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MATSUMOTO Shirõ & YAMABE Nobuyoshi - A Critical Exchange on the Idea of Dhātu-vāda - p. 205

MATSUMOTO Shirõ & YAMABE Nobuyoshi - A Critical Exchange on the Idea of Dhātu-vāda - p. 205

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A Critical Exchange on the Idea of Dhātu-vāda
A Critical Exchange on the Idea of Dhātu-vāda

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A Critical Exchange on the Idea of Dh„tu-v„da



FIND YAMABE’S ESSAY on the idea of dh„tu-v„da both important and full of valuable information and interpretations, and I am grateful for his studied critique of my hypothesis. While I am not prepared to accept his views and conclusions, I welcome the serious response and wish to respond to it brieµy here. Yamabe sums up his position succinctly near the end of his essay:

The Yogacara theory of gotra is indeed discriminatory, but it is not based on monism. Tath„gata-garbha thought is clearly monistic, but the gotra distinction does not seem to signify anything essential. Some texts, such as the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti, show an apparent dh„tu-v„da structure, but that structure would appear to be an inconsistency brought about by a reinterpretation of the gotra theory.

I cannot, however, accept his conclusion, because I ³nd the Yogacara theory of gotra to be based on monism, and because the gotra distinction seems to be of essential importance to tath„gata-garbha thought. Moreover, unlike Yamabe, I ³nd the dh„tu-v„da structure of the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti to be completely consistent. To clarify my position, let me take up the de³nition of gotra from the Bodhisattvabhðmi that Yamabe cited in his essay. Before discussing the de³nition, I should like to express my surprise at the way he goes about criticizing my hypothesis. I should have thought he would have given attention to my essays “On the Ekayana Theory in Yogacara” and “The Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra and Ekayana Theory,” on which my framing of the hypothesis of dh„tu-v„da is mainly based. The former essay is especially pertinent to Yamabe’s critique in that its arguments are focused on the important passage of the Mah„y„nasðtrala½k„ra-bh„¤ya


commenting on K„rik„ XI. 53, which seems to clarify the meaning of the term dharmadh„tu for the Yogacara thinkers. The passage in question reads “because the dharmadh„tu of the šr„vaka etc. is undifferentiated” (šr„vak„d‡n„½ dharmadh„tor abhinnatv„t). Here we have a clear statement of the uniqueness of dh„tu for the Yogacara thinkers. I would be interested in knowing how Yamabe would interpret this passage. Now let us turn to the Bodhisattvabhðmi de³nition of gotra.1 Yamabe’s conclusion draws on the work of other scholars (among them, Hakamaya2) who take the terms gotra, b‡ja, dh„tu, and prak£ti that appear in the de³nition as all synonymous. Yamabe cites the phrase, “tat punar gotra½ b‡jam ity apy ucyate dh„tu‹ prak£tir ity api,” which he renders, “Further, this gotra is also called seed (b‡ja), dh„tu, and origin (prak£ti).”3 I do not ³nd the translation inaccurate,4 but I believe it is also possible to render it, “But that gotra is also called b‡ja, and the dh„tu is also called prak£ti.” The Tibetan translation of the passage, it should be recalled, is “rigs de ni sa bon shes kyaª bya’ khams de ni raª bshin shes kyan bya‹o” (Derge edition, Wi, 2b5). This is clearly consistent with my own reading. Admittedly there are passages in which Sthiramati states that the words gotra, b‡ja, and dh„tu are synonymous, as Yamabe points out,5 and even where he takes gotra and prak£ti as synonyms. But that is Sthiramati’s interpretation.6 The Tibetan translation of the sentence cited above suggests to me the possibility of a slight difference between the two groups of words. In other words, one must admit the possibility that dh„tu and prak£ti are taken to be different from gotra. This interpretation of mine is supported by the appearance of the term prak£ti-stha½ gotram in the de³nition of gotra cited above. Yamabe follows other scholars in translating the term as [the gotra] “existing by nature,” based on the Tibetan translation, “raª bshin gyis gnas pa” (Derge edition, Wi, 2b4). I ³nd fault with the translation, however, and prefer instead to read it as “the gotra located on prak£ti” or “the gotra existing on prak£ti.” I further consider this prak£ti to be the unique locus or dh„tu of manifold gotra, giving this gotra theory the structure of a dh„tu-v„da. I admit the interpretation is altogether novel, but this does not make it wrong. The author of the Bodhisattvabhðmi appears to equate prak£ti with dharmat„ in the word dharmat„pratilabdha7 (“acquired by dharmat„”). And this equation is reinforced by the passage of the Abhisamay„206


