What is the definition of buddha-nature? I'm asking this because there are quite a few ways to define it, and depending on that there can be different approaches to it. If, for instance, it refers to the presence of various buddha qualities, then a sudden path should mean the immediate presence of those qualities.
In Tiantai, everything is Buddha, has Buddha qualities. This is explained through the mutual possession of the ten worlds.
I think the definition of Buddhanature is dependent on the immediate context. I can't think of any that is excluded.
I think that in the Lotus Schools, at the most basic level, its the meaning implied by Sadaparibhuta's greeting:
I deeply respect you. I dare not belittle you. Why is this? Because all of you practice the bodhisattva path, and will become buddhas.
More expansively, its the meaning explained in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra which is considered an elaboration of the Lotus Sutra.
From there, it includes the meanings drawn out in Lotus School commentary.
The practical application is the same whether Buddhanature is seen through insight or through faith. I honor you as a Buddha either way. The experience of honoring you as a Buddha has beneficial effects regardless of how my experience is informed. The effects are different - as they say, we hear the same teaching differently - but like the Dharma rain, it falls and nourishes everyone.
That description sounds to me as a skilful means to teach people the practice of humility and respect, but not really anything that brings about insight into interdependence.
I guess that's your opinion. Have you tried this practice?
Notwithstanding, if your day to day life, including your dealings with other people, whether you think they are Buddhas or not, does not give you an insight into interdependence, then you're a zombie and not conscious.
That said, in the Lotus School, our interactions are informed by the teachings on the mutual possession of the ten worlds, thousand factors, three thousand realms in a single thought moment. Interdependence is a central teaching.
If any practice can be discerned in the Lotus Sutra, its the propagation of the Lotus Sutra - the exhortation to teach even one phrase, and concomitantly describing the immense benefit of even a person who hears of the Lotus through a telephone game of 50 people and reacts with the slightest joy.
How is that any different from accumulating worldly merit that may eventually bring one to studying the Dharma? Furthermore, with propagation as the sole practice actually found in that scripture, it is hard to see how that actually covers the whole of Buddhadharma. It is like saying that obtaining faith in the Triple Jewel is the basis of enlightenment, but at the same time that is only the very first step on the path and not the entirety of the path.
I quoted the Lotus Sutra that directly addresses these points. You'll have to take up your argument with Gautama.
Joking aside, how is Buddhadharma excluded from any dharma anywhere in the dharmadhatu? Above you ask about interdependence - well, interdependence means that Buddhadharma is interdependent with everything. You can't avoid it.
If propagation is your main practice, then it follows you'll need to take up all sorts of additional practices, like study, and contemplation. It might help to take public speaking courses. It might help to hang out with hustlers in brothels to understand their world and figure out how to speak to them effectively (like Vimalakirti). In short, this is nothing different than the point of the highest bodhisattva vows. The difference being, instead of refraining from teaching until one gets their PhD, one volunteers as the Buddha's ambassador from the start.
Practice for oneself and for others. Seeking above and edifying below.
Its really about compassion and acting on the impulse to help people who suffer. I may not know how to swim, but I have grabbed hold of a floating donut and I KNOW that holding onto this floating donut is better than drowning. Does it matter that I don't understand why the donut floats, or who put it here? "Dude, you're drowning. Grab this." The sutra says one who does that is the Tathagata's envoy, doing the Tathagata's work, sent by the Tathagata.
Talk to a teacher who has been teaching for a long time. Ask them if they've learned anything about life through the activity of teaching all those years.
I have not seen that raised as an objection here.
Its hard to discern where you're going with your pronouncements, insistence on standards that are foreign to this particular system of thought, and apparent lack of acknowledgment of answers to previous questions. And this is not the first time around that you've asked questions on this topic. You were pretty offensive and dismissive the last time around. You have a habit of grabbing statements out of context and then proceed to criticize when the context of those statements give them a different meaning than you presume. Its hard to tell if you're just trying to debate minutiae without any real point or actually have a discussion, or you just don't comprehend what you're reading. Look at the thread. I had to push back on you at one point because all you offered were opinions in disagreement which come across as dismissive. If that's not what you mean, well. But I'm of the opinion that the way a person expresses themselves is generally a pretty good gauge of what they think. Its more likely than not, those things they write reflect the way ideas are formulated in the mind.