierungsstile," pp. 28-37; and Carsten Colpe, "Sakrali- sierung von Texten und Filiationen von Kanons," pp. 80-92. 5 Although it is likely that at this point, the Pili canon was more or less fixed, we can be fully sure about its actual contents only from Buddhaghosa's commentary in the 5 th cen- tury onwards. Cf. K.R. Norman, "Buddhism and Canonicity," id., A Philological Approach to Buddhism: The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai Lectures 1994 (London: SOAS, 1997); cf. also Gregory Schopen, "Two Problems in the History of Indian Buddhism: The Layman/Monk Distinction and the Doctrines of the Transference of Merit," StlI10 (1985), 9-47, here: 9f.



need for scholarly interpretation and creativity; the issue of evaluative assessment and normativity; the disputed quest for the original intention of a text's author; the significance of politics and power; and, in partic- ular, the role of the written text in general 6 • A considerable number of scholars have become critical of the traditional, historical-philological paradigm. Emphasizing the obvious multifaceted character of Buddhism and the need for adequate ways to deal with its diversity, they suggest methods other than philological (for example, anthropological, sociologi- cal, and art historical methods), and approaches other than historical (such as cross-cultural analysis, feminist criticism; deconstruction, and literary criticism)7. The critique of the traditional historical-philological approach concerns, of course, particularly its focus on canonical texts; scholars tend to look for other meaning-producing forms of sources. In the words of Jose Cabezon: "There is today a call for the increased investigation of alternative semiotic forms - oral and vernacular traditions, epigra- phy, ritual, patterns of social and institutional evolution, gender, lay and folk traditions, art, archeology and architecture."8 In the course of this trend, the role of the Pilii canon in Buddhist Stud- ies has been subject to critical examination. Charles Hallisey, for exam- ple, has analyzed the way Western Buddhologists used to deal with it. He points to the beginnings of Buddhist Studies and their typical 19 th cen- tury historicist approach "with its split between older and later sources and its positivistic concerns for origins." This approach led scholars to the attitude that unlike modern Buddhists, only Western scholars, due to

their knowledge of Pilii, have access to 'original' Buddhism. 9

Instead of

6 Jose Ignacio Cabezon has thoroughly examined these methodological issues in his article "Buddhist Studies as a Discipline and the Role of Theory," JIABS 18 (1995), pp. 231-268. As he convincingly demonstrates, the debate takes place between the two poles of positivist/objectivist and interpretivist/subjectivist/constructionist approaches.










pp. 238f. and 264f.










pp. 262f.

9 Charles Hallisey, "Roads Taken and Not Taken in the Study of Theraviida Bud- dhism," Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 31-61,here: pp. 34- 38. Trying to apply a one-sided concept of Orientalism to this issue, however, would be too simple. As Hallisey observes, "there was something like a productive 'elective affin- ity' between the positivist historiography of European Orientalism and Buddhist styles of self-representation" (p. 43); see also pp. 47-49. This is true also for the common usage of



cOlitinuing a scholarly tradition that focuses on the Pali canon, scholars of Buddhism should examine, according to Hallisey, commentaries, sub- commentaries, and in particular, local contexts and works composed in vernacular languages. He sketches an "alternative historical paradigm which will encourage us to expect meaning to be produced in local cir- cumstances rather than in the origins of the tradition."JO In Hallisey's view, this local production of meaning is of crucial interest for Buddhist Studies, because it reveals the interaction between the text and its users and is thus connected to the 'real life' of Buddhists much more closely than the Pali canon is. Although not explicitly abandoning the canonical texts for research, Hallisey discourages from examining them. The Pali canon appears as one among many representations of Buddhism, but as a rather unexciting one.

1.2. Teaching Buddhism without a Canon: The Affection for Contempo- rary Practice

It comes as no surprise that the focus on the Pilii canon in research caused an identical focus in teaching. Charles Hallisey remarks that "the study of the Theravada became equated with the study of the Pilii canon, ·and it is still common for a student to finish a graduate program in Bud- dhist Studies without ever having read a Theravadin commentarial text." 11

the commentaries of the Pali canon; emulating Buddhist tradition, scholars of Buddhism have used them merely as a tool for understanding the canonical text but not as a religious expression of its own right that was composed centuries after the canon itself. In addition to that, several other ways of emulating the Buddhist tradition are observable. Luis Gomez examines similarities in the philological and the scholastic approaches, in the doctrinal commitment, and in the notion of history (decay or culmination). Luis Gomez, "Unspoken Paradigms: Meandering through the Metaphors of a Field," JIABS 18 (1995), pp. 183-230. For the dialectics of orientalism, occidentalism, 'auto-oc.cidentalism,' and 'auto-orientalism' in (the study of) Asian religions cf. also the recent volume, Religion im Spiegelkabinett:

Asiatische Religionsgeschichte im Spannungsfeld zwischen Orientalismus und Okziden- talismus, ed. Peter Schalk, Max Deeg, Oliver Freiberger, Christoph Kleine, Acta Univer- sitatis Upsaliensis: Historia Religionum 22 (Uppsala: University of Uppsala, 2003); for an outline of this volume see my note, "Religion in mirrors: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Asian Religions," Journal of Global Buddhism 4 (2003), pp. 9-17 (online: http://www.

IO Hallisey, "Roads Taken

," pp. 50-53.



The text selections in 'classical' anthologies of Buddhist Studies confinn Hallisey's impression. Concerning Theravada Buddhism, those compila-

almost exclusively from the Pilii canon 12 .

Moreover, their editors seem to agree upon what the 'significant' topics were and, correspondingly, what text passages to select 13 • Roughly, the topics are: the early life of Siddhattha Gotama, his ascetic years, his awakening, and his death; the 'sermon of Benares', the Four Noble Truths and the Middle Way, the doctrines of dependent origination, anatta, the five khandhas, karma and rebirth, meditation and nibbiina, general ethi- cal principles, and the basic rules of the sangha. These topics reflect the traditional classification of the 'three jewels' (buddha, dhamma, sangha); their selection is, certainly not by chance 14 , largely in accor- dance with the later commentarial tradition of the Theravada school. The text passages selected for anthologies correspond to these topics. Although being not entirely identical, the compilations constitute a largely inter- secting set of texts. The process of selecting topics and texts can be viewed as a form of canonization. Taking the anthologies as a means (or an expression) of teaching Bud- dhism, we may state that the discipline of Buddhist Studies has created its own teaching canon - a secondary canon, as it were, extracted from the primary one. This secondary canon possesses the general features:

tions contain passages taken

it is authoritative, and it is, to a certain extent, fixed; the fact that the anthologies contain very similar text collections indicates that the academic community has 'observed and protected' the selection 15 .

12 To a much lesser extent, they also contain sections from quasi-canonical works such as the Milindapafiha or the Visuddhimagga.

13 Examples are: Buddhism in Translations: Passages Selectedfrom the Budhist Sacred Books and Translated from the Original Pali into English, by Henry Clarke Warren (Cam- bridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1915); The Living Thoughts ofGotama the Buddha, presented by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and LB. Horner (LondonlEdinburgh: Morrison and Gibb, 1948); Buddhism: A Religion ofInfinite Compassion - Selections from Buddhist Literature, ed. Clarence H. Hamilton (New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1952); The Teach- ings of the Compassionate Buddha, ed. E.A. Burtt (New York: Mentor, 1955); Buddhist Texts through the Ages, ed. Edward Conze et aI. (Oxford: Cassirer, 1954); The Wisdom of Buddhism, ed. Christmas Humphreys (New York: Random House, 1961). 14 Cf. above, note 9.



In recent times, the textual focus in teaching has shifted. One example of a new type of anthology is the voluminous collection Buddhism in

Practice, edited by Donald Lopez, published in 1995 16 • All but one of the Theravada texts in this volume are non-canonical, some even written by

book's title, all texts

concern in one way or the other Buddhist practice; they deal, for exam- ple, with the consecration ritual of Buddha images, with meditation, or donation. As an example of anthologies used in teaching, this compilation shows that the criterion for selecting texts is not their canonical status anymore but their significance for Buddhist practice. A recent collection of essays on "Teaching Buddhism in the West"

places strong emphasis on practice,

as well l8 • In its first chapter, Frank

Reynolds criticizes the usual 'Introduction to Buddhism' course. He

describes it as "the kind of survey course that begins with (

) moves through a

toricallife and teachings of Gautama Buddha, (

rapid-fire treatment of some 2500 years of Buddhist intellectual and social

history (

), and finally concludes with an equally rapid-fire survey of

contemporary Buddhism in various countries around the world. "19 As examples of an "alternative approach that will be appropriate and effective within a postmodem liberal arts curriculum," he suggests three types of courses on Buddhism, two of which are significant for our

contemporary Buddhists 17 • Corresponding to the

) the his-

the Vinaya passages that I.B. Homer refused to translate in her translation of the Vinayapi{aka. These passages, which deal with sexual issues, appear, in her words, "unsuitable for incorporation in a translation designed principally for Western readers," because of "the outspokenness and crudeness" they contain. The Book of the Discipline (Vinaya-Pi{aka), trans!. LB. Homer, vo!' 1 (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1992 [1938]), p. 197. Those passages have been translated recently; see Petra Kieffer-Piilz, "Parajika 1 and Sanghiidisesa 1:

Hitherto Untranslated Passages from the Vinayapi{aka of the Theravadins," Traditional

South Asian Medicine 6 (2001), pp. 62-84.

16 Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univer-

sity Press, 1995). Cf. also John S. Strong, The Experience of Buddhism: Sources and Inter-

pretations, 2 nd ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002). 17 The only canonical text in the book, the Gotamf-apadana, is little known and has been translated into a Western language here for the first time. Buddhism in Practice , pp. 113-138.

18 Teaching Buddhism in the West: From the Wheel to the Web, ed. Victor Sagen Hori,

Richard P. Hayes, James Mark Shields (London/New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002).

19 Frank E. Reynolds, "Teaching Buddhism in the Postrnodern University: Understan-



a concept for an introductory under-

graduate course that deals not with the foundations of Buddhism and its historical development but with practices of contemporary Buddhists in Asia and North America. The goal of such a course is "to' introduce students to a broadly representative variety of the real worlds of real Buddhists who are involved in real Buddhist practices that generate real Buddhist experiences. "21 Reynolds' second concept of an advanced course comprises a canonical text, but focuses on the "ways in which the text has been received and put to use in the tradition. "22 It is obvious that in this article, Reynolds does not attach great importance to the Pili canon for teaching purposes. His introductory course contains no canonical text whatsoever, and his advanced course focuses not on the content of the selected canonical text, but on its role in practice. The approach underlying Reynolds' concepts seems to represent a general trend. In the volume on Teaching Buddhism in the West, the authors suggest a number of teaching methods, all of which focus not on canonical texts but on other religious expressions, particularly on religious prac- tice. For their class readings, they select either Buddhist texts that deal with - or are used in - practice, or scholarly articles describing con- temporary forms of it 23 • Canonical texts are of interest only as far as they have a role in practice.

considerations 2o • First, he proposes

20 The third course deals with the establishment and development of Buddhism in the West

," pp. 9-1l.

and the development of.Buddbist Studies. Reynolds, "Teaching Buddbism

Reynolds describes his vision of postmodem liberal education in detail in his article "Recon-

;structing Liberal Education: A Religious Studies Perspective." Beyond the Classics? Essays in Religious Studies and Liberal Education. ed. Frank E. Reynolds. Sheryl L. Burkhalter

(Atlanta: Scholars Press. 1990). pp. 3-18.

" pp. 7-9. here: p. 9. One decade ago. Reynolds'

brief description of an introductory course had included contemporary practice as merely

one among several elements. See his chapter on "Introducing Buddhism" in Teaching the Introductory Course in Religious Studies: A Sourcebook, ed. Mark Juergensmeyer (Atlanta:

Scholars Press, 1991). pp. 71-77.

