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By Sallie B. King

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The concept of a pivotal conversion experience from delusion to enlightenment or from impurity to purity. 7. 60 The clear and systematic expression of these themes in the BNT provides an accessible door into some of the most important, but often puzzling, tenets of Chinese Buddhist thought. In this sense,one can think of this book as an introduction to themes that subsequently would become core Chinese Buddhist ideas. W e are introduced to 27 BUDDIiA NATURE them in the B N T at the point of their importation from India to China (via Paramartha), prior to their appropriation by Chinese Buddhist thinkers.

The prayoga cause is called bodhicitta. W ith this mind, one can attain the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenm ent,10 the ten stages (dasabhurni) of the bodhisattva, the ten perfections (p a ra m ita ), the auxiliary aids to practice,11 and, at the end of the Path, the dharmakaya. This is called the prayoga cause. The complete fulfillment cause is ^prayoga. W ith this prayoga, one attains complete fulfillment of both the cause and the fruit [o f Buddha nature]. By fulfillment of the cause is meant virtuous and wise action.

The Essence o f Buddha Nature We now turn to an account of the Buddha nature per se, which the author discusses in terms of three concepts : three causes, trisvabhava (three natures),and tathagatagarbha. We will examine each of these in turn. The Buddha Nature as Three Causes The three “ causes” are three aspects of Buddha nature in its function as cause of the attainment of Buddhahood. The three are given as the cause of attainability, the prayoga cause, and the complete fulfillment cause. They are discussed as follows.

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