Ten Approaches to the Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes
(Simmun hwajaeng non)
Translated by Charles Muller
September 20, 2016
Table of Contents
|2.||Ten Approaches to the Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes|
If there is one term that is used more than any other to describe Wonhyo's distinctive approach to scholarly commentarial work, it is that of hwajaeng 和諍 or the “resolution of doctrinal disputes.” The implications of this concept in Wonhyo can be extended in many different directions, including a basic logic-grounded methodology, as well as a deep, faith-oriented form of discourse, which includes a pronounced ecumenical attitude toward a variety of schools of Buddhism, and other religious and philosophical traditions.
As a methodological approach, hwajaeng refers to Wonhyo's basic practice of taking ostensibly variant or conflicting Buddhist doctrinal positions, investigating them exhaustively until identifying the precise point at which their variance occurs, and then showing how differences in fundamental background, motivation, or sectarian bias have led to the creation of such variances. Wonhyo carries out this process repeatedly, in every extant commentary, in every essay and treatise—to an extent, to our knowledge, not seen in any other East Asian scholar or exegete. Thus, it is appropriate that he is known as a “reconciler of doctrinal disputes.”
With this understanding, modern Korean scholars, starting with Choe Namseon 崔南善, used the label of tong bulgyo 通佛教 to describe Wonhyo's doctrinal approach as one of an “integrated Buddhism,” where all Buddhist doctrines could be seen as fitting into a comprehensive whole, and that furthermore, this was the trait that would end up predominating as a whole in Korea, based on Wonhyo's influence. 1 While many critically-thinking scholars have since questioned Choe's broader assertions about Wonhyo's actual direct influence in this manner on the overall character of Korean Buddhism, this distinctive characteristic of Wonhyo's own work remains self-evident.
There are, however, problems that can arise from an over-emphasis on this aspect of Wonhyo's work, as it happens that these characterizations sometimes bring about an impression regarding Wonhyo among specialists in the broader field of East Asian Buddhism that he was some sort of simple monist, or a scholar who simply sought to arbitrarily force all sorts of doctrines to fit together, no matter what. This is not the case. We would argue, instead, that there were few scholar-monks in the East Asian tradition who perceived the differences between doctrines and philosophical positions with the subtlety that Wonhyo did and pursued the analysis of these differences with an equal degree of rigor. The difference between Wonhyo and most of his East Asian counterparts, was that he simply could not stand loose ends in his view of Buddhism as a vast, multifaceted doctrinal system, and thus, while keenly perceiving differences in certain strata or families of texts, he could not be satisfied with stopping at some arbitrary point and simply applying a doctrinal classification (pangyo 判教) scheme in order to close the case. 2
Implied in the meaning of tong bulgyo, in addition to this degree of thoroughness, is the extraordinary degree of even-handedness with which Wonhyo treated every one of his subject texts, regardless of from which doctrinal stream, or from which period of Buddhist history they came. In striking contrast to his famous contemporary colleagues in China, Wonhyo did not focus on the explication or support of a single system of Buddhology, or even to a slightly wider range of three or four schools (as did, for example, Huiyuan, Zhiyi, etc.). Instead, he conducted lengthy and exacting studies on the works produced by every stream of Indian Mahāyāna that had impact in East Asia. Most of his compositions were commentaries, but he also wrote focused treatises on a number of the more problematic and interesting of the Buddhist doctrinal issues. In the reading of those works, one cannot detect even the slightest sectarian leaning. And this is a point that is truly remarkable: if we reflect on the history of East Asian Buddhism, how many scholars of significant stature can we name whose work can be characterized as completely non-sectarian? This disposal toward unbiased scholarship can be seen not only in the fact that he wrote on all of the Mahāyāna traditions that had been received in East Asia, but that he also wrote on them in an extremely balanced manner, composing several works on each of the various schools.
The Simmun hwajaeng non (“Treatise on the Ten Approaches of Resolving Controversies,” hereafter SHN), for which we unfortunately only have fragments from the beginning portion, is one of his very few works that is not actually a commentary, and is not intended to resolve a particular doctrinal theme. It is rather a methodological exercise based on rigorous usage of Mādhyamika and Dignāgan logic, seamlessly interwoven with the themes of the major Mahāyāna scriptures, including the Lotus Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra, Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra, and so on. As in his other works, his point is to show how ostensibly conflicting doctrinal problems—especially those concerned with innate buddhahood—stand up under the scrutiny of a rigorous logical examination.
One of the most interesting aspects of Wonhyo's work is the range to be seen in his modes of discourse. On one hand, he was a serious practitioner of Buddhism, who emphasized the importance of a deep form of nondualistic faith repeatedly in his commentarial writings, perhaps most famously and effectively in his commentaries on the Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith. In a characteristic turn in Wonhyo's commentarial work, after examining a certain doctrine, or set of doctrines at length in a systematic and rational manner, he will declare that the ultimate understanding regarding a Buddhist truth can only be met when one fully abandons the words, lets go of rational thought, and experiences deep faith.
On the other hand, however, when he is in his “rational” mode, he shows an unusually strong grasp of the logical systems of Madhyamaka and the Yogâcāra-based logic of Dignāga, making extensive use of their strict rules, categories, and terminology. Wonhyo also wrote at least two works on logic, one of which is partially extant, 3 and which is extensively cited in the subsequent East Asian Yogâcāra tradition. In fact, his usage of and work in Buddhist logic seems to have been surpassed in East Asia only by a handful of Yogâcāra scholars who were considered to be logic specialists. As the reader will see, the SHN is a fascinating blend of these two kinds of discourse.
