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The Buddha Within

The Buddha Within
Item Code: IHL038
Author: S.K. Hookham
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Edition: 1992
ISBN: 8170303095
Pages: 422
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8 inch X 5.8 inch
From the Jacket

Tathagatagarbha-Buddha Nature-is a central concept of Mahayana Buddhism crucial to all the living practice traditions of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. Its relationship to the concept of emptiness has been a subject of controversy for seven hundred years. Dr. Hookham’s work investigates the divergent interpretations of these concepts and the ways the Tibetan tradition is resolving them.

In particular she does this with reference to the only surviving Indian commentary on the Tathagatagarbha doctrine, the Ratnagotravibhaga. This text addresses itself directly to the issue of how to relate the doctrine of emptiness (the illusory nature of the world) to that of the truly existing, changeless Absolute (the Buddha Nature).

This is the first work by a Western writer to present an analysis of the Shentong tradition based on previously untranslated sources. The Shentong view rests to meditative experience that is inaccessible to the conceptualizing mind. It is deeply rooted in the sutra tradition of Indian Buddhism and is central to an understanding of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions and Tantric practice among the Kagyupas and Hyingmapas.

The book is divided into twelve chapters. They are Ch. 1 General Introduction; Ch. 2 Introduction to the Rangton-Shentong Distinction ‘Ch. 3 Emptiness from the Shentong point of View; Ch. 4 The Shentong View of Absolute Reality; Ch. 5 Means of Apprehending Absolute Reality; Ch. 6 the Nature of Beings; Ch. 7 The Third Dharmacakra : Neyartha or Nitartha; Ch. 8 The Shentong Tradition; Ch. 9 Traditions of Interpretation of the RGV and RGVV; Ch. 10 A Shentong Interpretation of the RGV and RGVV - A Paraphrase with comments ; Ch. 11 Translation of the Introduction to Kongtrul’s RGV Commentary ; Ch. 12 Conclusion.

The Appendices are - Works by Western Scholars; Prakrtisunyata, Svabhavasunyata and Parabkavasunyata in Rangtong and Shengtong Terms; Further details on the Three Svabhava and the Three kinds of Emptiness as found in the SNS; The Sandhinirmocan-sutra; Resume; Some points of Comparison Between Rangtong Commentators on RGV; The five Dharmas of Maitreya., Glossary of Terms.

S.K. Hookham is at Oxford University.


