Sherab Dorje wrote:
So Tien tai says that all phenomena: cinder blocks, fence rails, stone walls, garbage pails... (I'm looking out my window and listing the various phenomena I see) are sentient/conscious and/or have Buddha Nature???
Why do I find that hard to believe?
"all that is empty is also characterized by the capacity for Buddhahood" does not mean that a cionderblock has the capacity for buddhahood.
This is looking at the situation backwards,
which is the most common roadblock to understanding.
If you start with the notion of 'cinderblock' as an intrinsically existing thing,
then yes, it is not only hard to believe,
and it should be. because it makes no sense.
The problem is, people confuse the statement
"nothing arises which can be called a cinderblock'
with the statement, "a cinderblock is empty (of intrinsic existence)"
---because this start off positing 'cinderblock' and then attempts to deconstruct it.
It's like saying."here is a brick, and it doesn't exist".
It doesn't make any sense.
But Dharma makes sense. So, we have to figure out where the glitch is.
You have to understand that from the beginning, arising phenomena are empty.
it's not the other way, that phenomena exist, and then they are empty.
When this confusion is cleared away, then the statement
"all that is empty is also characterized by the capacity for Buddhahood"
will make sense.
a cinderblock cannot become enlightened.
But a cinderblock and buddhahood both arise in emptiness.
Ultimately, there is no separation.
If we say a cinderblock is over here and a buddha is over there
we are negating emptiness.