Theravada Buddhism

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by Pathless, May 4, 2004.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Vapour,

    thank you for the post.

    i'm not sure why you are not directly responding to the questions that i've asked of you.

    it does not incline me to think that you are wanting to have a discussion on this issue, rather, you want us to comply with your demands that we no longer use the term Hinyana to describe the Theravedan school.

    both Samabudhi and i have asked what your concern is in this regard, as you are not a Buddhist. yet, you've not addressed that query in the least.

    we've established that the term was applicable to all 18 Hinyana schools until the Theravedans were the only ones left at which point the term is no longer needed. we can refer to the Theravedan school as the Orthodoxy of Buddhism and be quite accurate. we can refer to the Mahayana as the Messianic and the Vajrayana as the Apocolyptic.... though, these are simply terms that have no bearing on reality, designations of the mind, nothing more.

    i've already given you one source, Meeting the Buddha, by Vessantara. you can also read "Industructable Truth" by R. Ray for a concise explanation of the Tibetan Buddhist position on this issue.

    of course, if you'd like to read the Tibetan itself, you'll need to find some actual texts as the majority of the Tibetan works are not on the internet. Shambala press has a good selection of Tibetan works that you can consult.
     
  2. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    may be because avoiding of usage of hinayana except in referential context is an almost universally accepted etiquet now a day among Buddhist communities, something which is oddly not enforced in this inter-faith forum. ;)

    If i insist in some forum that someone should stop using N word to describe black, my ethnicity would and should be irrelevant. I don't have to be a buddhist or black to be offended (well more of being annoyed) by someone's careless lack of respect to people of different colurs or religioun. Plus, I don't think the fact that hinayana in Tibetan translation is no derogetory works as an excuse. After all, the fact that N word is used by black in non offensive way doesn't works as excuse unless you are a black yourself. And you are not a Theravadan Buddhist.

    You somewhat seems to object to my reques to limit the use of the term "hinayana" only to referential context. You have already, warned me for using N word. I would expect you to apply the forum rule of "Do not use offensive or vulgar language." to yourself as a moderater.

    As of "i'm not sure why you are not directly responding to the questions that i've asked of you.", I'm guessing that you are refering to your request to me to read " "Industructable Truth" by R. Ray". Unless you are going to buy the book for me and post it, no. I would expect you to find links in internet as reference for any debate within internet forum. I have spend sizable time looking for links to English translation of two mahayana sutras not to mention the time it took me to figure out the correct term for "find". I didn't tell you to buy and read two sutras.

    As of 18 schools, your description is not quite accurate. True Mahayana was separate from Nikayanan Buddhism. However, Mahayanan adopted much of phisolopical doctrine of Mahāsaṃghaka branch of Nikayana school while current Theravadan school trace origin to Sthaviravada branch of Nikayanan school.

    As of Tibetan commentary, from reading of Japanese material, it appear that Je Tsongkhapa has something to do with "Three Principal Aspects of the Path" thingy in Tibetan Buddhism. In Japanese material, he is mentioned as someone who created syntheis of Nikayanan, Mahayanan and Tantric tradition but so far I cannot find material explaining the detail of the argument he presented. Anyway, in Japanese material, at least, there is an aknowledement about the fact that this was something which Tibetan had to overcome.
     
  3. samabudhi

    samabudhi Well-Known Member

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    Enforced?! :D
    http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/
    E-Sangha is the biggest Buddhist forum on the web. You'll get a much broader perspective. :)

    If no one means to be derogatory when using the word Hinayana, then what is the problem? The word is only as powerful as the meaning people attribute to it. Devoted Buddhists are probably the most difficult people to offend, and the least likely to do so. So Hinayanas being extremely difficult to offend, and Mahayanas claiming that the term Hinayana is not derogatory, leaves us with you, the outsider, attempting to cause dissension within the order.

    Your valient attempts to bring justice is built on unclear perceptions of what is really happening, is misplaced, and only serves the agenda of conflict.

