mirage wrote:I have a couple of questions on the "original enlightenment" theory.
1)Is there an authoritative text which explains hongaku in more or less accessible way? Right now I am quite lost: is this just common Tathagatagarbha doctrine, or something else?
2)How is hongaku not ethernalist? I mean, what's the difference from Hindu Brahman?
See J. Stone's book on Original Enlightenment. She's critical of the idea.
Some would in fact argue that hongaku shiso is, indeed, eternalist. I disagree, because Buddha-garbha is understood as emptiness, not as Sat Chit Ananda. Interpretations differ though. The "Critical Buddhists" of Japan take a very different approach.
Related question: why are trees, rocks and such are describes as having Buddha-nature and even capable of achieving Buddhahood? They obviously do not possess mind-streams in the way sentient beings do, right?
At a certain point, the distinctions among the categories "sentient beings" "Buddhas" and "everything else" fall apart. They are conventional designations.
For myself, I appreciate the idea of "suchness" as presented in such texts as the Awakening of Faith, where all things are understood as suchness and Buddha-ness is understood as immanent. I'm not entirely sold on the Japanese interpretation of original enlightenment thought in its full-blown form--or perhaps I understand it incompletely.