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Awakening and Buddhahood

Buddha Nature

Part two of my 2013 conversation with Lama Marut focused on Buddha Nature.  The Buddhist texts we discuss can be found below the video. 


From the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life by Shantideva (ca. 800 A.D.)

Never allow yourself the feeling of being discouraged, of having the thought, ‘How could I ever become Awakened?’  The Buddhas, the ones who speak the truth, have spoken the following words of truth: ‘Those beings who are flies and gnats or bees and even those who live as worms can reach Awakening, so difficult to reach, if they develop the force of effort.’  Someone like me, someone born as a human being, can tell what helps and what hurts.  Assuming then that I never give up the bodhisattva’s way of life, why shouldn’t I reach Awakening? (7.17-19)

From the Uttara Tantra (Ratnagotravibhaga) attributed to Maitreya and Asanga (ca. 200 A.D.)

All beings are said to have Buddha nature because the wisdom of a Buddha is carried within all of them, and because of the non-duality of its immaculate nature, and because the propensity to Buddhahood takes the name of its result. . . . If there were no element of Awakening (= Buddha nature), there would be no dissatisfaction with suffering.  There would be no desire, striving, or aspiration for nirvana.  Since the propensity (to Buddhahood) is there, one can recognize that suffering mars existence and happiness is the quality of nirvana. Were there not this propensity among us, this would not be. (1.27, 40-41)