A Brief Study of Buddha Nature and Tathāgata of “Foxing-Lung”
|Authors:||蔡文聰||Keywords:||真諦;佛性觀;三因佛性;三性;如來藏三義;paramārtha;Buddha nature;three causes of buddha-nature;three natures of cognition;three reasons for establishing that all sentient beings are Tathāgatagarbha-sūtra||Issue Date:||Jan-2016||Abstract:||《佛性論》世親 （Vasubandhu，亦譯天親）菩薩造，陳天竺三藏真諦
（ Paramārtha，499－569）譯， 收於《大正藏》第三十一冊。全論共四卷，由〈緣起分〉、〈破執分〉、〈顯體分〉、〈辯相分〉等四分十六品組成，是一部廣泛議論「佛性」的論典。近代學人多認為最能代表如來藏思想者，除了所謂「三經一論」(《如來藏經》、《不增不滅經》、《勝鬘夫人經》、《寶性論》)外，《佛性論》亦是一部不能
Buddhagotraśāstra attributed to Vasubandhu was translated into Chinese by Paramārtha（499－569） which is called Foxing Lung (Taishō 1610). Foxing Lung comprises four fascicles subdivided into sixteen chapters: section on causes and conditions for the teaching, section on refutation of other views, section on the essence of Buddha nature, and section on characteristics of Buddha nature. It presents an extensive elucidation on Buddha nature. Most of contemporary scholars agree that along with the so-called “three sūtras and one śāstra” (Tathāgatagarbha sūtra, Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśa parivarta, Śrīmālā sūtra, and Ratnagotravibhāga), Foxing Lung should not be ignored in understanding tathāgatagarbha, but in Chinese Buddhism, the significance of Foxing Lung has not received enough attention as Ratnagotravibhāga or Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna (《大乘起信論》). In this paper, I intend to discuss the meaning of Buddha nature and tathāgatagarbha in Foxing Lung from both philosophical and philological aspects. The approach I employ in present paper includes three parts. Firstly, I will go through the academic studies related to the authorship of Buddhagotraśāstra, and clarify the structure and elaborate some doctrinal issues in Foxing Lung. Then I will focus on the concept of Buddha nature revealed in Foxing Lung, and also clarify what “Vibhajyavādin” exactly is in this treatise. Thirdly, through comparing with other related texts, I will investigate the origin of the thought of Foxing Lung, and will inquire the philosophical features. The discussions from these three aspects correspond to chapter two, chapter three and chapter four of this paper respectively which are the core elements. After thoroughly investigating the philosophy and the origin, I will argue the special features of the structure and the doctrinal interpretation of Foxing Lung are distinctive. Foxing Lung covers Mahāyāna teachings of its time, such as mādhyamaka, yogācāra, tathāgatagarbha and so on; moreover, it presents new perspectives. Although I agree that Foxing Lung is one of the treatises elaborating “all sentient beings have the Buddha nature”, I will claim that instead of further explaining three chaptes (5, 6, and 7) of Ratnagotravibhāga, the composer of Foxing Lung tries to reconcile and unite tathāgatagarbha and mind-only doctrines via the theme “Buddha nature”. In this paper, I try to analysize and induce the concept of Buddha nature and tathāgatagarbha in Foxing Lung without ignoring the dual role Vasubandhu endowed with.
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