There is good reason to guess that Wonhyo's SHN may have been regarded by his contemporaries as his magnum opus. To begin with, the Goseonsa Seodang hwasang tapbi (Stele Inscription to Master Seodang [viz. Wonhyo] of Goseonsa; the earliest extant account of Wonhyo's life, composed approximately 100 years after his death), mentions only two works of Wonhyo's: the SHN and the Hwaeom jong-yo (華嚴宗要 Thematic Essentials of the Flower Garland Scripture; not extant), 4 a fact of some significance, given the extensive influence of some of his commentarial works, such as his commentaries on the Awakening of Faith, Nirvana Sutra, and *Vajrasamādhi-sūtra. It is also significant to note that later scholars characterize his methodology to be that of hwajaeng, which we might characterize as an inquiry into the fundamental underpinnings of any given doctrinal position that is so thoroughgoing that it is able to allow the explanation of the given position in the terms of an ostensibly competing or contradictory doctrinal position. This is indeed precisely the enterprise that Wonhyo engaged himself in throughout his commentarial writings, as well as in treatises such as the System of the Two Hindrances. 5
The difference with this text, however, is that he does not engage in the work of hwajaeng in regard to any particular text, or doctrinal problem, but a whole series of fundamental Buddhist doctrinal and philosophical issues. Thus, in this sense, the SHN constitutes a unique document in his corpus, which we can only guess to have been written at a stage of relative maturity in his scholarly career.
It is therefore extremely unfortunate that only the early portion of this work is available to us, with even this portion missing pieces here and there. The text that is available to us is the result of heroic efforts on the part of a number of Korean scholars toward its reconstruction, and some, such as I Jong-ik, have attempted to further reconstruct the arguments that may have characterized each of the ten approaches, even in the missing text. 6 The title of the SHN appears in almost all catalogues of Buddhist texts.
In 1937, fragments of the text were discovered on four wooden printing blocks at Haeinsa—numbers 9, 10, 15, and 16; in 1943, block 31 was also discovered at Haein Temple. 7 The wooden printing blocks on which these fragments were found had been engraved by Seong Heon, who finished carving these blocks in 1098 CE.
Although the complete text of Wonhyo's SHN is not extant, there are extensive Chinese, Korean, and Japanese source materials which discuss this text, the most important of which are: (1) Goseonsa seodang hwasang tapbi (The Inscription on the Seodang Hwasang in Goseonsa Temple); (2) Uicheon's Sinbyeon jejong gyojang jongnok (New Edition of the Complete Catalogue of the Sutras and Commentaries of All Sects); (3) Ishida, Mosaku, ed., Narachō genzai issai kyōso mokuroku (Catalogue on the Commentaries and Entire Scriptures of the Present Nara Dynasty); (4) The five extant fragments of the SHN on the printing blocks in Haein Temple. These Chinese, Korean, and Japanese source materials contain many quotations and commentaries on this text. Some documents even assert that when Wonhyo wrote the SHN, Dignāga's (6th Century) disciples came to Tang China and took the treatise back to India. 8 The two fascicles of the SHN were also transcribed in 751 CE in Ishida's Nara Catalogue. 9 Unfortunately, the two-volume transcription has been lost.
In the Simmun hwajaeng non, which, by virtue of its title alone is taken to be most representative text for showing his methodological approach, Wonhyo takes up ten of the most important doctrinal issues seen under discussion in East Asian Mahāyāna at this time. Many of these discussions can also be found taken up in his other work, so we know that these represent the most seminal doctrinal problems for him. However, since the Simmun hwajaeng non only exists in fragments, we do not actually know the full list of ten topics that he treated. But the table of contents has been reconstructed based on various citations in other works. These suggest items for the table of contents are: (1) the various arguments about three vehicles and one vehicle; (2) various attachments to existence and emptiness; (3) various attachments to self and phenomena; (4) various doctrines of the three natures; (4) various doctrines of the five natures; (5) becoming buddha; (6) various doctrines of the two hindrances; (7) various doctrines on nirvāṇa; (8) various doctrines of buddha bodies; (9) various doctrines of buddha nature; (10) various attachments to the real and the conventional. 10 There seems to be a fair number of scholars who believe that Wonhyo chose to elaborate these problematic issues under ten topics as an acknowledgment of his appreciation for Huayan, as ten is considered to be a perfect number in Huayan, where it is understood to contain limitless meanings. This may be the case, but before stressing this position with great certainty, we should probably take note of the fact that there is nothing special within the content of the extant portions of the SHN that indicates any specific association with Huayan philosophy.
This present translation from the HBJ is derived from the partial Preface of the SHN from the Inscription discovered at Gyeongju, Korea in 1914 and the fragments from the five wooden printing blocks, 11 which were discovered at Haeinsa in 1937 12 In carrying out my translation of this text, I had access to the translation done by O Beob-an in his 1988 PhD dissertation at NYU, 13 I actually consulted his translation on only a couple of minor points, but was able to take advantage of the background he provided on the history, reconstruction, and influences of the text discussed above. I also had the opportunity to read the translation done by my erudite colleague Cuong Nguyen for the International Wonhyo translation project, 14 which helped me to confirm my understanding (or lack thereof) of the text in a few places. In the final analysis, our translations basically agree on most points, differing primarily on points of style and choices of translation terminology.
2. Ten Approaches to the Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes
十門論者 如來在世。已賴圓音 衆生 等. . . 雨驟 空空之論雲奔。或言我是、言他不是。或說我然、說他不然、遂成河漢矣。木. . .山而投廻谷憎有愛空。猶捨樹以赴長林。譬如靑藍共體 氷水同源。鏡納萬形水分. . .通融 聊爲序述。名曰十門和諍論
When the Tathāgata was still in the world, all sentient beings [were able to free themselves from suffering] by depending upon his perfect voice. [...Later on, after his passing, disputes] flowed like torrents, and empty theories flew by like the clouds. Some said “I am right, and others are wrong.” Some said, “Things are the way I see them, not the way others see them,” — and we were inundated with such talk. Trees [...raising up] the mountains and throwing away the valleys, hating existence and loving emptiness—this is just like ignoring the trees while thinking to enter the forest. [Emptiness and existence] are like blue and indigo, which share the same essence, or ice and water, which spring from the same source. A mirror reflects myriad forms, and parted waters will eventually return to merge together. What I have briefly introduced here is Ten Approaches to the Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes.
