Now my question is:
Can the original mind [“the luminous pure mind”] be essentially defiled by the “dusts” (assavas/defilements), or the "dusts" are only "guests" to the "host"? Is Master Huineng’s “direct approach to liberation” alright for those with sharp faculties, who have realized the Dhamma? Can the “true self” (“the pure mind” or “the deathless”) approach really lead to nibbana?
The body is the bodhi tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let the dust collect.
IMO this "mind" or "awareness"/"the one who knows" is like a mirror. It reflects all things but is never affected. There is a centre to this awareness that is observing phenomena. This is vippasana.
Bodhi originally has no tree,
The mirror(-like mind) has no stand.
Buddha-nature (emptiness/oneness) is always clean and pure;
Where is there room for dust (to alight)?
Master Huineng has gone beyond this level of insight and is describing anatta/emptiness. He says the mirror does not exist!
I am unclear how sudden enlightenment comes about though.
AJ Thanissaro's comments:
Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.
Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html