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Svabhava
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{{Hindu philosophy}}{{Buddhism}}Svabhava (; ; {{zh|c=自性|p=zìxìng}}; {{bo|t=རང་བཞིན|w=rang-bzhin}})Dharma Dictionary (2008). rang bzhin. Source: weblink (accessed: January 29, 2008) literally means "own-being" or "own-becoming". It is the intrinsic nature, essential nature or essence of living beings.The concept and term svabhāva are frequently encountered in Hindu and Buddhist traditions such as Advaita Vedanta (e.g. in the Avadhūta Gītā), Mahayana Buddhism (e.g. in the Ratnagotravibhāga), Vaishnavism (e.g., the writings of Ramanuja) and Dzogchen (e.g. in the seventeen tantras).In the nondual Advaita Vedānta yoga text, Avadhūta Gītā, Brahman (in the Upanishadic denotation) is the svabhāva.In the Mahāyāna Buddhadharma tradition(s) it is one of a suite of terms employed to denote the Buddha-nature, such as "gotra".Ruegg, D. Seyfort (1976). 'The Meanings of the Term "Gotra" and the Textual History of the "Ratnagotravibhāga"'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 39, No. 2 (1976), pp. 341–363

Indian philosophy

The term first appears in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, as a possible first cause (jagatkāraṇa).Ramkrishna Bhattacharya, Svabhāvavada and the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Historical Overview There also seems to have been an Indian philosophical position called Svabhāvavada which was akin to naturalism which held that "things are as their nature makes them".M. Hiriyanna, Outlines of Indian Philosophy, p. 103. It is possible this position was similar to or associated with Carvaka.Ramkrishna Bhattacharya, Svabhāvavada and the Cārvāka/Lokāyata: A Historical Overview

Samkhya

In early Samkhya philosophy, Svabhava was a term which was associated with Prakṛti.Gerald James Larson, Classical Sāṃkhya: An Interpretation of Its History and Meaning, p.114 It is the inherent capacity of Prakṛti, which is independent and self caused.Knut A. Jacobsen, Prakr̥ti in Samkhya-yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience, Ethical Implications, 1999, p. 53.

Vaishnavism

The Bhagavad GÄ«tā (18.41) has nature (svabhava) as a distinguishing quality differentiating the varṇā.Source: WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2010-04-06, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100616084818weblink">weblink 2010-06-16, (accessed: Tuesday April 6, 2010)Overzee (1992: p. 74) in her work on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) and Rāmānuja (1017–1137) highlights Rāmānuja's usage of svabhāva in relation to Brahman thus:Let us look more closely at what Rāmānuja means by the Lord's "nature". If you read his writings, you will find that he uses two distinct yet related words when referring to the nature of Brahman: svarÅ«pa and svabhāva.Overzee, Anne Hunt (1992). The body divine: the symbol of the body in the works of Teilhard de Chardin and Rāmānuja. Issue 2 of Cambridge studies in religious traditions. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-38516-4}}, {{ISBN|978-0-521-38516-9}}. Source: weblink (accessed: Monday April 5, 2010), p.74

Buddhism

In early Theravādin texts, the term "svabhāva" did not carry the technical meaning or the soteriological weight of later writings. Much of Mahayana Buddhism (as in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) denies that such a svabhāva exists within any being; however, in the tathāgatagarbha sūtras, notably the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, the Buddha states that the immortal and infinite Buddha-nature - or "true self" of the Buddha - is the indestructible svabhāva of beings.

Theravāda

In the Pāli Canon, sabhāva is absent from what are generally considered to be the earliest texts. When found in later texts (e.g., the paracanonical Milindapañha), it generically refers to state (of mind), character or truth.In the post-canonical Abhidhamma literature, sabhāva is used to distinguish an irreducible, dependent, momentary phenomenon (dhamma) from a conventionally constructed object. Thus, a collection of visual and tactile phenomena might be mentally constructed into what is conventionally referred to as a "table"; but, beyond its constituent elements, a construct such as "table" lacks intrinsic existence (sabhāva).According to Peter Harvey, svabhava in the Theravada Abhidhamma is something conditional and interdependent:

Vaibhāṣika

The Vaibhāṣika school held that dharmas have a constant essence or inherent nature (svabhāva) which persists through past, present and future.Westerhoff, The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy in the First Millennium CE, 2018, p. 70. The term was also identified as a unique mark or own characteristic (svalaksana) that differentiated a dharma and remained unchangeable throughout its existence. According to Vaibhāṣikas, svabhavas are those things that exist substantially (dravyasat) as opposed to those things which are made up of aggregations of dharmas and thus only have a nominal existence (prajñaptisat).

