Back to Events of Wednesday 13th July 2022


06:00 PM

Tibetan Interpretations of Buddha Nature

Tetralogia Buddhica: Four Lectures in Buddhist Studies

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Universität Wien (Österreich), Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde



With the Mahāyāna goal of establishing all sentient beings in Buddhahood, the possibility of enlightenment became a Buddhist axiom of central importance. Either one has to explain the causal process of its production, or accept its primordial existence, for example in terms of a buddha nature. The latter also applies, of course, when buddhahood is not taken to be produced from scratch. The way the process of becoming a Buddha is addressed is an ideal touchstone for systematically comparing the philosophical hermeneutical positions of various masters in Tibet. The diversity of views on buddha nature has its roots already in early Indian Buddhism. Depending on whether one follows the original intent of the Tathāgatagarbhasūtras, or the Yogācāra interpretation of the latter, buddha nature can refer to either an already fully developed buddha, or the naturally present potential (prakṛtisthāgotra) or natural luminosity of mind, i.e., sentient beings’ ability to become buddhas. In Madhyamaka, buddha nature was taken either as a teaching of provisional meaning (neyārtha) or simply a synonym of emptiness (i.e., a non-affirming negation). It will be shown that all possible combinations of these doctrinal elements can in fact be identified in the complex Tibetan intellectual landscape.

The HCTS-Professorship of Buddhist Studies will host a series of guest lectures under the rubric of “Tetralogia Buddhica”. The series gathers four world-class scholars from Europe and America, specializing in Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan Buddhism, respectively. They will bring along insights from their latest research into Buddhist rituals, history of ideas, epigraphy, literature, etc. All the lectures will be delivered in English and in person.


Karl Jaspers Centre


Voßstraße 2, Geb. 44

69115 Heidelberg


Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS)

Homepage Organizer


Dr. Chen Ruixuan

Alle Termine der Veranstaltung 'Lectures „Tetralogia Buddhica”':

Wednesday 13th July 2022, 06:00 PM

Tibetan Interpretations of Buddha Nature

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Universität Wien (Österreich), Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde

Tuesday 19th July 2022, 06:00 PM

Kings as Founders of Stūpas and Monasteries in Early Āndhra

Prof. Dr. Vincent Tournier, École française d'Extrême-Orient (Frankreich), Histoire et traditions textuelles du bouddhisme en Asie du Sud

Thursday 21st July 2022, 06:00 PM

The Meditative Instructions of Gampopa (1079-1153) and Their Kadampa Background

Prof. Dr. Marta Sernesi, École Pratique des Hautes Études (Frankreich), Sciences Religieuses