Great Middle Way: Buddha Nature
In this course we will trace the development of the notion of buddha nature from its beginnings as being the logical result of the fact of the buddha’s enlightenment to the notion that the true nature of reality is the union of emptiness and buddha nature. In Tibet this synthesis becomes known primarily as the Great Madhyamaka and Shentong or Empty of Other traditions.
Readings will consist of the core texts on this evolution from four stages in its development:
- The Mahayana sutras, ranging from the single puzzling reference to mind as luminous in The Large Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom, to the foundational presentation of buddha nature in the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, as well as a more developed version presented in the Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra
- The Shastras or commentaries on the Sutras by Indian authors, primarily the Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra by Maitreya and the Dharmadhatustotra by Nagarjuna
- The early Tibetan masters, primarily Dolpopa, Shakya Chogden, and Karmapa Mikyo Dorje
- The later Tibetan masters, primarily Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, and Mipham