The volume brings together a selection of the late author's previously published papers written in English (and one in German). Their subject matter relates by and large to the tathagatagarbha theory or the idea of Buddhanature, which have been the main subjects of his research over the years.
In part 1 he has singled out those scriptures that use the term tathagatagarbha as their principal term and identified three scriptures-Tathagatagarbha-sutra, Anµunatvapurnatvanirdesa, and srimaladevinirdesa-as the basis for the formation of the tathagatagarbha theory. Next, he has placed the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana-sutra, which uses the term buddhadhatu for the first time as a synonym of tathagatagarbha, and associated scriptures in a second group, while in the third group we have the Lankavatara-sutra and so on, in which the concept of tathagatagarbha is identified with alayavijnana, the basic concept of the Vijnanavada.
In part 2, he has dealt with the prehistory of the tathagatagarbha theory in Mahayana scriptures that use terms synonymous with tathagatagarbha, such as gotra and dhatu, tathagatagotra, tathagatotpattisambhava, aryavamsa, buddhaputra, dharmadhatu and dharmakaya, cittaprakrti, and so on. The main points made in this work are discussed in the papers that have now been brought together in the present volume.
This volume has for convenience' sake been divided into seven parts according to subject matter. Part 1 presents a textual study, namely, a critical edition of chapter 6 of the Lankavatara. Part 2 deals with subjects concerning scriptures such as the Lankavatara, part 3 with technical terms and basic concepts of the tathagatagarbha theory, part 4 with tathagatagarbha doctrine in general, and part 5 with Japanese Buddhism and Buddhism in East Asia (on the basis of scriptures translated into Chinese). Part 6 presents a historical survey of Japanese scholarship on buddhism, and part 7 consists of several book reviews.