22 The introduction of this course includes a "concise consideration of sub-topics" (!)

such as textual criticism. the composition and compilation of the text. its canonical status.

and its form and content. Reynolds. "Teaching Buddhism

23 See particularly Todd T. Lewis' article. "Representations of Buddhism in Under- graduate Teaching: The Centrality of Ritual and Story Narratives." Teaching Buddhism in

21 Reynolds. "Teaching Buddhism

" p. 10



This current trend covers up for another approach, the integration of practice into teaching. The volume Teaching Buddhism in the West also contains the article "Moving Beyond the 'ism': A Critique of the Objec- tive Approach to Teaching Buddhism" by O'Hyun Park, Professor of Religion at Appalachian State University24. Park criticizes what he calls objective studies of Buddhism, which "are conditioned by occidental or provincial patterns of thought and arbitrarily limited methodologies. It is typical of occidentals as well as of many contemporary Buddhists to wish to teach Buddhism by means of scientific understandings of Buddhist ideas. These objective studies of Buddhism fail to transmit the living essence of Buddhism, and in consequence, those whose approach is purely of this sort may conclude that Buddhism at its best is merely a form of psychology and has little to do with religious life. "25 Park sug- gests a different method of teaching Buddhism. The teacher, to begin with, must be a seeker him- or herself, and the student must be willing to find a spiritual companion. Then meditation must be included in teach- ing. Park states: "One must first be still in order to teach and learn Buddhism. In no other way can its essence truly be known or shown. Seen from this point of view, teaching and learning Buddhism, if it is not filtered by meditation, is not worthy of attention. "26 The goal of his method is "to introduce students to the Buddha's world and to help them be engaged in the process of moving in that direction themselves. In the process, the spirit of Buddhism may rub off on them. I personally do not know what in the process of teaching Buddhism has rubbed off on me, but I can only hope that whatever it is can be passed on to my students. "27 When using this way of teaching, Park gets rrrixed responses. He admits:

"At times I am informed that my lectures suggest a dogmatic affIrmation." His reaction to this critique reads: "This is only because I have tem- porarily been carried away by my deeper bias in the area. However, that this discussion of non-duality may lead students to re-examine their own

24 O'Hyun Park, "Moving Beyond the 'ism': A Critique of the Objective Approach to

Teaching Buddhism," Teaching Buddhism in the West

, pp. 57-68.

25 "Moving






p. 67.

26 "Moving Beyond the




p. 59 (italics in the original).

27 "Moving






p. 68.



approach to their lives and to enlarge their world is for me a sufficient justification for teaching it. A fair number of students have been very appreciative. "28

Given this attitude, it is particularly interesting to learn about the texts Park uses for teaching. He writes: "For a text as a proverbial fmger point- ing to the moon, I have chosen myown translation of a sixteenth-century

) Xishan made

a substantial effort not only to grasp the essence of Buddhism, but also

in most cases to make it relevant to the breadth of human existential awareness. In my judgement, this text warrants use as an alternative to most current texts that are based upon a widespread unawareness of the central thrust of Buddhist religiosity, a deficiency which may be related to long engrained patterns of dualistic thought. "29 Park selects this text

Buddhist text written by Xishan, a Korean Zen master. (


because in his view, it is suitable for grasping "the essence" of Bud- dhism. He rejects the canonical texts not because of their normativity and their distance from current Buddhist practice, nor because they fail

to represent religious diversity, but because for him, they are less suitable

for revealing Buddhism's "central thrust." It is obvious that this is not an academic or historical, but a religious criterion. Park's teaching method is thus a form not of academic educa- tion but of religious instruction. This example points to the important fact

that many Western scholars of Buddhism are committed Buddhists them- selves, so-called 'scholar-practitioners.'3o Although this is a well-known

fact, there is still too little reflection about its implications for research and for teaching. In recent years, some scholars came up with ideas for a new sub-discipline of Buddhist Studies, called "Buddhist Theology." This discipline, modeled after modem academic Christian Theology, would be

a home for Buddhist scholars who stand normatively in their tradition

and who, by using Western scholarly methods, critically reflect upon this



"Moving Beyond the



p. 62.



"Moving Beyond




p. 63.

30 Cf. Charles S. Prebish, "Buddhist Studies in the Academy: History and Analysis", Teaching Buddhism in the West , pp. 17-36, here: pp. 21-27; Cabezon, "Buddhist Stud-

ies as a Discipline

Ghost at the Table: On the Study of Buddhism and the Study of Religion," JAAR 62 (1994),


;" Malcolm David Eckel, "The

;" Gomez, "Unspoken Paradigms



tradition 31 • This interesting development can be a topic for research in itself, including the question whether it will be possible to retain the distinction between the "theological" reflections of this new discipline and the. empir- ical approach of Buddhist Studies as part of the academic study of reli- gion. Victor Hori supposes that we may encounter a separation into two disciplines, the "theological" and the academic study of Buddhism 32 This would equal the separation of Christian theology and the academic study of religion (Religionswissenschaft). As the discussions are structurally sim- ilar (including well-known arguments, for example against alleged neutral scholarship), this new development may benefit from the long-lasting and ongoing debate between Christian theology and the study of religion 33 O'Hyun Park's approach, however, can hardly be considered an exam- ple of Buddhist Theology in the sense of critical, academic reflection. He uses postmodem and postorientalist arguments as a justification for propagating what he considers the "essence" of Buddhism, which is based upon his own translation of a sixteenth-century Zen text from Korea.

2. Reconsidering the Value of Canonical Texts

Given this trend of dissociating from the idea of a canon, what is the future perspective of Buddhist Studies? Should researchers abandon the

31 Cf. the essays in Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars, ed. Roger R. Jackson, John J. Malcransky (Richmond: Curzon, 2000), particu- larly the contributions by John Malcransky, "Contemporary Academic Buddhist Theology:

Its Emergence and Rationale," pp. 14-21, and Jose Ignacio Cabezon, "Buddhist Theology in the Academy," pp, 25-52.

, pp. ix-xxv. Mal- "

colm David Eckel views such a distinction critically; cf. his "The Ghost at the Table

33 I am aware of the fact that differences between academic disciplines are discemable in normative and programmatic concepts rather than in actual practice. While the individ- ual scholar could have more in common with one from another 'discipline' than with many of her or his own profession, it is programmatic concepts prescribing how scholars of a discipline should work that construct this discipline. Such concepts describe the boundaries of the subject matter, the theory, and the methods; within one discipline, they tend to be controversial and to compete with other concepts. Nevertheless, the continuous debate on

32 Victor Sogen Hori, "Introduction," Teaching Buddhism in the West


discipline's identity is necessary for self-reflection; inter-, cross-, or transdisciplinarity


possible only if there are boundaries one can cross. Cf. my "1st Wertung Theologie?

Beobachtungen zur Unterscheidung von Religionswissenschaft und Theologie," Die Iden-

titiit der Religionswissenschaft: Beitrage zum Verstandnis einer unbekannten Disziplin, ed. Gebhard Lobi' (Frankfurt/M. et al.: Peter Lang, 2000), pp. 97-121.



primary canon of ancient, normative, and standardized texts, and focus on the local/present productions .of meaning instead? Should instructors abandon the secondary canon, and focus on the contemporary practice or the 'central thrust' of Buddhism? Or is working with canonical texts and using a secondary canon for teaching still justifiable? I think it is. In the following sections of the paper, I intend to illustrate what I consider the significance of canonical texts for research and teaching. I start off by presenting one example: the image of the laity in early Buddhism. According to the accounts given in 'classical' anthologies and in most textbooks, early Buddhist laymen and laywomen can be described as follows. Together with Buddhist monks and nuns (bhikkhus and bhikkhunfs), male and female laypeople (upiisakas and upiisikiis) form the fourfold Buddhist community. They provide the former with clothes, food, lodging, and medicine, and they lead a moral life according to the paficasflii, that is, they refrain from harming living creatures, from steal- ing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, and from consuming intoxicants. Unlike members of the sangha, lay people are per se inca- pable of higher spiritual accomplishment. Therefore, they do not strive for liberation from the cycle of rebirth and will not attain this state. Their (inferior) goal is rebirth in a heavenly world, and thus they do not engage in meditative practices but focus on morality and generosity. Par- ticularly by donating gifts to the "unsurpassable field of merit," that is the Buddhist sangha, they can accumulate merit that will cause a better rebirth. As mentioned before, this roughly sketched image of the laity is preva- lent in 'classical' textbooks and anthologies. Denying the fact that this image is common also in many sections of the Pali canon would be absurd. But claiming that it is the only view traceabl~ in the texts would be equally incorrect. When examining not only the 'secondary canon' preserved in modem anthologies but the entire doctrinal section of the Pali canon, the Suttapitaka, one discovers a number of passages in which the authors create an image of laypeople that differs immensely from the one sketched

above. 34 Here, the laity

appears as a group not only serving the sangha

34 For the following, see my Der Orden in der Lehre: Zur religiOsen Deutung des

SaJigha imfriihen Buddhismus (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2000), pp. 140-212; an English



but also observiil~and controlling the behavior of monks and nuns. Those accounts portray laypeople as self-confident persons who have the abil- ity to assess the ethical and 'spiritual' status of the recipient of thei,r gifts. They do not trust the promise that the best recipient is, by way of ordi- nation, the Buddhist monk or nun; they reject the concept of the sangha as a field of merit that is, by definition, unsurpassable. Instead they indi- vidually select worthy recipients who lead a moral life and who are 'spir- itually' advanced, because they believe that for gaining religious merit, the individual 'spiritual' status of the recipient weighs more than the per- son's status of being an ordained member of the sangha. How to accu- mulate merit is a serious issue for them, because it may cause rebirth in a heavenly world. In fact, a close look reveals that in the canonical texts, rebirth in heaven appears as a Buddhist soteriological goal independent from nibbiina (Skt. nirviilJa). The two goals rarely appear in the same context; only a few theological passages link them and declare nibbiina the superior one. Reportedly, members of the sangha strive for rebirth in heaven, to0 35 • On the other hand, there are many accounts of laypersons receiving instructions into the most complex issues of Buddhist doctrine and attaining certain trance states. Some laypersons, the texts state, have even gained liberating insight and nibbiina. Considering these accounts, we must put the clear division between members of the sangha and laypeople into perspective; members of both groups strive for - and attain - both goals, rebirth in heaven and nib- biina. The clear division of the groups appears as an idea belonging to an institutionalistic concept of the Buddhist sangha. A close view demon- strates that a different, rather individualistic, concept is just as common in the canonical texts. Due to the specific scope of earlier generations of

summary of major arguments in Oliver Freiberger, "Profiling tbe Sangha: Institutional and Non-Institutional Tendencies in Early Buddhist Teachings," Marburg Journal ofReli- gion 5 (2000) (online: freiberger.html). Cf. also Jeffrey Samuels, "Views of Householders and Lay Disciples in the Sutta Pitaka: A Reconsideration of tbe Lay/Monastic Opposition," Religion 29 (1999),




scholars, Buddhist textbooks - and scholarship at large - rarely take notice of this latter concept with regard to the laity. For the considerations about the canon in Buddhist Studie~, we can draw three major conclusions from this example. The first is that the Pali canon is not homogeneous. A canon's general feature of being author- itative and normative does not presuppose homogeneity of its contents. On the contrary, it seems that oftentimes, heterogeneity of the canon contributes much to the success of a religion; the more views and practices can be legitimized by passages from the canon, the more worldviews are represented, and the more people can feel at home in that religious tradition. It becomes apparent that the secondary canon Buddhist schol- ars have created is not representative. Already in the early canonical Pali texts, we discover a broad spectrum of attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Thus the reference to diversity in Buddhism, a point Frank Reynolds emphasizes when focusing on contemporary Buddhist contexts, can hardly be an argument for dismissing the canonical texts. The second conclusion we can draw is that although canonical texts are generally normative, they do not only contain theoretical reflections of elite, ivory-tower theologians but also religious practice. Certainly, trying to entirely reconstruct social reality in Ancient India would be hopeless, but to a certain extent, detecting religious practices in nor- mative texts is possible 36 Although far from what ethnographic field- work could achieve, such fmdings show that 'practice' appears frequently in the canonical texts. Therefore, the distinction between norm and prac- tice does not necessarily correspond to the distinction between historical- philological method and socio-ethnographic method, let alone to the dis- tinction between past and present. Actually, the often-felt rift between

36 One issue of our example was the question whether the laypeople trust in the merit-

promising institution of the sangha and thus act accordingly, or whether they select 'worthy' recipients and, furthermore, strive for their personal spiritual development and liberation. Examining the respective passages more closely, we could detect a number of concrete prac- tices of Buddhist laypeople. For this issue, cf. Oliver Freiberger, "'Ein Vinaya fiir Haus-

" Jan Nattier develops methods for extracting historical data from a normative


Buddhist source in her recent book, A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to The Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparipfcchii) (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003), pp. 63-69; see also Christoph Kleine, "Der Kampf der Normen und die Suche nach dem Referenten," forthcoming.



the canon and practice seems to be due largely to our own one-dimen- sional construction of 'canonical Buddhism. '37 Thus, a focus on practice in Buddhist Studies need not lead to the abandonment of canonical texts. A third conclusion we can draw from the example is that although West- ern scholars have been examining the canon for more than a century, there

is still a lot to discover. We must not believe that the great scholars of our field have said everything there is to say about the Pili canon 38 • Rather, with their 'protestant' view on Buddhism, some played down the rather 'catholic'

practice of accumulating

to new and surprising insights, which broaden our horizons and, at the same time, highlight the specific scope of earlier generations of scholars 40

The example shows that canonical texts are heterogeneous and diverse, that they contain both norms and practices, and that re-reading them helps us understand our own inherited presuppositions. With this conclusion, I do not intend to revive the outdated view that the Pilli canon is a source sufficient for all interests and questions of modern Buddhist Studies. But it is apparent that there is more to gain from the canon than some Bud- dhist scholars, who focus on contemporary practice, might expect4 1 .

merit 39 • Re-reading the same old texts can lead us

37 Cf. Martin Southwold, Buddhism in Life: The Anthropological Study ofReligion and

the Sinhalese Practice of Buddhism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983), esp. pp. 202-212.

