By John J. Makransky

To go into the Mahayana Buddhist route to enlightenment is to hunt either to develop into loose from our dualistic, deluded international and to stay actively engaged in that global until eventually all others are loose. How are those it appears contradictory features to be embodied within the attainment of buddhahood (dharmakaya)? How can one's current perform do so? those questions underlie a millennium-old controversy over buddhahood in India and Tibet that facilities round a loved textual content, the Abhisamayalamkara. Makransky exhibits how the Abhisamayalamkara's composite redaction, from Abhidharma, Prajnaparamita, and Yogacara traditions, authorized its interpreters to understand assorted facets of these traditions as principal in its educating of buddhahood. This enabled Indians and Tibetans to learn very diversified views on enlightenment into the Abhisamayalamkara, wherein they answered to the questions in startlingly alternative ways. the writer indicates how those views supply alternative routes to solve a logical stress on the middle of Mahayana notion, inscribed within the doctrine that buddhahood sarcastically transcends and engages our global concurrently. Revealing this stress because the foundation of the Abhisamayalamkara controversy, Makransky indicates its connection to many different Indo-Tibetan controversies revolving round the similar rigidity: disagreements over buddhahood's wisdom, embodiment, and accessibility to beings (in Buddha nature and during the path). Tracing the resource of anxiety to early Mahayana perform intuitions approximately enlightenment, the writer argues that varied views in those controversies show other ways of prioritizing these perform intuitions.

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Extra info for Buddhahood embodied: sources of controversy in India and Tibet

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Precisely because it was unconditioned (asamskrta). Precise philosophical formulations of nirvana varied between the Abhidharma schools, but in its primary description, nirvana represented the cessation (nirodhasatya)of the karma (actions) and klesa (passions) that give rise to the cycle of rebirth. Nirvana was, most fundamentally, the state free from the conditions that produced the world and all experience of the world. As noted above, according to the Kosabhasya (at v. 67), the highest bodhi (enlightenment) of arhats (including Buddhas) consisted of two special knowledges: the knowledge of the destruction of the passions (ksayajñana)and the knowledge of no further occurrence of the passions (anutpadajñana).

When Mahayana texts came to redefine a Buddha's nirvana as nonabiding (apratisthita, an attainment that transcends the dichotomy of nirvana and samsara), the new doctrine came into tension with other parts of the Four Noble Truths formula from pre-Mahayana tradition that Mahayanists continued to accept unchanged as normative. Chapter 13 suggests, then, that many disagreements over Buddhahood in late Indian and Tibetan Buddhism express different perspectives on how to authentically reinterpret the Four Noble Truths formula consistent with basic intuitions of practice continuous from early Mahayana.

14 Ample clues to Haribhadra's implicit concerns are provided in his commentaries on AA 8. One theme he repeatedly returns to (on five different occasions, in fact, in his comments on AA 8), is the importance of affirming a clear distinction between the ultimate, unconditioned aspect of a Buddha's awareness, on the one hand, and the conventional, conditioned aspect of it, on the other, to show particularly how the latter aspect becomes the basis for a Buddha's activity within this conventional, conditioned world.

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