“WE HAVE BECOME ASSOCIATES IN ENDOWING LIVING BEINGS WITH THE GIFT OF THE TEACHING…” BUDDHIST STUDIES OF A. M. DONETS (ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 70TH BIRTHDAY)
Nesterkin S. P., Shcherbina A. V.
The article analyzes the main spheres of Buddhist and Tibetan study by A. M. Donets. It is shown that it is conducted in the best traditions of Russian Buddhology: his research combines a thorough study of the original sources with much attention to the living Buddhist traditions. The translations from Tibetan of the sutras performed by A. M. Donets (many of them were translated into a European language for the first time) are significant in the religious life of the peoples of Central Asia; his translations of the comments by authoritative Tibetan, Mongolian and Buryat scholars penetrate the semantic core of the Buddhist cultural and historical traditions and create a solid foundation for historical and philosophical reconstructions. In his studies on logic, epistemology and eristics, on soteriology and philosophy of Madhyamaca, A. M. Donets relies on the so-called datsan educational literature: works of Indian authors and their subsequent Tibetan commentators and interpreters, which were included in the compulsory cycle of sources studied in the framework of Buddhist education. The content analysis, the subjects division, original educational technologies allowed A. M. Donets to reconstruct the conceptual schemes and explanatory models of the religious Buddhist philosopher and to present the features of mentality inherent in the Buddhist culture. In Russian buddhology, before A. M. Donets, due attention was not devoted to the cycle of Tibetan sources. Using the author’s method of working with the texts, A. M. Donets singled out and analyzed the basic Buddhist concepts: dependent arising, illusory nature of own’s self (bdag med), absolute and relative truths, middle view, etc. In the monographs by A. M. Donets, these complicated concepts are presented with the preservation of the basic categories, the most subtle logical distinctions, the completeness of reflexive definitions and interpretation schemes inherent in Buddhist philosophy. The significance and value of this kind of Buddhist research, based on the study of the semantic field of the original sources in its completeness (confirmed by continuity reproduced by education) greatly increases in our era of globalization that is marked by the spread of simplified, ideologized and arbitrary attitude to history.