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The conceptions of seeing the Buddha and Buddha embodiments in early Prajñāpāramitā literature
The conceptions of seeing the Buddha and Buddha embodiments in early Prajñāpāramitā literature
My dissertation investigated the notion of “seeing the Buddha” and its relationship with Buddha embodiments, as described in the early Prajñāpāramitā literature. This involved a study of various texts dated from the beginning of the Common Era up until the 7th Century and outlined the historical developments of several important conceptions current to the Buddhist thought of this period. In the earliest phase of this development, “seeing” was used in a metaphorical manner. The older idea prevalent in early Buddhism that “seeing dharma is seeing the Buddha” inspired the assimilation between the Buddha and the teaching or text of the Prajñāpāramitā. Later, however, seeing the Buddha more often appeared in the sense of a real vision of the Buddha and became associated with the goal of salvation. This change also paved the way for the development of the Buddha bodies theory: the dharmakāya was developed from dharma or dharmatā and interpolated into the context of seeing/recollecting the Buddha, along with the rūpakāya. Eventually, it became indicatory of the omnipresent body of the Buddha.
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Zhao, Wen
2018
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Zhao, Wen (2018): The conceptions of seeing the Buddha and Buddha embodiments in early Prajñāpāramitā literature. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Cultural Studies
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Abstract

My dissertation investigated the notion of “seeing the Buddha” and its relationship with Buddha embodiments, as described in the early Prajñāpāramitā literature. This involved a study of various texts dated from the beginning of the Common Era up until the 7th Century and outlined the historical developments of several important conceptions current to the Buddhist thought of this period. In the earliest phase of this development, “seeing” was used in a metaphorical manner. The older idea prevalent in early Buddhism that “seeing dharma is seeing the Buddha” inspired the assimilation between the Buddha and the teaching or text of the Prajñāpāramitā. Later, however, seeing the Buddha more often appeared in the sense of a real vision of the Buddha and became associated with the goal of salvation. This change also paved the way for the development of the Buddha bodies theory: the dharmakāya was developed from dharma or dharmatā and interpolated into the context of seeing/recollecting the Buddha, along with the rūpakāya. Eventually, it became indicatory of the omnipresent body of the Buddha.