Issue 12, January 1989
A Study of Chi-tsang's Theory of Buddhahood and of Mind-Essence
Chi-tsang is generally considered a great synthesizer of the San-lun school, that means he faithfully and adequately in terprets the teachings of "San-lun" (Three Treatises).
However, as he lived at a time when the Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra were immensely popular and the schools of Ti-lun and She-Iun prosperous and influential, Chi-tsang could not avoid borrowing so heavily from the teachings of there schools and scriptures, that his works can no longer be confined within the limits of the San-lun school. The shift indicates. breakthrough in Chi-tsang's own intellectual development, yet it also has negative impact on the circulation of the San-Iun teachings.
The present paper attempts to show, through a study of his theory of Buddhahood and of Mind-Essence, how Chi-tsang combines and integrates the doctrine of the middle-path in the Three Treatises with the concept of "One Vehicle" in the Lotus Sutra, of "Buddhahood" in the Nirvana S'utra, and of "Tathagata-Garbha" in Ti-lun school and She-lun school. It also endeavors to show vvhat new elements have been added. through this integration, to the doctrine of the middle path of the Three Treatises. It is believed that the study proves that Chi-tsang's philosophy has gone beyond the boundaries of the San-Iun school.