la½k„ra-v£tti alluded to by Yamabe.8 I believe, then, that the gotra of šr„vaka and the like are positioned on a single locus, which is called prak£ti in the de³nition. Hence my conclusion that Yogacara system has a dh„tu-v„da structure. In this connection I would also like to remark on the new interpretation of the word „lambana-pratyaya in the Yogacara texts to which Yamabe alludes. He translates the word to mean “cognitive object” and criticizes my interpretation of dh„tu-v„da as “generative monism.” But „lambana-pratyaya does not in this context refer to a “cognitive object” but to “cause as locus.”9 In other words, I take „lambana there to mean “locus” or “basis.” This reading is further supported by the term tad„lambanaprabhava that appears in a section of the Madhy„ntavibh„ga-bh„¤ya in which Vasubandhu says that the dharmas of aryas are produced from “that locus” (tad„lambana)—that is, from the dharmadh„tu.10 It seems clear to me, therefore, that the Yogacara system has a dh„tu-v„da structure. I wish to acknowledge Yamabe’s contribution to the elucidation of the n„n„dh„tu or “different-dh„tus” theory of Yogacaras, but I fail to see how this is in any way inconsistent with the basic dh„tu-v„da structure as I propose it. Rather, the manifoldness of dh„tu referred to in the passages explaining the n„n„dh„tu theory is to be taken as a plurality of gotras posited on a single locus, which is what I call dh„tu. As for tath„gata-garbha thought, I prefer to leave my views of Yamabe’s interpretations for another occasion. I would only ask him to have a second look at the passage of the Ratnagotravibh„ga he cites. According to his translation, it is stated there as follows: “Eventually the rays from the sun-disk of the Tath„gata falls even on the bodies of sentient beings ³xed in a state of evil (mithy„tva-niyata-sa½t„na).”11 Does this really deny the existence of sentient beings ³xed in an evil state? I think not. Does the idea that we all, despite our caste, breathe the same air really provide a basis for equality rather than discrimination? Moveover, it should be noted that the Ratnagotravibh„ga also admits the existence of agotra (etad agotr„«„m na vidyate)[I.41]. With this I conclude my remarks.



Y AMABE Nobuyoshi

O BEGIN WITH, I would like to thank Matsumoto for his careful response to my criticisms. I acknowledge that my essay did not give due attention to certain points he made in two important 1 essays, but the fact that it was an oral presentation and the restrictions of time made it dif³cult to enter into the necessary technical detail. My remarks were no more than an attempt to outline my own understanding of dh„tu and gotra in as simple a way as possible. The Abhisamay„lamk„ra verse I.39, which contains in a single verse the (apparent) dh„tuv„da structure seemed to offer an ideal pivot around which to set up my argument. Since Matsumoto himself has called on the same verse as a succinct demonstration of the “basic structure of dh„tu-v„da,”2 I assumed this would provide some common ground for discussion. In any case, I take it as my responsibility to comment now on these two papers, particularly that dealing with “the Yogacara theory,” and to address the points of his response—even if, once again, time and space make it dif³cult to meet Matsumoto’s rigorous standards. Since our opinions seem to differ more radically in matters concerning Yogacara, I will focus in what follows on the Yogacara theory of dh„tu and gotra. Matsumoto’s dh„tu-v„da model is essentially static. He seems to believe that the same dh„tu-v„da structure (discrimination based on monism) can be found throughout the Yogacara and tath„gata-garbha literature. In doing so, he bases his idea of dh„tu mainly on passages having to do with the monistic dh„tu—namely dharmadh„tu and a (rather obscure) use of dh„tu in the singular from the Abhidharma Sutra. He sees these singular dh„tu functioning as the universal basis of all phenomena, as the ground from which all things arise. Even though dh„tu is frequently de³ned as “cause,” his argument runs, this is only a secondary, derivative meaning based on the image of a (universal) locus. He does not deny that dh„tu frequently appears in the plural form in Yogacara texts,




