PeterB wrote: Paññāsikhara wrote: PeterB wrote:
Please feel free to ignore my ungrounded opinions and generalisations. They are opinions. They are not scholarly essays.
I have no intention in a non scholarly discussion thread characterised pretty much by subjective opinions to attempt to present a coherent arguement. I am just shooting the breeze based on things experiential. If you find that useful. fine. If you dont.. fine.
Sure, thanks PeterB. I still appreciate your breeze that got shot! I did find it useful, because it gives me some insight into how these ideas are conveyed in Vajrayana and Zen teachings.
My post above from Swanson is hoping to go a small step further than my earlier one, which was also experiential. Hopefully a little more than just a subjective opinion, if that is indeed possible. If you have the time, I would appreciate your thoughts.
As i understand it Sawnson is in response to Prof Shiro Matsumoto whose argument goes;
Paticca-Samupadda is the sole source of existence.
The Tathagatagharba doctrine is dhatu vada.
Dhatu vada is the antithesis of Paticca -Samuppada.
Dhatu vada is therefore precisely the target of the Buddhas critisism.
Japanese Buddhism ( and by extension the |Mahayana )therefore needs reformation.
I think the good prof might be on to something. I am not convinced that Swanson makes any impact on Matsumotos thesis.
Actually, the points from Swanson are from the Tiantai founder, Zhiyi, not his own reading. It is not in response to anyone, really, because the Critical Buddhism of Matsumoto et al was barely starting at the time this book was written. This is all well before the Huayan Tathagatagarbha stuff was ever conceived in China, let alone developed in the Song dynasty into the Dhatuvada side of things, and then exported to Japan. (Remember, even the Nikayas call paticcasamuppada "dhammadhatu", so this isn't the only way to read "dhatu-vada".) Huayan Tathagatagarbha theory is not the only school in China. However, it had influenced many schools at some point which became the ones in Japan which then became popular in the West, eg. Zen. Tiantai / Tendai uses the same term, but reads it quite differently, and that is what Swanson is showing.
Matsumoto is criticizing the later Huayana version that made it to Japan and became part of the Soto Zen school. (Matsumoto is from Soto Zen, and was teaching at the Soto university, Komazawa.) This is the same general principle that most average people read Tathagatagarbha and Buddhanature
theory as, particularly in the West, with strong Soto Zen influence. But not all China reads it like Soto does, because we don't always rely on post Song readings, for a start. And Tiantai is whole other matter. Actually, this Tiantai understanding also was a big part of Chinese Chan in the South, and that is the tradition that I've mainly received. It just isn't popular in the West, because it wasn't the one that went to Japan and became Zen.
So the "extension" to the Mahayana in need of reformation is based on a Japanese Soto Zen reading of Huayan influenced Mahayana, which is not at all universal in the Mahayana.
My whole point is to say that previous to this, and still in some Mahayana traditions in East Asia, there is a different reading of Tathagatagarbha, which is basically in accord with the early pratityasamutpada model of causality. If you have the time, some details may be found here on page 214, "Absolute Buddha nature means that..."
. Though later on in his life, even Yinshun moved further towards the Madhyamaka reading. The translation is not that great, because for a couple of reasons, it gives more of a reified impression that the Chinese does.
Mumbling to myself: Maybe I should be used to having Chinese Buddhism misrepresented by now, thanks to the popularity of Japanese Buddhism (and maybe Tibetan too), both of which are later traditions but not the only ones by any stretch of the imagination...