38 Certainly, this point, just as other arguments in the present paper, refers not only to canonical texts but to historical sources in general; a discussion of the general value of the his- torical approach, however, would go beyond the scope of a paper that focuses on the canon.

39 Cf. Gregory Schopen, "Archeology and Protestant Presuppositions in the Study of Indian Buddhism," History of Religions 31 (1991), pp. 1-23; see also Oliver Freiberger, "Werke, GuteI: Religionsgeschichtlich," Theologische Realenzyklopiidie, vol. 35 (Berlin/ New York: de Gruyter, 2003), pp. 623-625.

40 Gregory Schopen, who is otherwise well-known for challenging the traditional view of Buddhologists by referring to other sources, such as inscriptions and archaeological accounts, has also convincingly shown how we can come to new conclusions by reading the Pilii canonical texts with a fresh and critical question. Cf. Gregory Schopen, "Monks and the Relic Cult in the Mahiiparinibbiinasutta: An Old Misunderstanding in Regard to Monastic Buddhism", From Beijing to Benares: Essays on Buddhism and Chinese Reli- gion in Honour of Prof Jan Yiin-Hua, ed. Koichi Shinohara and Gregory Schopen (Oakville:

Mosaic Press, 1991), pp. 187-201.

41 Cf. also the considerations in Jonathan S. Walters, "Suttas as History: Four Approaches

(Ariyapariyesanasutta)", History of Religions 38 (1998),

to the Sermon on the Noble Quest pp. 247-284.



3. Implications for Research and Teaching

3.1. The Fundamental Equality of Sources for Research

The discussion about 'Orientalism' has helped Buddhist scholars develop a greater sensitivity of the fact that some ancestors in the field had certain presuppositions and motives that were determined by colonial

interests, by the 'protestant' view on Buddhism, by their personal religious commitments and cultural biases, and so forth. Donald Lopez, Charles Hallisey, Luis Gomez, Gregory Schopen, Janice Leoshko, and others have

provided substantial analyses of this issue 42 • Some scholars of earlier gen-

erations believed that the only appropriate way of examining Buddhism is to turn to its most ancient texts while neglecting later, alleged degen- erate developments. Modern scholarship rightly opposes this implicit canonization. Presumably, most oftoday's scholars would agree that there should be no restriction whatsoever as to what texts or religious expres- sions to select for research - so long as one is able to explain why the respective source lies within the scope of Buddhist Studies. If we thus agree that as a matter of principle, all sources have, as religious expres- sions, the same value for research, then a fixed secondary canon must not exist. What follows is that a canonical text, as one particular type of religious expression, has - on principle - no lesser value for research than contemporary ritual practice has. As a modern ritual handbook in a local context has its particular significance and meaning within a religious tradition, ancient canonical texts have theirs, too. In the "alternative historical paradigm" Charles Hallisey envisages, "Buddhist scholars are encouraged to "expect meaning to be produced in local circumstances rather than in the origins of the tradition" (myempha- sis)43. In her response, Jan Nattier rightly remarks that "meaning is also

Cf., for example, the volume Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under

Colonialism, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jf. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), which includes Hallisey's before-mentioned article, and the review essay by Jan Nattier, "Buddhist

Studies in the Post-Colonial Age," JAAR 65 (1997), pp. 469-485; Schopen, "Archeology

and Protestant Presuppositions

Sacred Traces: British Explorations of Buddhism in South Asia (Burlington: Ashgate, "

2003); cf. also Eckel, "The Ghost at the Table


;" Gomez, "Unspoken Paradigms

;" Janice Leoshko,



pro'duced at the' ?rigins of the tradition (which, of course, had its own local circumstances), as well as at every other point along the historical continuum. '>44 Hallisey's "alternative paradigm" is not identical with but corresponds to an attitude fairly popular in current studies of culture: the view that local, vernacular, non-canonical, sub-altern, and/or contempo- rary religious expressions are, as topics of research, of somewhat higher value than canonical texts. It is beyond doubt that these issues had been neglected in the past, and that studying them thoroughly is imperative. But there is a risk of falling into another trap: assuming that now the single appropriate way of examining Buddhism is the analysis of contemporary practice in local contexts. It seems crucial not to create a hierarchy in values that entails an exclusion of canonical texts from research. An implicit canonization of that kind would resemble the way earlier generations excluded non-canonical religious expressions 45 Beside the fundamental insight that a scholarly canonization which excludes the Buddhist canon is methodologically unacceptable, it seems that the Buddhist canon remains, as I hope to have shown by the example of the early Buddhist laity, a rich source for the study of religion 46 Today, Buddhist Studies has not only expanded its scope in terms of topics for research, it also approaches its sources (including canonical texts) with questions different from those of the past. Such questions, and nothing else, should determine the criteria for selecting appropriate sources and methods 47

3.2. The Significance of Canonization for Teaching Buddhism

Is this fundamental freedom to select sources equally applicable in the realm of teaching? To begin with, it seems helpful to view introductory

44 Nattier, "Buddhist Studies in the Post-Colonial Age," p, 472. 45 Interestingly, the reservations about scholarly canonization appear to be much less pronounced when it comes to modem and contemporary texts. Cf. a recent collection of writings of modem Buddhists, the title and subtitle of which are telling: A Modem Bud- dhist Bible: Essential Readings from East and West, ed. Donald S. Lopez (Boston: Bea-

con Press, 2002). A "bible" is a canon par excellence, and preserving the "essence" is the most central objective of canonization.

46 Besides, canon and exegesis are interesting topics also for comparative analysis; cf. "

Smith, "Sacred Persistence



and advanced courses separately. J'he advanced course deals with specific texts and contexts the inst;ructor is familiar with; in these courses, students begin to specialize in certain areas of Buddhism. For the in4'oductory course, I will consider two concepts: the new one suggested by Frank Reynolds, which deals exclusively with contemporary practice in Asia and North America; and the conventional survey course with its outline of Buddhist history. The strongest point of Reynolds' concept is its significance for liberal education: undergraduate students, especially those who take only one course in Buddhism, will get an impression of Buddhism as it is practiced in the world they live in. I agree that integrating contemporary practice in the syllabus is of utmost importance. But narrowing the course con- tents down to current religious practice does not seem to be useful. Luis Gomez has convincingly argued that in Western education, the focus on practice in Buddhism is not accompanied by a parallel focus on practice in Western culture 48 • He states that "an exaggerated inflation of the 'field' approach to Buddhism that excludes the textual tradition and the canons that guided that tradition may work in support of the exoticization of Buddhism, reinforce its alterity, and reinforce the perception among our students and the public at large that Buddhism is only a curiosjty, and certainly not comparable to the well ordered and well-demonstrated products of our own culture. "49 He continues by saying that "the 'method-

ological' exclusion of the textual tradition leads to (

assumption that textual traditions and textual elites are entities separate from the living traditions and the non-elite groups with which they obvi- . .ously interact. "50

Moreover, the spread of Reynolds' concept would affect the conformity and comparability of undergraduate education in Buddhism. The texts he selects for his introductory course deal with specific practices at certain

) the questionable

48 "The presentation of Buddhism in the classroom as something occurring only in a practice without canonical benchmarks may be more corrosive than one can perceive on first blush - after all, this degree of secularization and devaluation of the book is not accompanied by a parallel secularization and devaluation of the Great Books of our own

culture." Gomez, "Unspoken Paradigms


p. 205.






p. 205.






p. 206.



places; for example, image consecration and village rituals in Thailand, the ordination of novices in Korea, or healing rituals in Sri Lanka 51 . Obvi- ously, Reynolds does not intend to 'canonize' these specific contexts of practice. In consequence, every instructor of Buddhism will make his or her own selection of contemporary contexts for their classes. Students of different universities will gain close insights into those respective contexts but will lack a common, basic knowledge of Buddhism. Over time, basic agreements will begin to crumble - a process that reinforces fragmen- tation and an anything-goes attitude that makes it increasingly difficult to assess and judge each other's work. One, already tangible, product of such an anything-goes attitude is O'Hyun Park's approach. Blaming Western "occidental" scholars for their "dualistic" view, he uses post-orientalist arguments to justify his teach- ing method and the selection of texts that allegedly reveal the 'essence' of Buddhism best. Defining the 'essence of Buddhism' is, however, a reli- gious act; in Buddhist history, Buddhists have done it in manifold ways. Due to this historical perspective; academic scholarship cannot determine the 'essence' of a religion. Thus, undisturbed by the academic commu- nity, Park gives religious instruction in the cloak of academic teaching, and his students may get the impression that Xishan's sixteenth century Zen interpretation is all they should know about Buddhism. The fact that the editors accepted Park's paper for a volume on Teaching Buddhism in the West shows that his approach is considered by some a legitimate option for teaching. Ironically, the current trend of abandoning the idea of a canon, of emphasizing religious practice, and of stressing the "variety of the real worlds of real Buddhists" (Reynolds), gives free rein to approaches that, for their part, reject diversity and reinforce particularism. Therefore, using a secondary canon in teaching still makes sense. As it is unlikely that we might agree upon a binding selection of contempo- rary contexts, and considering the objections raised above, we may be inclined to return to our conventional, historical survey course 52 • It has

51 Reynolds refers to the (very useful) text collection The Life of Buddhism, ed. Frank E. Reynolds, Jason A. Carbine (Berkeley et al.: University of California Press, 2000). 52 It is reasonable to follow the historical developments in their proper historical course, but with caution. G6mez remarks correctly: "The challenge of the future, however, will be to find a way to retain the obvious pedagogical advantages of a chronological matrix



the advantage of providing students with a common basic knowledge of the beginnings and the historical development of Buddhism, and it also serves as a basis for further stUdies. This general survey seems to be crucial for liberal education, for otherwise students would face the complexity of Buddhism without any point of reference. But as Reynolds rightly complains, the conventional survey course too has serious weaknesses. With such a course, one could be tempted to neglect contemporary prac- tice, to perpetuate a 19 th century scholarly framework, and to cement a secondary canon of texts that has proved to be partial and biased. If we intend to maintain the general concept of the historical survey course, it needs to be modified. ' Modifications should address what I call the horizontal and the verti- cal complexities of Buddhism. Making students aware of the horizontal complexity means to demonstrate, by way of example, that at every point in history, 'Buddhism' is a complex phenomenon. For instance, to illus- trate the complexity of practices and beliefs of early Buddhist laypeople, an instructor could confront the 'classical' readings with other passages from the PaIi canon that undermine the alleged consistent image of the laity. Similarly, in other areas the secondary canon can be confronted with equally undermining data: with passages from non-canonical texts, with inscriptional records, with artistic accounts, and the like. Demonstrating the vertical complexity means to make students aware of the complex nature of historical developments. To begin with, they must realize that the many forms of contemporary Buddhist practice represent merely a small portion of the multifarious ways in which Bud- d1psm has taken shape throughout its history. Since the majority of those religious expressions is accessible through textual sources 53 , discussing

while we replace the implicit universal linear narrative with a narrative that is neither cul-

minationistic nor atomistic." G6mez, "Unspoken Paradigms

53 In Jan Nattier's words: "The intense and ongoing use of written sources thus will always be a central part of Buddhist Studies, stemming from the simple fact that most of the Buddhists who have ever lived are no longer with us today, If we wish to hear their voices, we must do so through the surviving texts - including, as Gregory Schopen has so eloquently argued, not just scriptural texts but also inscriptions, archaeological remains, and artistic data." Nattier, "Buddhist Studies in the Post-Colonial Age," p. 483. For a defense of the historical-philological method in Buddhist Studies, cf. also Tom J.F. Tille- mans, "Remarks on Philology," JIABS 18 (1995), pp. 269-277.