but he claims that all such manifold dh„tu are grounded in the singular (dharma)dh„tu. Therefore, he concludes, the existence of plural dh„tu does not contradict the dh„tu-v„da model. For my part, I have tried to delineate the development of the concept of dh„tu (in most cases interchangeable with another concept, gotra) in more dynamic terms. I am persuaded that the structure of the dh„tu theory in early Yogacara literature—by which I mean chieµy the Yog„c„rabhðmi—was essentially pluralistic.3 Dh„tus were primarily manifold elements, each capable of producing corresponding elements. In other words, the primary meaning of the word in this tradition was “(pluralistic and individual) cause,” and the spacial imagery was merely subordinate to this. I ³nd it improbable that these manifold dh„tu were always based on a single “locus” (Matsumoto’s dh„tu par excellence, as it were). In particular, I do not believe that the gotra theory of the Bodhisattvabhðmi was based on monism in any form. Later, these dh„tu and gotra theories were restructured on a monistic model, and in the course of this reinterpretation, certain “hybrid” texts like the Mah„y„nasðtr„lamk„ra and the Abhisamay„la½k„ra were created with both monistic and pluralistic elements. These texts seem to support Matsumoto’s model of discrimination based on monism. But if one takes these texts in their historical context, the discriminatory elements show up as remnants of former pluralistic traditions. In contrast, purely tath„gata-garbha texts like the Ratnagotravibh„ga and the Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra do not exhibit these discriminatory factors. I do not wish my remarks to be taken to mean that I deny the existence of a dh„tu-v„da-type structure entirely. I believe that such a hybrid structure did in fact exist at one point in doctrinal development. For that matter, our views on the tath„gata-garbha theory are not so radically different either. I, too, think that the tath„gata-garbha theory had an essentially monistic structure, although I do not see it as intrinsically discriminatory. It is regarding the structure of the dh„tu and gotra theories of the early Yogacara tradition that our opinions diverge most widely. Accordingly, I should like to address this question more directly.


Matsumoto claims that the original meaning of the word dh„tu is “a place to put [something] on,” a kind of “base” or “locus.”4 This is the crucial


point around which virtually all dh„tu-v„da arguments revolve. But the importance of the idea is not matched by its clarity.5 If the claim is an etymological one—that the original meaning of dh„tu is “a place to put [something] on”—the question is a complex one, since the verbal root dh„- and the suf³x -tu, the two elements that make up the word dh„tu, are both multivalent, and so the range of theoretically possible meanings for the compound is correspondingly great.6 An examination of the usage of the term bears this out.7 According to Louis Renou’s extensive study of the suf³x -tu, the word dh„tu was used in two broad sets of meanings in the Rgveda: “basis, . foundation” and “element, layer.”8 In the Rgveda, he argues, the term . dh„tu is almost always compounded with a numeral (saptadh„tu, tridh„tu)9 and “³gures as the principle of division.”10 Hence the latter meanings (element, layer) are both prevalent and well attested. The former meanings (basis, foundation), however, are based on a single occurrence of dh„tu as an independent (neuter) noun in the Rgveda (V.44.3): . atya½ havi‹ sacate sac ca dh„tu ca The oblation follows the steed [=Agni], it is the essence and the base [of sacri³ce].11 This is an exceedingly “obscure” verse, concerning which Renou notes that the commentator, S„yana, glosses this dh„tu as dh„raka½ sarvasya (“the support of everything”).12 The gloss would appear to be close to Matsumoto’s interpretation, but it should be remembered that S„yana is a very late ³gure (fourteenth century). Buddhist texts do occasionally interpret dh„tu as dh„ra«a, “support,”13 which leads me to suppose that “support” (or, for Matsumoto, “locus”) was in fact one of the meanings of dh„tu.14 But this is not the same as concluding that “support” or “locus” accounts for the word’s etymological origins. Except for one obscure verse, the sense of “element” seems much more predominant in the Rgveda. If Matsumoto . wishes to make the claim that “locus” was the original meaning of the word dh„tu from which all the other meanings derived, he needs to provide more supporting evidence. His claim concerning the etymological meaning is, at best, not obvious.