Madhyamaka

Robinson (1957: p. 300) in discussing the Buddhist logic of Nāgārjuna, states:
(accessed: Saturday March 21, 2009), p.300}}

Dzogchen

Dzogchen upholds a view of niḥsvabhāva, refuting svabhāva using the same logic employed by Madhyamaka, a freedom from extremes demonstrated succinctly via Catuṣkoṭi Tetralemma. , p.103}}In the context of logical analysis, Dzogchen agrees with the view of Madhyamaka as elucidated by Nāgārjuna, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu explains:, p.55}}The Union of the Sun and Moon ({{bo|t=ཉི་ཟླ་ཁ་སྦྱོར|w=nyi zla kha sbyor}}), one of the 'Seventeen tantras of the esoteric instruction cycle' ({{bo|t=མན་ངག་སྡེའི་རྒྱུད་བཅུ་བདུན|w=man ngag sde'i rgyud bcu bdun}}) which are a suite of tantras known variously as: Nyingtik, Upadesha or Menngagde within Dzogchen discourse, states:
(accessed: Friday March 19, 2010)}}

Bonpo Dzogchen

Svabhāva is very important in the nontheistic theology of the Bonpo Great Perfection (Dzogchen) tradition where it is part of a technical language to render macrocosm and microcosm into nonduality, as Rossi (1999: p. 58) states:, p.58}}

The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra

The term "svabhāva" is mentioned in six verses of the first chapter of the AvadhÅ«ta GÄ«tā: s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse5|1.5]], s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse6|1.6]], s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse44|1.44]], s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse54|1.54]], s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse58|1.58]], s:Avadhuta Gita/Chapter 1#verse76|1.76]].This extreme nondual yoga text shares a lot of common language with the extreme nondual yoga of Atiyoga (Dzogchen) and its standard Tibetan analogue rang-bzhin (Wylie) is employed in The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra, one of the Seventeen Tantras of Atiyoga Upadesha.Dzogchen strictly refutes the notion of "svabhāva", and so The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra, states specifically that dharmakāya is non-arisen and natureless:The following quotation from The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra is drawn from the Lungi Terdzö:{{refn|group=lower-alpha|The Lungi Terdzö (Wylie: lung-gi gter-mdzod) is the prose autocommentary by Longchenpa (1308–1364 or possibly 1369) to his Chöying Dzö (Wylie: chos-dbyings mdzod) -- which are numbered amongst the Seven Treasuries (Wylie: mdzod chen bdun). This text is rendered into English by Barron, 'et al.' (2001: p. 8) and the Wylie has been secured from Wikisource and interspersed and embedded in the English gloss for (:wikt:probity|probity)}}}}

Namkhai Norbu

Dzogchen teacher Namkhai Norbu (2001: p. 155) in discussing the view of the pratyekabuddhas states that:

See also

Notes

{{reflist|group=lower-alpha|2}}

References

{{reflist|2}}

Sources

  • Gethin, R.M.L. (1992). The Buddhist Path to Awakening: A Study of the Bodhi-Pakkhiyā Dhammā. Leiden: E.J. Brill. {{ISBN|90-04-09442-3}}.
  • Y Karunadasa, (1996). The Dhamma Theory: Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma (WH 412/413). Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2008-06-30 from "BPS" (transcribed 2007) atweblink{{dead link|date=February 2014}}
  • Red Pine (2004). The Heart Sutra. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard. {{ISBN|1-59376-009-4}}.
  • Rhys Davids, Caroline A. F. ([1900], 2003). Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, of the Fourth Century B.C., Being a Translation, now made for the First Time, from the Original Pāli, of the First Book of the Abhidhamma-Pi{{IAST|á¹­}}aka, entitled Dhamma-{{IAST|Saá¹…gaṇi}} (Compendium of States or Phenomena). Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing. {{ISBN|0-7661-4702-9}}.
  • Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921–25). The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary. Chipstead: Pali Text Society.
  • Walshe, Maurice (1987, 1995). The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. {{ISBN|0-86171-103-3}}.
  • Williams, Paul (1989; repr. 2007). Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. London: Routledge. {{ISBN|978-0-415-02537-9}}.
  • Yamamoto, Kosho (tr.), Page, Tony (ed.) (1999–2000).weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20131019072030weblink">The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 volumes. London: Nirvana Publications

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