2.2. Existence and Emptiness
有此所許有不異於空。故雖如前而非增益。假許是有、實非墮有。此所許有、非不墮有。故雖如後而非損減。前說實是有者、是不異空之有。後說不墮有者、 不墮異空之有。是故倶許而不相違。由非不然、故得倶許而亦非然、故倶不許。此之非然 不異於然。喩如其有、不異於空。是故雖倶不許而亦不失本宗。是故四句竝立而離諸過失也。
The existence that is here acknowledged is not different from emptiness. Therefore, even though it is like the prior, it is not reified. Provisionally acknowledged existence actually does not fall into [the extreme of] emptiness. The existence that is here accepted cannot but fall into existence. Therefore, even though it is like the latter, it has not been negated. The previously described true existence is existence that is not different from emptiness. The subsequently explained “not falling into [a reified concept of] existence” is the existence that does not fall into [the error of] being different from emptiness. Therefore both are accepted without contradiction. Since it is not that they are not-so, both can be accepted and yet be not-so, and hence both are denied. “Not-so” in this case is not different from being so, just as this existence is not different from emptiness. Therefore even though both are denied, we do not controvert the original [Buddhist] teaching. In this way the four logical possibilities 15 can be advocated together without any error.
問。雖設徵言 離諸妨難、言下之旨 彌不可見。如言其有 不異於空。 此所引喩本所未解。何者。若實是有 則異於無、喩如牛角 不同兎角。 若不異空 定非是有、喩如兎角 無異於空。今說是有而不異空。世間無類 如何得成。 設有同喩、立不異空。由前比量 成不定過。
Objection: Even though you make the claim that your position is free from logical inconsistency, once you speak, the meaning is not readily evident. For example, when you say that this existence is not different from emptiness, there is a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the cited examples. How so? If it is truly existence, then it differs from the non-existent. For example, the horns of a bull are not the same as the horns of a rabbit. If it is something not different from emptiness, it is definitely not existent—[838b] for example, the horns of a rabbit, which are not different from emptiness. Now you say that it exists, yet it is not different from emptiness. Since there is nothing like this in commonsense experience, how can your position be established? Suppose there is an example of something that is not-different from emptiness? Based on the prior logical proof, you commit a fallacy of inconclusiveness. 16
答。汝雖巧便設諸妨難 直難言說、不反意旨。所引譬喩 皆不得成。何以故。牛角非有、兎角不無。故如汝所取 但是名言。故我寄言說 以示絶言之法。如寄手指 以示離指之月。汝今直爾如言取義。引可言喩 難離言法。但看指端 責其非月。故責難彌精 失理彌遠矣。
Response: Although you skillfully pose various logical objections, these are only problematic from a position that is attached to language, and do not refute my main point. None of the examples you have cited succeed in making your point. How so? [From the absolute perspective] the horns of a bull do not exist and the horns of a rabbit are not non-existent. Hence, you are only clinging to the words. Thus I rely on language to show the method of cutting off language. It is like relying on the finger (as part of the hand) to point to the moon, which is not related to the finger. You now simply grasp the meaning according to the words. When you rely on examples that are expressed in language, it is difficult to free oneself from the system of language. You simply look at the finger and criticize it for not being the moon. Thus, as your criticism becomes more fully elaborated, you depart further from the truth.
Now, I will further cite from the scriptures an example of freedom from language. This is the example of empty space, which accommodates all sorts of material objects, whether they be long or short, and all sorts of actions, such as expansion and contraction. When you extract various forms and activities, non-material space seems to appear. When you extract a ten-foot rod, ten feet of space appears. When you extract a one-foot rod, one foot of space appears. When you remove [the condition of] contraction, contraction becomes evident, and when you remove expansion, expansion becomes evident. 17 You should know that this space that becomes apparent [merely] seems long and short. The situation of being free from language is like this situation of space, which adapts according to the size and shape previously occupied by various objects. 18
2.3. Explanation through the Three Yogâcāra Modes of Cognition
然所容受色 異於虛空、凡夫邪想分別所取。故喩遍計所執諸法。雖無所有而計異空故。能容受事不異虛空 非諸凡夫分別所了。故喩依他起相諸法。雖實是有、而不異空故。又、彼遍計所執自性非無所依、獨自成立。依他起相爲所依止、遍計所執方得施設。喩如虛空離言之事隨其所應(卷上第九張)容受諸色。菩薩若離妄想分別、除遣遍計所執相時、便得現照離言之法。
Yet these material objects that are contained by space, though differing from it, are attached to by the false discrimination of ordinary people. Therefore [these material objects presented here as being contained by space] exemplify phenomena that are pervasively attached to by discrimination. 19 Even though they do not exist they are imagined to be different from emptiness.
The situation of [space containing material objects], yet their not being different from space, is something not understandable through the discrimination of ordinary persons, and so this exemplifies phenomena that have the characteristic of other-dependency. 20 Even though they truly exist, they are not different from emptiness. Also, the nature of pervasive discrimination does not lack a basis—it is not independently established. It is only with the other-dependent characteristics as a basis that the nature of pervasive discrimination can be established. It is like the situation of space, which is free from words—and contains all kinds of material objects. If bodhisattvas abandon deluded discrimination, at the time they remove pervasively discriminated and attached forms, they will directly see the reality that is free from language [which is the perfectly accomplished nature].
