Buddhanature (buddhadhātu) can be covered with obscurations. This is the purpose for the discussion in the Uttaratantra of the nine examples of how the buddhadhātu is covered with obscurations, which come from the ten tathātagarbha sūtras.Dan74 wrote:
Yes, one can argue that, but one can also argue that this is not about Buddha-nature at but a characteristic of the mind. After all, can Buddhanature, or enlightened mind be defiled?
Buddhanature is nothing other than dharmakāya covered with afflictions (Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements); dharmakāya is nothing other than one's mind when it is freed from all obscurations (Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements.).
The meaning is what is important. I used the Pali canon for convenience. But this sutta also exists in the Agamas. Statements like it exist in Mahāyāna sūtras as well.Wayfarer wrote:I'm sure that, from the Mahayana perspective, that verse can be taken to refer to Buddha Nature, but does the actual term 'tathāgatagarbha' appear in the Pali? And do you think a Theravadin would agree that that is what is meant by it?
Thus, your question, will a Hinayāna practitioner recognize that this as a reference to tathāgatagarbha, no. But that is not important since we in Mahāyāna understand the meaning of Agamas, etc., from the point of view of Mahāyāna, not from the point of view of Hinayāna.
I cited the Pali text to show a continuity in Buddha's teaching about the luminosity of the mind, which is an important connecting thread between Buddha's Hinayāna teachings and his Mahāyāna teachings.