Within the framework of a dissertation supervised by Professor Birgit Kellner, this project examines the relationship between the Vajracchedikāṭīkā (VChṬ), a hitherto unstudied scriptural commentary by the Indian scholar-monk Kamalaśīla (c. 740–800), and the confrontational exchange of thought between Indian and Chinese Buddhist thinkers in Tibet represented by the “Bsam yas debate” (ca. 792–794).

The primary objective of this project is to thoroughly examine the VChṬ, with particular attention being given to its middle section. The study aims to elucidate Kamalaśīla’s “gradualist” (Tib. rim gyis pa) approach to awakening, demonstrated through a synthesis of Yogācāra and Madhyamaka thought organised within the framework of an 18-stage path to liberation. Furthermore, it seeks to contextualise the VChṬ within the Bsam yas debate to determine whether it systematically rejects Moheyan’s “instantaneous” (Tib. [g]c[h]ig car pa) position. The dissertation will push forward our understanding of Kamalaśīla’s thoughts, and it also aims to enrich our comprehension of the Bsam yas debate as a significant historical occurrence in the history of Tibetan Buddhism.

This research project, funded by the OeAW’s DOC Fellowship, collaborates extensively with the project “Rationality, Meditation, and Liberation in Indian Buddhism: Kamalaśīla’s Scriptural Commentaries in Context” (FWF P32617) in numerous aspects and brings its own distinctive research perspective into the picture. The principal output of this project consists in an English-language doctoral dissertation that provides a wide-ranging investigation of the key issues outlined above based on the production of the first-ever critical edition of textual materials from the VChṬ together with a scholarly, annotated translation thereof. 

For updates regarding news, presentations, and publications related to this project, see  https://www.oeaw.ac.at/en/team/forschung/ma-yan.


Project data