The purpose of teaching the “Tathagatagarbha” is to give meditators confidence that they already have Buddha Nature. Without such confidence it is very difficult to fully rest the mind free from all conceptual contrivance, because there is always a subtle tendency to try to remove or achieve something.
In the “Ratnagotravibhaga” five reasons are given for teaching the “Tathagatagarbha”.
Firstly, it encourages those who would otherwise be so self-depreciating that they would not even try to arouse Bodhichitta and attain Buddhahood.
Secondly, it humbles those who, having aroused Bodhichitta, feel intrinsically superior to others who have not.
Thirdly, it removes the fault of taking the stains, which are unreal, to be the true nature of beings.
Fourthly, it removes the fault of taking the Clear Light Nature, which is real, to be unreal.
Fifthly, by showing that all beings are intrinsically of the same nature as the nature of Buddha, it removes the obstacle to the arising of true compassion, which sees no difference between self and others.
Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche
from the book Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness
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