The Origins of Mahayana Buddhism

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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The Origins of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by plwk » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:53 am

phpBB [video]

Prof. Charles Willemen is currently rector and teaching professor at the International Buddhist College, Thailand.
He studied Latin, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Sanskrit. He obtained his Ph.D. in the field of East-Asian Studies (University of Gent, Belgium).
He was assistant, guest professor and professor at different universities in Belgium, China, Canada, Japan and Thailand.

Interview with Professor Charles Willemen, IBC, Thailand and Raymond Lam, Editor, Buddhistdoor International
Filmed on location at HKU Buddhist Meditative Praxis Conference, Hong Kong, August 2013

Video editing: Stanley Tung
Music by Kevin MacLeod
"Resignation" & "Easy Lemon"

Produced by Buddhistdoor International (2013)

Very interesting stuff although it's not the first time I have heard of such assertions but gives another take on how and what 'Mahayana' is and related to the Early Schools

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Re: The Origins of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:38 am

I appreciated watching this, if for no other reason than as a reminder
of Buddhism's incredibly vast history and development.
So very often someone will pull a quote, very narrowly, from a book they have picked up,
or will think the Buddha absolutely said such and such in exactly the words they are reading (in English?).

Nobody knows who it was who first rubbed two sticks together and made a fire.
But we can replicate that today, and get the same results.
Likewise, with The Dharma, we can never know, with absolute certainty, what the Buddha said.
But we can study the teachings as they have been preserved,
and test them out, and see what kinds of results we get.

I wish I had the kind of academic background that so many great scholars and researchers (and excellent teachers) have.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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Re: The Origins of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:56 am

In this video, Charles Willemen seems to suggest that the group which split off and went south, and came to be identified as Hinayana, originally referred to itself as Mahayana.

It seems that, in those very early days, there weren't the same sharp sectarian divisions that came later:

I am not a follower of the Dalai Lama, but I find him a worthwhile source when it comes to the history of Buddhism:
It is very important to understand that the core teachings of the Theravada tradition embodied in the Pali scriptures are the foundation of the Buddha's teachings. Beginning with these teachings, one can then draw on the insights contained in the detailed explanations of the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition. Finally, integrating techniques and perspectives from the Vajrayana texts can further enhance one's understanding. But without a foundation in the core teachings embodied in the Pali tradition, simply proclaiming oneself a follower of the Mahayana is meaningless.
If one has this kind of deeper understanding of various scriptures and their interpretation, one is spared from harboring mis-taken notions of conflicts between the "Greater" versus the "Lesser" Vehicle (Hinayana). Sometimes there is a regrettable tendency on the part of certain followers of the Mahayana to disparage the teachings of the Theravada, claiming that they are the teachings of the Lesser Vehicle, and thereby not suited to one's own personal practice. Similarly, on the part of followers of the Pali tradition, there is sometimes a tendency to reject the validity of the Mahayana teachings, claiming they are not actually the Buddha's teachings.
As we move into our examination of the Heart Sutra, what is important is to understand deeply how these traditions complement each other and to see how, at the individual level, each of us can integrate all these core teachings into our personal practice."

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