One of the fundamental tenets of Mahayana Buddhism animating and grounding the doctrine and discipline of its spiritual path, is the inherent potentiality of all animate beings to attain the supreme and perfect enlightenment of Buddhahood. This book examines the ontological presuppositions and the corresponding soteriological-epistemological principles that sustain and define such a theory. Within the fieldof Buddhist studies, such a work provides a comprehensive context in which to interpret the influence and major insights of the various Buddhist schools. Thus, the dynamics of the Buddha nature, though non-thematic and implicit, is at the heart of zen praxis, while it is a significant articulation in Kegon, Tendai and Shingon thought. More specifically, the book seeks to establish a coherent metaphysics of absolute suchness (Tathata), synthesizing the variant traditions of the Tathagata-embryo (Tathagatagarbha) and the storehouse consciousness (Alayavijnana). The books contribution to the broader field of the history of religions rests in its presentation and analysis of the Buddhist enlightenment as the salvific-transformational moment in which tathata awakens to itself comes to perfect slef-realization as the absolute suchness of reality, in and through phenomenal human consciousness. The book is an interpretation of the Buddhist path as the spontaneous self-emergence of embryonic absolute knowledge as it comes to free itself from the concealments of adventitious defilements and possess itself in fully self-explicitatedself-consciousness as the 'Highest Truth' and unconditional nature of all existence, it does so only in the form of omniscient wisdom.