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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


A Re-exploration of the Buddha Nature Theory of Ling-Wei Bao-Liang

Vol. 50 No. 4  12/2020



A Re-exploration of the Buddha Nature Theory of Ling-Wei Bao-Liang


Hsieh Hsien-yi











Key words

Bao-Liang 寶亮, Direct Cause of Buddha Nature, Indirect Cause of Buddha Nature, Bright Spirit and Inconceivable Substance, Mahā-parinirvā n.a-sūtra with Collected Annotations 大般涅槃經集解


The definition of Buddha Nature by Ling-Wei Bao-Liang 靈味寶亮 (444-509) has long been controversial in history, and this leads to different explanations of Buddha Nature theories nowadays. This research will approach Mahā-parinirvān.a-sūtra with Collected Annotations 大般涅槃經集解 to reclarify its Buddha Nature theory.

Bright Spirit and Inconceivable Substance 神明妙體, the concept which was proposed by Bao-Liang’s Buddha Nature theory, originated from Dharmatā and contains the mechanism to avoid suffering and to attain happiness. In addition, it can be separated into two aspects: Ultimate Truth 真諦 and Conventional Truth 俗諦. In the ultimate aspect, it appears as delusion or common explanation; in conventional aspect, as arising mind and ceasing affinity. The former is considered to be the Direct Cause of Buddha Nature 正因佛性. Meanwhile, the latter is classified as the Indirect Cause of Buddha Nature 緣因佛性. This classification implies that “the bright spirit comprises both the real and the secular 真、俗共為神明.” The sentient beings’ arising and ceasing mind will accumulate merits in the processing mind stream in the aspect of Conventional Truth. As a result, the mechanism of Direct Cause of Buddha Nature (which is avoiding suffering and attaining happiness) will contribute to turning afflicting emotions into Pure Wisdom 清淨智解. Once the two causes reach completion, Buddhahood 佛果 and Nirvān.a ()涅槃 will both be achieved. The former is called Effect of Buddha Nature 果佛性, and the latter is named Final Result of Buddha Nature 果果佛性. These two are obtained simultaneously; however, in terms of the meaning, Nirvān.a better reveals the completion of all virtues and the concept of “all things existing beyond emptiness 妙有不空.”



Author: Hsieh Hsien-yi
Genre: Article
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