Gregory Forgues presents his research on Longchenpa's writings on Buddha nature
This presentation offers a new perspective on the discourse of Longchenpa (Klong chen rab ’byams pa dri med ’od zer 1308–1363) regarding the central doctrinal concept of bde gshegs snying po (*sugatagarbha), a synonym for de gshegs snying po (tathāgatagarbha). Longchenpa lived in a time period during which leading figures belonging to distinct Tibetan Buddhist traditions produced systematic presentations of the Buddhist doctrines they inherited from India. Some of these doctrines could have been interpreted as contradictory in the absence of any hermeneutical project aiming at presenting them in a coherent way. The work of Longchenpa is in this way characteristic of this time period. It takes the form of a grand synthesis from the lowest vehicles up to the pinnacle of the path, the teaching of rDzogs chen.
In this presentation, I will share the findings of my investigation of Longchenpa’s entire sub-corpus of texts in which the term bde gshegs snying po and its synonyms are found. This task has not yet been completed in a systematic way, although it is an important preliminary step to (1) better understand Longchenpa’s discourse on Buddha nature and (2) to assess any potential evolution of his position in the course of time.
Recent developments in the Digital Humanities have given rise to a number of tools ranging from time-tested corpus-linguistic methods to innovative text mining algorithms. From a practical perspective, I will show how corpus linguistics, text analytics, and text mining tools can be used to produce a textual discourse analysis of Longchenpa’s writings on Buddha nature.