Matsumoto’s interpretation of the term dh„tu in Yogacara literature is based on his reading of a verse of the Abhidharma Sutra and a passage


from the Madhy„ntavibh„ga.15 I will leave a discussion of the Madhy„ntavibh„ga for later. The verse from the Abhidharma Sutra runs:
The dh„tu from the beginningless past is the common basis for all the dharmas. When it exists, all the destinies [in samsara] and the attainment of nirvana exist.16

Matsumoto asserts that “The expression sam„šraya [the common basis] clearly shows that the word dh„tu has the meaning of ‘locus’.”17 He goes on:
In relation to the [two] nominative-case nouns, gati‹ and nirv„«„dhigamo, dh„tu is the locus as is shown by the locative case tasmin [a pronoun that represents dh„tu]. When it is put in the locative-absolute phrase tasmin sati, the meaning “if it exists” is added to the basic meaning “at that existing one,” and here the meaning “cause” arises. Thus if the word dh„tu has the meaning “cause,” it should be regarded as a secondary meaning derived from the primary meaning of “locus.”18

There are several questionable points in these claims. First, the argument is made that dh„tu means “locus” because the pronoun referring to it (tasmin) is in the locative case. In this verse, as Matsumoto himself observes, tasmin constitutes a locative absolute phrase together with the following sati. But since the locative absolute is very common in Sanskrit, if anything that can be put into locative absolute has the meaning “locus,” it would follow that virtually all the Sanskrit nouns have that meaning. I do not, therefore, see how the appearance of the locative absolute phrase proves anything about the meaning of the word. Concerning the ³rst point sam„šraya, “the common basis,” we should note that in the Yogacara school, the word „šraya is used in a very general sense, almost equivalent to pratyaya (condition).19 Although the word „šraya itself would have a spacial connotation, I am not sure how much of that connotation is retained in this kind of technical context. Furthermore, I cannot agree with Matsumoto’s claim that “locus” is the primary meaning of the word dh„tu, and that the meaning “cause” derives from it.20 As far as I can see, in the early Yogacara literature, the meaning of “cause” is far more predominant than “locus,” and only when this primary meaning cannot be applied does the alternative meaning of “support” (or “locus”) come to the fore. Since the verbal root dh„- has the meaning “to generate or cause,” and since -tu can signify an agent, it is theoretically possible to deduce the sense of “cause” directly from the


components of the word without having to make the deduction indirectly through another meaning. I believe it can be shown that the basic image of dh„tu in the very early Yogacara literature (the portions of the Yog„c„rabhðmi that do not presuppose the theory of „layavijñ„na) was that of multiple (typically eighteen) elements capable of reproducing themselves from one moment to the next. By way of demonstration, I would cite a few passages, beginning with one from the Šr„vakabhðmi:
What are dh„tus? What is the skillfulness in dh„tus? Answer: dh„tus are eighteen, namely the eye-dh„tu, the color-dh„tu, and the eye-consciousness-dh„tu, …[list of eighteen dh„tus]. The ability to know, approve, and examine that these eighteen dharmas arise, issue, and become manifest from their respective dh„tus, their respective seeds (b‡ja), and their respective origins (gotra) is called skillfulness in dh„tus. To know the arising of the eighteen dharmas from their own dh„tus, that is, the comprehension of causes and conditions, is at the same time the comprehension of dh„tus.21

