To quote Astus:
that doesn't mean they understood the buddha-nature in the same way, see for instance the debate on whether insentient things are included within buddha-nature or not. Thus I think we can talk about interpretations from "nominal buddha-nature" (as a different expression of emptiness)
thank you Venerable Hui-Feng for your input. the rice is plentiful!
if buddha nature is taken to be emptiness, which initially it is, then everything is buddha nature. emptiness is form. form is emptiness. as the mind matures the emptiness is replaced by a solid wall like presence that i can only describe as Mind.
it is perfectly reasonable for a person who has insight into his own nature to see the nature of all things... the two being one and the same. no inside, no outside. the inside being the outside, within as without - as emptiness. but as the mind matures there is a sudden ripping apart of the veil of emptiness and then the self nature and nature of all things are no longer seen as empty, whilst before they were. this is breaking free of emptiness, but respecting that it is nonetheless a state of mind. the mind being all things.
... so i say that there are two ways of seeing self nature, and the nature of all... initially as emptiness and then as Mind. when you experience this for yourself the first time and you taste your own nature, all teachings on emptiness become perfectly clear. after the dwelling in emptiness has matured the underlying nature of mind is perfectly revealed and one sees that mundane awareness is no different from buddha awareness, however there may be a different quality in the fabric of a buddhas mind to that of an ordinary person...
fundamentally, regardless of mind quality all have buddha awareness. awareness is awareness, it is only the quality of the mind that is aware that may differ. practice refines the mental processes of one who practices. though the appearance of awareness may seen to be the same in all sentient beings, fundamentally being mind. mind in a less developed individual is succeptible to canker after annihilation of the I/self.
no worries about buddha nature, everything not only has Mind, it is Mind. the bedrock of mind is always pure awareness, thoughts may be defiled, but the mind fundamentally remains pure... one of the things i respect so much about Gotama Buddha is that he has escaped all mental and emotional blemishes and is pure and perfect in respect to his mental activity. though the mind is basically pure, the processes of thoughts that go on may be defiled.
it says in the dhammapada... "the one who has arrived at the destination, free from fright, craving and blemish, has broken the knives of existence."
best wishes, White Lotus.