Today, an edited repost of a piece from 2014:
The concept of Buddha-nature is fundamental dharma and there are a number of sutras discuss its universality, yet none of them actually use the term, “Buddha-nature.”
The Buddha said, Ananda and all of you should understand . . . that human beings, since time without beginning, have been subject to continuous sufferings because they do not know the basically bright and pure mind.”
The Buddha explains that living beings have lost sight of their light, their original brightness, even though it shines within them all day long, and because they cannot see it, they make the mistake of “entering the various destinies,” which means to transmigrate through illusory realms of existence.
The point is how to make people recognize their Buddha-nature. How much can you ‘see’ of the Buddha-nature inside of you?
The sutra is a teaching for the Buddha’s cousin, Ananda; it is his sutra. The title, Surangama, means “indestructible.” Because the light is always shining within whether we see it or not, we can say that in one sense the light is indestructible or unyielding. When we awaken to our Buddha-nature, and do not lose sight of it, others can see the brightness shining through, and then this teaching becomes our own indestructible sutra.
When the Buddha gave to his disciples the famous admonition to “be a lamp unto yourself,” he was telling them not to seek the light outside of their own lives, to always look within.
In This Light in Oneself, Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote,
One has to be a light to oneself; this light is the law. There is no other law. All the other laws are made by thought and so are fragmentary and contradictory. To be a light to oneself is not to follow the light of another, however reasonable, logical, historical, and however convincing.
You cannot be a light to yourself if you are in the dark shadows of authority, of dogma, of conclusion. Morality is not put together by thought; it is not the outcome of environmental pressure, it is not of yesterday, of tradition.
Freedom is to be a light to oneself; then it not an abstraction, a thing conjured up by thought.”
So, no matter what, don’t lose sight of your light.