The meaning of this passage becomes clearer when we read it in conjunction with the following paragraph of the Abhidharmakoša-bh„¤ya:
The meaning of dh„tu is “origin” (gotra). Just as the manifold origins of iron, copper, silver, and gold in a mountain are called dh„tus (minerals), the eighteen origins in one body or [personal] continuum are called “eighteen dh„tus.” In this case, “origins” refer to mines („kara). Then whose origins are the eye and so forth? [Each of the eighteen dh„tus is the origin] of [the subsequent dh„tu of] its own type (j„ti), because [the former] is the homogeneous cause [of the latter].22 [Objection:] In that case, an unconditioned [element] (asa½sk£ta) would not be a dh„tu. [Answer:] In this case, [it is a cause] of mind and mental functions.23

The two passages seem to me to be saying essentially the same thing. Each of the eighteen dh„tus arises from the same element in the preceding moment that is its generative cause (dh„tu). In other words, the essential nature of dh„tu seems to be the capacity to reproduce itself in successive moments.24 This point is con³rmed in the following passage from the Pañcavijñ„nak„ya-sa½prayukt„-manobhðmi of the Vinišcayasa½graha«‡:


What is eye but not eye-dh„tu is the eye of an arhat in the ³nal [moment]. This is the ³rst item [of the tetralemma].25

When the arhat enters nirvana nothing is left to carry over to the next moment, which is why in this ³nal moment the eye no longer reproduces the same element in the following moment. And since the eye does not function here as a generative cause, it is no longer to be called dh„tu. The model here is clearly one of successive causality.26 This leads me to believe that in the early Yogacara literature dh„tus were primarily plural elements reproducing themselves from one moment to the next.27 The primary meaning was thus “generative cause (in pluralistic contexts)” and did not derive from any image of universal “locus.” I see no reason to argue that these plural dh„tus were supported by another universal dh„tu.28 On the basis of the actual usage of the words dh„tu and „šraya, then, it is not at all certain that the dh„tu in the verse of the Abhidharma Sutra meant universal locus. It should rather be taken to mean, as indeed most commentaries take it to mean, “cause.”29 I conclude that this verse does not support Matsumoto’s “locus” model. Even though I ³nd myself in disagreement with Matsumoto’s reasoning here, it must be admitted that the verse does give a monistic impression.30 The point is not entirely beyond dispute,31 but even if one grants that this verse is indeed monistic, this still needs to be understood in the context of the transformation of the dh„tu theory from a pluralistic model into a monistic one. It is incorrect to assume that the entire Yogacara theory of dh„tu was based on monism. The verse is no doubt an important one, but it does not represent the whole of the Yogacara philosophy. As we have seen, there is strong reason to believe that the dh„tu theory of the early Yogacara school was pluralistic, and, in particular, that such a pluralistic dh„tu model was directly related to the classical gotra theory of this school.32


As Matsumoto points out, the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra-bh„¤ya at Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra XI.53 says:
Because the dharma is similar, the one-vehicle theory [was propounded]. The dharmadh„tu is undifferentiated for šr„vakas and the like. [This 213


