Haribhadra (Buddhist philosopher)

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This article is about the Buddhist author of an Abhisamayalankara commentary. For the Jain logician, see Haribhadra.

Haribhadra (Chinese: 師子賢, pinyin: Shīzixián, Tib. seng-ge bzang-po) was an 8th-century CE Buddhist philosopher, and a disciple of Śāntarakṣita, an early Indian Buddhist missionary to Tibet. Haribhadra's commentary on the Abhisamayalankara was one of the most influential of the twenty-one Indian commentaries on that text, perhaps because of its author's status as Shantarakshita's student. Like his master, Haribhadra is retrospectively considered by Tibetan doxographical tradition to represent the Yogācāra-Svatantrika-Mādhyamaka school.

Haribhadra's interpretation of the Abhisamayalankara, particularly his four-kaya model, was controversial and contradicted the earlier normative interpretation popularized by Vimuktasena. Haribhadra claims, that Abhisamayalamkara chapter 8 is describing Buddhahood through four kayas: svabhavikakaya, [jnana]dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya.[1] Haribhadra's position was in turn challenged by Ratnākaraśānti and Abhayakaragupta. In Tibet the debate continued, with Je Tsongkhapa championing Haribhadra's position and Gorampa of the Sakya school promoting the other.[2]


  1. ^ see Makransky link below, page 115
  2. ^ Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet By John J. Makransky Published by SUNY Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-7914-3431-4, 494 pages; [1]