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TitleTrisvabhava - A Study of the Development of the Three-nature-Theory in Yogacara Buddhism
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A Study of the Development of

the Three-nature-theory in
Yogacara Buddhism


Volume 8

Edited by

Tord Olsson

Department of History of Religions. University of Lund
Lund Sweden

Page 76

an analytical survey is impracticable. Therefore confine myself to a presentation of
the main topics of the text according to the contents of each chapter.236

5.1 An overview of the Msa

The Msa begins (ch I) by defending the Mahayana-Buddhism against its
adversaries. The following eight chapters are devoted to depict the path to
enlightenment. Taking refuge (ch II) in the three gems (Buddha, the order and the
doctrine) marks the four reasons why the doctrine is superior: universality
(sarvatraga), adhesion (abhyupagama), spiritual realization (adhigama) and
supremacy (abhibhiitI). By this one enters into the family (gotra) of the bodhisattvas
(ch ill) as distinct from the small vehicle. The thought of enlightenment (bodhicitta)
(ch N) leads to the discipline (pratipattI) of altrusim (ch. V).

To act to this end, however, requires the insight into the selflessness of persons,
the identity of and, the refutation of extra-mental objects and the realization of mind-
only (cittamatra) which is the realm of the phenomena (dharmadhatu), devoid of
duality (ch. VI).

In the cultivation of the meditative trances, the bodhisattva acquires super-
knowledge and magical gifts (ch. VII). These new forces are used by the bodhisattva
(ch. Vill) to mature the six perfections by promoting the phenomena leading to
enlightenment and pacifying those that are contraproductive to it. As this task is
conclusively achieved, the mind, by a shift of basis (asrayaparavrttI) is prepared for
and attains enlightenment (ch. IX) which is equated with suchness (tathata), sphere
of purity (anasravadhatu) and suchness of dharmas (dharmatathata).

The attributes essential to a bodhisattva restated in the light of his doctrines are
examined in ch. XI to XIV. In ch. X confidence (adhimuktI) is examined whilst
phenomena are the subject of investigation in the following (ch. XI). In this chapter,
the bulk of the instances of the three natures are found. Next, the perfect teaching
in various aspects is studied and in chapter xm discipline is revisited. Here the two
obstacles of knowable and defilement and the ways of overcoming them, are
studied. In ch. XIV instructions and precepts for the defenitive conclusion of the
bodhisattva" s career are listed.

The third part begins with ch. XV which treats of the act, stresses the importance
for a dignified bodhisattva of not discriminating between the agent and the act. In
such a spirit he shall accomplish the perfections (ch. XVI). The cult of the Buddha
(ch. XVII) and the pity to be shown to suffering beings are expounded. The aspects
of enlightenment (ch. XVill) is discussed with reference to the qualities preparing
for the ultimate goal. The instant (~aJ}.ika) nature of the karmic forces (saII).skara)
as well as the selflessness (nairatmya) of person and phenomena are considered.
Under the heading "virtue" (ch XIX) are listed the complementary qualities of the

Maitreyanatha selbst keine zusammenhangende Darstellung gibt und zu viel philosophisch
Unbedeutendes eingeflochten ist" (1969, p. 303)
236 Brief expositions of the main tenets are found e.g. in Frauwallner 1969, p. 303 ff. and in Levi
op. cit., introduction, p. *16 ff. There is also a short select translation of chapters VI, IX, XI and
XIII in Frauwallner op. cit. p. 309 ff. My exposition of the main contents of the Msa follows
Levi's closely.


Page 77

bodhisattva. The last chapter, which is double (ch:XX: -XXI) treats of the ascending
steps through the ten stages (bhiiIm) and concludes with a hymn (v. 43-61) to the
bodhisattva who has become a Buddha.

5.2 The distribution of the three natures in the Msa

Ed. Ch. Verse IN DN CN Notes
22 VI 1 x x x Suffixed by Jak~aJ).a in Msabh
48 IX 78 x x SuffIxed by svabhava in Msabh
49 " 81 x As kalpa-
58 XI 13 x x x Related to dvaya, bhranti, abhilapitulJ)
" " 14 x As dharrnadhatu in Msabh

59 " 15 x x As dvaya and abhiitaparikaJpa
" " 16 x x As above. Note paramartha and SalJ)VJti
" " 17 x x As 15. Note: DN is asatkalpa
" " 18 x x x Indicated by nimitta and abhranta
" " 19 x x Indicated by tadalqti and tadbhava

60 " 20 x x Note vise~a between bhava and abhava
" " 21 x x Cf. XI. 15 - -
" " 22x x Note avise~a between bhava and abhava
" " 23 Refers to 20-22. Note samaropapavada
" " 24 x x Bhranti (IN) requires bhrantinimitta (DN)

61 " 25-6 x x There is no dvaya, yet it is upalabhyate
" " 27 x x Dharrnas exist as imagination, yet not as - - - -

" " 28 x Pratipak~ika dharrnahave no Jak~aJ).a. - -

62 " 30 x The salJ)skaraand the ayatana:ompared to - -

63 " 34-5 x Citta appears in duality.
64 " 38-9 x Suffixed by Jak~aJ).a
" " 40 x " - - - - - -
" " 41 x " - - - -

67 " 50-51 - On nibsvabhavata
84 xm 1 x x x Relates to TSB acc. to Msabh
94 XIV 34 x x x Siinyatarelated to TSB (Cf. Mvb ill. 7ab)
95 " 35 x As abhiitaparikalpa
149 xvm 81 x x x As asat, vi- / parikalpa and vikaJpapaSama
169 XIX 51 x x x As dvayagraha, dau~thuJyakaya, tathata
174 " 77 x x x As abhava, prabhava,

175 " 79 x As ni~panna


Page 152

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