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Kimura, Hiroko (1977) A study of Vasubandhu's treatise on pure land, with special reference to his theory of salvation in the light of the development of the Bodhisattva ideal. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029048

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Abstract

The present thesis is threefold: Firstly, a brief study of Vasubandhu, to point out the issues and problems involved regarding the author of the text; secondly, a study of the development of the ideal and the path of practice of the Mahayana bodhisattvas, with special emphasis on the ideal of Compassion and guidance in the world; and lastly, a re-examination of the text itself, from the perspective of ethical ontology and in the light of the above ideal and the Mahayana path. The text, though very short, reveals a complex vision of "that Land" and the path which function as the means to realize that vision. The vision is manifold as it incorporates various "ends" which are wished for or aspired to by beings of diverse spiritual capacities. It includes not only the Land of salvation and the tranquil, undefiled realm of meditative states but also the sphere of Mahayana Compassion and guidance. The latter is the highest bodhisattva ideal described by the vision of the "Pure Buddha Land." The text thus combined a) the popular, devotional cult of Amidism and its soteriological teaching of attaining "birth" in Amida's Land with b) the bodhisattva ideal and the path for its realization. In doing so, the text not only upgraded the former, by providing the philosophical-ontological foundation, but also presented a practical means whereby all sentient beings, including even beginners, might approach the Mahayana path. The path of the five spiritual practices "embraces" all sentient beings of diverse spiritual levels, leading them gradually to higher levels of practice while, at the same time, fulfilling the spiritual content of their wishes and aspirations. The difficulty of the text has much to do with the hermaneutic approach the author adopted in propagating the Mahayana teaching and the path.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029048
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29048

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