a public event
Looking for the Textual Origins: Buddha-Nature Thought in Indian Mahayana Buddhism
UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies Colloquium with Michael Zimmermann(Stanford)
Friday, May 27, 2005
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Los Angeles, CA 90095
The idea that all living beings have buddha-nature or carry the embryo of a buddha within is linked to the term tathagata-garbha (rulaizang). A third-century Mahayana sutra with the same title makes first use of this expression. In the paper I will discuss the compositional history of this sutra, analyze the position and the meanings of the term tathagata-garbha in this early context, and look into the prehistory of the ideas found in the text. I will also relate this strand of thought to other doctrinal tenets of early Mahayana Buddhism.
Michael Zimmermann’s main interest is the history of Buddhist thought. He has worked and published on the early buddha-nature doctrine in Indian Mahayana Buddhism and critically edited one of its first texts. The relation of Buddhism and violence is another focus of his research. Michael joined Stanford University’s Department of Religious Studies as an assistant professor in 2003. He holds a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Hamburg and has worked for the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP) in Germany and Nepal before coming to the US.