James the Giant wrote:
How far back can you strip the Buddha's teachings?
Nichiren Buddhists strip the Buddhas' teachings right back to one single line of the Lotus Sutra where it says something like "if a person even says one word of the Lotus Sutra, they are destined to attain Buddhahood."
No Four Noble Truths, no Eight-fold Path, no precepts, no meditation, no nuthin'. Just chanting Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo. (The title of the Lotus Sutra)
Okay, there is more, but it all comes down to chanting really.
I doubt that.
Often, for most traditional Buddhist schools, it is not a case of "stripping" away much at all, as in keeping some parts but discarding others.
Rather, for most traditional Buddhist schools, it is about developing a heirarchy of teachings, and establishing some as more definitive (nitartha) over others which are implicit (neyartha). Then, they would argue that placing the implicit interpretation above the explicit statements, is a gross mistake. Still, they retain the implicit, and do not abandon it, or claim it to be false, or not Dharma.
This sort of traditional Buddhist hermeneutics is very ancient. Unfortunately, I seldom see English language using Buddhists apply it, or really understand it much. Though, many will use the specific nitartha / neyartha split of their own chosen school. Unfortunately, most do not know the basis for the split, and how it is worked out by other schools.
eg. "Theravada" is usually along the lines of the theories (vada) of the Elders (thera) are to be used in interpreting and understanding the Tipitaka.
"Madhyamaka" is usually along the lines of applying the sastras of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva, etc. to unpack all teachings.
In addition to the simple nitartha / neyartha split, there are others. I quite like a four-fold model that comes out of the NW in maybe about the 3rd century or so. It is quite broad, and thus slightly less rigid.