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Tathāgatagarbha 

-Rangrig Yeshe Dorjee BA student from Bhutan

Last year, we had the opportunity to study Uttaratantra Shastra, one of the most important texts in the Buddhist curriculum. It is one of the Five Treatises of Arya Maitreya, and it is considered as a teaching of the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma that explains the true nature of all sentient beings. Buddha’s nature can be considered either as a seed or potentiality that must be nurtured and developed, or we can understand it to be completely present but obscured by adventitious stains. Either way, it should be understood that all beings alike, from Buddhas and bodhisattvas to human beings and animals have the very same essence, however, the only determinant that distinguishes one from the other is the degree of its purification.  

The only reason why we even practice and aim for Buddhahood is because all beings possess buddha nature by default. If we did not have it already present in us, no matter how much we try we would never be able to actualize it. Especially for beginner practitioners, knowing we already have the seed, the potential for awakening gives us necessary motivation and confidence in ourselves and on the path. In a time when mental issues such as low self-confidence, insecurities and depression wreak havoc in beings, to have the understanding and confidence in one’s true nature is a great blessing. It is also said that it is the field of the Omniscient Ones alone and not even bodhisattvas on the tenth bhumis do not realize it exactly, not to mention us ordinary beings. Therefore, to even have the opportunity to read and listen, and attempt to fathom a subject matter as profound as this requires enormous merit, for this I feel truly fortunate. 

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