Given that for the MSA/Bh gotra is indicative of a sentient being’s soteriological potentiality, an important issue is whether gotra is able to be acquired by every sentient being or whether there are some beings who are excluded from ever acquiring a gotra; and furthermore if some beings are excluded, in what sense they are excluded . It will be necessary to understand these issues in order to address the question of whether, from the perspective of the MSA/Bh, all sentient beings can potentially attain awakening. And so I will begin by discussing the meanings of the term gotra in the MSA/Bh—including its relations to other important terms and concepts. Then I will turn to a presentation of the various categories or subdivisions of gotra according to the text. Following this, I will consider the text’s gotra-theory in relation to some related doctrines in the MSA/Bh. I will then conclude with a response to the question of whether all sentient beings can potentially attain awakening.
D'Amatto, Mario. “Can all Beings Potentially Attain Awakening? Gotra-theory in the Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, p.115-138, June 2003.
Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies