dude wrote:If it is, isn't it the road to ride?
If it isn't and some other path is, shouldn't one be abandoned for the other?
In answer to all your questions, Dude...
1. Yeah, I'd say so. And that's why I study Vajrayana Buddhism.
But I also don't think it's that black-and-white.
My point was, overall, that I think most schools say the same/similar things. Or it's an unquestioned assumption in most forms of Mahayana Buddhism that the purpose of practice is to attain enlightenment for all sentient beings, and that is possible within one's present lifetime (or at the time of death).
2. I guess Nyingma Lamas in general use this "three countless aeons" vs. "one lifetime" comparison very frequently. Most immediately in my memory, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche although that should not be taken as if he believes that very literally--he himself says much language like that is merely, like Johhnydangerous says, to inspire devotion and vigilance. You can find it several places in Patrul Rinpoche's writing, and often anywhere where the yanas are compared to one another in the Tibetan tradtion. I have no idea the Sutra, but I'd confidently say any Nyingma practitioner and perhaps all other schools of Tibetan Buddhism commonly use this comparison.
Nilasarasvati: "Do any other schools really say "Yeah! Join the Soto school! With our tried and tested methods, it only takes 3 countless Aeons to become a Buddha!"
Dude: Don't you think they do?
No. Clearly nobody who wanted to encourage people to become Buddhists would! At a certain point numbers like this become pretty meaningless in their immensity...consider your numbness to the difference between these statements: 2 million Jews were killed at labor camp X. 105,001 jews were killed at labor camp Y. They are both unfathomably negative. So for ordinary beings like me, the idea that I might end up in an ephemeral hell for 4 million billion bajillion countless Aeons is ironically less horrifying than the idea of being buried alive in a pine box and suffocating over a period of four hours.
Just to refer back, Astus did a great job answering all of my questions very succinctly. Especially his statement about Zazen--which I've read in Suzuki Roshi's writing as well "When you sit in Zazen, you are Buddha." That's it.