Discussion on the Merits of the Concepts "Three-Vehicles are Ultimate" VS "One Vehicle is Ultimate"
一乘究竟 ； 三乘究竟 ； 緣起性空論 ； 迴小向大 ； 妙法蓮華經 ； 開跡顯本論 ； 瑜伽行派 ； 種姓論 ； 成佛的可能性 ； 成佛的必然性 ； One-vehicle is Ultimate ； Three-vehicles are Ultimate ； the Theory of Dependent Origination and Emptiness ； redevelop the mind to great Bodhi mind ； Saddharma-puNDarīka SUtra (Lotus Sutra) ； the Theory of Eliminating Attachment to the Buddha of Transformation but Seeing the True Nature of the Buddha ； the School of Yogācara ； the Theory of Spiritual Capacity ； the possibility of attaining Buddhahood ； the certainty for attaining Buddhahood
|Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication||
1期（2004 / 07 / 01）
21 - 52
The concepts of ”Three-Vehicles are Ultimate” versus ”One-Vehicle is Ultimate” have always been a subject of debate in the history of Mahayana Buddhism. This article investigates the thread of thoughts in the discussions presented by Sectarian Buddhism (after the Buddha's ParinirvāNa), the Mahayana School of Emptiness, the Lotus Sutra, and the Yogācara Sect. With the Theory of Dependent Origination and Emptiness as a basis, this article tries to explore the possibility of the concept of ”One Vehicle is Ultimate”. From the logical deduction of the theory, the School of Mādhyamika, that upholds the principle of Dependent Origination and Emptiness, and the School of Consciousness-only, that talks about original existence or the nurture of new seeds, both certainly suggest that ”Three-Vehicles are Ultimate”. The noble ones of the Three Vehicles can all penetrate and realise the Dharma nature of Dependent Origination (i.e. the Buddha-nature in principle). These noble ones, depending on the development of their minds and the causes and conditions of their practice (i.e. the Buddha-nature in practice), can also attain the noble stages (fruitions) of the Three Vehicles respectively. It is only when we come to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra that the attainment of Nirvana of the Two Vehicles is exemplified as a ”Transformation City/Fort”. This can then be seen as a rest station that is only temporary. Based on the theory of Dependent Origination and Emptiness, the School of Mādhyamika has also logically deduced that ”All sentient beings have the potential to attain Buddhahood”. However, through separate deduction, the School of Yogācara believes that part of the sentient beings (the Zrāvaka, pratyakabuddha and the non-spiritual foundation) will never be able to attain Buddhahood. The certainty for attaining Buddhahood can only be found among the sentient beings with Bodhisattva spiritual foundation. In terms of the possibility of attaining Buddhahood, the scope of the Yogācara School is much narrower compared to that of the School of Mādhyamika. To the School of Consciousness-only, only sentient beings with uncertain spiritual foundation may attain Buddhahood.According to the systematic thoughts and discussion of Venerable Yin Shun, the concept of ”One Vehicle is Ultimate” cannot be founded on the Truly Eternal Mere Mind Theory, which tries to back track time indefinitely and says that all sentient beings equipped with Buddha nature in the origin. Nor can the concept be founded on the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, which try to extend time forward indefinitely, emphasising on eliminating attachment to the Buddha of transformation, but seeing the true nature/virtues of the Buddha that are boundless and endless. Thus, it is difficult to support the concept of ”One Vehicle is Ultimate”, which says that the noble ones of the Two Vehicles can redevelop their minds to the great Bodhi mind at any stage, and there is certainty that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood, by basing its foundation on the Theory of Dependent Origination and Emptiness.