Yogin Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso’s Spontaneous Verses on the Subject of Rangton and Shentong xv
Chapter 1: General Introduction 1
The Omniscient Dolpopa’s Prayer that Unties the Vajra Word Knots 5
Section One - The Issues 9
Chapter 2: Introduction to the Rangtong-Shentong Distinction 11
2.1 The Origin and Significance of Buddhist Commentarial Traditions 11
2.2 The Rangtong/Shentong Distinction13
2.3 The Meaning of Rangtong14
2.4 The Meaning of Shentong15
2.5 The Importance of the Rangtong-Shentong Distinction16
Chapter 3: Emptiness from the Shentong Point of View 19
3.1 Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness19
3.2 The Final Stage - Shentong (Yogacara Madhyamaka)22
3.3 No Shentong Without a Proper Understanding of Rangtong26
3.4 Problems of Definitions of Terms29
Chapter 4: The Shentong View of Absolute Reality 33
4.1 Buddhajnana 33
4.2 Inseparable Qualities37
i. Inseparable Qualities of the Dharmakaya 38
ii. The Concept of Uncompoundedness 44
iii. Inseparability and the Spontaneous Existence of the Buddha Qualities 47
4.3 Buddha Activity 51
Chapter 5: Means of Apprehending Absolute Reality 57
5.1 Faith 57
i. Faith and Buddhajnana 57
ii. Faith and Direct Experience 60
iii. Direct Experience as Valid Cognition 63
5.2 Non-conceptuality (nisprapanca) 65
i. Nisprapanca as Awareness Experienced in Meditation 65
ii. Nisprapanca as Freedom from Extremes 71
iii. Nisprapanca as Non-conceptuality in the RGV [1.9]
iv. Nisprapanca in the Tantras 77
5.3 The Two Realities and the Two Visions 79
i. Satya 79
ii. Paramarthasatya 79
iii. Samvrtisatya 81
iv. Ultimate Reality is not Dependent Arising 82
v. Own Nature and Other Nature (Svabhava and Parabhava) 82
vi. The Two Realities Inseparable 83
vii. The Two Senses of Manifestation and Emptiness 85
viii. The Importance of the Distinction 85
ix. The Relationship Between the Two Realities 87
x. The Two Visions-Precisely What Is and the Extent of What Is (Yathavadbhavikata and Yavadbhavikata) 87
Chapter 6: The Nature of Beings 91
6.1 Base, Path and Fruit91
6.2 Tathagatagarbha 94
i. The Shentong and Rangtong Approaches Compared 94
ii. The Term “Tathagatagarbha” 99
6.3 Self 100
6.4 Gotra 104
i. The ‘Cut-off’ Gotra and the Three Yanas 105
ii. Gotra as both Cause and Emptiness 108
Chapter 7: The Third Dharmacakra: Neyartha or Nitartha 113
7.1 The Third Dharmacakra 113
i. The Three Dharmacakras 113
ii. The Third Dharmacakra as Nitartha 114
iii. Kongtrul’s Distinction between the Two Kind of Nitartha Sutra of the Third Dharmacakra 117
iv. Dolpopa’s Analysis 121
v. The Third Dharmacakra is Not Cittamatra 122
7.2 Neyartha and Nitartha 124
i. Rangtong Explanations of Neyartha and Nitartha 124
ii. The Terms “Neyartha” and “Nitartha” 126
iii. The Ratnagotravibhaga-Neyartha or Nitartha? 127
Section Two-Historical Background 133
Chapter 8: The Shentong Tradition 135
8.1 The Jonangpas 135
i. The Jonangpa Lineage 135
ii. Some Opponents and Supporters of Shentong 136
iii. The Mountain Dharma-Ocean of Nitartha (Richos nges don rgya mtsho, RC)136
iv. Comparison with Later Shentongpas 140
v. The Essence of the Controversy 141
vi. Shentong is Secret Oral Instruction 142
8.2 Sources of Shentong143
i. The Tibetan Inheritance 143
ii. Some of Dolpopa’s Indian Sources of Shentong 147
iii. Other Views on the Indian Sources of Shentong 149
iv. The Brhattika 151
v. Nagarjuna’s Stotra and Karikas 154
vi. How Shentong Relates to Later Developments of Buddhism in India 156
vii. The Term “Great Madhyamaka” 157
viii. Tantric Shentong 159
8.3 Kongtrul and the Rimay Tradition 161
i. Kongtrul 161
ii. The Rimay Tradition 162
Chapter 9: Traditions of Interpretation of the RGV and RGVV 165
9.1 Introduction to the Ratnagotravibhaga and Ratnagotravibhagavyakhya and Associated Traditions. 165
i. Authorship and Rediscovery 165
ii. Maitreya 166
iii. The Importance of the Maitreya-Asanga Connection 167
iv. The RGV as a Synthesis of the Tathagatagarbha Sutras and the Prajnaparamita Sutras 169
v. The Vyakhya (RGVV) 171
vi. Transmission to Tibet 171
9.2 Matters Arising from the Introduction to Kongtrul’s Commentary on the RGV.172
i. The Two Tibetan Transmission Lineages of the RGV 172
ii. Questions Arising from Kongtrul’s Commentary 173
iii. Other Commentators Not Mentioned in the Initial Praises 175
iv. Gampopa and the Sutra and Tantra Mahamudra 176
v. Rangjung Dorje and the Mahamudra-Dzogchen Synthesis 178
Section Three-A Shentong Interpretation of the RGV and RGVV and a Translation of Kongtrul’s Introduction to His RGV Commentary 179
Chapter 10: A Shentong Interpretation of the RGV and RGVV-A Paraphrase With Comments 181
10.1 The Title and its Implications 181
10.2 General Introduction to the Seven Vajra Bases 182
10.3 Vajra Bases 1-3: The Three Jewels186
10.4 Vajra Base 4: The Dhatu (Element) 192
Causes and Conditions for Purification 192
The Four Paradoxes 193
The Three Reasons 196
The Element Arranged in Ten Points 198
The Nine Examples 221
The Essence of the Doctrine 229
The Purpose of the Instruction 233
10.5 Vajra Base 5: Enlightenment 235
10.6 Vajra Base 6: Qualities 249
10.7 Vajra Base 7: Activity 252
10.8 The Benefits 260
Chapter 11: Translation of the Introduction to Kongtrul’s RGV Commentary 263
Chapter 12: Conclusion 289
Appendix 1: Works by Western Scholars 295
Appendix 2: Prakrtisunyata, Svabhavasunyata and Parabhavasunyata in Rangtong and Shentong Terms 299
Appendix 3: Further Details on the Three Svabhava and the Three Kinds of Emptiness as Found in the SNS 303
Appendix 4: The Sandhinirmocanasutra: Resume 311
Appendix 5: Some Points of Comparison Between Rangtong Commentators on RGV 317
Appendix 6: The Five Dharmas of Maitreya 325
Abbreviations 327
Notes 329
Conventions Used 363
Glossary of Terms 364
Bibliography 367
Index 379
8.1 152
8.2 153

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