Whether the mind is made luminous through the removal of defilements or that luminosity is revealed when the defilements are gone, is perhaps a matter of perspective.BuddhaSoup wrote:I'll throw in 2 baht on this very interesting discussion.
I read a bit from Ajahn Thanissaro's treatise on Buddha Nature: This is why the Buddha said that the mind is luminous, stained with defilements that come and go. Taken out of context, this statement might be construed as implying that the mind is inherently awakened. But in context the Buddha is simply saying that the mind, once stained, is not permanently stained. When the conditions for the stains are gone, the mind becomes luminous again. But this luminosity is not an awakened nature.
This status of luminosity suggests to me that, rather than the mind having Buddha "nature," the mind has Buddha potential. Inherent potential. This idea of luminosity suggests potential energy that does not convert into momentum until it is released. The analogy of that is the kyudo archer, who draws the bow (potential energy) and by virtue of the meditation, the moment arrives on its own accord and the arrow is released.
By the way, I failed physics in college. I have practiced kyudo, though.
The above is what you get for 2 baht.
To a healthy person confronted with a paranoid account of persecution, the danger is not real, but to the sick person it is. Is the sick person inherently free or is he persecuted? Even though the demons that oppress him have no tangible reality, to him, they are real.
Whatever keeps us in bondage appears real and inevitable to us, yet from an enlightened perspective, these fantoms, imaginary desires and identifications are no more than a mirage. Nothing real binds us. In that sense perhaps we are inherently enlightened.
But this thread is in Theravada subforum and if people would like to discuss this, it should be in the context of Theravada teachings, like Ajahn Dune Atulo, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Maha Boowa, etc. Perhaps we can have a good look at those writings before going further. So I will bow out for now with thanks to the participants, who as Retro said have been courteous, diplomatic and some even thoughtful and open.