爾時諸法離言相顯。喩如除遣諸色相時、隨其除處 離色空顯。 由如是等比量道理、應知諸法 皆等虛空。如金鼓經言。 「若言其異者 一切諸佛菩薩行相 則是執着[...] 何以故。一切聖人於行非行法中同智慧行、是故不異。是故五陰非有。不從因緣生非不有。五陰不過聖境界故 非言語之所能及。」 21
At that moment, the freedom of all phenomena from language is evident. It is like the example of removing material objects: in every place where something is removed, the space, though unrelated to materiality, appears. Based on these kinds of logical approaches, you should know that all phenomena are equivalent to space. As the Suvarṇa-prabhāsa-sūtra says:
...If you say it is different, then all the defining activities of the buddhas and bodhisattvas are attached to [...]. How so? All sages apply the same conduct of wisdom in all their course of action and non-action, and hence there is no difference. Therefore the five aggregates are not existent. 22 Not being produced from causes and conditions, they are not non-existent. Since the five aggregates do not fall outside of the field of the enlightened ones, they are not something that language can extend to. 23
「雖生死道長 衆生性多 而生死邊如虛空、衆生性邊亦如虛空。」
「涅槃之實際 及與世間際 如是二際者 無毫氂許異。」
若諸有情於佛所說甚深空性相應經典 不解密意、於是經中 說一切法皆無自性 皆無有事 無生無滅 說一切法 皆等虛空皆如幻夢。彼聞是已 心生驚怖 誹謗此典 言非佛說。 菩薩爲彼 如理會通、如實和會。攝彼有情、爲彼說言。此經不說一切諸法都無所有 但說諸法所言自性都無所有。
若諸有情於佛所說甚深空性相應經典 不解密意、於是經中 說一切法皆無自性 皆無有事 無生無滅 說一切法 皆等虛空皆如幻夢。彼聞是已 心生驚怖 誹謗此典 言非佛說。 菩薩爲彼 如理會通、如實和會。攝彼有情、爲彼說言。此經不說一切諸法都無所有 但說諸法所言自性都無所有。
The Mahāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra says: “Although the course of cyclic existence is long, and the number of natures of sentient beings is great, the extent of cyclic existence is like space, and the extent of the natures of sentient beings is also like space. ” 26 The Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā says: “The extent of nirvāṇa, and the extent of the secular world: between these two there is not an iota of difference.” 27 The Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra says:
There may be a case where sentient beings do not understand the profound meaning of the Buddha's scriptures that articulate the arcane teaching of emptiness, which say that all phenomena are devoid of self-nature, all are insubstantial, without arising or cessation; and say all phenomena are all like space, and all like an illusion. When these sentient beings hear such arcane teachings, they become alarmed, and criticize such scriptures as not being the Buddhist teaching. The bodhisattvas help such people understand accurately, and so they can reconcile themselves with the truth. Gathering in these sentient beings, they teach them, saying: “These sutras do not say that all phenomena are completely non-existent. They simply say that they lack an inherent nature. ”
雖有一切所言說事 依止彼故諸言說轉。然彼所說可說自性、據第一義非其自性。[...] 譬知 28 空中有衆多色色業可得容受一切諸色色業。謂虛空中現有種種若往若來屈申等事。若於爾時諸色色業皆悉除遣、卽於爾時唯無色性淸淨虛空相似顯現。如是卽於相似虛空離言說事、有其種種言說所作邪想分別隨戲論着似色業轉。又、卽如是一切言說邪想分別隨戲論着似衆色業、皆是似空離言說事之所容受。若時菩薩以妙聖智 除遣一切言說所起邪想分別隨戲論着。爾時菩薩勝聖者 證得諸法離言說事。唯有一切言說自性非性所顯。喩如虛空 淸淨相顯。亦非過此有餘自性應更尋思。故。(卷上第十張)
[839a] Even though there are all kinds of verbal events depending on which verbal expressions proliferate, that which is discussed as “inherent nature” is, from the absolute standpoint, not an inherent nature. It is like, for example in space, where there are many forms and their activities that occur within space, which can contain all these forms and their activities. This means that space is able to reveal all kinds of activities, such as coming and going, rising and falling, expansion and contraction, etc. If at this moment, all forms and the activities of form are completely withdrawn, the only thing that will be manifest is something resembling formless, clear space. In this way, directly within the inexpressible appearance of apparent space, the apparent activities of form proliferate, and these are attached to by the conceptual elaborations of the mistaken discrimination produced by these various verbal expressions.
Furthermore, all these apparent physical activities which are attached to by the conceptual elaborations of the mistaken discrimination produced by these various verbal expressions are contained in this condition of disconnection from language that resembles space. If at a given moment, bodhisattvas use their enlightened wisdom to remove all attachments by the conceptual elaborations of the mistaken discrimination produced by these various verbal expressions, at that moment these superbly enlightened bodhisattvas are able to attain the state where all phenomena are free from linguistic expressions. This is nothing but the revelation of the lack of nature in the inherent nature of linguistic expressions. It is like the appearance of the clarity of space. There is not, beyond this, any further inherent nature that needs to be further considered. 29
2.4. Do All Sentient Beings Possess the Buddha-nature?
又、彼經言 「 衆生佛性不一不二。諸佛平等、猶如虛空 一切衆生同共有之。」 30 又、下文云 「一切衆生同有佛性 皆同一乘一因一果同一甘露。一切當得常樂我淨、是故一味。」 31 依此經文、若立一分無佛性者 則違大乘平等法性、同體大悲如海一味。 又、若立言定有無性一切界差別可得故、如火性中無水性者。他亦立云、定皆有性。一味性平等可得故。如諸麤色聚悉有大種性。則有決定相違過失。又、若立云、定有無性、由法爾故者、他亦立云、定無無性、由法爾故、是亦決定相違過失。
Furthermore, the [Mahāparinirvāṇa-]sūtra says: “Sentient beings and the buddha-nature are neither the same nor different. All buddhas are the same, just like space. All sentient beings share together in this same nature.” 32 Again, a passage below [in the same sutra] says:
All sentient beings possess the same nature as the buddhas. All are [carried] in the same one vehicle, with the same cause [buddha-nature], the same results [enlightenment], and the experience of the taste of the same single sweet nectar. All will attain constancy, bliss, self-stability, and purity. Therefore it is [said to be] of a single taste. 33
Taking into account the standpoint of this scripture, if one suggests that there is one group of sentient beings that lack the buddha-nature, this would be at odds with the great vehicle's advocacy of equality in nature, and the great compassion [of the buddhas and bodhisattvas] based on their realization of the essential commonality of their minds with those of sentient beings, which, like the ocean, is of a single taste. Some maintain that there are people who lack the buddha-nature based on the fact that it is readily observable that there are distinctions among [the phenomena] in all worlds. For example, the nature of fire lacks wetness.
On the other hand, there are those who advocate that everyone definitely possesses the buddha-nature, since such phenomena are observable as [the ocean] having a single taste [no matter where you might test it]. It is like all compounds of coarse materiality having the nature of the gross elements. 34 This is a fallacy wherein separately valid reasoning supports contradictory conclusions. One might propose that there are definitely sentient beings that lack [buddha-]nature, because that's just the way things are, while someone else says that there are definitely none who lack the [buddha-]nature, because that's just the way things are. This also constitutes a fallacy wherein differing, but individually valid reasons lead to contradictory conclusions.
Comment: Here Wonhyo is presenting a couple of sample arguments that were circulating in his era for and against the proposition of the possession of Buddhahood based on examples that can be seen in the material world. On one hand, we know that clear qualitative differences are observable between things. Yet on the other hand, there are phenomena that seem to provide an example of a single pervasive nature, such as that of the single salty taste of the ocean. Wonhyo then cites simultaneous proposing of both arguments as an example of one of the common fallacies documented in Buddhist formal logic.