explanation is based on the] interpretation that [the word] y„na means goal.33

Matsumoto states that this passage “clearly shows the uniqueness of ‘dh„tu’ for the Yogacara thinkers” and asks for my reading of the passage.34 Obviously, in this passage dharmadh„tu refers to something universal. I concede the point. But I question, ³rst, if the passage supports the model of “generative monism” as Matsumoto claims; and second, if the gotra distinction is indeed based on such a universal dharmadh„tu. The Model of Generative Monism In order for this passage to ³t into the dh„tu-v„da model, it must ful³ll two conditions: dharmadh„tu must be the locus of the three vehicles, and it must be the generative cause of the three vehicles. As to the ³rst condition, as is clearly indicated in Sthiramati’s gloss shes par bya ba’i yul, “the object to be known,”35 dharmadh„tu as y„tavya is a cognitive object, not a “locus.” Matsumoto is probably correct to associate the passage from the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra-bh„¤ya cited above with the following line of the Madhy„ntavibh„ga-bh„¤ya:36
Dharmadh„tu is called so because it is the cause of the noble dharmas. Here, [the word] dh„tu is used in the sense of “cause.”37

Matsumoto claims that „lambana-pratyaya means “cause as locus.”38 But in reading this passage with the aforementioned gloss by Sthiramati, it is very dif³cult to take „lambana in any sense other than shes par bya ba’i yul, “cognitive object.” Since the reading of „lambana as “locus” is not the usual interpretation of the word, I should like Matsumoto to provide further supporting evidence in support of his claim. As to the second condition, that dharmadh„tu must be the generative cause of the three vehicles, I have already detailed in my paper my reasons for believing this is not the case. For his part, Matsumoto criticizes my argument by citing the Jñ„n„la½k„r„loka Sutra (de-bzhin-ñid ni gzhi’o, “Tathat„ is the basis [*pada]”).39 I wish to refute the criticism. To begin with, the Jñ„n„la½k„r„loka is not a standard source of the Yogacara doctrine, even though it was one of the many sources of the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra.40 If Matsumoto wishes to criticize my understanding of the Yogacara theory, he should reference his remarks with a mainstream Yogacara text.


It is true that there is a similar statement in the Vinišcayasa½graha«‡ that describes „šraya-pariv£tti, “transformation of [personal] basis,” (in this context equivalent to tathat„) as *prati¤¦h„-hetu, “supportive cause,” as opposed to *janma-hetu, “generative cause.”41 This *prati¤¦h„ would be more or less equivalent to the *pada of the Jñ„n„la½k„r„loka Sutra, but prati¤¦h„ does not necessarily mean “locus” in the Yogacara literature. What is more, “supportive cause” and “generative cause” are clearly different.42 In short, the passage in question does not in any way uphold Matsumoto’s “generative monism” model. As I have discussed earlier, tathat„ in this kind of soteriological context has a rich doctrinal background.43 Reading the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra in this light, I see no need to amend the interpretation presented in my essay. I rather reiterate the point that tathat„ as a cognitive object does not directly generate supramundane wisdom, much less other worldly dharmas. The Gotra Distinction Based on a Universal Dharmadh„tu As I discussed at some length,44 the passage in question from the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra is not positive proof of the three-vehicle theory. It is rather an argument that presupposes an already established three-vehicle theory and attempts to explain away scriptural passages that contradict the doctrine. In a sense, this is a concession to the one-vehicle scriptures. The text is not referring to the universal dharmadh„tu in order to positively establish the gotra discrimination. They are simply making a concession to the one-vehicle theory, acknowledging that the three vehicles could be considered one in the sense that all of them share the same dharmadh„tu. Diversity among the three vehicles is already presupposed here. We need to look elsewhere for a principle of diversity. As Matsumoto correctly observes,45 such a principle is found in Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra III.11, where the existence of hetu-h‡na, “one who lacks the cause,” is af³rmed. The Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra-bh„¤ya at III.11 is a famous section that divides those who cannot attain nirvana (aparinirv„«a-dharmaka) into two classes: temporarily hopeless people (tat-k„lâparinirv„«a-dharma) and eternally hopeless people (atyanta). The explanation given by the verse and commentary, however, is quite simple and clearly presupposes an already well-established gotra theory. Such detailed arguments are found in the Bodhisattvabhðmi. Judging from the broad af³nities between the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra and the


Bodhisattvabhðmi, and judging from the terminological similarities between the relevant sections, it is evident that the Gotr„dhik„ra of the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra was very closely related to the Gotrapa¦ala of the Bodhisattvabhðmi. In order to understand the structure of the Yogacara gotra theory, therefore, we need to understand the Bodhisattvabhðmi correctly, but it is precisely at this point that Matsumoto and I diverge most radically.