," p, 203.



the 'conditional nature of texts is crucial. Students must understand that canonical texts, fbr example, are not a given divine manifestation but a product of complex historical controversies, which also include power relations 54 . For demonstrating vertical complexity, it is also important to examine 110W history has shaped the present. By way of example, I again draw on the Buddhist laity. Modem Western Buddhism is largely a lay movement, but Western converts are not very interested in accumulating merit and rebirth in heaven; they prefer meditation and insight 55 This preference is determined by, among other factors, the scope of earlier generations of scholars and their particular way of presenting Buddhism to Western read- ers; had they focused on rebirth in heaven, or had they merely presented the two goals side by side, Buddhism would probably have gained less attention among seekers in the Wesp6. The observation that the canoni- cal texts contain various soteriological goals thus reveals the biased per- spective of our scholarly ancestors; and at the same time, it helps us understand how that biased perspective has again shaped contemporary Western Buddhism. On the other hand, realizing that even the ancient texts advocate the goal of rebirth in heaven may prevent students from subscribing to the arrogant view that the accumulation of merit, manifested in daily practices among contemporary Buddhists in Asia and among immigrant groups in the West, represented a degenerate and diluted version of Buddhism 57 • If we integrate, which we should, a glance at contemporary practice in our modified survey course, being aware of the


54 For this, general reflections upon the term 'canon' and comparisons with processes

of canonization in other religions can be useful; cf. Smith, "Sacred Persistence

aspect worth mentioning are the circumstances under which canonical texts have first been made accessible to the Western world and the ways early scholars dealt with them.

55 Cf., for example, the interview with Jack Kornfield, a well-known American teacher of Theraviida meditation, in: Jack Kornfield, Living Dharma: Teachings of Twelve Bud- dhist Masters (Boston/London: Shambala, 1996), pp. 287-301. For other references, see my "The Meeting of Traditions: Inter-Buddhist and Inter-Religious Relations in the West," Journal of Global Buddhism 2 (2001), pp. 59-71 (online: 56 This Western interest in Buddhism has, of course, its own historical background,

" Another

namely a critical stance towards the Christian churches and their alleged authoritarian and dogmatic claims, and the longing for a rational and individualistic religion that does not require blind faith, an attitude connected with both Romanticism and Enlightenment.

57 Cf. Southwold, Buddhism in Life

, pp. 202-212.



vertical complexity, of the complex historical circIffitstances that have shaped today's Buddhism, is imperative.


This paper has addressed four issues: the role of the Buddhist canon and the canonization taking place within Buddhist Studies, both for research and in teaching. Some scholars tend to discourage from study-

ing the Buddhist canon and aim at eliminating its role in teaching. I hope to have shown that studying the Buddhist canon remains worthwhile in itself and even more, helps understand better our own presuppositions in the field. In addition, I have argued that although integrating contempo- rary practice in the introductory course is necessary, the historical survey course, which includes readings from the canonical texts, remains the best option for providing a basis for further studies as well as for liberal education in general. Earlier generations of scholars were interested in the origins of Bud- dhism and thus focused on the earliest, that is the canonical, texts. More- over, in textbooks and anthologies they presented only a certain selection of text passages and religious concepts, while excluding others. They selected texts according to their interests which were determined by their own culturally and personally, often 'protestant' backgrounds. In such a way, they again 'canmiized' the sources which for them represented orig-

inal or authentic Buddhism. For overcoming this -

canonization, Buddhist scholars have turned to other expressions of Bud- ghist religiosity, particularly to contemporary religious practice. I have argued that following this trend, Buddhist Studies runs the risk to further a new process of canonization which now excludes the Buddhist canon. The fact that the issues argued for (diversity and practice) are present in canonical texts too, is largely ignored, in part due to the inherited ('can- onized') image of the canon.

The exclusion of the Buddhist canon is notably conspicuous in recent discussions about teaching. The old, canonized sources for teaching (anthologies and textbooks) that comprise Buddhist Studies' secondary canon are abandoned, in favor of accounts of contemporary religious practice. This trend of rejecting canonization for teaching entails an

still influential




anything-goes attitude which encourages the abandonment of common standards and allows particularistic religious instruction into the classroom. I have argued that in contrast to research, undergraduate education, par- ticularly on the introductory level, needs a secondary canon. A common basis of knowledge gives students some certainty in orientation, a first frame of reference (which they may criticize and deconstruct at a later point), and the capability of communicating with, and assessing the work of other students and scholars in Buddhist Studies. But in addition to that, I suggest that during the course, every now and then the 'classical' read- ings should be supplemented and confronted with other, undermining data. Thereby demonstrating the diversity and the historically conditioned nature of the sources, an introductory course can make students aware of the horizontal and the vertical complexity of Buddhism without with- holding from them a common basis of knowledge.



1. IDstorical Background

.The distinguishing feature of gzan stan Madhyamaka in the Jonangpa

, school, to which Taraniitha (1575-1634) belongs, is the fact that itnorrnally restricts the validity of the common Madhyamaka assertion "all pheno- mena are empty of an own-being" to phenomena on the level of appar- ent truth. The ultimate, which is inseparably endowed with innumerable Buddha-qualities, is considered to be not "empty of an own-being" (ran itan) but "empty of other" (gzan stan), namely accidental stains and so forth 2 • it was the famous Jonangpa Dol po pa Ses rabrgyal mtshan (1292- 1361) who is said to have gained such an insight during a Kiilacakra

nes dan rgya mtsha, which is one of the first

works in which Dol po· pa expressed his new gzan stan understanding, it becomes clear that the latter's full-fledged gzan stan theory requires includ- ing even an ultimate sambhagakiiya and nirmii1}£lkiiya within an ultimate realm of truth, which is equated with dharmatii, or the unchangeable per-

fect nature. This, we are told, is in line with extraordinary Mantrayana 4 •

retreat 3 • From the Ri chas

1 The present article is an enlarged version of a paper read at the Eighth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies in Bloomington (USA) in July 1998. Thanks to a scholarship from the Gennan Research Council (DFG) I have been able to continue my research on tathtigatagarbha during the last three years and can now rest my original study of Tliranatha's comparison on a much broader basis. Improvements to my English by Philip H. Pierce (Nepal Research Centre, Kathmandu) are gratefully acknowledged.

2 Mathes 2000: 195-6.

3 Dol po pa's disciple Lha'i rgyal mtshan (1319-1401) infonns us that his master's real- ization was counected with the Ktilacakratantra (see Stearns 1995: 829-31).

4 Dol po pa: Ri chos iles don rgya mtsho, 343, 11. 19-21 & 344, 11. 8-9: "As to the two aspects of the fonn-ktiyas, they are here the commonly known sambhogaka)ia and nirmtilJaktiya of the apparent [truth]. As to the ultimate sambhogakiiya and nirmtilJaka)ia,

Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies

Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2004



But as a commentator of non-Tantric texts, such as the Ratnagotravibhaga, Dol po pa explains that the sambhogakaya and nirmalJakaya are brought forth by a fortified potential which arises from virtuous deeds being newly adopted with effort 5 , and it is only in texts such as the Ri ch;s nes don rgya mtsho that we are informed that the created kayas are merely the ones pertaining to apparent truth. In view of this hermeneutic strategy6, the differences between the Ri chos nes don rgya mtsho and the Ratnagotravi- bhaga commentary appear to be so fundamental that Rookham wonders if the latter is by Dol po pa at all and not rather by the Third Karmapa Rail byuil rdo rje (1284-1339)1. Still, Dol po pa to some extent reads his originally KaJacakra- based gzan ston into the Siltras and such non-Tantric treatises as the

they are completely [contained] in the dharmatii, perfect [nature] and suchness. [.0.] There- fore the ultimate sambhogakitya and nirmiiIJakiiya are known by way of the extraordinary Mantra[yana]." (de la gzugs sku rnam pa gfiis ni kun rdzob kyi Ions spyod rdzogs pa dan sprul pa'i sku ste thun man du rab tu grags pa'o / / don dam pa'i Ions spyod rdzogs pa dan

J des na don dam gyi Ions

spyod rdzogs pa dan sprul pa'i sku ni thun man ma yin pa snags kyi tshulla grags pa'o I). 5 Dol po pa: "Ni ma'i 'od zer", 986, 1. 6-987,1. 3: "For example, in the same way as the inexhaustible treasure underground is naturally present, not newly brought about by effort, while the tree with its fruits gradually grows in a garden by bringing about [the nec- essary conditions] with effort, the Buddha-potential, which has the ability to bring forth the three kiiyas, should be known to be twofold as well. It is both the natural potential, [namely] the pure dharmadhiitu (which latter is intimately present as the nature of [one's] mind throughout beginningless time), and the fortified potential [which is] supreme in terms of virtues (which are conducive to liberation). [The latter potential] arises from [virtuous deeds] being newly adopted with effort, [namely by] something being done, such as focus- ing on [the naturally present potential] and studying." (dper na 'bad rtsol gyis gsar du ma bsgrubs sin Ions spyod zad mi ses pa dan ldan pa'i gter chen sa'i 'og na ran Min gyis gnas pa dan 'bad rtsol gyis bsgrubs pas 'bras bu dan bcas pa'i sin ljon sa skyed mos tshal du rim gyis skye baji Ita ba biin du sku gsum 'byun du run ba'i sans rgyas kyi rigs de yan rnam pa gfiis su ses par bya ste / thog ma med pa 'i dus nas sems kyi ran biin du fie bar gnas pa'i chos kyi dbyins mam par dag pa ran biin gyi rigs dan / de la dmigs te thos pa la sogs pa byas pas 'bad rtsol gyis gsar du yag dag par blans pa las byun ba'i dge ba thar pa'i cha dan mthun pas mchog tu gyur pa rgyas 'gyur gyi rigs fiid do). 6 The possibility that Dol po pa wrote his Ratnagotravibhiiga commentary before achieving his insight into gian stan can be ruled out, for he also refers to ultimate qualities in his "Ni ma'i 'od zer" (911, 11. 3-4). 7 She reinforces her view with the assertion that the text was copied by KOIi sprul BIo gros mtha' yas nearly verbatim (Hookham 1991: 173-4). But such an assumption is unlikely, since the text is signed by "One Endowed with the Four Reliances" (rton pa bii ldan), which was the most common pseudonym used by Dol po pa in his works (Steams 1999:201).

sprul pa'i sku ni chos fiid yons grub de bZin fiid la tshan ste / [



Tathagatagarbhasiltras and the Maitreya works. The hermeneutic princi- pIes according to which he interprets the Buddhist teachings are laid out in his "bKa' bsdu bii pa" (i.e., his own "fourth council"S), in which the whole of Buddhist doctrine is "reckoned" by dividing the teaching into four epochs. Alongside the four epochs of varying quality which make up a cosmic age, Dol po pa uses a lesser set of four epochs to refer to the qualitatively different periods of the teaching. He thus allocates philo- sophical doctrines to epochs (yuga) according to purely dogmatic criteria 9 The teachings transmitted by Siikyamuni and also the Maitreya works, for example, belong to the Krtayuga of doctrine, while other works, such as the ones by Arya Vimuktisena and Haribhadra, represent the teachings of the inferior Tretayuga. The common interpretation of the Yogacara works of Maitreya, Asailga and Vasubandhu as mere cittamatra itself reflects for Dol po pa the historical degeneration of the Dharma. The Maitreya works are only "Krtayuga" Dharma when they are explained as "Great Madhya- maka" (dbu ma chen pO)lO. The theories of tathiigatagarbha ("Buddha-nature") and trisvabhiiva ("three natures", i.e., the imagined, dependent and perfect natures) in the Maitreya works offer good canonical support for a distinction between ran ston and gzan ston, and it is thus no surprise that an interpretation which supports such a distinction is a major concern for the Jonangpas. Dol po pa takes the ultimate to be absolutely unconditioned, and it is the Ratna- gotravibhiiga among the Maitreya works which is adduced as the best support for this stance. Thus Dol po pa comments RGV I.5a in his Ri chos nes don rgya mtsho in the following way:

Even though [the verse RGV I.5a]: "[Buddhahood] is unconditioned and spon- taneously present"l!, and other [passages] teach that the ultimate Buddha is not conditioned, the underlying intention is that he is [also] free from moments l2 .