2.4.1. The Argument for the Existence of Sentient Beings who Lack Buddha-nature
Those who hold to the view that there are sentient beings who lack [buddha-]nature, interpret the line of the [Nirvāṇa-]sūtra that says “all sentient beings have mind...” to refer to all sentient beings, whether or not they have buddha-nature, or whether or not they have attained enlightenment. They take the phrase “all those who possess mind will attain enlightenment,” takes “possess mind” to refer especially to those who have buddha-nature but who have not yet attained enlightenment.
設使一切有心皆當得者。已得菩提者、亦應當得耶。故知非謂一切有心皆當得也。 又言、猶如虛空一切同有者、是就理性、非說行性也。 又說、一因一果乃至一切當得常樂我淨者。是約少分一切、非說一切一切。如是諸文皆得善通。
Suppose all those who possess mind will attain enlightenment. Will those who have already attained enlightenment also [newly] attain enlightenment? Hence we know that this does not mean that all those who possess mind will attain enlightenment. It is also said “all possess it equally, just like space.”This is from the perspective of [buddha-nature] as principle, and does not explain the [buddha-nature] in actual manifestation. It is also said “There is a single cause and a single result,” as well as “all [sentient beings] will attain constancy, bliss, self-stability, and purity.” This is from the perspective of a limited kind of totality, rather than an absolute kind of totality. These passages can be skillfully interpreted in this way.
Comment: Basically the argument is that when such scriptures as the Nirvana Sutra use the phrase “all who have mind,” it obviously can't mean everyone, as in the case of buddhas, who obviously have minds, but who are already enlightened, and thus cannot be counted among those who are to attain enlightenment henceforth. The argument is also made that this statement is a sort of idealistic position—not something that happens in actual practice. 35 Again, this argument is being made fully through the framework of formal logic.
又、若立云由法爾故、無無性者、則衆生有盡。是爲大過。如前所立 由法爾故有無性者則無是失。故知是似決定相違、而實不成相違過失。如有立言 火非濕性、由法爾故。 又、有立言火是濕性 由法爾故。此似決定相違、而實無此過失。以火性是熱 實非濕故。無性有情道理亦爾。
If someone asserts that there are none who lack buddha-nature because that's the way things are, this implies that sentient beings are finite in number, which constitutes a major breach of logic. The prior assertion that there are sentient beings that lack buddha-nature because that's the way things are, does not make this error. Hence we know that although this appears to be a fallacy wherein differing but individually valid reasons lead to contradictory conclusions, it actually does not constitute a fallacy of contradiction. It is like saying that the fact that fire has no nature of wetness because that's the way things are, and then again saying that fire does have the nature of wetness because that's the way things are. While this appears to a fallacy wherein differing but individually valid reasons lead to contradictory conclusions, it actually is not such a fallacy. This is because since the nature of fire is heat, and is certainly not wet. The argument for there being sentient beings who lack buddha-nature works the same way.
Question: If we take the position of the latter scholar, how can it be interpreted? As the Prakaranâryavāca-śāstra* says: “How could it be that it is only in the present lifetime that there is no attainment of final nirvāṇa? It does not make sense. [...] This means that one should not say ‘in the present lifetime.’ Even if there is no such thing as attainment of final nirvāṇa [in the present lifetime], in subsequent lives the dharma of final nirvāṇa can be developed. Why is this so? Because [otherwise] there would be no such thing as innate potential for attaining nirvāṇa.”
Comment: From here, Wonhyo pursues an argument based on the problematic character of finitude/infinitude, fields of merit, and the definition of a buddha as one who saves sentient beings.
「又、若於此生先已積集順解脫分善根、何故不名般涅槃法。若於此生都未積集、云何後生能般涅槃。是故 (卷上第十五張)定有非般涅槃種性有情。」 36 瑜伽論中亦同此說。又、若一切皆當作佛、則衆生、雖多、必有終盡、以無不成佛者故。是則諸佛利他功德亦盡。
Furthermore, if one has already accumulated the good roots conducive to liberation in this life, why would this not be called the [potential for] final nirvāṇa? If, in this life one has not at all accumulated the good roots conducive to liberation, how could it be possible to bring about final nirvāṇa in a subsequent life? In this case, there definitely would have to be sentient beings who do not possess the innate potential for nirvāṇa. 37
The Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra also has the same kind of teaching. Furthermore, if everyone will become a buddha, then sentient beings, even though numerous, are certainly finite in number, since there are none who will not become buddhas. If this is the case, then the Buddha's merit of bringing benefit to others is also finite.
Also, if sentient beings are definitely finite in number, and later become buddhas, then there will be no one to teach. With no one to teach, the activities taken up by the buddhas for the benefit of others will be deficient. Becoming a buddha with deficiency in activities [for the benefit of others] does not make sense. Or, if one says that all sentient beings without exception become buddhas, yet there is no end to them, then this constitutes a logical breach of contradiction within one's own words, since if there is no end to sentient beings, it means that they never become buddhas.
Furthermore, when, in the course of the delivery of one sermon, one buddha causes billions of sentient beings to enter nirvāṇa, there must be a gradual decrease in the number of sentient beings. Saying that it is not the case that if there is gradual decrease, then there is eventual exhaustion—in other words, reduction without exhaustion—does not make sense. If there is no reduction [in the number of sentient beings], then there can't be liberation, since liberation without decrease [in the number of sentient beings] does not make sense. This kind of advance and regress ultimately can't be posited. Since there are no suitable analogies, the doctrine cannot be accepted.
2.4.2. All Sentient Beings Possess Buddha-nature
執皆有性論者、通曰 彼新論文、正破執於先來無性而後轉成有性義者。如彼文言 謂不應言於現在世。雖非般涅槃法 於餘生中可轉爲般涅槃法故。今所立宗本來有性、非謂先無而後轉成。故不墮於彼論所破。
Those who adhere to the position that all sentient beings possess buddha-nature interpret saying that the new treatise (Prakaranâryavāca-śāstra) correctly refutes attachment to the idea that sentient beings originally lack a [buddha-] nature but subsequently develop one. As that text says: “This means that it should not be stated in terms of the present lifetime. Even though they lack any [potential for] final nirvāṇa, [potential for] final nirvāṇa can be developed in subsequent lives.” 38 This presently-asserted thesis of innate buddha-nature does not imply that sentient beings originally lacked it and will subsequently develop it. Therefore it is not refuted by that thesis.
