By Sallie B. King
A Philosophical learn of the Buddha Nature Treatise and different chinese language Buddhist Texts
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Extra resources for Active Self . A Philosophical Study of the Buddha Nature Treatise and Other Chinese Buddhist Texts
Thus, the Buddha taught that all sentient beings have Buddha nature in order to undo the effects of ignorance and to prod all beings toward en1ightenment. ^•BNT, p. 787a. 31 Right from the beginning, then, a certain theme is announced— — the teaching of Buddha nature does not essen tially indicate the existence of and describe the nature of "something" that "is,1, but rather serves the very practical purpose that all the Buddha1s teachings are purposed to serve, namely, aiding sentient beings in their quest for enlighten ment* Buddha nature f as a part of the corpus of the Buddha1s teachings, is upaya, a means directed toward the salvation of mankind.
In expressing this understanding he rejects the dualistic language of being and non-being characteristic of the position of worldly truth in favor of his own char acteristic formulation: neither being nor non-being is the case. The two truths theory cannot speak of being (有 ）， nor can it speak of non-being (無 h because neither being nor non-being is the case ( _ , 弈 無 ). The reason why the supreme truth can speak of neither being nor non-being is that since it negates (無 both person and thing it cannot speak of being, and since it reveals the two forms of emptiness [of man and thing] it cannot speak of non-being [since emptiness is not the same as non-being].
Refutation of Other Views The author of the BNT next clarifies the Buddha nature notion as he understands it by contrasting it with the teachings of Hinayana schools,^ non-Buddhist Indian philo sophical schools and Mahayana schools. In what follows we ■''Please note that in my use of this term I do not wish to convey any of the original pejorative sense of the term. It is to be hoped that through widespread use this term no longer carries the negative connotation it once had. r but has become neutral in connotation, much as the term "Quaker," though originally a pejorative, is now commonly taken as a neutral and acceptable term to refer to the Society of Friends • 11Theravada," of course, cannot substitute for (,Firnayanaf11 as it is only one of many schools constituting the latter.