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Awakening of Mahayana Faith

The Awakening of Mahayana Faith is one of the most important texts of the early East Asian Mahāyāna (Mahayana) Buddhist tradition, generally attributed to Aśvaghoṣa.

Written from the perspective of essence and function (tiyong) 體用, this text sought to harmonize the two Indian-derived soteriological positions of the tathāgatagarbha and ālayavij˝āna systems into a synthetic vision based on the One Mind in Two Aspects.

The Awakening of Faith was to become one of the single most influential texts in the development of the East Asian style of Buddha-nature theory. It was studied and commented on repeatedly by a long list of East Asian scholars, including such luminaries as Weonhyo 元曉, Fazang 法藏 and Zongmi 宗密.

Although its authorship is attributed to the Indian monk Aśvaghoṣa 馬鳴, there are many modern scholars (including Mochizuki Shinkō 望月信亨) who are convinced that the treatise is an indigenous East Asian production. In great part due to the commentaries by Weonhyo 元曉, the Awakening of Faith ended up having an unusually powerful influence in Korea, where it may be the most oft-cited text in the entire tradition. It also provided much of the doctrinal basis for the original enlightenment thought found in the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment.

English Translations include:

Hakeda, Yoshito S., trans. Awakening of Faith Attributed to Aśvaghoṣa, Columbia University Press, 1967.
Richard, Timothy, The Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna Doctrine—the New Buddhism, 1907.
Suzuki, Daisetsu Teitaro. Aśvaghoṣa's Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana., Open Court Publishing

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