又、彼教意立無性者 爲欲廻轉不求大乘之心。依無量時而作是說。由是密意故、不相違。彼救難云、一切有心皆當得者 佛亦有心 亦應更得者。是義不然。以彼經中自簡別故。彼云、衆生亦爾悉皆有心。凡有心者當得菩提。佛非衆生 何得相濫。
Furthermore, the teaching that proposes some beings to be lacking the nature of enlightenment is established because they want to turn the minds of those who do not seek the great vehicle. They make this teaching based on the limitlessness of time [required for attainment]. From the perspective of this hidden implication, there is no contradiction. They support their objection by saying, “all those who possess mind will attain enlightenment.” But if the buddhas also have a mind, they should also re-attain enlightenment, and this is illogical. The Nirvana Sutra itself specifies this point, saying, “Sentient beings indeed all have a mind. All those who have a mind will attain enlightenment.” Since the buddhas are not sentient beings, why should the two be conflated?
又、彼難云。若皆作佛必有盡者、是難還着自無性宗。何者。如汝宗說無性有情本來具有法爾種子、窮未來際 種子無盡。我今問汝 隨汝意答。如是種子當言一切 皆當生果。當言亦有不生果者。若言亦有不生果者、不生果故則非種子。若言一切皆當生果者、是則種子雖多必有、終盡、以無不生果者故。若言雖一切種子皆當生果、而種子無窮故、無終盡而無自語相違過者。則應信受一切衆生皆當成佛、而衆生無邊故無終盡。又、汝難云、有滅無(卷上第十六張)。
Again, there was the objection that states “If all become buddhas then [the beings] must be finite.” This objection ends up returning to the original thesis of the existence of beings who lack the [buddha-]nature. Why? As your 39 [Yogâcāra] school teaches, sentient beings lacking the [buddha-]nature are endowed with seeds as part of their basic nature, and these seeds are never exhausted throughout the infinite future. I will now ask you question. Please answer as you see fit. Are such seeds to be explained as producing effects in the future without exception? Or should we say that there are some that do not produce effects? If you say that there are some that do not produce effects, then if they do not produce effects, they are not seeds. 40 If we say that all will produce effects, then even though these seeds are certainly numerous, they will eventually be exhausted, since there are none that do not produce effects. If you say that even though all seeds will produce effects, yet since seeds are infinite in number, then there is no exhaustion, and also no contradiction of one's own statement. Then, one acknowledges that all sentient beings will become buddhas, yet since sentient beings are infinite in number, they will never be exhausted. Again, you object, saying: the existence of extinction has no [... ]
Comment: Here the discussion breaks off at the end of a textual fragment, but it is clear that Wonhyo is in the midst of contesting the Yogâcāra position of sentient beings without seeds of Buddhahood, but not by citing opposing Buddha-nature sutras like the Nirvana or Lotus, or tathāgatagarbha texts like the Ratnagotravibhāga. Rather, he is trying to expose a logical inconsistency in the Yogâcārin's own doctrine. Thus, he is also choosing to stay within the realm of logical argumentation. The earlier citation of the line from the Nirvana Sutra—is not offered as scriptural evidence, but as the object of the critique.
2.5. Two Kinds of Emptiness
...of the principle of two kinds of emptiness. This is something that truly cannot be cognized but through the wisdom of the enlightened ones. You could also say that the person and phenomena that are the objects of attachment of the two dysfunctional modes of cognition 41 are false, not existent, and are not cognized by the enlightened ones. If both statements are accepted, there will be no conventional wisdom. The principle of causality will be rejected, which is one of the primary mistaken views. 42
If you say that even though there are no real phenomena that are attached to, and yet there are provisional phenomena that are apprehended by enlightened cognition, this would imply that even though there is no true person that is attached to, there is a provisional person that is apprehended by enlightened cognition. If both statements are accepted, enlightened cognition cannot extend beyond the three categories of aggregates, sense bases, and cognitive factors. Where can a self exist?
If you say that provisional phenomena truly exist but provisional selves truly do not exist, then there truly is emptiness of self and no emptiness of phenomena. If both kinds of emptiness exist, then person and phenomena are both non-existent. If you say that the phenomena that are attached to truly do not exist, and therefore there is emptiness of phenomena, it is still [nonetheless] the case that verbal expressions perfume [the ālayavijñāna] based on attachment to phenomena. The fact that phenomena that are produced are unreal, yet exist; and that they exist while being unreal, does not disallow their emptiness. This being the case, the self that is produced from the perfuming of verbal expressions is not real, yet exists; it exists being unreal, and this does not controvert the emptiness of person. This is because it would not make sense to say that causes await perfumation, but effects are not produced from perfuming.
若言於世俗諦因緣道理四緣和合有法生者。 他亦於世俗諦因緣道理五蘊和合卽有人生。若五蘊雖和合無人生者、則四緣雖 和、亦無法生。齊有熏習種子因緣果有生不生不應道理故。通曰。所設諸難皆 有道理。有道理故、悉無不許無不許故、無所不通。
If you say, based on the conventional principle of causation that the confluence of the four kinds of causation 43 results in the production of phenomena, then it will also be the case that based on the conventional principle of causation that the confluence of the five aggregates results in the production of the person. If [one says that] even though the five aggregates coalesce there is no person produced, then [it would also be the case that] even though the four kinds of causation coalesce, no phenomena are produced. Since they are equally the results of causes and conditions through perfumation and seeds, the positions of production and non-production are logically incommensurate.
Interpretation: Each of these objections is carried out based on its own valid reasoning. Since each is based on its own valid reasoning, none of them are denied. Since none of them are denied, there is no point that can't be interpreted.
