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ISSN: 2690-5752

Journal of Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences

Mini Review Article(ISSN: 2690-5752)

The ‘‘Western Illusion of Human Nature’’ in Marshal Sahlins and Buddha-Nature as Immanent Principle of Universal Awakening In Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Volume 5 - Issue 4

Maria Kli*

  • National and Kapodistrian, University of Athens, Greece

Received:October 04, 2021   Published: October 28, 2021

Corresponding author: Maria Kli, National and Kapodistrian, University of Athens, Greece

DOI: 10.32474/JAAS.2021.05.000218


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The book of Marshal Sahlins the Western Illusion of human nature refers to the theories of human nature, developed in the west on the base of the dualistic separation of nature from culture, which constituted a foundation for the Western Metaphysics of Power. The view that nature was something that needed to be subjugated by civilised order and the State, carried particular implications for the forms of life of subjectivities, collectives and nature. My aim in this paper, is following Sahlins’ method, to provide a counter-paradigm of an alternative anthropology, based on the Indo-Tibetan theory of buddha-nature; a non-dualistic theory that does not separate between human and its ‘‘other’’, but acknowledges as humane, a nature that is shared with all other beings. Tathāgatagarbha, the buddha-nature, is understood here in both ways, as a potential for awakening of beings that have not yet realised their nature due to circumstantial obscurations, and as the already awakened nature of the primordial luminous mind of budhahood that is beyond conditions. In this paper, I will try to balance between two different approaches, one emphasising the ‘‘self-empty’’ (rang stong), that is a negative aspect of buddha-nature (Madhyamaka), and another, emphasising the ‘‘other- empty’’ (gzhan stong), that is a positive aspect of buddha-nature (Yogācāra), with the aim to show the libertarian and egalitarian political implications that, as an anti-essentialist and immanent philosophy, the theory of Tathāgatagarbha may have.

Keywords: Human Nature; Buddha-Nature; Immanence; Emptiness; Dependent Co-Arising; Non-Duality; Freedom

Abstract| Introduction| History of Knowledge Discovery| Research Philosophy| Differences of Quantitative Research and Qualitative Research| Acknowledgments| References|