    Think what your own motives are for arguing such a trivial point. :)
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste vapour,

    thank you for the post.

    what do you think that this thread is doing? we are speaking in the referential context... and even so, as i've plainly said, i present the teachings from my schools point of view.

    that's correct, you do not have to be a member of the group to speak up on their behalf. however, either you've chosen to overlook my explanations of our view on this or you simply are discounting them and insisting that we mean what you think we mean... even though it's been explained that this is not the case.

    incredulity does not an argument make. it's irrelevant what you happen to think regarding the Tibetan transmission, it's relevant what they think... as it is their transmission.

    you are correct, i'm not a Theravedan and i never claimed to be. which, incidently is why i always link to non-sectarian sources, like www.buddhanet.net so that the interested reader can go and learn for themselves.

    i see. so... if i were a black american, i could refer to myself with a racial epitath and it would be ok? how could anyone know that i am, actually, a black american? do you see the difficulty here?

    i'm not objecting to your request to use the term in that specific fashion only. i'm not sure how you came to that conclusion.. nevertheless, it is not accurate.

    not even close. are you reading this thread? i've asked you to comment directly upon the Suttas that i listed as supporting the teaching of the Bodhisattva in the Theravedan tradition, as one example. perhaps, you should read the thread again and see the rest of the questions that have been asked of you.

    all of mine are related to doctrinal issues and establishing your support for your position. which you've elected not to do. why, i cannot say.

    why is that? unfortunately, not everything exists as an internet document.. that's just how it is. nevertheless, if you are interested, those are the texts that, in my opinion, you should read.

    you could have... of course, the two that you've linked to i already have.

    i see. and what, specifically, determines "TRUE" Mahayana?

    i'm not going to engage in the no True Scotsman Fallacy with you, Vapour. that is a non-sensical argument from the Dharma perspective.

    i doubt that you will find it on the 'net. i've never seen it published other than in textual form.. and i've only seen a partial translation into english.
     
  5. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    If you follow Mahayana lineage, you can't avoid using it becuase their doctrine is closely related to Mahayana-"Hinayana" polemic. So if someone use H word in referential context, fine. And when I say "referenial" context, I don't mean when you "refer" to Theravadan school. I mean only when you refer to Mahayanan polemic. And "I didn't mean to" isn't gonna work if you know it will cause offence not to mention about allay of inslut Mahayanan sutras throw at Hinayanan path. Here is another ones, "The Lankavatara Sutra states as much by saying that Arhats, due to their self-centered motivation may go to their personal Nirvana, but it is not the Nirvana of the Buddhas. And eventually, even this realm will end". Or "how Sariputta became the butt of jokes in the Vimalakirti Nirdesha, when he was previously an Arahant (in the full sense of that term)".

    If someone say something like "Hinyana does mean "lesser vehicle" however, it is a mistake to presume that this is a derogatory term", it almost appear to be an attempt to whitewash this embarrasing legacy. Plus samabushi refer to refer Theravada as hinayana without any qualification before I raised this issue. And the fact that the original thread is specifically a question about current Theravadan school didn't help.

    As of e-sangha, Yes, I'm aware of the forum and I run search with the word "hinayana". Unsuprisingly, there are few topic which discuss similar matter.

    http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=5743&hl=hinayana

    Or in Beliefnet

    http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?boardID=306&discussionID=360880

    And, it is some Tibetan buddhists including someone named "samabudhi" who defend usage of the word. However, even some Tibetan buddhist seems to admit that

    And it is not a trivial matter when someone try to defend a usage of it. Think it it like the word Negro/Eskimo/Indian. Not as bad as N***** but if you insist on using it, it will cause great offence to the people concerned and considere as very ignorant and disprespectful by public at large well at least in my corner of the world. Not here appearently It's only sound trivial to some if one haven't been around outside of your tradition.

    In fact a moderater of E-sangha state

    "Anyway, I have personally stopped using the term Hinayana, unless it is really necessary, especially when we study the later Buddhist philosophies we basically can't escape from it. But basically it is the individuals' attitudes that make the differences, not the labels we put onto ourselves or the words we put on our mouths. Even we consider ourselves followers of the Bodhisattva's Way, considering that the term indeed has some derogatory means, that may make followers of another path to feel hurted (and of course if we intentionally disparage another path, that itself is considered an offence to the Bodhisattva code of ethnics), I would therefore think it's good to stop using this term in an open situation such as this e-forum."

    Oh, by the way, "Hina is from the root hā: to cast off, discard, shun. Hina: inferior, low, poor, miserable, vile, base, abject, contemptible, despicable, rejected, thrown away, scorned." Hence small is only derivertive meaning. While it is possible to use hinayana in cotext of vile/inferior/poor vehicle without meaning small vehicle, it is not possible do the opposite.

