The 10 Questions of DGA
1) What does it mean, to your mind, when you say that the Lotus Sutra and Buddha Shakyamuni are one's teachers?
The same as it means in the Lotus Sutra, the venerable epistles of Nichiren, and the doctrine of the transmission through the scrolls of the Kempon Hokke.
2) What do these claims mean in a practical sense, to your understanding?
It means practicing in accordance with the teachings outlined on the aforementioned works.
3) Exactly what?
Exactly what was plainly written.
4) There are some students who are failures, as you say. That's obvious--that's samsara. What does that prove, to your mind?
It proves that their efforts are largely fruitless in the immediate or conventional sense, though not from the perspective of the Lotus Sutra. Gustavo.
5) What is your point?
I'm merely pointing to the obvious.
6) Surely you are not trying to generalize from the particular?
It is a common tactic of those who wish to skirt an issue to attempt to frame all generalizations as over-generalizations, but this is a rhetorical tactic and not a demonstration of sound logic. With the context of Dharma and much Eastern thought, such tactics (which some may adopt out of habit or misunderstanding) ignore the inductive and abductive reasoning that is at the basis of these traditions. For one to sincerely accept such a tactic as sound reasoning belies an individual's difficulty in making inferences and in grasping probabilities.
7) Why did you bring it up?
Declaring disagreeable parts of scripture invalid by claiming they are later additions and corruptions despite lack of evidence is a common tactic for internet Buddhist arguments which also appears in academic works as well—a priori, sans citations.
8) Does this seem even plausible to you?
It is possible, a word that implies less likelihood than "plausible." It is possible that you are a batch of sentient yogurt with electrodes attached which is connected to a virtual reality "Matrix" that we are all similarly connected to. This scenario is not plausible, however.
A more plausible possibility regarding the statements in Buddhist Sutras is translation errors which arise from dissimilarities between the source language and English, poor understanding of the nuances of context within the language, and of course outright bias.
Then there's also the issue of simply taking a plain and transparent line of scripture out of context for the sake of winning an argument.
9) How does it follow that a doctrine of the "transmission through the Sutra scrolls" is correct for the present day?
This is explained in the 3 works referenced above: The Lotus Sutra, the venerable epistes of Nichiren, and the doctrine of the Kempon Hokke.
10) What does it mean that "the teacher is the teaching itself" ... ?
See previous response.
The 9 Ass ertions of DGA
1) My point is that they are teaching a doctrine, which means it's more complicated that you are letting on.
Are you familiar with this doctrine, and if so, do you understand it, and to what extent do you claim to understand it?
2) There are some students who are failures, as you say. That's obvious--that's samsara.
"That's samsara" indeed, and it is often pitifully obvious that a good number of such students are not only hopelessly trapped in it, but go on to "claim they have attained what they have not attained." Gus.
3) I hasten to point out the obverse of your claim, which is equally obvious: among those non-Asian disciples of Asian Buddhist masters, there are those who are certainly NOT failures, and who are in fact authentic treasures.
Which disciples, specifically, are you referring to? What is it about each individual that you believe makes them an authentic "treasure" in a way that is consistent with Buddhist scripture, doctrine, and the teachings of their teachers?
4) Some is not all.
Nor is most.
5) If you find the idea of making such a claim beneath your dignity...
You're attempting to divine my motives and presuming to know them. Better adjust your DBZ scouter, Gus, or go back to training for remote viewing.
6) Two non sequiturs ^^^.
It's possible that you genuinely can't see the connection between the sentences and to the broader context of the conversation or even that you've subconsciously prevented yourself from doing so, but I don't pretend to be psychic.
The short paragraph was transparent and plainly worded.
7) Yes, there are those who go around in circles, convinced their creative renderings of Buddhist teachings are of value, as discussed already.
Another point on which I can only agree with you. Again, exactly, DGA.
8) cult of the book
The implications of this phrase, though the term could be accurately used in the literally sense of the phrase, are unrelated to Buddhadharma and have no bearing on it.
9) It seems to me that if one takes one's inspiration from this particular sutra, one will not exactly resist the imperatives that come with a teacher-disciple relationship.
The parable you're referencing is pointing out the lowliness of those who cling to provisional teachings and are not aware that they themselves are Buddhas in the making. This is like the parable in which the Buddha is the rich friend who points out the wish-granting jewel in his friend's robe. The poor man was rich all along. The jewel is the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. The Buddha himself is the friend who points out this treasure that the poor man carried around the whole time.
Once you have been imparted with this treasure and made aware of it, you have everything you need to build your great good fortune. So to speak.