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What's alarming is the privatization of the prison industry, turning the warehousing of people into a for-profit business. With that, an incentive arises to incarcerate more and more people to grow the business.In my opinion, the prison system is pretty heavily invested in its current form money-wise, power-wise and the social climate is one of judgement and punishment rather than reform. I think its a very big hill to climb if not altogether impossible to reform from the top down.
Yes, that's how buddhanature is usually explained; the inherent capacity we all have to evolve into a Buddha. However, the Sutra goes on to introduce the concept of True Self, which is something that's realized AFTER students have abandoned ego-clinging. It's presented as the Buddha's final teaching on the topic of "self", for those who have already gone beyond mundane self. And there's an implication that this True Self continues to exist after death, as the Buddha's described as permanently abiding (in his True Self) in Nirvana or Buddha heaven.I have this Sutra, though I have yet to read it--I'm quite certain it is not a historical record of "what the Buddha actually said" but that is true of most Mahayana texts I'm sure (though historical accuracy does not de-value the text, IMO -- as if historical authenticity is the only factor in determining the validity of a text).
Regarding "buddha nature": when I first encountered this talk of "buddha nature" I thought it also to be a backdoor to sneak an essential "self" back into Buddhism which made little sense to me. However, from what I have read since that first encounter with it, my understanding is that "buddha nature" refers to a sentient being's capacity to awaken, not a kind of metaphysical "essence." I wonder if part of the problem is the translation into English of this term...?