Ching KengMar 25, 2023
Toward a New Image of Paramartha
Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha Buddhism Revisited
Today I talked to Ching Keng about his book Toward a New Image of Paramartha: Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha Buddhism Revisited (Bloomsbury, 2022).
Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha are often regarded as antagonistic Indian Buddhist traditions. Paramartha (499-569) is traditionally credited with amalgamating these philosophies by translating one of the most influential Tathagatagarbha texts in East Asia, the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana, and introducing Tathagatagarbha notions into his translations of Yogacara texts. Engaging with the digitalized Chinese Buddhist canon, Ching Keng draws on clues from a long-lost Dunhuang fragment and considers its striking similarities with Paramartha's corpus with respect to terminology, style of phrasing, and doctrines. In this cutting-edge interpretation of the concept of jiexing, Keng demystifies the image of Paramartha and makes the case that the fragment holds the key to recovering his original teachings.
Further readings mentioned in our interview:
Funayama, Toru 船山徹. The Work of Paramārtha an Example of Sino-Indian Cross-cultural Exchange. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies; 2009; 31, pp. 141-83.
Radich, Michael. The Doctrine of *Amalavijñāna in Paramārtha (499–569), and Later Authors to Approximately 800C.E. Zinbun; 2008; 41, pp. 45-174.
Listeners and readers interested in further discussions, please feel free to contact Prof. Ching Keng, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Zu is an intellectual historian and a scholar of Buddhist studies. She is an assistant professor of religion at the University of Southern California.