A study of Master Yinshun's hermeneutics: An interpretation of the tathagatagarbha doctrine

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/279857
Title:
A study of Master Yinshun's hermeneutics: An interpretation of the tathagatagarbha doctrine
Author:
Hurley, Scott Christopher
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study is an examination of Master Yinshun's hermeneutics. It focuses especially on his interpretation of the Buddhist concept known as the tathagatagarbha, which refers to the idea that all sentient beings intrinsically possess the "womb of the Buddha." In some explanations of this teaching, the tathagatagarbha is symbolic of the practitioner's potential for attaining enlightenment. In others, it functions as a synonym for the Ultimate and becomes the eternalistic substrate for all of existence. It is this latter view to which Yinshun takes exception, seeing it as antithetical to the doctrine of emptiness which espouses the notion that all things, including ideas, material objects, and living beings, lack a permanent and independent nature and thus cannot possess an unchanging, eternalistic form. I focus particularly on Yinshun's text A Study of the Tathagatagarbha , for it serves as a concise statement of his interpretation of the tathagatagarbha and its relationship to emptiness. In this text, Yinshun continually asserts the doctrine of emptiness as the definitive expression of Buddhist truth and relegates the tathagatagarbha to the category of expedient means. He does this by examining the development of the tathagatagarbha emphasizing particularly its evolution within pre-Mahayana and Mahayana textual sources said to have had their genesis in India such as the Agamas , the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Ratnagotravibhaga. For Yinshun, to regard the tathagatagarbha as the ultimate truth rather than as an expedient means can only result in misguided practice and confusion about how to attain enlightenment. I conclude by asking a number of general questions about Yinshun's thought and its relationship to the early to mid-twentieth century intellectual milieu in China. I also inquire about how Yinshun's ideas have contributed to the development of contemporary Chinese Buddhist movements flourishing in Taiwan today.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Religion, History of.; Religion, Philosophy of.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; East Asian Studies
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Gimello, Robert M.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleA study of Master Yinshun's hermeneutics: An interpretation of the tathagatagarbha doctrineen_US
dc.creatorHurley, Scott Christopheren_US
dc.contributor.authorHurley, Scott Christopheren_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study is an examination of Master Yinshun's hermeneutics. It focuses especially on his interpretation of the Buddhist concept known as the tathagatagarbha, which refers to the idea that all sentient beings intrinsically possess the "womb of the Buddha." In some explanations of this teaching, the tathagatagarbha is symbolic of the practitioner's potential for attaining enlightenment. In others, it functions as a synonym for the Ultimate and becomes the eternalistic substrate for all of existence. It is this latter view to which Yinshun takes exception, seeing it as antithetical to the doctrine of emptiness which espouses the notion that all things, including ideas, material objects, and living beings, lack a permanent and independent nature and thus cannot possess an unchanging, eternalistic form. I focus particularly on Yinshun's text A Study of the Tathagatagarbha , for it serves as a concise statement of his interpretation of the tathagatagarbha and its relationship to emptiness. In this text, Yinshun continually asserts the doctrine of emptiness as the definitive expression of Buddhist truth and relegates the tathagatagarbha to the category of expedient means. He does this by examining the development of the tathagatagarbha emphasizing particularly its evolution within pre-Mahayana and Mahayana textual sources said to have had their genesis in India such as the Agamas , the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the Ratnagotravibhaga. For Yinshun, to regard the tathagatagarbha as the ultimate truth rather than as an expedient means can only result in misguided practice and confusion about how to attain enlightenment. I conclude by asking a number of general questions about Yinshun's thought and its relationship to the early to mid-twentieth century intellectual milieu in China. I also inquire about how Yinshun's ideas have contributed to the development of contemporary Chinese Buddhist movements flourishing in Taiwan today.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectReligion, History of.en_US
dc.subjectReligion, Philosophy of.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEast Asian Studiesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorGimello, Robert M.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest3031364en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b42283474en_US
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