Queequeg wrote:I have to preface this by saying I am not at all well versed on the subject. I can't speak to these refutations you refer to, but Zhanran begins by addressing the Nirvana Sutra.
Which he dramatically fails to understand properly, precisely because of his antinomian rhetoric, all-pervasiveness, mutual-inclusion and so forth. This is denounced by Shenhui (and a few others). The quote from the Nirvana Sutra shows Zhanran totally misses the point.
As for insentient things attaining Buddhahood - that is indeed what is asserted to happen at Buddhahood, or rather, happened, because Buddhahood has already been achieved.
No, you need a mind to achieve Buddhahood, insentient cannot do that. You are negating the Path. If Buddhahood is already there, then Bodies and Wisdoms (as well as Omniscience and Activities) can be displayed. If this is not the case, this means: 1. the Path has not be perfected, 2. Buddhahood has not been obtained, 3. insentient things cannot reach Buddhahood.
Like I said, there is a nuance here which defies the criticism you make. Its not that plants and rocks attain Buddhahood on their own, but rather, they, being continuous with the Buddha, are also Buddha. And bringing in reference to Antinomianism is off base, as well.
No, it is definitely not off base since it is the core of this approach which cannot escape its own doctrinal traps. In the Shenhui Yulu, it is said :
Chan Master Yuan of Ox-Head Mountain asked: "Does buddha-nature permeate everywhere or not?"
[Shenhui] answered: "Buddha-nature permeates all sentient things, but does not permeate all insentient things."
When Yuan says "Lush groves of emerald bamboos, Are wholly the dharma-body", this shows that his antinomian approach drives him out of Buddhism, since bamboos don't have a mind and therefore don't have a Dharmakaya. Even sentient beings do not have Dharmakaya, it's merely a potential, to experience that Dharmakaya in a manifest way, they need to practice the Path. And this dharmakaya is not even the dharmakaya at its fruition. In other words, the three Bodies are manifestations of the Path (sku gsum lam gyi snang ba), saying the contrary negates the necessity of the Path. This is more or less the same thing as in Dzogchen when someone is unable to distinguish the state of Dzogchen from the state of the practitioner of Dzogchen. This negates the Path. Negating the Path contradicts the Four Noble Truths. You see where that leads after that...
When Yuan says again "Luxuriant clusters of chrysanthemums, are Nothing other than prajñā (wisdom)" he again misses the point since prajñā is experienced by a mind, not by insentients.
Shenhui answers : "Surely you do not mean that the merit of groves of emerald bamboos equals that of the dharma-body, or that the wisdom of clusters of chrysanthemums is the same as prajñā? If the groves of bamboos and chrysanthemums are equal to the dharma-body and to prajñā, then in which scripture does the Tathāgata predict that an emerald bamboo or a chrysanthemum will attain bodhi? The notion that emerald bamboos and chrysanthemums are the same as the dharma-body and prajñā is a heterodox doctrine."
So it is indeed a case where antinomian traps have led those advocating them out of Buddhism.