    Lastly, no I didn't see your request refert to certain Boddhisatva element in Theravadan because it is irrelevant to the issue of how hinayana is considered as an insult.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    b'Shalom Vapour,

    thank you for the post.
    i'll post your previous comments to which i'm referring, and i'll highlight the areas that i've asked to you support with Suttas:

    hopefully, that will bring the outstanding questions back into focus for you.
     
  7. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    ah, i see. Yes, I was too focused on this H word issue and didn't see that you were also raising a separate issue. For this, I apologise.

    Firstly, it is indeed the case that you can find few Theravadan monks who aspire bohdisattva. On top of that, you can find several Shinhalese king who declare himself to be bohdisattva. I also remember of a mention about a old/ancient Theravadan temples which actually have writing on the wall in which monks state their aspiration to become bodhisattva.

    Having said all that in Pali Cannons, the bodhisatta is only ever mentioned in regard to Shakyamuni before his enlightenment. They do recognise future Buddah but Theravadan do not take refuge in future buddah. Also you have to remember that Theravadan religious structure is not like Tibetan or Catholic church. It is temple based and there are quite lot of variation depending on which temple.

    If you say that Theravadan takes aspiration from bohdisattva, you are correct. However, if your idea of bohdisattva is someone who deliverately turn his back on nirvana to rescue entire humanity as if of second coming of Jesus, you are pushing too far. Plus, the fact that arahat is the enlightened one and bohdisattva is not is not something which is debated in Theravada. On the other hand, in some mahayanan sutras arahats are treated quite harshly.

    I also see lot of analogy of Tibetan and Bahai' in this respect. Bahai view of Buddhism is bit odd, in some occasion annoying from Buddhist point of view. They appear to pick very minor point and then turn in around, expand (strech) it to fit with their view. Obviously, Baha'i don't see that way. Given that synthesis is part of both tradition and are indeed an important part of doctrine, it is quite understandable attempt though.

    Secondly, as of Vajaryana being better, yes, Vajaryana sutras do claim to be such. Shingon was picked as the state religion by Imperial family 1300 years ago based on such claim. I unfortunately cannot find link with English translation but it is not at all suprising given that it has been part of Mahayana sutras writing to make such claim over the previous practice. Even Pali cannon is not free from this indiscretion in regard to their view of Jain. Plus, everyone (including theravadan) would consider a path which promiss fastest result to enlightenment to be better path. This is not same as "all roads lead to Rome" analogy. If you claiming that your particular path is a highway while other is not, you will annoy other people. If you say, "what's wrong with slower and smaller path", well, if you think such claim is irrelevant, you may stop making such claim and stop annoying other people. And obviously, you wouldn't mind if Theravadan start to say that following Tibetan path would be slower road to enlightenment. ;)

    Thirdly, as of accuracy of Pali Cannon. Ah, well, the thing is in Orient, the fact that lot of sutras are inaccuarate or even forged is an accepted fact. Availability of different edition of the same sutra. Obivious addition and alteration of Buddah's saying when you compre earlier and later sutras kinda make it obvious. As part of this heritage, many buddhist scholar usually treat sutras as matter of scholastic reference rather than souce of holy inspiration from devine words. As far as Oriental Buddhism are concrned, the fact that Pali Cannons wasn't altered after it's composition or that it's composition is earlier than Mahayanan ones is not really disputed. This doesn't mean Oriental Buddhist accept Pali Cannons as the holy (or holier) scripture. Theravada buddhist is after all, only one sect of Nikaya tradition. It is expected that some addition and edition went on as well. Just that they had less time to add and edit. Maybe, my use of the word "authentic" wasn't a proper one, possibly "authoritative" is better? Anyway, the term is meant to be used for scholastic purpose rather than religious one.
     
  8. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Vapour,


    thank you for the post.

    and thank you for addressing the other questions.

    now, all i ask is that you support your assertions with Sutta or Sutras so that we know that these are not simply your opinions on these issues.

    i, unfortunately, will not have any time to respond again until Monday...
     
  9. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    ah, o.k. here is an article in regard to vegetarianism but insightful about how Mahayanan doctrine evolved. I'm sorry it's a long read but this is what I can so far.

    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-MEL/waley.htm

    "The change in the Buddhist attitude towards flesh-eating took place at a far later date, long after the written redaction of the Hiinayaana Canon, and consequently the whole process lies open before us. The fact that, in Buddhist scriptures, it is possible to trace the evolution of such a change says much for the fidelity with which the Cannon has been transmitted."

