|In Tibetan Script||སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ཁམས་|
|Wylie Tibetan Transliteration||sangs rgyas kyi khams|
|Devanagari Sanskrit Script||बुद्धधातु|
|Tibetan Phonetic Rendering||sangye kyi kham|
|Chinese Pinyin||fó xìng|
|Basic Meaning||A synonym for tathāgatagarbha widely used throughout the east Asian Buddhist traditions, as found in its translations as the Chinese term fó xìng and Japanese term busshō.|
|Has the Sense of||This is most likely the direct source of the English term "buddha-nature" via its translation into Chinese and Japanese. These traditions tended to treat the Sanskrit terms dhātu, gotra, and garbha as synonyms when compounded with the term buddha, though the translation of buddhadhātu seems to have been adopted as the standard technical term to reference the buddha-nature doctrine, as it could cover a wider range of possible meanings. In other words, the term dhātu could more easily reference both the causal aspect of this nature, commonly associated with the term gotra, and the fruition aspect of this nature, commonly associated with the term garbha.|
|Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism||In Sanskrit, “buddha-element,” or “buddha-nature”; the inherent potential of all sentient beings to achieve buddhahood. See page 151.|
|Other Definitions||Literally, "buddha-element," a synonym for what Rongtön calls natural buddha-nature or undefiled suchness. It is the empty nature of the mind, identical in both sentient beings and buddhas. - Bernert, Christian, Perfect or Perfected? Rongtön on Buddha-Nature (2018), page 114.|
|Earliest Mention||The term first appears in the Mahāyāna recension of the Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra, now available only in Chinese translation, which states that all sentient beings have the “buddha-element” (foxing). (The Chinese translation foxing literally means “buddha-nature” and the Chinese has often been mistakenly back-translated as the Sanskrit buddhatā; buddhadhātu is the accepted Sanskrit form.) The origin of the term may, however, be traced back as far as the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, one of the earliest Mahāyāna Sūtras, where the fundamental substance of the mind is said to be luminous (prakṛtiś cittasya prabhāsvarā), drawing on a strand of Buddhism that has its antecedents in such statements as the Pāli Aṅguttaranikāya: “The mind, O monks, is luminous but defiled by adventitious defilements” (pabhassaraṃ idaṃ bhikkhave cittaṃ, tañ ca kho āgantukehi upakkilesehi upakkiliṭṭhaṃ). Because the bodhisattva realizes that the buddha-element is inherent in him at the moment that he arouses the aspiration for enlightenment (bodhicittotpāda) and enters the bodhisattvayāna, he achieves the profound endurance (kṣānti) that enables him to undertake the arduous training, over not one, but three, incalculable eons of time (asaṃkhyeyakalpa), that will lead to buddhahood. The buddhadhātu is a seminal concept of the Mahāyāna and leads to the development of such related doctrines as the “matrix of the tathāgatas” (tathāgatagarbha) and the “immaculate consciousness” (amalavijñāna). - Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2014), pages 151-152.|
|Further Reading Material||See also: King, Sallie B. Buddha Nature. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991, pp. 173-174 note 5.|
Buddha-nature, literally the "womb/essence of those who have gone (to suchness)."
A fundamental component or essential constituent.
Disposition, lineage, or class; an individual's gotra determines the type of enlightenment one is destined to attain.
Suchness itself, absolute reality, or thusness, as in the ultimate state of being of phenomena.
Mental stains that are not inherent to the nature of mind, but rather are temporarily present as the residue of past actions or habitual tendencies. Though sometimes it is iterated as adventitious defilements (Skt. āgantukakleśa, Tib glo bur gyi nyon mongs), which references the fickle and temporary nature of disturbing emotions that lack an ultimately established basis for existence.
The ninth consciousness, the immaculate pure mind.