In his response, Matsumoto attempts to read prak£tistha-gotra as “the gotra existing on prak£ti [i.e., monistic dh„tu].”46 This is clearly in line with his view that plural gotra, as the cause of enlightenment, are different from the universal dh„tu or garbha.47 Indeed, his reading makes sense only when we can differentiate gotra from dh„tu. The problem is that such a differentiation is very dif³cult. Gotra and dh„tu are frequently treated synonymously, as Matsumoto himself later admits.48 As for the compound prak£ti-stha-, it is true that when stha- is used as the second member of a compound, it usually means “existing in [some place].” Nevertheless, such general usage would not automatically guarantee that Yogacara writers used the term in the same sense. The sense of a Yogacara technical term must be determined primarily by its usage in the Yogacara literature itself. In this regard, we may note in the ³rst place (and again, as Matsumoto himself admits)49 that the Tibetan version translates the compound as raª bzhin gyis gnas pa, reading the instrumental sense (prak£ty„, “by nature”) into the ³rst member of the compound. This interpretation is further supported by the following passage from the Bodhisattvabhðmi:
What is the enhancement of dh„tu? Because of the former practice of wholesome dharmas based on the existence by nature of the seeds of wholesome dharmas (prak£ty„ kušala-dharma-b‡ja-sampada), the seeds of wholesome dharmas in each subsequent moment become more enhanced, [then] most enhanced; they arise and they abide. This is called the enhancement of dh„tu (dh„tu-pu¤¦i).50

The scheme seems to ³t neatly with the aforementioned gotra theory according to the following pattern:
prak£ty„ kušala-dharma-b‡ja-sa½pada —— prak£tistha-gotra dh„tu-pu¤¦i —— samud„n‡ta-gotra 216


Indeed, prak£ty„ kušala-dharma-b‡ja-sampada, “the existence by nature of the seeds of wholesome dharmas,” seems to supply the concrete meaning of the notion of prak£tistha-gotra. The interpretation looks still more plausible when one takes into account the repeated use of the instrumental form prak£ty„ in the Gotrapa¦ala of the Bodhisattvabhðmi.51 In the case of the dharmat„-pratilabdha, it is probably not even possible to read it in any way other than as an instrumental tatpuru¤a. (Matsumoto’s own translation is “acquired by dharmat„.”52) Thus I believe that here both prak£ti and dharmat„ are used in an instrumental (adverbial) sense (“by nature”) and do not refer to anything transcendental.53 It is of course true that the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti records an opinion that interprets the term prak£tistha-gotra as dharmadh„tu.54 Two points, however, should be noted in this regard. First, Matsumoto’s claim is that prak£ti is the universal locus, and that gotras are plural super-loci, but what the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti says is that prak£tistha-gotra as a whole is identi³ed with (singular) dharmadh„tu, not just prak£ti. Such an idea does not ³t into Matsumoto’s dh„tu-v„da model. Second, this interpretation of the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti relies on a rejection of the original de³nition of ¤a^„yatana-više¤a given by the Bodhisattvabhðmi. It is evident that the Abhisamay„la½k„ra-v£tti is employing the idea of prak£tistha-gotra for its own agenda; it does not convey the original meaning of the Bodhisattvabhðmi at all. As for the ¤a^„yatana-više¤a itself, I can only direct the reader to the argument spelled out in my essay.55 This expression may have had something to do with the tradition that the Bodhisattva had six keen sense-faculties.56 In any case, ¤a^„yatana clearly refers to concrete psycho-physical elements; it cannot refer to dharmadh„tu. As already mentioned, the Bodhisattvabhðmi is the locus classicus of the gotra theory of the Yogacara school, but in the Bodhisattvabhðmi there is nothing to suggest that the gotra system was based on monism. This is clear proof that the Yogacara gotra system does not theoretically require a monistic basis. On the contrary, it was actually based on pluralism at the time of the Bodhisattvabhðmi. The Gotr„dhik„ra of the Mah„y„nasðtr„la½k„ra is also very likely based on a pluralism.57 I can only conclude that pluralism was the principle that accounts for the diversity of views among those in the Yogacara school. Monism cannot offer a positive explanation.



