Some quotes on the view of Mahayana and the three kalpas long practice from different Chan works.
But the Buddha said, "Only after undergoing innumerable hardships for three asankhya kalpas did I achieve enlightenment," Why do you now say that simply beholding the mind and over-coming the three poisons is liberation?
The words of the Buddha are true. But the three-asankhya kalpas refer to the three poisoned states of mind. What we call asankhya in Sanskrit you call countless. Within these three poisoned states of mind are countless evil thoughts, And every thought lasts a kalpa. Such an infinity is what the Buddha meant by the three asankhya kalpas, Once the three poisons obscure your real self, how can you be called liberated until you overcome their countless evil thoughts? People who can transform the three poisons of greed, anger, and delusion into the three releases are said to pass through the three-sankhya kalpas. But people of this final age are the densest of fools. They don’t understand what the Tathagata really meant by the three-asankhya kalpas. They say enlightenment is only achieved after endless kalpas and thereby mislead disciples to retreat on the path to Buddhahood.
Q: What is the difference between the Mahayana and the Supreme Vehicle?
A: The Mahayana is the Bodhisattva's vehicle, and the Supreme Yana is the Buddha's vehicle.
Q: How can one practice to attain these vehicles?
A: To practice the Bodhisattva's vehicle is simply Mahayana practice. After attaining the Bodhisattva stage, where there is no longer any need to practice, one arrives at the stage of no-practice, which is permanently still and deep and where there is neither increase nor decrease. This is called the Supreme Vehicle or the Buddha's Vehicle.
(Entering the Tao of Sudden Enlightenment)
The monk asked: How can one suddenly attain the Tao through practice?
The master said: If one really has some good reason and is very sincere, with no trace of falseness, there is, for him, no need to spend endless Asankhyeya-Kalpas in practice. The Mahaparinirvana Sutra says, "A man who sails a boat on the ocean can move very far in a short time in a favorable wind." If there were not a favorable wind, the boat would only stay in the same place for many years. Also, if the boat were to leak, it would submerge and the man would die. The situation of all sentient beings can be compared quite closely to this one. The Surangama Sutra says, "There is Samadhi of seeing all things as illusion, which, in a finger-snap, leads to the state beyond all study." Therefore, in this case, it is not necessary to understand the Three Vehicles nor to attain the Ten Stages of a Bodhisattva's Progress to become Buddha in one thought, thereby transcending Kalpas of practice suddenly.
(Practice and Attain Enlightenment After Understanding the Principles)
"Followers of the Way, if you take my viewpoint you’ll cut off the heads of the saṃbhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya buddhas; a bodhisattva who has attained the completed mind of the tenth stage will be like a mere hireling; a bodhisattva of equivalent enlightenment or a bodhisattva of marvelous enlightenment will be like pilloried prisoners; an arhat and a pratyekabuddha will be like privy fi lth; bodhi and nirvana will be like hitching posts for asses. Why is this so? Followers of the Way, it is only because you haven’t yet realized the emptiness of the three asamkhyeya kalpas that you have such obstacles."
(Record of Linji)
"While teachers of the middle way, mind only, transcendent wisdom, mantra, and other schools may have their own assertions, the fulfillment of those intentions is the same. There is not a single thing that is not contained within mind."
(Gampopa to Düsum Khyenpa, in "The First Karmapa", KTD Pub, p254)
“If you recognize the world of appearance and existence as the mind, realize the mind itself as empty, and have no grasping at the superiority of your realizations — this is the ultimate view."
(Chegom Dzongpa, in "The Book of Kadam", Wisdom Pub, p609)