What does this mean? In order to counter the non-Buddhists' attachment to oneness, to permanence, and belief in a self, we acknowledge the existence of the five aggregates, but say that there is no single self apart from the aggregates, since there is no soul apart from phenomena. It is like the [Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa-]sūtra says: “No self, no actor, no receiver [of the consequences of action]: it is due to causes and conditions that all phenomena are produced.” 44 It is also said [In the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra]: “It is like a third hand, or a second head.” 45 The self existing within the five aggregates is like this. In order to counter the attachment of the adherents of the two vehicles to the phenomena of the aggregates of the three times, one allows that there is a unitary self but not five aggregates. This is because even though there is a true self, beyond it there are no five phenomena. As a sutra says: “When this same reality-body transmigrates through the five destinies, it is called ‘sentient being.’” 46
又言、一切衆生皆有佛性卽是我義。我者卽是如來藏義故。若對菩薩依甚深教如言取義 起損減執則許我法皆悉是有。如論說云、又此假我 是無常相是非有相是安住相是變相乃至廣說故。若對菩薩依法相教如言取義起增執、則許人法皆無所有。如經言。尙無我無衆生乃至智者見者、 何況當有色受想行。
The Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra says: “It is also said: ‘All sentient beings possess buddha-nature.’ 47 ” Thus, the term “self” here refers to the tathāgatagarbha. To counter the attachment to repudiation generated by bodhisattvas who apprehend the meaning of the most profound teaching, we acknowledge that the self and phenomena all exist. As the [Yogâcārabhūmi-]śāstra says: “This provisional self does not have the character of permanence, existence, or stability. [It has the character of change and disintegration]. . .” 48 and so forth. To counter the bodhisattvas' tendency to rely on the teaching of the marks of phenomena, which can be seen in their proclivity to attach to doctrine and give rise to reification, we declare that neither person nor phenomena has any existence. As a sutra says: “Even self, sentient being and so forth up to wisdom and views do not exist, how much more so with form, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness.” 49 In this kind of principle of cause and conditions, whether it is person or phenomena, they are neither existent nor non-existent. Since they are not non-existent, we say that the person and phenomena exist as illuminated by discriminating wisdom. Since they are not existent, we say that the principle of the two kinds of emptiness of person and phenomena is realized by the wisdom of principle. Since they are realized by the wisdom of principle, they do not deny the existence of person and phenomena. That which is illuminated by the wisdom of discrimination does not controvert the teaching of the two kinds of emptiness.
I, Jong-ik. Wonhyo ui gunbon sasang: Simmun hwajaeng non yeon-gu (Wonhyo's Fundamental Thought: Research on the Ten Approaches to the Reconciliation of Doctrinal Controversy). Seoul: Tongbang Sasang Yeon-gu won, 1977.
I, Manyeong. Wonhyo ui sasang: Wonhyo daesa ui Simmun hwajaeng non. Seoul: Jeonmangsa, 1983.
Ishida, Mosaku, ed. Narachō genzai issai kyōso mokuroku [Catalogue on the Commentaries and Entire Scriptures of the Present Nara Dynasty]. Tokyo: 1930.
Jo, Myeonggi. Wonhyo daesa jeonjip (Edited version of the collected works of Wonhyo). Seoul: Boryeon-gak, 1978.
Muller, A. Charles, Cuong T. Nguyen, eds. Wŏnhyo's Philosophy of Mind. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2011.
O, Beop-an. Wonhyo ui hwajaeng sasang yeon-gu (Wŏnhyo's Theory of Harmonization). Seoul: Hongbeopwon, 1988.
Yaotani, Takayasu. “Shiragi so Gangyō denkō (A Study of the Life of the Silla Monk Wŏnhyo).” Taishō Daigaku hō. (1952):
1. Choe Namseon, “Joseon bulgyo: Dongbang munhwasa sang ae ui neu geu ji wi” (Joseon Buddhism and Its Place in Oriental Cultural History), Bulgyo (Buddhism) 74 (1931): 248–50.
2. There is, in fact, a pangyo system is ascribed to Wonhyo in Fazang's Huayanjing tanxuan ji (T 1733.35.111a23–27), but we should be careful not to take this as an indication that Wonhyo was seriously involved in the work of doctrinal classification, as: (1) nowhere else in Wonhyo's extant corpus do we find anything indicating his having created, or having placed emphasis on a doctrinal classification system; (2) if we read Wonhyo's works extensively, it would seem that his entire approach is antithetical to the work of compartmentalization, and, most importantly, (3) in the final lines of his Doctrinal Essentials of the Nirvana Sutra (K. Yeolban jong-yo) he says: “You should know that the Buddha's meaning is deep and profound without limit. So if you want [like Zhiyi] to divide the scriptural meaning into four teachings, or limit the Buddha's intent with five periods, then this is like using a snail shell to scoop out the ocean, or trying to see the heavens through a narrow tube.”(HBJ 1.547a.18–21; T 1769.38.255c5–6)
3. The Pan biryang non, HBJ 1.813–816, translated in Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind by Dan Lusthaus.
4. Goseonsa Seodang hwasang tapbi, in Jo Myeonggi, ed., Wonhyo daesa jeonjip (The Complete Works of Wonhyo), p. 661, lines 10–13.
5. Translated by A. Charles Muller in Wonhyo's Philosophy of Mind.
6. I Jong-ik, Wonhyo ui gunbon sasang: Simmun hwajaeng non yeon-gu (Wonhyo's Fundamental Thought: Research on the Ten Approaches to the Reconciliation of Doctrinal Controversy).
7. Manyeong Lee, Wonhyo ui sasang (Wonhyo's Philosophy), p. 77.
8. Dignāga was a south Indian scholar-monk, known for his work in Yogâcāra and Logic, considered to be the founder of the New School of logic. This account is given in Bak Jong Hong, Hanguk sasang sa (History of Korean Thought), p. 105.
9. Ibid., p.44.
10. Sources for these hypothetical restorations of these ten topic headings include (1) “Wonhyo ui Simmun hwajaeng non sasang yeon-gu” (Tongbang sasang, vol. 1: Wonhyo yeon-gu non seonjip, no. 9. Jung-ang Seungga Daehak, Bulgyo sahak yeon-gu so, 1993, p. 283 ff.; (2) Gim Unhak “Weonhyo ui hwajaeng sasang”(Bulgyo hakbo, vol. 15, p. 177). (3) I Manyeong Wonhyo ui sasang: Wonhyo daesa ui Simmun hwajaeng non, p. 177. (4) O Beob-an “Wonhyo ui hwajaeng sasang yeon-gu”, pp. 83–108.