8 Virtually the entire Buddhist tradition accepts only three great councils in India held for the purpose of consolidating the teaching after the Buddha's nirviiJ;za.

9 Kapstein 2000: 115-6. IO Kapstein 1992:24-5. 1J Cf. ROVV 7, 11. 14-5: asmhsk[tarn anabhogarn aparapratyayoditarn I buddhatvam jiianakarUl:zyasaktyupetam dvayarthavat II. 11 Dol po pa: Ri chos nes don rgya rntsho, 97,11. 15-7: 'dus rna byas sin lhun gyis grub Ices pa la sags pas rnthar thug gi sans rgyas 'dus rna byas su gsuns pa yan skad cig . dan bral ba la dgons pa yin no /.



For Dol po pa's disciple Sa bzail Mati PaI! chen (1294-1376) the ulti- mate or Buddhahood is thus permanent in the sense of being beyond the three times (i.e., past, present and future), as becomes clear in Mati PaI! chen's Ratnagotravibhaga commentary on RGV I.6cd:

Buddhahood is unconditioned, since in the beginning, middle and end it has the nature of being free from conditioned phenonema which arise, abide and pass out of existence, as has been said in the [MahiiparilnirviilJasutra:

"A phenomenon that abides in permanence does not belong to the three times. Likewise, the Tathagata does not belong to the three times, and is therefore permanent. "13

It is obvious that in this case the perfect nature of the Yogacar-a must be restricted, as Tar-anatha has done in his final summary of the trisva- bhiiva theory l4, to its unchangeable aspect (nirvikara), since in an absolutely permanent and atemporal Buddhahood or Buddha-nature (both are ontologically the same for the Jonangpas) there is no room for an unmistaken (aviparyiisa) wisdom cultivated on the path, namely - according to MAV III. I led - the perfect in terms of being unmistaken. Already at the time of Dol po pa, the Third Karmapa Rail byun rdo rje (1284-1339) was propounding a different "gian ston position", or rather a position that was eventually called gian ston by a few later Kagyu- pastS such as Karma Phrin las pa (1456-1539)16. Rail byun rdo rje bases his distinction between the true nature of mind or Buddha-nature and that from which it is free on Mahayanasamgraha 1.45-9, in which an impure aZayavijfiiina is strictly distinguished from a "transmudane rnind,,17. In this context Rail byun rdo rje stresses the need to distinguish

13 Sa bzail Mati pal,! chen: "Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos kyi mam par bsad pa iles don rab gsal snail ba", 55, 11. 2-3: sans rgyas fiid thog ma dan dbus dan mtha' mar 'dus byas kyi chos skye ba dan gnas pa dan 'jig pa rnams med pa'i ran Min can yin pa'i phyir 'dus rna byas pa ste I mya nan las 'das pa'i mdo las I rtag tu gnas pa'i chos ni dus gsum la (text: las) ma gtogs te I de biin gsegs pa yan de dan 'dra bar dus gsum la ma gtogs pa de bas na rtag pa' 0 ies gsuns pa Itar roo

14 See Mathes 2000:219-220.

15 It should be noted that the term gian ston is found nowhere in the works of Rail byuil rdo rje.

16 Karma 'Phrin las pa: "Dris Ian yid kyi mun sel ies bya ba lcags mo'i dri Ian Mugs so" 91,11. 1-4.



"ground-consciousness" (Skt. iilayavijfiiina, Tib. kun gii rnarn ses) from

"ground" (kun gii) in terms of suchness 18 . Referring to this passage, Koit sprul Bla gras mtha' yas (1813-1899) proceeds in his commentary on the Zab rno nan gi don to use the gian ston term kun gii ye ses for the trans-


kun gii ye ses 20 does not imply, though, that he took Rail byuit rdo rje's

position to be the same as Dol po pa's. It rather suggests that Koit sprul himself maintains a gian ston whose "basis of emptiness" (ston gii) is defined in accordance with Rait byuit rdo rje's Zab don ran 'grel, which in this crucial point follows not the Ratnagotravibhiiga but the Mahii-

yiinasamgraha. Rail byuit rdo rje is a gian ston pa for Koit sprul, but one who explains that which remains in emptiness in a way different from Dol po pa. And indeed, in the ninth chapter of his Zab rno nan gi don Rail byuit rda rje takes the stainless Buddha-nature (which is liberated from everything else (Tib. gian grol) - i.e., the basis of emptiness) as being endowed with the two truths 21 . From the autocommentary it is clear, however, that it is not the normal apparent truth which is included in Buddha-nature here, but only a pure aspect of the latter, namely the "non- existence of the stains [or] delusions in the eight consciousnesses"22.

mundane mind of the Mahiiyiinasamgraha 19 • Koit sprul's use of the

18 Ran bymi. rdo rje: Zab mo nan gi don gsaZ bar byed pa'i 'gre! pa, fol. 8a6-7: "In

this regard, if 'ground' (kun gii) is not mentioned [together with] the word 'consciousness', 'ground' may refer to suchness. Therefore, consciousness is mentioned [together with it]."

Cdi la kun gii zes bya ba rnam par ses pa'i sgra ma smos na de Min fiid la yan kun gii

brjod du run ba 'i phyir rnam par ses pa smos so !.)

19 Kmi sprul Blo gros mtha' yas: Zab mo nan gi don gyi 'greZ pa, 17b4-6.

20 A term thought to be newly coined by Dol po pa.

21 Ran bymi. rdo rje: Zab mo nan gi don, 22b6: "The [Buddha]-element in sentient beings, the stainless Buddha-nature, is endowed with the two truths." (/ sems can khams

ni sans rgyas kyi / / sfiin po dri med bden gfiis ldan I).

22 Rail bymi. rdo rje: Ran 'grel, 62a7-62b2: "What exists ultimately? It is the mind beyond every net of thought, the naturally pure element of sentient beings, [and] the Bud- dha-nature (sans rgyas kyi sfiin po). Because these two exist, they have been expressed by way of these [terms]. Therefore it is stated: "as for the element of sentient beings, the stain- less Buddha-nature is endowed with the two truths." In this regard, the Buddha-nature is simply the non-existence of stains [or] delusion in the above-mentioned eight accumula-

tions [of consciousness]." (don dam par gaJi zig yod na / rtog pa'i drva ba thams cad las


pa'i sems ran biin gyis dag pa'i sems can gyi khams sans rgyas kyi sfiin po dag ni


pas de'i tshul brjod pas / sems can khams ni sans rgyas kyi / sfiin po dri med bden


ldan ies smos so / / de la sans rgyas kyi sfiin po ni snar smos pa'i tshogs brgyad kyi

'khrul pa dri ma med pa kho na yin mod kyi




What this latter term exactly refers to is explained a little further down in the Zab don ran 'grel, where the use of the word "truth" in the term "apparent truth" is justified on the grounds that one cannot deny mere appearance as such, even though its interpretation as a perceived object and perceiving subject is not true:

What has been imagined as the duality of a perceived and a perceiver does not exist at all, given the pronouncement [in MAV I.3] by the Venerable Maitreya: "A consciousness arises which has the appearances of objects, sentient beings, a self and perceptions. It does not have a [corresponding outer] object, and since [such] an object does not exist, it (i.e., a perceiving subject) does not exist either. "23 Thus it has been said that no perceived [objects] or perceiving [subjects] of the imagined [nature] exist at all. Well then, how can it be presented as a truth? [The answer is:] Even though it does not exist, [something] appears. This is what is called apparent truth, for it has the nature (ran gi no bo Rid) of not being deceptive 24

In response to the objection that these mere appearances would then be the ultimate truth, since the latter is defined as not being deceptive in the treatises on logic, Rail byuil rdo rje further clarifies his understanding of the ultimate truth as follows:

These [mere appearances] are presented as the expressible ultimate (paryiiya- paramartha), while the ultimate truth [here] is that which 25 is related to the reasoning of dharmata, [namely] the natural emptiness previously men- tioned during the presentation of the eighteen [types of] great emptiness 26 .

In other words, the Buddha-nature or the pure mind includes "mere appearances" in the form of the expressible ultimate truth, and it is only

23 MAVBh, 18,11.21-2: arthasattvatmavijfiaptipratibhiisam prajayate Ivijfianam nasti casyarthas tadabhiivat tad apy asat. My additions in brackets are accordings to Vasuban- dhu's bhii0'a. 24 Rail bymi. rdo rje: Ran 'grel, 63a3-5: I gzun ba dan 'dzin pa gfiis su kun btags (text:

brtags) pa ni mampa thams cad du med pa dag yin te I 'phags pa byams pa'i tal sna nas kyanl [MAV 1.3]1 ces kun btags (text: brtags) pa'i gzun ba dan 'dzin pa thams cad mam pa thams cad du med pa fiid du gsuns so II '0 na bden pa ji ltar Mag ce na I med btin du yan snan ba tsam de ni kun rdzob kyi bden pa zes bya ste I bslu ba med pa'i ran gi no bo fiid yin pa 'i phyir ro !. 25 The use of the plural particle dag should be noted here. It indicates that there is more than one truth related to dharmatayukti. 26 Ibid., 63a5-6: 'di yan mam grans kyi don dam par bzag pa yod mod kyi I chos fiid kyi rigs pa'i rjes su 'breI pa dag ni stan pa fiid chen po beo brgyad kyi mampar b§ad pa'i ran Min stan pa fiid snar smos pa de fiid don dam pa'i bden pa yin no!.



the iatter which is taken as apparent truth here. That it is different from what is ordinarily 'included in apparent truth is clear from Ran byun rdo rje's Dharmadhiitustotra commentary, where the two aspects (nirvikiira and aviparyiisa) of the perfect nature in MAV IIUl cd are explained in the following way:

The two [aspects of the perfect], the unchangeable and unmistaken, are taken [respectively] as the defIning characteristics of the two truths. Acceptance by common consent (lokaprasiddha) and by reason (yuktiprasiddha) are varieties of the apparent truth27.

