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THE DIAMONDNESS OF THE DIAMOND SŪTRA

Tamás Agócs
Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Vol. 53, No. 1/2 (2000), pp. 65-77
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23658698
Page Count: 13
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THE DIAMONDNESS OF THE DIAMOND SŪTRA
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Abstract

Based on the study of two Indian commentaries extant in Tibetan on the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, the paper investigates the significance of the title of this exceedingly popular Mahāyāna scripture. Tracing back the symbolism of the vajra to its origin in Vedic myth, it proceeds to show the survival of its imagery in the Buddhist idea of the vajropama-samādhi. This is followed by an analysis of Kamalaśīla's explanation of the meaning of the term "Diamond-Cutter", which relates it to a threefold path-structure inherent in the text itself. Then the central topic of the sūtra, the support of abhisamaya is analysed and found to be allied in meaning to vajropama-samādhi and āśraya-parāvṛtti, the "conversion of support". The next part of the paper seeks to extend this symbolism to the rest of the āśraya constituting the text, utilising Vasubandhu's explanation of the meaning of "non-corruption" (mi nyams-pa). Finally, the essential meaning of "vajra-cutting" is found to be encapsulated in the seemingly paradoxical threefold logical pattern repeatedly employed by the sūtra: X is (spoken of as) no-X; therefore it is (called or spoken of as) X.

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