Yogācāra Treatises and Buddha Nature
The Ornament of Sūtras (Sūtrālaṃkāra) and the two Distinguishing (Vibhāga) texts were taught to guide the great vehicle’s adherents of Mind Only in accordance with the explanations of the master and second buddha Vasubandhu.
The Ornament of Realization (Abhisamayālaṃkāra) of the Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) was taught to guide the great vehicle’s adherents of Svātantrika. Thus, the commentaries of Ārya Vimuktisena and Haribhadra which explain it according to the Mādhyamika Svātantrika are to the point.
he further resolved these in detail in the Compendium of Resolving (Viniścayasaṃgrahaṇī).
In addition, he summarised all these points in two further compendia: the Compendium of Abhidharma (Abhidharmasamuccaya), which is a summary of the common vehicles, and the Compendium of the Great Vehicle (Mahāyānasaṁgraha), which is a summary of the uncommon Mahāyāna.
The followers of the Great Vehicle’s Mind Only School assert that the principal message of the sūtras and great treatises, the dependent all-ground consciousness (ālayavijñāna), is empty of self-nature in every respect. Texts such as the Sūtra of the Dense Array (Ghanavyūhasūtra) say that “The universal ground of the various levels…etc.,” and thus make the point that the all-ground is the buddha nature (sugatagarbha). The Sublime Continuum also says:
The disposition is empty of the adventitious stains, Which are characterised by their total separateness. But it is not empty of the unsurpassed qualities, Which have the character of total inseparability.
Thus, the point that the buddha nature is not empty of its immaculate qualities, which are as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, derives from the sūtras, the writings of Ārya Asaṅga, and the eloquent explanations of the protector Nāgārjuna. This means that although all phenomena included within the categories of the aggregates, elements and sense sources are determined to be empty by their very nature, as taught in the Middle Way, the immaculate dharmas are unconditioned qualities, and to label such merely not non-nonexistent phenomena as ‘not empty’ accords with the intent of the two great wayfinders.
There is no limit to the particular assertions of others on this subject, so I shall not seek to prove or refute them here.
These are the words of Shenpen.
| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2020.
Secondary Sources Bayer, Achim. The Life and Works of mKhan-po gZhan-dga' (1871–1927): rDzogs-chen Master and Educational Reformer of Eastern Tibet. (Hamburg Buddhist Studies 11) Freiburg: Projekt Verlag. 2019.
Uttaratantra: I, 155 ↩
Dharmadhātustava 22 ↩