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The origin of bodhicitta and its development in Chinese Buddhism

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Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies


Lancaster, Lewis R.
Guruge, Ananda W. P.
An-Hue, Thich


This dissertation is a study of the single Buddhist term, ‘bodhicitta’ in which I have attempted to explain the concept, its gradual evolution and development through time. This study, based mainly on 260 treatises from Chinese Buddhist Canon, is divided into six chapters.

The first chapter is an introduction to the origin of the concept of bodhicitta, a summary of the development of the concept of bodhicitta that is explored in the following chapters and the methodological remarks concerning the tools of analysis and interpretation used in this study. The second chapter, “The Development of the Concept of Bodhicitta,” deals with the definition and types of bohicitta, a clarification of the relationship among bodhicitta, Buddha Nature and tathagatagarbha, as well as, their Chinese historical background. The third chapter, “Production of Bodhicitta and its Regression,” discusses the reasons for producing bodhicitta under five categories, the evolution in producing bodhicitta over time, as well as, a comparison and contrast between regression ad non-regressions. The psychological exploration of bodhicitta is concerned with its function associated with consciousness in order to understand how to cultivate the Bodhicitta Way and to attain Buddhahood without regression. The fourth chapter,” Bodhicitta Practice and its Result,” enumerates the practices and the results of bodhicitta, as well as, their significance in Chinese Buddhism in accordance with the time-line between the fourth and teentith centuries CE. In addition bodhicitta and Humanistic Buddhism, bodhicitta and anuttarasammasambodhi, the model of Sakyamuni’s practice and the role of bodhicitta in the achievement of the Buddha’s wisdom, are examined. The sixth chapter concludes all the foregoing chapters with fourteen findings.

Degree Granter

University of the West

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