Buddha Nature: A Festschrift in Honor of Minoru Kiyota by Paul J. Griffiths, John P. Keenan

By Paul J. Griffiths, John P. Keenan

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37 Like the dOe lugs pas he characterizes the views of the Jo nang pas as faulty, since they "hold an eternalistic view to be the Madhyamaka" (rtag mtha' la dBu mar smra ba). It is equally interesting that he characterizes the views of Tsong kha pa, founder of the dOe lugs tradition, as faulty because "he advocates a nihilistic view to be the Madhyamaka" (chad mtha' la dBu mar smra ba). ). Throughout the history of scholastic Buddhism there are many such instances in which consistency with the doctrinal or philosophical canon can be seen as superseding consistency with the physical canon as the major legitimizing force.

Scriptures, by their very nature, are supple things; philosophical canons are more rigid. Scriptures are the objects of interpretation; tenets are the interpretations themselves. 38 Although it cannot be said that concern with demonstrating the canonicity of doctrine by showing its consistency with the siddhiinta schema became the sole paradigm for philosophical discourse, it is clear that it was a major concern for Tibetan Buddhist scholasticism. In the sTong thun chen mo of the great dOe lugs pa scholar mKhas grub dOe legs dpal bzang (1385-1438) many examples of the rhetoric of incompatibility are to be found.

It leaves' one, in short, with no means of detennining whose views are best. For many Tibetan scholastics, and for the dGe lugs pas in particular, the lack of a siddJuinta schema can only lead to philosophical relativism. Whether that is the case or not, the view that the Prasailgika school was the vessel for the highest teachings on reality must have been sufficiently widespread at the time of mKhas grub rje that the absurdity that he urges on his opponent (namely,that it was not) could have had an impact.

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