Tathāgatagarbha sūtras

The Tathāgatagarbha sūtras are a group of Mahayana sutras that present the concept of the "womb" or "embryo" of the tathāgata, the buddha. Every sentient being has the possibility to attain Buddhahood because of the tathāgatagarbha.
This concept originated in India but was a major influence in the development of East Asian Buddhism, where it was equated with the concept of Buddhadhātu, "buddha-element" or "buddha-nature".
The Tathāgatagarbha sūtras include the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra, Srīmālādevī Simhanāda Sūtra, Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra and the Angulimālīya Sūtra. Related ideas are in found in the Lankāvatāra Sūtra and Avatamsaka Sūtra. Another major text, the Awakening of Faith, was originally composed in China, while the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra was considerably extended in China.


1. Nomenclature and etymology
The Sanskrit term tathāgatagarbha traditional Chinese: 如来藏 ; pinyin: rulaizàng ; Japanese: にょらいぞう ; Korean: 여래장 ; Vietnamese: như lai tang may be parsed into tathāgata "the one thus gone" referring to Buddhahood and garbha "root, embryo, essence".

2.1. Development of the concept Luminous mind in the Nikāyas
In the Anguttara Nikāya, the Buddha refers to a "luminous mind".
The canon does not support the identification of the "luminous mind" with nirvanic consciousness, though it plays a role in the realization of nirvana. Upon the destruction of the fetters, according to one scholar, "the shining nibbanic consciousness flashes out of the womb of arahantship, being without object or support, so transcending all limitations."

2.2. Development of the concept Tathagatagarbha and Buddha-nature
Though the tathagatagarbha and the Buddha-nature have not exactly the same meaning, in the Buddhist tradition they became equated. In the Angulimaliya Sūtra and in the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra the terms "Buddha-nature" Buddha-dhātu and tathāgatagarbha are synonyms.
All are agreed that the tathāgatagarbha is an immortal, inherent transcendental essence or potency and that it resides in a concealed state concealed by mental and behavioural negativities in every single being, even the worst - the icchantika.
Although attempts are made in the Buddhist sutras to explain the tathāgatagarbha, it remains ultimately mysterious and allegedly unfathomable to the ordinary, unawakened person, being only fully knowable by perfect Buddhas themselves.
The tathāgatagarbha itself needs no cultivation, only uncovering or discovery, as it is already present and perfect within each being:
An unknown treasure exists under the home of a poor person that must be uncovered through removing obstructive dirt, yielding the treasure that always was there. Just as the treasure already exists and thus requires no further fashioning, so the matrix-of-one-gone-thus, endowed with ultimate buddha qualities, already dwells within each sentient being and needs only to be freed from defilements.
Charles Muller comments that the tathagatagarbha is the minds original pure nature and has neither a point of origination nor a point of cessation: tathagatagarbha expresses the already perfect aspect of the original nature of the mind that is clear and pure without arising or cessation.
The tathāgatagarbha is the ultimate, pure, ungraspable, inconceivable, irreducible, unassailable, boundless, true and deathless quintessence of the Buddhas emancipatory reality, the very core of his sublime nature.

3. Texts Overview
Key texts associated with this doctrine, written in India, are the
Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra 200-250 CE
Srīmālādevī Simhanāda Sūtra 3rd century CE
Mahābherīhārakaparivarta Great Dharma Drum Sutra, inaccessible to speculative thinkers."
The tathāgatagarbha doctrine became linked in syncretic form with doctrines of Citta-mātra "just-the-mind" or Yogācāra. Yogācārins aimed to account for the possibility of the attainment of Buddhahood by ignorant sentient beings: the tathāgatagarbha is the indwelling awakening of bodhi in the very heart of samsara. There is also a tendency in the tathāgatagarbha sutras to support vegetarianism, as all persons and creatures are compassionately viewed as possessing one and the same essential nature - the Buddha-dhatu or Buddha-nature.
Anunatva Apurnatva Nirdesa

The Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra is an influential and doctrinally striking Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture which treats of the existence of the Tathāgatagarbha Buddha - Matrix
one of the main early Mahāyāna Buddhist texts belonging to the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras that teaches the doctrines of Buddha - nature and One Vehicle through
Buddha - nature refers to several related terms, most notably tathāgatagarbha and buddhadhātu. Tathāgatagarbha means the womb or embryo garbha of the thus - gone
point in the tathagatagarbha literature is that the pratitysamutpada is the tathagatagarbha Likewise, Ichijo Ogawa argues that tathāgatagarbha is basically
teaching of tathāgatagarbha and con - cern with the worst sinners, including the icchantika. The sutra is most insistent that the Tathāgatagarbha and the self
Japanese: Daihatsunehan - gyō, Tibetan: མ ང འདས ཀ མད or Nirvana Sutra is a Tathāgatagarbha sūtra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its precise date of origin is uncertain
are especially the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra the Srīmālā Sūtra Srīmālādevi - simhanāda Sūtra and the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra which is very different
totals 49 Mahāyāna sūtras divided into 120 fascicles in the Chinese translation. Garma Chang, who has translated a number of sūtras from the Mahāratnakūta
Neither Increase nor Decrease Sūtra is a short Mahayana text belonging to the tathagatagarbha class of sutras The scripture is only extant in the
from its presence. In the Srīmālādevī Simhanāda Sūtra there are two primary states of the Tathāgatagarbha One is when it is covered with defilements and