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"Tathagatha"

For discussion of Buddha Dharma, including teachings common to all Buddhist schools, such as the Four Noble Truths, Dependent Origination, etc., that is not specific to Mahayana or Therevada

"Tathagatha"

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:05 pm

I find a nice statement about "Tathagatha" in Edward Conze's, Buddhist Thought In India (1962; 1967); p. 172.

    "When the Buddha is called a 'Tathagatha' his individual personality is treated as of no account. Tathagathas are 'types' who at certain predestined times appear in solemn procession in this world, from the unthinkable past to the unimaginable future. The period of each Tathagatha is fixed beforehand, and each one undergoes a stereotyped career and follows the same Path, fixed once and for all for all of them. The Tathagathas differ only in trivial details, but in essentials, in their Buddha-dharmas, they are all alike."
Conze reminds us in a note to the selection above, that, in taking apart the four-syllable word "Tathagatha" into two words of two syllables each, we can see the clear meaning of "Tathagatha":

"As a Sanskrit term, Tathagatha can only be understood as tatha-gatha, or tatha-agatha, 'thus gone', or 'thus come', 'thus' meaning traditionally 'as the previous Buddhas' have come or gone".

Conze also adds (interestingly!), that:

"At times it is useful to remember that Buddhism, according to the Buddhists themselves, is not so much a creation of the Buddha Shakyamuni, as a revival of notions which go back to the dim beginnings of history".

--Joe
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Re: "Tathagatha"

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:23 pm

Very interesting. Thanks.
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