anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

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Grigoris
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:03 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 am
First of all, that is only Thailand, not the whole of Theravada. Secondly, even in Thailand the Dhammayuttika Nikaya is still a small minority (around 10% of all monks) after over a century of strong state support.
So stating that the current form of Theravada is the product of a 19th century reform still looks very much like an oversimplification. It is actually similar to how 20th century "reformed" Japanese Zen was projected on the whole of East Asian Buddhism, while it was just the idealised image of a few people (like DT Suzuki).
Personally, the only reason I am talking about the Thai context is because it is the one that I know about. Actually, when I was in Thailand and was talking with various monk/scholars studying at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University they tried to "blame" the Reusi/Lersi tradition on Cambodian influence. But this just leads me to suspect that the Reusi/Lersi practices were also common in Cambodian (and possibly Lao) Theravada. I also find it extremely difficult to believe that Sri Lankan Theravada did not also incorporate regional practices into their schools. Sri Lanka has a Hindu "tantric" tradition dating back to the time of the Ramayana epic.

The then king of Sri Lanka, Ravana, was a renowned "magician" who it is claimed penned seminal texts on:
1. Astrology - Ravan Samhita narrated to him by Shiva.
2. Medicine - The Ravanakumara Tantra
3. Linguistics.
4. Spirituality - The Samkhya scripture known as the Ravana-bhasya, the Shavite scripture Shiva Tandava Stotrama and others.

Looking at how Thai Theravada was influenced by the Reusi/Lersi, I find it very difficult to believe that Lankan Theravada would not have been influenced by this long-standing spiritual and academic tradition.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Astus » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:03 pm
the Thai context
The vast majority of current Thai monks do not belong to the reform movement started in the 19th century. That does not mean nothing has changed, but at least there wasn't any controlled change either.
I find it very difficult to believe that Lankan Theravada would not have been influenced by this long-standing spiritual and academic tradition.
It was in the 12th century that Parākramabāhu I "purified" the monastic community, and practically abolished non-Theravada communities, that resulted in the gradual disappearance of other schools.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Dan74 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:06 am

tonysharp wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:10 am
múscailt wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:24 am
But it is interesting observing the resistance to any suggestion to giving up term hīnayāna as an appropriate epithet for the Theravāda.
Because you're essentially asking people to deny their feelings, and ignore the fundamental problems they see in "Hinayana" ideology, problems which are, themselves, highlighted in some of the Mahayana sutras. It's like going to a socialist community and asking people to speak uncritically of anarcho-capitalism. Many Mahayana Buddhists are well acquainted with the Theravada teachings. Up until a month ago, I'd been a practicing Theravada Buddhist for over a decade. I came here because I've been long looking for a way out. Certainly, there are similarities between Theravada and Mahayana, but there are also disagreements that can't be avoided. The Sallattha Sutta (SN 36:6) has a lesson that may be helpful for you. You don't have to allow frustration to arise over this if you don't want to.

:hi:
I shouldn't be speaking for múscailt, but I suspect that his frustration stems not so much from people's feelings, but the wide-spread ignorance and mischaracerisation of Buddhist traditions by each other. This applies of course to both Theravada by Mahayana and vice versa. A good thing about a thread like this, is that it brings a lot of good info onto the table and folks can inform themselves.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by múscailt » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:48 am

Dan74 wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:06 am
tonysharp wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:10 am
múscailt wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:24 am
But it is interesting observing the resistance to any suggestion to giving up term hīnayāna as an appropriate epithet for the Theravāda.
Because you're essentially asking people to deny their feelings, and ignore the fundamental problems they see in "Hinayana" ideology, problems which are, themselves, highlighted in some of the Mahayana sutras. It's like going to a socialist community and asking people to speak uncritically of anarcho-capitalism. Many Mahayana Buddhists are well acquainted with the Theravada teachings. Up until a month ago, I'd been a practicing Theravada Buddhist for over a decade. I came here because I've been long looking for a way out. Certainly, there are similarities between Theravada and Mahayana, but there are also disagreements that can't be avoided. The Sallattha Sutta (SN 36:6) has a lesson that may be helpful for you. You don't have to allow frustration to arise over this if you don't want to.

