(answer to a question) I didn’t say animals don’t have Buddha nature, but I did (probably shouldn’t have without explanation) quote a famous koan. When the master says MU or No the the monk’s questions, that is a puzzle because he has said that all beings have Buddha nature. That is a primary truth of Buddhism, so the master cannot refute it, however he did say MU to the monk…so what was he saying MU or NO to? He was saying MU to the I-it mind of the monk. Zen masters have one purpose which is to Blow Out the I-it consciousness of the modern mind that believes it is a separate self outside of experience like the potter is outside of his pot.
I hope I cleared up the confusion that I created here. MU! blows out the question the monk was trapped in. Buddha Nature cannot be known because it is the knower before something is known, the Awareness before something in consciousness. There is no path to Buddha Nature because all paths are known. Buddha Nature rises spontaneously when all paths have been tried and failed.
But getting back to that Zen Koan (which is quite famous), the MU! suddenly means to me that if you see Buddha nature in animals, that is not Buddha Nature because Buddha Nature is not an IT. Buddha nature is always the I or the knower, the consciousness that is like the sun shining out but never on itself. All sentient beings have this center ME. The spider has a ME that sees the world as spider. The dog sees the world from its dog center.
This idea keeps on giving..What or where is Buddha Nature. when I comes to animals, if you see it you don’t have it. But when you become one with the animal, as if bonded from the inside, knowing the animal as the animal with no boundaries between you, except for this then veil of objectivity because you know it is an animal. Unless you are a Shaman who becomes the animal….
So Buddha Nature is seeing from the inside of the other.. the Rapture of Romantic Love would be Buddha Natures. Buddha Nature is Subjectivity…the center that is everywhere but has no circumference. This is also the definition of God. Love and compassion are the gateway to this Nature….our true nature.