Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Alan,
I think you need to keep at the very forefront of your mind something Tilt said a while ago:tiltbillings wrote:How buddha-nature/tathagatagarbha is used in the Mahayana varies greatly over time, place and school.
I would add "and level of knowledge" to what Tilt said, too.
I think that at the lay (dare I say "folk"?) level in many traditionally-Buddhist countries, buddha-nature is understood in a way quite close to the Christian "soul", and Buddha and bodhisattvas (mainly in mahayana but Kuan Yin has quite a following in Thailand) are understood and worshipped in a way quite close to the Christian God and (Catholic) saints - as benevolent immortal beings who can grant in the real world the prayers of their petitioners.
As for school A being "right" and school B being "wrong" ... that's much too big a question for me but I think it's most likely that most schools are partly right.
Couldn't agree more! The beliefs are all over the place.