    I would actually think that not accepting that scriptures as a holy cannons is a good thing. I should also add that this attitude is not universal in modern Mahayana. It is more pronounced in Japanese Zen tradition for quite obvious reason.
     
  10. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    Sutras transmission within Chinese language, here is an exaple of Hero's March Sutra.

    http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/authenticity.htm

    For general issue of apocryphal

    http://www.geocities.com/chris_holte/Buddhism/IssuesInBuddhism/apocryphal.html

    This is something I would like to know. That famous Tibetan Book of Dead. By the standard of scholastic buddhism this book as well as similar works must certainly fall into category of apocryphal writing. What is the official position of Tibetan temples on some of these work which are claimed to be buried for centuries and then being discovered in Tibet?
     
  11. samabudhi

    samabudhi Well-Known Member

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    My point was not that they don't discuss it, but rather that they don't forbid the use of the word, as you presumptiously predicted.

    Wonder who that could be? :)

    How ironic.

    Synthesis is not a part of Buddhism. Tolerance, however, is very much so.

    :> Vapour, Vapour...
    Slow down.
    Breathe.

    Now tell me, what you are objecting to, and if possible, what should be done.
    Are you suggesting that Buddhists give up debating with other people and showing others their way? What good can come of this? The religion would die and everyone who didn't know about it wouldn't be cursing that they never got the chance to hear about it. :)

    Unfortunately there is this aspect, but what other options are there? Buddhists are the least likely to make a show about how much better they are. They do spread the faith, but at the same time acknowledge that there are others, and so they do so with much sensitivity. They don't go where they're not wanted. The reason Buddhism is doing so well is because the West is looking for it. It does well because it has answers to questions which are ignored in the west. There is nothing wrong with spreading your faith, and people who object to it are only objecting to what they see as a threat to their identities, not to their betterment. People will always be suspicious of foreign ideas, but this cannot be helped.
     
  12. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    Did I ever suggested to ban the use of the word? :) I have made it clear that it is unavoidable in certain context. However, your comment such as

    is just being rude and insensitve.

    Oh, by the way, my Buddhist friend attended seminar held by Dalai Lama in Scotland recently. According to him, Dalai Lama stated that refering Theravadan as Hinayanan is pejorative and inappropriate. In his seminar Dalai Lama used the term Theravada unless the term "Hinayana" had to be used as a reference. I understand that this is not the consensus of all Tibetan teachers yet, which in my view is rather unfortunate.
     
  13. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,


    Vapour, thank you for your posts.

    let me speak a bit more plainly.

    please use Suttas to support your assertion that the purpose of Buddhists praxis is to become an Arhant.

    please use Suttas to support your assertion that Bodhisattvas have not gained enlightenment.

    please use Suttas to support your assertion that Arhants are enlightned (Annutara Samyak Sambodhi).

    please use Suttas to support your assertion that the main difference between the Mahayana and Hinyana approach is the degree to which Sutta is relied upon.

    incidently, i'm well aware of the literary custome of Asia to "back date" the authorship of a document to lend credibility to it. i consider this to be rather significant for the historical process but fairly irrelevant to the spiritual process, of course, others my have differing views on this issue.

    a great many people place their faith on the literal texts and the lineage of transmission, to my way of thinking, that is rather like being focused on the plate, instead of the food.

    as i say, if you are offering your opinion on these issues, that's well and good.. and as such, citing Sutta/Sutra sources isn't relevant. however, if you are asserting that these are not your opinions but are the actual meaning of the teachings, please demonstrate it as such.
     
  14. samabudhi

    samabudhi Well-Known Member

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    I hoped I had explained clearly what I meant by skillful means. Whatever your definition or anyone elses, my intended meaning was of methods which lend themselves to attachment. Hinayana don't use these methods to the best of my knowledge (or I certainly wasn't taught them anyway), in general, thus the difference. :D
    Besides that point, I don't see what else could be considered rude and insensitive.
     
  15. Vapour

    Vapour Well-Known Member

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    oh, refering Theravada as Hinayana part but. Well, having a moderater who is also Tibetan buddhist as buddy help I guess. well bye.
     
  16. samabudhi

    samabudhi Well-Known Member

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    I don't necessarily consider the two the same, and if you look at the quote, you won't find the word Theravada, so you're standing on water.
     

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