In other words, the unchangeable perfect is taken as the ultimate, and the perfect in terms of being unmistaken as a restricted form of apparent truth, which does not include acceptance by common consent and the like. It should have become clear by now that Ran byun rdo rje, in contrast to the Jonangpas, fully accepts the Yogacara theory of trisvabhiiva, . that is, two aspects of the perfect nature. This entails that the latter pos- sesses moments, in the Zab rno nan gi don the true nature of mind which is free from everything else (gzan grol) being consequently equated with dependent arising 28 In this context, it is of interest that Kon sprul BIo gros mtha' yas, who otherwise strictly follows Dol po pa's Ratnagotravibhiiga commentary, deviates from the latter's gzan ston understanding of the term "unconditioned" (asarhs!q:ta) in his commentary on RGV 1.6. Refer- ring to Ron ston Ses bya kun rig's (1367-1449) explanation of four ways of understanding "unconditioned", Kon sprul states that the dharmakiiya only shares this quality of being unconditioned to a certain extent, inasmuch as it does not appear to disciples. If one claimed that it is completely

27 Rail bymi rdo rje: dBu ma chos dbyins bstod pa'i rnam par Mad pa, 7b1-2: bden pa gfiis kyi rali gi mtshan fiid kyis 'gyur ba med pa dan phyin ci ma log pa gfiis so / 'jig rten pa dan rigs pa'i grags pa ni / kun rdzob bden pa'i bye brag ste !. 28 Rail byuil rdo rje: Ran 'grel, IOb3-4: "As to the 'beginningless [mind-essence]" since a beginning and end of time is a [mere] conceptual superimposition, [the cause of

everything] is here [taken as] the true nature (ran gi no bo) of both the stainless [mind]

it is precisely this dependent origination; and it is

completely liberated (i.e., free) from [all] else. Since there is no other beginning than it, one speaks of beginningless time." (thog med la ies bya ba ni / dus kyi thog ma dan tha ma ni rtog pas sgro btags pa yin pas 'dir ni dri ma med pa dan dri ma dan bcas pa'i ran gi no bo ni rten cin 'brei bar 'byun ba de fiid dan gian las rnam par grol ba ste / de las thog ma gzan med pa'i phyir thog ma med pa'i dus ies bya ste I),

and the [mind] mingled with stains -



unconditioned, tbis would contradict the fact that it possesses knowledge, compassion and power. 29 To sum up, whether one wants to call RaiL bymi rdo rje's "free from other" (gzan las grol ba) "empty of other" (gzan ston) or not, there is an alternative way of defining how the pure mind or Buddha-nature is free from or empty of other (i.e., adventitious stains), and some Kagyupas decided to call tbis gzan ston, too. It should be noted that with an ulti- mate that still possesses moments a distinction founded on gzan grol

mahiimudrd teachings 30 ,

and tills is exactly what RaiL byun rdo rje did 31 . It is thus no longer so puz- zling how Situ paJ). chen ehos kyi byun gnas (1699/1700-1774) "blended the seemingly irreconcilable gzan ston and mahdmudrd positions"32.

Another famous scholar whose gzan ston differs from the Jonang posi- tion is gSer mdog paJ). chen Sakya mchog ldan (1428-1507). Georges Dreyfus (1997:29) has observed that Sakya mchog ldan fully endorses a gzan ston view only in works written after his first meeting with the Seventh Karmapa (1454-1506) in 1484, and it is thus interesting that Sakya mchog ldan's gzan ston differs from the Jonang position in a way similar to Ran byun rdo rje's gzan grol (or gzan ston). Kon sprul Blo gros mtha' yas notices in bis Encyclopedia of Knowledge (Ses bya kun khyab mdzod) that Sakya mchog Idan has bis own views on what is exactly empty of what, or, to use the technical terms, how the negandum (Tib. dgag bya), the basis of negation (Tib. dgag gzi) and the mode of being empty (Tib. ston tshul) are defined. Kon sprul says that gzan ston pas take the perfect nature as the basis of negation, the imagined and the dependent natures as the negandum, and the mode of being empty as the absence of these two neganda in the basis of negation 33 . He adds, however, that Sakya mchog Idan holds a view

(or gzan ston) can

be better brought into line with

29 Kon sprul BIo gros mtha' yas: rGyud bla ma'i b§ad sral, fol. 12bl-5; see also Tsultrim Gyamtsho & Fuchs 2000: 103-4.

30 A dharmakaya that possesses moments it not entirely transcendent and can be expe- rienced as the true nature of thoughts and the like.


31 For further information on this topic I refer to my forthcoming habilitation thesis.

32 Smith 1970:34.

33 In the subchapter on ascertaining the view (7.3.), Kon sprul (Ses bya kun khyab

mdzad, vol. 3, 61, ll. 19-24) defmes the tradition of the gzan stan Madhyamaka as follows:

"The basis of negation is the perfect, the sphere (dhatu), suchness, what is beyond [any]



different from this, and illustrates this by quoting from Sakya mchog ldan's '~Zab ii spras bral gyi Mad pa":

As to the basis which is empty, it is the dependent, the entire "mind" (§es pa), which takes on various forms of a perceived object and perceiving subject. The negandum is the imagined. Given its division into perceived and perceiver,

it [consists of] two. [

As to in what sense it is empty, the basis of negation is empty of the negan- dum by virtue of being "empty of other", not by virtue of being "empty of self", for the following reason: The negandum, namely the duality of a per- ceived and a perceiver, is an "other-being" with regard to the basis of nega- tion, [namely] the mind" (§es pa), which appears as two, [duality] not being taken as its own-being. What is then the own-being of this mind which appears as two? It is non-dual wisdom, namely mere awareness and luminosity that experience knowable objects35.


Kon sprul continues his presentation of gzan ston along this (namely Sakya mchog ldan's) line of thought, elaborating it on the basis of the sixteen fonns of emptiness in the Madhyantavibhiiga. Kon sprul's posi- tion on gzan ston still needs further clarification, but it is at least note- worthy that while in the sixth chapter of his Ses bya !run khyab mdzod he quotes nearly the entire dbu ma chen po paragraph of Tiiranatha's gian

mentally fabricated object. The negandum is the two defining characteristics of the imag- ined and the dependent. The mode of being empty is: 'empty of these two neganda in the basis of negation' Only the perfect, therefore, is empty of other. Thus says the Yogacara,

the proponents holding the tradition of gzan ston." (dgag gzi yons grub dbyins de Min fiid spros pa'i yullas 'das pa / dgag bya kun btags (text: brtags) dan gian dban gi mtshan fiid gfiis / ston tshul dgag bya de gfiis kyis dgag gzi la ston pas yons grub fiid gzan gyis ston pa yin ces mal 'byor spyod pa ste gzan ston gi srol 'dzin pa rnams smra'o I). 34 Kon sprul: ibid., vol. 3, 62, 11. 1-3: gan ston pa'i gzi ni gzan dban ste gzun 'dzin gfiis snan can gyi ses pa mtha' dag go / dgag bya ni kun btags (text: brtags) pa ste gzun

ba dan 'dzin pa'i dbye bas gfiis yin la /. This is a literal quote from Sakya mchog ldan's work "Zab ii spros bral gyi Mad pa ston fiid bdud rtsi'i lam po che", 114, 11. 3-4.

35 Kon sprul, op. cit., vol. 3, 62, 11. 4-10: ji ltar ston pa'i tshul ni / dgag bya des dgag gzi de gzan ston gi tshul gyis ston pa yin gyi / ran ston gi tshul gyis ni ma yin te / dgag bya 'kun btags (text: brtags) kyi' gzun 'dzin gfiis po de ni' dgag gii gfiis snan gi ses pa gfiis po de la ltos pa'i gzan gyi no bo yin gyi / de'i ran gi no bor mi 'jog pa'i phyir / gfiis snan gi ses pa de'i ran gi no bo gan ie na / gfiis med kyi ye ses ses b bya myon ba rig cin gsal tsam de fiid do. (= "Zab ii spros bral gyi biad pa", 114,1. 7 -115,1. 2).

, Added by Kon sprul. b The edition of the collected works of Sakya mchog Idan reads zes, the editors prob- ably having thought that zes had changed into ses according to an old sandhi rule.



against the purport of the

the trisvabhava theory is brought into line with that

of tathagatagarbha by restricting the perfect nature to its unchangeable aspect 36 • To sum up, from the time of Dol po pa it is possible to trace, parallel to the Jonang position, another "gian grol" or gian ston which distin- guishes the basis of negation from the negandum in a different way. Whereas for the Jonangpas the basis of negation is a perfect nature which is restricted to its unchangeable aspect and thus transcendent and doctrinally mainly based on the tathagatagarbha theory, Sakya mchog Idan, Rail bymi rdo rje and some other Kagyupas adhere to a distinction based on Yogacara, that is, mainly the Mahayanasamgraha and the Madhyantavibhiiga.

ston sfiin po, he skips the last part, where -

Yogacara works -


2. Taranatha's Twenty-One Differences with regard to the Profound Meaning 37

For a short but brilliant analysis of the positions of Dol po pa and Sakya mchog ldan we are very much indebted to the Jonang master Taranatha, who is considered to be a follower and proponent of Dol po pa's doctrine. In each of the Twenty-one Differences with regard to the Profound Mean- ing a fictive initial statement of Sakya mchog ldan is followed by a sim- ilarly fictive reply of Dol po pa, Taranatha being, of course, well aware of the fact that this is all ahistorical 38 . To be sure, it is not possible to estab- lish Sakya mchog ldan's or Dol po pa's views on the basis of this short text alone, but it does sharpen our awareness of the subtle aspects of gian ston when studying the bulky and often not very systematic works of these masters. Furthermore, critically evaluating these doctrinal dif- ferences against the background of pertinent Indian texts in such traditions as the Madhyamaka, Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha promises to be a second interesting task. Both are, however, beyond the scope of this paper. Such an evaluation will, however, be undertaken with regard to the different presentations of trisvabhava as an example of how one might proceed.

36 See Kon sprul: ibid., vol. 2, 546-9.



-Taranatha begins his somewhat delicate task of comparing the two masters Dol po pa and Sakya mchog ldan in a conciliating manner, by explaining that both supposedly see what is profound reality and hence should not have different thoughts about it. It is only in order to accom- modate the different needs of their disciples that they enunciate variant views. Evert though the essential gzan ston view and meditation practices of both masters are the same, there are a lot of minor differences regard- ing tenets (grub mtha ') that arise when formulating the view on the level <if apparent truth 39 - -The first four of the twenty-one points address differences in the exe- gesis of the Madhyamaka and Maitreya texts which are considered to be 20mmentaries on the Buddha's intention underlying the second and third tUrnings of the "Wheel of the Dharma" (dharmacakra)40. Points 5-8 e~bodySakya mchog Idan's and Dol po pa's different understanding of non-dual wisdom. In points 9-16, their views on the trisvabhiiva theory lite distinguished. In a related topic, Taranatha also elaborates the differ- ent understandings of self-awareness (point 11), entities and non-entities, and conditioned and unconditioned phenonema (all in point 13). Next, oUr attention is -drawn to different ways of relating the four noble truths . With the apparent and ultimate (point 17). The last four points deal with the two masters' views on the Buddha-nature.

2.1. Translation: The Twenty-One Differences

Difference No.1

Sakya mchog Idan 41 : All the views of the Prasailgika- and Svatantrika- [Madhyamaka] are logically correct [and accurately represent] the Buddha's

39 These remarks should not be taken too seriously, though. 'Ba' ra ba rOyal mtshan dpal bzail (1310.1391) launches into his "Chos rje mam gfiis kyi dgOIis bsad iii ma'i 'od zer" (496-8) by stating, in a similar way, that Dol po pa and Bu ston (sic) are both omnis- cient and must see the same reality, but teach it in various ways with hidden intentions.

40 The Indo-Tibetan exegetical traditions summarize the teachings of the Buddha in three circles or "[turnings of the] Wheel of the Dharma" (dharmacakra). See Mathes 1996:155.

" Here and in the following sentences

simply the proponent's name is given in bold letters.

41 Lit. "The one named Sakya claims that



intention in the middle turning and the corpus of analytical works 42 . The explicit teaching of the middle [turning], in addition, [has to] be taken _ literally, and the corpus of analytical works is not in accordance with the explicit teaching of the last turning. 43

Dol po pa 44 : Even though [the ran stan pas] are proud that these Prasailgika and Svatantrika views [represent] the intention of the middle turning and the corpus of analytical works, [their interpretation of this] intention is not free from mistakes. Although the explicit teaching of the analytical works generally appears to be consistent, it is not so in a great number of cases. Since many passages 45 of the treatises of the middle turning clearly teach gian stan, the explicit teaching of the middle turn- ing and the analytical works [should] not be [taken] literally. The explicit teaching of most passages of the middle turning and the analytical works contradicts neither the Prasailgika and Svatantrika nor the gian stan. Nevertheless, for those appealing to the extraordinary tenet known as ran stan, it has become a cause of confusion. On the other hand, given that [these texts] do not teach different tenets, that they contradict other tra- ditions, and that there are [in fact] many extraordinary passages which only teach gian stan, even the middle turning and the analytical works [can be said to] teach gian stan Madhyamaka. From these texts [of the middle turning], however, the extraordinary points of gian stan - namely [those reached by] following only the lines of commentary on the intention of the last turning - have not clearly or extensively emerged. They are the extraordinary tenets of the Prasailgika and Svatantrika. What is nowa- days known as the ran stan view was not taught [in the middle turning]; nevertheless, this ran stan [interpretation of] the intention of the Buddha and his sons is taught in detail [nowadays]46.


