dyanaprajna2011 wrote:I know that there are three (at least primary) philosophical traditions in Mahayana Buddhism: Madyamaka, Yogacara, and Tathagatagarbha. I know the general ideas behind each one, as well. But I do have a few questions.
1. How are these philosophical schools assimilated into the various practice schools, such as Tibetan, Zen, Pure Land, etc.?
2. Can anyone of these said to be the highest or most profound? (I do realize that the answer to this question may be school specific)
I'd suggest you take a look at Paul Williams's book <i>Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations</i>, which describes the various schools doctrinally, and their relationship to various practice positions for a good answer to #1.
Regarding #2, many schools have their own ranking system (each of which puts themselves at the top of the ladder, naturally.) In Tibetan Buddhism, this tends to result in doxographies that put Madhyamaka higher than other schools, and the Prasaṅgika interpretation of Madhyamaka above other interpretations of Madhyamaka-- but other, contrary, doxographies exist. In Chinese Buddhism, there are various <i>P'an-chiao</i> systems which rank the schools and doctrines.
In short, pretty much everybody thinks that their way is the best way, and that the other schools are legitimate but inferior.