Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

45. What is Buddha-Nature?

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Christopher V. Jones [+-]
University of Cambridge
Christopher V. Jones is a Bye-Fellow of Selwyn College, and affiliated lecturer and research associate at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. A primary focus of his research is the history of Mahayana Buddhist thought in the early centuries of the Common Era, preserved in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan literature.


Mahayana Buddhism was responsible for a great many doctrinal innovations that mainstream Buddhism in India rejected. Among these was the controversial but ultimately influential idea that all sentient beings, across their successive lives, possess at all times the nature of a buddha already, but that this is somehow hidden about them, obscured by afflictions or negative characteristics such as ignorance, desire, hatred, pride, and so forth. Forms of Buddhanature teaching pervade prominent types of Buddhism that developed in Tibet and in East Asia. But, in its original Indian context, Buddha-nature teaching was very radical, in essence because it at least seems to reimagine the purpose of Buddhist practice from the transformation or development of oneself—from a state of affliction to a state of being liberated or “awakened”—to the discovery or disclosure of a nature that is already there, a perspective reminiscent of what is found in other Indian religious traditions such as Brahmanism or Jainism.

Notify A Colleague


Jones, Christopher. 45. What is Buddha-Nature?. Buddhism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 220-222 Oct 2021. ISBN 9781800500907. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40763. Date accessed: 30 Sep 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40763. Oct 2021

Dublin Core Metadata