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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Anusmrti in Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna perspectives: A lens for the full range of Buddha's teachings
by Roe, Sharon J., Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2014, 235; 3621055
Abstract (Summary)

This research investigates anusmrti (Sanskrit), rjes su dran pa (Tibetan), anussati (Pāli), and considers how this term might serve as a link for finding a commonality in practices in Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna traditions. The research was inspired by the work of Buddhist scholars Janet Gyatso, Paul Harrison, and Matthew Kapstein. Each of them has noted the importance of the term anusmrti in Buddhist texts and Buddhist practice. Harrison sees a connection between Hīnayāna practices of buddhānusmrti and a host of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna practices. He notes that buddhānusmrti can be seen as a source of later, more elaborate Vajrayāna visualization practices ("Commemoration" 215). Gyatso investigates contextual meanings of the term anusmrti and cites meanings that include an element of commemoration and devotion. She notes that varieties of anusmrti are considered beneficial for soteriological development and are deliberately cultivated for that purpose (Mirror of Memory 2-3). Matthew Kapstein refers to a type of anusmrti that is the palpable recovery of a state of being or affect. This, he says, is not simply the memory of the experience but the recovery of the sense of being in that state ("Amnesic Monarch" 234). Essential to the research were the teachings of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Anam Thubten Rinpoche on Buddha-nature and Pure Vision.

In this study I have coined the terms "Buddha-nature anusmrti" and "Pure vision anusmrti." Though these terms do not appear in the literature, they may be seen as useful in investigating core remembrances (anusmrti) in the Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna traditions respectively. "Buddha-nature anusmrti " refers to a key remembrance or commemoration in Mahāyāna Tibetan literature and practice. "Pure Vision anusmrti " refers to a key remembrance or commemoration in Vajrayāna Tibetan literature and practice. This dissertation cites passages from key texts and commentaries to make the point that these coined terms meaningfully reflect a major aspect of their respective traditions. They describe that which is worthy and important, that which should be remembered and commemorated.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goodman, Steven D.
Commitee: Ryan, James D., Thubten, Anam
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Philosophy and Religion
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy of religion, Asian Studies, Art history
Keywords: Buddhā, Gatagarbha, uttaratantra, Na, mahā, Na, vajrā, Nayā, Nusmṛ, Ti, buddha-nature, hī, , Yana, pure vision, tathā
Publication Number: 3621055
ISBN: 978-1-303-91835-3
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