42 E.g., the analytical works of Nagarjuna, such as the Millamadhyamakakarika.

43 Taranatha: "Zab don fier gcig pa", 782, 11. 3-5: de la sakya'i mtshan can ni I thai ran gi Ita ba 'di kun 'khar la bar pa dan I rig tshags kyi dgans dan 'thad Idan yin cin I bar pa'i dnas bstan sgra ji Min pa yan yin I rig tshags dan 'khar la tha ma'i dnas bstan mi mthun par bied la I.

44 Lit. "the great omniscient one from Jonang".

45 Lit. "words". 46 Taranatha: ap. cit., 782, 1. 5 - 783, 1. 6: kun mkhyen ja nan pa chen pa ni I thai ran gi Ita ba 'di 'khar la bar pa dan rig tshags kyi dgans par rlam pa yin kyan I dgans pa rma med pa ma yin la / rig tshags dnas bstan gyi tshig phal cher la 'byar ba Itar snan yan /



Difference No.2

Sakya mchog Idan 47 : With regard to the fact that the Abhisamayiilarhkiira teaches both the tenets of ran ston and gzan ston, [Maitreya] considered the necessity of gzan ston in tenns of a meditation practice, and that of Prasiuigika and Svatantrika, [which are at the same time] the ran ston of the subsequent three works 48 , when it comes to cutting through mental fab- rications with the help of the view. The remaining four Maitreya works 49 teach only gzan ston 50 With regard to these [latter four] there are two types: In the Ratnagotravibhiiga ultimately only one single path is taught and the possibility of a cut-off potential refuted. In the other three

[Maitreya] works (i.e., Mahiiyiinasutriilarhkiira, Madhyiintavibhiiga and

Dharmadharmatiivibhiiga) ultimately three paths and a cut-offpotential 51 .are explained 52

Dol po pa: There are no different tenets in the five Maitreya works at all. The tenet of the so-called ran ston is not explained even in the

mi 'byor ba yan man du yod la / 'khar 10 bar pa 'i giun tshig man pos gian ston gsal bar

ston pas 'khor 10 bar pa dan rig tshogs kyi dnos bstan sgra ji biin pa rna yin no / de la

'khor 10 bar pa dan rig tshogs kyi tshig phal cher gyi dnos bstan ni thaI ran dan gian ston giiis ka la mi 'gal yan / ran ston par grags pa'i thun mon ma yin pa'i grub mtha'i khuns


'dren pa mams ni / de mams iiid la 'khrul gii byun ba yin gyi / grub mtha' de dan de


ston cin / de las gian de'i lugs dan 'gal iin / gian ston kho na ston pa thun mons rna


pa'i tshig kyan du ma yod pas / bar pa dan rig tshogs kyis kyan gian ston dbu rna iiid

ston no / 'on kyan de dag nas / 'khor 10 tha ma dgons 'grel dan bcas pa tsam du gian ston

thun mons ma yin pa mams gsal iin rgyas par 'byun ba min la / thaI ran gi thun mons rna

yin pa 'i grub mtha '/ den san ran ston gi Ita bar grags pa de mi ston kyan / rgyal ba sras

bcas kyi dgons pa'i ran ston de rgyas par bstan te / ces gsun so!.

47 From here on, Sakya mchog ldan and Dol po pa are referred to as "the former" and "the latter". 48 le., the Mahayanasutralamkara, Madhyantavibhliga, Dharmadharmatavibhliga.

49 le., the Mahayanasutralamkara, Madhyantavibhliga, Dharmadharmatavibhliga, and


50 This does not obviously exclude recourse to a Prasatigika view when cutting through mental fabrications in the Mahayanasutralamkara etc.

51 Usually a cut-off potential and the potentials for entering on the paths of the Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas and on the Mahayana are distinguished. 52 Taranatha: op. cit., 783, 1. 6 -784, 1. 3: mnon rtogs rgyan gyis / ran ston gian ston

gi grub mtha' gnis ka ston pa ni / Ita bas spros pa gcod pa la thaI ran giun phyi gsum gyi

ran ston dan / sgom pas nams len gian ston dgos pa la dgons la / byams chos Ihag ma biis

gian ston kho na ston mod / de la'an rigs giiis te / rgyud blar mthar thug theg gcig bsad / rigs chad bkag giun gian gsum du mthar thug theg gsum dan / rigs chad bsad gsun !.



Abhisamayiilarhkiira. A real cut-off potential and three ultimate paths are not explained in the [Mahiiyiinalsutriilarhkiira and so forth 53 .

Difference No.3

Sakya mchog ldan: Ran ston is considered to be more profound when j it comes to cutting through mental fabrications with the help of the view. When it comes to the practice of meditation, however, it is said that gian ston is more profound. The ran ston 54 of the latter in turn, namely Pra- sangika and Svatantrika, is acknowledged in the tradition of the subse- quent three works (Le., the Mahiiyiinasutriilarhkiira etc.)55.

Dol po pa: The view of ran ston as taught by the Buddha and his sons is superior in cutting through mental fabrications. Nevertheless, it is contained in gian ston, and therefore view and practice are not opposed to each other5 6 To maintain that the ran ston, [namely,] the Prasangika and Svatantrika - as it is known nowadays - is the view of the subsequent three works, [thinking that according to the latter] nothing exists ultimately, is wrong. [Such a ran ston] is therefore not better in cutting through men- tal fabrications with the help of the view, for this would be a false denial 57 .

Difference No.4

Sakya mchog ldan: Even though gian ston goes beyond Cittamatra and is thus acceptable to Madhyamaka, ran ston is superior to it with regard

53 Ibid., 784, 11. 3-4: byams chas sde Ina la grub mtha' so so ba ye med / ran stan par -grags pa'i grub mtha'mnon [rtags] rgyan nas /cyan ma bsad/mda [sde] rgyan sags nas /cyan / gtan nas rigs chad pa dan mthar thug theg gsum ma Mad / zes gsun no /.

54 The gzan stan view includes a ran stan that refers to the negandum, but not to what is left over in emptiness.

55 Tiiranatha: ap. cit., 784,11.4-5: Ita bas spros pa gcad pa la ran stan zab / sgam pas fiams su len pa la gzan stan zab ces te / de'i ran stan yan thai ran gzun phyi gsum gyi lugs Ia nos 'dzin (text: 'dzi).

56 As would be the case if the former were strictly ran stan and the latter strictly gzan

stan. 57 Tiiranatha, ap. cit., 784, 11. 5-7: rgyal ba sras bcas bzed pa'i ran stan gi Ita ba de spros pa gcad byed mchag yin /cyan / gzan stan du 'dus pas Ita grub logs logs pa min Ia / den san grags pa'i ran stan thaI ran gzun phyi gsum gyi Ita ba don dam bden med du 'dod pa ni nor ba yin pas / Ita bas spros pa gcad pa la bzan ba min te / skur 'debs su 'gyur ba'i phyir yin zes gsun /.



. to the view. Still, the former (i.e., gian stan) is not wrong, for it accords with the experiential object of meditation 58

Dol po pa: Ran stan, too, goes beyond Cittamlitra, and thus falls. under Madhyamaka within the system of the four tenets. It is not the pure ulti- mate, however, the highest view being gian ston alone 59

Difference No.5

Sakya mchog Idan: For this reason non-dual wisdom is not analyzed when following the Maitreya works. When critically analyzing it, after having excluded [its] opposite, [wisdom] cannot withstand such analysis. Therefore, since it cannot withstand a critical analysis [aimed at] ascertaining the ulti- plate, ran stan is more profound in terms of the view. Even though it does' not withstand analysis, this wisdom is experienced uninterruptedly. There- fore it abides like the experiential object of meditation, namely gian ston 60

Dol po pa: Non-dual wisdom does withstand critical analysis61. There- fore, this very analysis itself is self-delusion 62

Difference No.6

Siikya mchog Idan: Non-dual wisdom is momentary awareness (rig pa), not permanent, and has no chance to abide 63

58 Ibid., 784, 1. 7 -785,1. I: gian stan sems tsam las 'das pas dbu ma go chad po yin kyan / Ita ba'i nos nas de bas kyan ran stan mtho / 'on kyan sna ma de nor bar (text: par) ni mi 'gyur te / sgom don dan mthun pas so gsun /.

59 Ibid., 785, 11. 1-2: ran stan yan sems tsam las 'das pas / grub mtha' bii'i dbu mar bsdu ba tsam yin kyan / TTlam dag mthar thug min la / Ita ba'i mtho sos gian stan kho na yin no gsun. 60 Ibid., 785, 11. 2-4: de'i rgyu mtshan du / byams chos rjes 'bran dan bcas par / gfiis med kyi ye ses la dpyad pa mi byed pa yin la / spyi Idog nas de yan rig pas dpyad na dpyad mi bzod pas / don dam gcod byed kyi rig pas dpyad bzod mi srid pas Ita ba ran stan zab / dpyad ma bzod kyafl ye ses de iiams myon rgyun mi 'chad pas / sgom don gian stan Itar gnas gsun /.

61 For it is beyond one and many. Moreover, wisdom is omnipresent, in that the Bud- dhas embrace with their non-dual wisdom the all-pervading suchness of all phenomena (cf. 2.2. below).

62 Taranatha: op. cit., 785, 1. 4: gfiis med ye ses rigs pas dpyad bzod yin pas / de la dpyod

pa de ran gi 'khrul gsun.



Dol po pa: This [wisdom] is not momentary, but pe~anent and stable, in that it is beyond the three times (i.e., past, present and future)64.

Difference No.7

Sakya mchog ldan: Likewise, given that it is knowledge (ses pa), wisdom [can be] taken to be an entity/existent (dftos pO)65.

Dol po pa: And it [can be] taken to be beyond both [the state of] an entity/existence and a non-entity/non-existi.mce 66

Difference No.8

Sakya mchog ldan: Likewise it [can be] taken to be conditioned 67

Dol po pa: It [can be] taken to be unconditioned, to0 68

Difference No.9

Sakya mchog ldan: If one isolates its specific aspects (raft Zdog), all knowledge is - as generally accepted in Tibet - only clarity and aware- ness, and here an entity of the dependent [nature]. The isolation of the specific aspects of mere dualistic appearances which arise in this [clarity and awareness] results in the imagined nature. When viewed under its aspect of being accompanied by these dualistic appearances, clarity and awareness constitute the dependent nature. From the perspective, however, that it is unstained by these dualistic phenomena throughout beginning- less time, this clarity and awareness constitute the perfect nature. Based on that, dependent entities as such are by nature the same as the perfect nature, even though they are different as isolates (ldog cha) and different in terms of their respective defining characteristics 69 .

64 Ibid., 785, 11. 5-6: de skad Gig ma ma yin / dus gsum las grol bas rtag pa brtan pa yin gsun.

65 Ibid., 785, 1. 6: de biin du ses pa yin pa'i phyir dnos por bied pa dan!

66 Ibid., 785, 1. 6: dnos po dnos med giiis ka las grol bar bied pa ste! 67 Ibid., 785, 11. 6-7: de biin du 'dus byas su bied pa dan!

68 Ibid., 785, 1. 7: 'dus ma byas su bied pa yan ste!



Dol po pa: The imagined aspect, which is imputed by the mind's multi- tude of thoughts; and its appearances in the form of external objects, is the perceived. The isolation of its specific aspects is the imagined nature. The isolation of the specific aspects of the mind and mental factors results in the dependent nature, namely knowledge constituted by knowledge or consciousness of apparent truth. Clarity and awareness, by nature free from mental fabrication, is the perfect nature. Thus the imagined and the dependent are substantially the same; their defining characteristics are very different, however. Not only are the perfect and the dependent dif- ferent as isolates and in terms of their defining characteristics, but they are also not the same by nature (flO bo gcig pa)70. The previous presen- tations of this [trisvabhava-theory] were mainly in line with Cittamatra, but [Dol po pal thinks that the tradition of Madhyamaka is only this [tri-


Difference No. 10

Sakya mchog ldan: The imagined nature fully pertains to what is not true, the perfect to what is true, and the dependent to both72.

ran ldog nas kun btags (text: brtags) yin no I gsal rig gfiis snan de dan bcas pa'i cha nas gzan dban dan I gsal rig de la gfiis chos gdod nas ma gos pa 'i cha nas yons grub yin pas I gzan dban yons grub ldog cha nas tha dad cin I mtshan fiid kyi cha nas tha dad kyan gzan dban gi dnos po de fiid dan I yons grub no bo gcig par bzed do !.