11. The texts of these five print blocks containing fragments of the Ten Approaches to the Harmonization of Doctrinal Disputes has been compiled in Wonhyo jeonjip (Wonhyo's Complete Collection), pp. 303–315.
12. This preface was found on the Goseonsa Seodang Hwasang Tapbi (高仙寺誓嵯和街塔碑, the Inscription on the Seodang Hwasang in Goseonsa Temple). The biographer's name, written on the inscription, was Gogeum (a high-ranking military officer). See Takayasu Yaotani, Shiragi sō Gangyō denkō (A Study of Silla Monk Wonhyo's Life) , pp. 64–65.
13. “Wŏnhyo's Theory of Harmonization”.
14. Published in the volume Wŏnhyo's Philosophy of Mind.
15. The four terms of differentiation, e. g. of all things into: the existing; the empty; both; neither.
16. A fallacy of inconclusiveness (K. bujeong gwa 不定過; Skt. anaikāntika doṣa) refers, in Buddhist logic to the case where there is a fault in either the second or third among the three properties of the reason—i.e., either in the reason definitely having the same qualities as the proposition (in the case of a positive example), or the reason being totally devoid of the same qualities of the proposition (in the case of a negative example), and thus the proposition cannot be validated. There are six variations of this. See this term in the online Digital Dictionary of Buddhism for a detailed explanation.
17. In other words, expansion and contraction become evident only after their activity ceases.
18. Thus, Wonhyo's conclusion here, is that no matter what position one takes regarding the problems of existence and emptiness, the main thing that we have to do is learn how to think while maintaining a certain degree of distance from the words themselves—an admonition that can be found repeated in every commentary that he writes. This kind of admonition is not something that I have seen delivered, at least with the same frequency and force, in the works of Wonhyo's contemporary colleagues in the Silla and Tang, and it seems to resonate with the view of Wonhyo as being one of the precursors of Chan-type views.
19. Attachment by pervasive imagination (byeongye sojip 遍計所執; Skt. parikalpita) is an important concept in Yogâcāra, referring to the way the discriminating mind of regular people functions to continually label, classify and schematize everything based on linguistic constructions. What results is a constructed, or imagined world which cannot but be far removed from the real state of things. As one of the three modes of cognition 三性, it is the mode engaged in by unenlightened people, and can be correlated to what is characterized in other Buddhist systems as delusion, or ignorance.
20. The nature of dependent arising (Skt. paratantra-svabhāva; 依他起[性]; uita gi [seong]) The nature of existence as arising from dependence on other things. One of the three modes of perceiving existence as taught in the Yogâcāra school. This is a more accurate way of understanding the world than that of pervasive discrimination, recognizing the fact that phenomena lack any independent existence.
21. T 664.16.380b18–23.
22. The five aggregates (Skt. skandhas) are the early Buddhist division of matter and mind into five categories, which are materiality, feeling, perception, impulse and consciousness.
23. T 664.16.380b18–23, abbreviated.
24. T 223.8.349b7.
25. T 1564.30.36a10–11.
26. T 223.8.349b7–8.
27. T 1564.30.36a10–11.
28. Following Taishō, 知 should be 如.
29. T 1579.30.541a13–b12, with several abbreviations. Taishō gives 求 instead of 思.
30. T 374.12.539a9–10.
31. T 374.12.559a21.
32. T 374.12.539a9–10.
33. T 374.12.559a21.
34. Gross elements refers to the four main properties of physical sensation shared throughout the ancient world: (1) the earth element (pṛthivī dhātu), which represents distinctions in softness and hardness; (2) the water element (ab-dhātu), which represents distinctions in dryness and wetness; (3) the fire element (teja-dhātu), which represents distinctions in coolness and warmth; (4) the wind element (vāyu-dhātu), representing distinctions in movement and stillness.
35. This is the same argument that Tagawa Shun'ei makes in the eighth chapter of Hajimete no yuishiki, in his defense of the Yogâcāra teaching of the five natures and icchantika doctrine.
36. T 1602.31.581a4–5; a27–b4
37. T 1602.31.581a4–5; a27–b4
38. T 1602.31.581a27–29.
39. The presence of the term “you” here lends some credence to the possibility that the SHN (and other texts of Wonhyo's) are at least in part records of lecture sessions.
40. Especially since the metaphor of seeds refers specifically to the notion of “potentiality,” for which the meaning of effect is obviously implied.
41. The two dysfunctional modes of cognition 二惑 are better known as the “two hindrances,” “two obscurations,” etc. These are the afflictive hindrances and cognitive hindrances, which are discussed at length in Wonhyo's Ijang ui (“System of the Two Hindrances”).
42. Scholastic Buddhism in general lists five kinds of mistaken views that play a fundamental role in the causation of suffering. One of these is the view that does not acknowledge the pervasive law of (moral) cause and effect. This law is something that is to be understood even by conventional intelligence.
43. In Yogâcāra, a division into four types, of the causes that produce all phenomena. These are explained in such texts as the Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra and the Cheng weishi lun. The four causes are: (1) direct internal causes that produce a result (hetu-pratyaya); (2) similar and immediately antecedent conditions(saṃanantara-pratyaya); (3) referent (objects) as condition (ālambana-pratyaya), and (4) contributory factors as causes (adhipati-pratyaya). This group includes all kinds of indirect peripheral causes and contingences the lie outside of the three prior, relatively direct types of causation, including not only those things which contribute to the production of results, but also factors which aid merely by their not serving to impede or hinder.
44. T 475.14.537c15.
45. T 1509.25.60a2.
46. This phrase is cited secondarily in many places with the same introduction, “a sutra says”, but I have not yet found it in a sutra.
47. T 374.12.404c4–5
48. T 1579.30.307b22.
49. Found in T 1509.25.700c7–8, (Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra) which is not a sutra. The text of the Simmun hwajaeng non is broken off here, but this discussion on the differences in application of anti-reifying discourse to counter reified positions of non-Buddhists, two-vehicle, and bodhisattva practitioner is also contained, almost verbatim, in Wonhyo's Ijangui. See HBJ 1.814a12, ff. In that text, this discussion is completed in the sentences that follow, so we will add them here.