The Three Wheels of Dharma: The Case of 'Jig-rten mgon-po and the Single Intentionists as a Contribution to Tibetan Buddhist Hermeneutics


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies


Buddhists generally accept that the Buddha conferred a great variety of teachings according to the needs and capacities of individual trainees. The subsequent attempts of Buddhist scholars to classify these context-bound statements in order to reconcile differences and articulate rules for interpretation are categorized as “Buddhist hermeneutics.”
One of the traditional hermeneutical tools is to sort the sutras, believed to be the words of the Buddha, into three “wheels of Dharma” (dharmacakra). This dissertation looks at the historical development of the hermeneutical scheme of the three wheels with a special focus on the works associated with the bKa’-brgyud-pa scholar ’Bri-gung sKyob-pa ’Jig-rten mgon-po (1143–1217) and his followers.