My riposte has already run on too long, and I must therefore refrain from delving into the details of the tath„gata-garbha texts. I would only like to react brieµy to points raised in Matsumoto’s response. In doing so, I must admit, in all honesty, that I cannot make much sense of his comments on the passage I quoted from the Ratnagotravibh„ga.58 The passage clearly denies the idea of eternally hopeless icchantikas.59 The situation is basically the same with regard to the Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra. It seems fair to say, with Matsumoto, that the doctrinal structure of this sutra is monistic.60 Nevertheless, the sutra does say:
O Blessed One, šr„vaka-y„na and pratyekabuddha-y„na are all gathered in Mahayana…. Thus, the three vehicles are counted as one. O Blessed One, realizing the one vehicle, one realizes the unsurpassed enlightenment.61

Although Matsumoto would object to this type of inclusive approach,62 it is hard to read the above quotation as discriminatory. Matsumoto himself states that the Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra is based on the one-vehicle theory.63 This being the case, there is no textual basis to claim that the Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra, “the most typical dh„tu-v„da text,”64 was discriminatory. As I state in my essay,65 I do not doubt that tath„gata-garbha thought has a monistic structure. But I do believe that the dh„tu-v„da type of monism becomes discriminatory only when the differences among the “super-loci” are ³xed and made unchangeable. Both the Ratnagotravibh„ga and the Šr‡m„l„dev‡ Sutra clearly reject such ³xation. Given the teachings of these two representative texts of the tath„gata-garbha tradition, one is hard put to see how a monistic tath„gata-garbha theory can be intrinsically possessed of discriminatory elements. Quite the contrary, it seems to me that only when such tath„gata-garbha ideas were mixed into Yogacara doctrine, which had a discriminatory and pluralistic gotra theory as part of its tradition, does the problem of “monistic discrimination” (i.e., dh„tu-v„da) come about. This is why I have claimed that dh„tuv„da was essentially a “patchwork” of these two different traditions.


Needless to say, the interaction between the Yogacara and tath„gatagarbha traditions is a complex issue. There is no doubt that certain parts of the Yogacara and the tath„gata-garbha traditions are closely inter218


twined, and that there are many aspects in which the two look alike. In this sense, I may have overstated the difference between these traditions. Still, it does not seem to me that the whole of these two traditions can be said to have shared the kind of clear-cut structure that Matsumoto calls dh„tu-v„da. If there was indeed any coherent structure to their commonality, one has to wonder why such vehement arguments were exchanged between the followers of tath„gata-garbha and Yogacara Buddhism in China and Japan. It rather seems to me that, in spite of many shared terms, the classical Yogacara dh„tu/ gotra system as is found in the older parts of the Yog„c„rabhðmi had a radically different structure from its counterpart in full-µedged tath„gata-garbha texts such as the Ratnagotravibh„ga. In conclusion, I wish to thank Matsumoto once again for taking my critique seriously. I am aware that universal and discriminatory elements often coexist in a single text, and I do not necessarily doubt that there is a side to the tath„gata-garbha theory that could well function to obscure discrimination. Although I do not happen to think that discrimination is the inevitable conclusion of the tath„gata-garbha doctrine, I certainly acknowledge his contribution in pointing out the potentially dangerous aspects of this theory. If I have not properly understood him on certain points, I would like to ask him kindly to address misunderstandings on some future occasion.


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