70 This negation of identity h!ls been often misunderstood and misleadingly represented. (Cf. Newland, who writes that for Dol po pa the two truths are different entities (no bo tha dad pa). Instead of referring directly to the Jonang material, however, he quotes Sey- fort Ruegg, Hopkins and Thurman (Newland 1992: 30 & 260). In fact, Dol po pa negates not only identity but also difference. In his "bDen gfiis gsal ba'i iii rna", 23, 11. 2-3) he explains that "the two truths should be called neither identical (de fiid) in terms of their nature nor different (gzan) [in terms of their nature].' Cf. also Mathes 1998:465-6. , For Tib. de fiid dan gian, Skt. tattviinyatva, see MAVBh, 23, L 10. 7l Taranatha: op. cit., 786, 11. 3-6: blo rnam rtog sna tshogs pas brtags pa'i btags cha dan I phyi don du snan ba'i snan cha ste I gzun ba'i ran ldog kun btags (text: brtags) dan I sems sems byun ses pa'i ran ldog kun rdzob pa'i ses pa'am rnam ses kyis bsdus pa'i ses pa gian dban dan I spros pa dan bral ba'j ran biin.gsal rig yons grub ste I des na kun btags (text: brtags) ni gzan dban las rdzas tha dad du med kyan I mtshan fiid kyi sga nas ni sin tu tha dad do I yans grub dan gian dban ni I [dog cha dan mtshan fiid tha dad par ma zadl no bo gcig pa yan ma yin no I sna ma'j rnam gzag ni sems tsam dan mthun sas che la I dbu ma'i lugs ni 'di kho na'o ies dgans so!. 72 Ibid., 786, 11. 6-7: kun btags (text: brtags) la bden med kyis khyab lyons grub la bden yod kyis khyab I gian dban la cha gfiis mdzad !.



Dol po pa: The imagined and the dependent both fully pertain -

to say, through and through -

to what is not true 73 •

that is

Difference No. 11

Sakya mchog ldan: All self-awareness - understood as the isolation of its specific aspects - [belongs] exclusively to the ultimate [truth]14.

Dol po pa: Given that the self-awareness 75 of consciousness [belongs] exclusively to the apparent [truth], self-awareness, too, has both an appar- ent and an ultimate aspect1 6 •

Difference No. 12

Sakya mchog ldan: The perfect [nature] is emptiness. The imagined [nature] is not emptiness, even though it is purely empty77. Emptiness fully pertains to the ultimate [truth]18.

Dol po pa: Everything, phenomena and their true nature, can only be called emptiness. Emptiness does not pertain to (lit. "is not pervaded by") the ultimate truth. It is not counted unambiguously among the synonyms [of the ultimate] : [emptiness] is related to [the ultimate only] in a general sense 79 •

Difference No. 13

Sakya mchog ldan: The works on valid cognition, the Abhidharma etc. are mostly [written] in accordance with general Dharma terminology.

73 Ibid., 786, 1. 7: kun btags (text: brtags) gian dban giiis ka la mtha' gcig tu bden med kyis khyab par mdzad do /. 74 Ibid., 786, 1. 7 -787, 1. 1: ran rig thams cad ran rig gi ran ldog nas don dam kho na yin gsun la /.

75 The Tibetan uses the plural: "moments of self-awareness".

76 Ibid., 787, II. 1-2: kun rdzob roam ses kyi ran rig roams kun rdzob kho na yin pas / ran rig yan kun rdzob don dam giiis yod par bied do /. 77 I.e., it is the negandum and nothing more.

78 Ibid., 787, 1. 2: yoils grub ston pa iiid yin / kun btags (text: brtags) ston pa tsam yin kyan ston pa iiid min / ston pa iiid la don dam gyis khyab par bied /. 79 Ibid., 787, II. 2-3: chos dan chos iiid thams cad la ston iiid tsam du brjod dgos / ston iiid la don dam gyis ma khyab / min gi roam grans la khyab mtha'i rna rtsi / gtso bo'i don du sbyor gsun /.



This being the case, the attainment of pacification fully pertains to both


those' of

entities/existence and non-entities/non-existence 8o ;


(§es pa)81 [only] to that

of entities 82 The ultimate is not an

entity. Since it is not conditioned, it is a non-entity, [like] the sky and so forth. There are different aspects of the unconditioned - suchness not being conditioned by causal defilements, or mere clarity and awareness not being newly produced, etc. Therefore, when one enumerates cate- gories, these are designated as unconditioned. They are, however, not the [real] unconditioned as opposed to the conditioned ('du byed) and the defining characteristics (mtshan ilid); therefore, they are unconditioned only in a metaphorical sense 83

Dol po pa: Explanations along the lines of Pramal),a or Abhidharma belong to traditions that mainly ascertain the apparent truth. With regard here to definitive meaning, when it is mainly the ultimate truth that is being ascertained, entities and non-entities fully pertain to the apparent [truth] and vice versa 84 • The ultimate truth is neither an entity nor a non- entity; therefore, the attainment of pacification 85 certainly does not per- tain to the ultimate. [If it did,] wisdom would not be an entity, while being knowledge at the same time. Therefore, knowledge would not per- tain to [the category of] entities, while to maintain that the ultimate truth

80 Pacification, or cessation, falls under this latter category by virtue of being uncon-

ditioned. 81 In the context of the Abhidharma: usually the "knowledge of the destruction [of passions etc.]" (Skt. k~ayajiiiina, Tib. zad pa ses pa) and the "knowledge of no further occurrence [of passions etc.]" (Skt. anutpiidajiiiina, Tib. mi skye ba ses pa).

82 In the following Tib. dizos po is rendered as "entity", even though the Sanskrit equiv- alent bhava also means "existence".

83 Taranatha: op. cit., 787, II. 3-6: tshad ma'i giuiz dan mizon pa sogs spyi skad daiz phaL cher mthun par / / ii grub pa La dizos po dnos med gaiz ruiz gis khyab / ses pa La dnos pas khyab / don dam dnas pa min /'dus rna byas (text om. byas) pas ni dizas med nam mkha' sags yin/ de biin iiid La las iion gyi 'dus rna byas daiz/ gsaL rig tsam gsardu 'dus rna byas sags / 'dus rna byas pa'i cha re yod pas / mam grans kyi sga nas 'dus rna byas su btags pa yin gyi / 'dubyed daTi mtshan iiid 'gal ba'i 'dus rna byas rna yin te / des na 'dus rna

byas btags pa ba yin gsuiz !.

84 This means that the totality of entities and non-entities is exactly identical with the apparent truth.



is a non-entity would be improper Dharrna 86 . To maintain that the ulti- mate is an entity [is in accordance with] the tradition of maintaining the .[ultimate existence of] entities. All non-entities like the sky etc. which the Abhidharrnikas take to be unconditioned, are there considered to be conditioned, and for this reason, both entities and non-entities fully per- tain to the conditioned. The ultimate is the real unconditioned. The sky etc. are thus unconditioned [entities] only in a metaphorical sense 87 •

Difference No. 14

Sakya mchog ldan: The "very face" (ran no) of the dependent, being empty of the imagined, that is, the negandum, is the basis of emptiness. It may be taken as the ultimate being empty of the apparent 88 •

Dol po pa: The perfect is the basis of emptiness. It is empty of the two neganda, the dependent and the imagined, in that the ultimate is empty of the apparent. [The explanation of] the dependent as being empty of the imagined applies only when ascertaining mere apparent truth 89 •

Difference No. 15

Sakya mchog ldan: Even though the "pure dependent" is widely known in Tibet, it is in reality not the dependent but rather what is "perfect in

86 This reductio ad absurdum presupposes the inclusion of wisdom under the ultimate truth.

87 Taranatha: op. cit., 787, L 6 -788, L 3: tshad mnon sags su bSad pa de I kun rdzob gtso bar gtan la 'bebs pa'i lugs yin I don dam gtso bar gtan la 'bebs pa'i nes don gyi skabs 'dir I kun rdzob fa dnos po dan dnos med kyis khyab cin I dnos po dnos med la'an kun rdzob kyis khyab I don dam dnos po yan min I dnos med (text: mod) kyan min pas ii (text:

gii) grub fa nes ma khyab lye ses dnos po ma yin La ses pa yin pas I ses pa fa dnos pas ma khyab dnos med don dam du 'dod pa chos mi rigs lal don dam dnos par 'dodpa dlios smra ba'i lugs so I mnon pa ba rnams 'dus ma byas su 'dod pa'i nam mkha' sags I dnos med thams cad kyan skabs 'dir 'dus byas yin pas I dlios po dnos med la 'dus byas kyis khyab I don dam 'dus ma byas dnos yin I nam mkha' sags 'dus ma byas btags pa ba yin gsun!.

88 Ibid., 788, L 4: stan gii gian dbmi gi ran no de dgag bya kun btags kyis stan pa ste I de fiid kun rdzob kyis stan pa'i don dam du mdzad do!.

89 Ibid., 788, 11. 4-6: stan gii yons grub I dgag bya gian dban kun btags (text: brtags) gfiis kyis ston pa I don dam kun rdzob kyis stan pa 'i don yin fa I gian dbali kun btags (text:

brtags) kyis stan pa ni I kun rdzob bden pa kho na gtan la 'bebs pa'i skabs kho na yin par bied do I.



termS of being unmistaken." The latter is the actual perfect nature. Since the origin and usage of the conventional [term] "pure dependent" is not

clear, it is not good to use it 90

Dol po pa: Even though the usage of the conventional [term] "pure dependent" is not clear - the term is not found in the treatises - its meaning is fully established [in them], and therefore it is proper to use it. This follows from the fact that the Buddha's teaching is based on mean- ing [rather than words proper], and that in olden times in Tibet all agreed on such a convention. Therefore, it is appropriate not to find any fault in the transmitted pith-instructions deriving from Maitreya. Even though some [parts of the] wisdom of the noble [path of] learning are [called] "perfect in terms of being unmistaken" in [certain] passages of the [Maitreya works], the presentation of its conventional [term] (i.e., the term "pure dependent") is good. This is because of [instances] where some [phrases] such as "for those who have attained the [Bodhisattva]- levels the ground appears as gold" are also [taken as denoting] "perfect In terms of being unmistaken"91.

Difference No. 16

Sakya mchog Idan: The perfect in terms of being unmistaken fully per-

tains to the

Dol po pa: This [being unmistaken] is only taught as being the express- ible perfect, in the same way as the twelve limbs of the Buddha's speech

actual perfect nature 92

90 Ibid., 788, n. 6-7: dag pa gzan dban ies bod spyi la grags kyan / don la gian dban

min cin phyin ci ma log pa'i yons grub yin la/ phyin ci ma log pa'i yons grub kyan yons grub mtshan Hid pa yin cin / dag pa gian dban gi tha sHad pa'an khuns gsal med pas / de'i brda 'chan byed pa mi legs par dgOlis so I.

3: dag pa gzan dban zes pa'i tha sHad gzun las gsal po ma

byun yan / don tshan bas tha sHad byar run ste / sans rgyas kyi bstan pa don la brtan pa yin pa dan / bod sna ma thams cad tha sHad de Ita bu mthun par byed pas / byams pa nas brgyud pa'i man ilag ma nor ba yin du run bas so / de'i nan tshan 'phags pa slob pa'i ye ses 'ga' zig phyin ci ma log pa'i yoils grub yinkyan / sa thob pa mams la sa gii gser du snail ba sags 'ga' iig phyin ci ma log pa'i yoils grub yin pa'an yod pas / de'i tha sHad



788, L 7 -789,1.

rnam giag legs par dgoils so I. 92 Ibid" 789, L 4: phyin