I figured I'd share this with people here as there might be an interest.
I've started translating the Treatise on Buddha Nature
(Foxinglun 《佛性論》）, which I think outside of scholarly circles is mostly unknown in the English speaking Buddhist world. I'll just cut and paste the first section here for your reading pleasure.
If you want some background details about the text and some further information as well as the translation I'm posting below see my blog here:http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2010/10/ ... ature.html
In short, the key argument of the whole text is that all beings have Buddha-nature which is defined as the causal process which results in Buddhahood. There are no icchantikas or beings who will never ever achieve paranirvana.
Treatise on Buddha Nature – Scroll Number One
Written by Bodhisattva Vasubandhu
Translated by Indian Tripiṭaka Master Paramārtha in the Chen Dynasty.
Part I. Section on the reason for the teaching.
For what reasons did the Buddha explain buddha-nature?
The Tathāgata in order to remove the five kinds of errors and to foster the five qualities explained that all beings universally have buddha-nature.
Removal of the five kinds of errors.
The first is making beings free from the base and inferior mind. The second is making them free from arrogance towards those of lesser abilities. The third is making them free from delusional attachments. The fourth is making them free from slandering the true dharma. The fifth is making them free from self-attachment.
I. Making beings free from the base and inferior mind. There are beings who have yet to hear of the Buddha explaining the principle of [beings] having buddha-nature. As they do not know the meaning of they themselves necessarily attaining Buddhahood they arouse base and inferior thoughts about themselves. They cannot arouse the mind of awakening (bodhicitta). Now desiring to have them arouse that mind and discard base and inferior intentions, he explains that all beings universally have buddha-nature.
II. Making [beings] free from a high and arrogant mind. There may be a person who, having heard the Buddha explain that beings have buddha-nature, because of this arouses the mind [of awakening] and having given rise to such a mind then thinks, “I have buddha-nature and therefore can arouse this mind [of awakening]!” Creating belittling and arrogant thoughts they think others are incapable [of arousing the mind of awakening]. In order to eliminate this deluded attachment the Buddha explained that sentient beings all have buddha-nature.
III. Making [beings] free from delusional attachments. There may be a person who has this arrogant mind and then right wisdom, both innate and experiential, cannot manifest and so there arises delusions. These delusions are the errors of beings. There are two errors. The first is reification. The second is transience. “Reification” is where while within the principle of suchness (tathatā) there is fundamentally no self-identity there is a delusional attachment to a self-identity. This delusional attachment is without a base. As this is a baseless delusional attachment, there arises ignorance (avidyā) and so on. Due to ignorance there arises karma. Due to karma there arises retribution (vipāka). Like this these three types are without a real rooted base. What one is attached to is non-existent and thus it is known attachments all are delusions. Due to these attachments and the arisen ignorance, karma and retribution together being delusions there is no receiver and no doer, but therein one is attachment and one has these delusions. Therefore we call this reification (lit. “without base”). “Transient” has the meaning that because dharmas all moment-to-moment extinguish they are without static abiding and so ridiculing and the ridiculed both do not exist. Just as the first moment (kṣaṇa) becomes the former past, the following becomes the present. Ridiculing and the ridiculed arise and then disappear. Thus in the first moment there is one's object of animosity and in the next they are not one's object of animosity. In the present this attachment, created by the former past attachment, is not real and thus it is called delusional. If one arouses this attachment, true wisdom will not be produced. In order to remove this attachment buddha-nature is explained. Buddha-nature is the suchness (tathatā) revealed through the two emptinesses of person and phenomenon. Due to suchness there is no ridiculing or ridiculed. Penetrating this principle one is free from delusional attachments.
IV. Eliminating the slander of the true dharma. The issue of all sentient beings' errors is the two emptinesses. Having realized these emptinesses purity, wisdom and quality are all arisen. This is called the truth. Slander is where buddha-nature is not explained and one does not comprehend emptiness. One then attaches to absolute existence and slanders suchness. Purity, wisdom and quality – none of them are attained.
V. Making [beings] free from self-attachment. If one does not see delusion, error, truth and quality, then one will not arouse great compassion (mahā-karuṇā) towards beings. Because one hears the Buddha explain buddha-nature one knows delusion, error, truth and qualities, and then arouses a mind of great compassion towards beings. With there being no that and this [self and other] one thus removes self-attachment.
Due to the causes and conditions of these five aforementioned points, the Buddha explained that buddha-nature produces five kinds of qualities.
The five kinds of qualities. The first is arousing a mind of right effort. The second is producing activities of veneration. The third is producing wisdom (prajñā). The fourth is producing knowledge (jñāna). The fifth is producing great compassion. With these five qualities one can overcome the five errors. Due to right effort one overcomes the base and inferior mind. Due to veneration one overcomes belittling and arrogant thoughts. Due to wisdom one overcomes attachment to delusional thoughts. Due to knowledge or conventional wisdom one can manifest true wisdom. Together with all the qualities one thus overcomes slandering the true dharma. Due to great compassion one's benevolent thoughts are equal and thus one overcomes self-attachment. In overcoming the self one, due to buddha-nature, observes all beings and there is no duality present – one ceases all thoughts of self-cherishing. In observing beings the two emptinesses are cognized and all qualities are attained. For this reason one produces thoughts of cherishing towards others. Due to wisdom one destroys thoughts of self-cherishing. Due to great compassion, one produces thoughts of altruism. Due to wisdom one discards the attachments of the ordinary person. Due to great compassion one discards the attachments of the two vehicles. Due to wisdom one does not discard nirvāṇa. Due to great compassion one does not discard saṃsāra. Due to wisdom one accomplishes the buddhadharma. Due to great compassion one helps foster beings. Due to the two skilful means one abides in non-abiding without retrogression and quickly realizes bodhi. One destroys the five errors and produces the five qualities. For this reason the Buddha explained that all beings universally have buddha-nature.