:hi:
I shouldn't be speaking for múscailt, but I suspect that his frustration stems not so much from people's feelings, but the wide-spread ignorance and mischaracerisation of Buddhist traditions by each other. This applies of course to both Theravada by Mahayana and vice versa. A good thing about a thread like this, is that it brings a lot of good info onto the table and folks can inform themselves.
Well said. Thanks.
"We don't use the Pali Canon as a basis for orthodoxy, we use the Pali Canon to investigate our experience." -- Ajahn Sumedho

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by tonysharp » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:35 am

Dan74 wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:06 am
A good thing about a thread like this, is that it brings a lot of good info onto the table and folks can inform themselves.
Of course. My point wasn't that these discussions shouldn't be allowed, but if they make you frustrated, passive-aggressive, and angry, perhaps—for your own sake, and for others—you should work on taming your mind first before engaging in them.
“I, Shinran, do not have a single disciple of my own. The reason is that if I could induce others to call the nenbutsu through my own influence, then they might well be called my disciples. But it is utterly absurd to call them my disciples when they repeat the nenbutsu through the influence of Amida Buddha.”
Tannisho VI

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Varis » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:48 am

Astus wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 am
First of all, that is only Thailand, not the whole of Theravada. Secondly, even in Thailand the Dhammayuttika Nikaya is still a small minority (around 10% of all monks) after over a century of strong state support.
So stating that the current form of Theravada is the product of a 19th century reform still looks very much like an oversimplification. It is actually similar to how 20th century "reformed" Japanese Zen was projected on the whole of East Asian Buddhism, while it was just the idealised image of a few people (like DT Suzuki).
The Dhammayuttika Nikaya and their reforms had an effect on the entirety of Thai Buddhism, not dissimilar to the reforms of the Catholic church as a result of the Protestant reformation. Similar reforms happened in Burma, and Sri Lanka. This was spurred on by Westernization. In Sri Lanka vipassana was "revived" by the Anagarika Dharmapala at the behest Madame Blavatsky. In Thailand, it was "revived" by Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, a Dhammayuttika monk. And in Burma by Ledi Sayadaw. Their ideas on meditation were modern, based on their westernized interpretations of the suttas and the vishuddhimagga.
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:03 pm
Personally, the only reason I am talking about the Thai context is because it is the one that I know about. Actually, when I was in Thailand and was talking with various monk/scholars studying at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University they tried to "blame" the Reusi/Lersi tradition on Cambodian influence. But this just leads me to suspect that the Reusi/Lersi practices were also common in Cambodian (and possibly Lao) Theravada. I also find it extremely difficult to believe that Sri Lankan Theravada did not also incorporate regional practices into their schools. Sri Lanka has a Hindu "tantric" tradition dating back to the time of the Ramayana epic.
There are equivalent traditions in Cambodia and Laos, that also go by the name Rishi in their respective languages. In Burma they have the Weikza tradition. From what I've read the Weikza tradition is extremely strong in Burma, I don't think it's unfair to say it's still mainstream there. The Weikza's fascinate me as there's also an antimonian form of that tradition, which IMO suggests potential vamachara influence.

Additionally, according to this American practitioner of the Thai Ruesi tradition, there are northern and southern Thai traditions. One related to the traditions of Burma and Tibet, the other related to the traditions of Cambodia. I don't know how accurate this is though, there are next to no resources on the Thai Ruesi in English.

http://www.sakyan.org/en/interview-with-a-ruesi/

As for Sri Lanka, one of the surviving Boran Kammatthana texts is from Sri Lanka.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:27 am

Varis wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:48 am
Additionally, according to this American practitioner of the Thai Ruesi tradition, there are northern and southern Thai traditions. One related to the traditions of Burma and Tibet, the other related to the traditions of Cambodia. I don't know how accurate this is though, there are next to no resources on the Thai Ruesi in English.

http://www.sakyan.org/en/interview-with-a-ruesi/
This was the guy that took me to Wat Ratchasittharam Ratchaworawiharn and introduced me to the monks there. He also translated for me when I went and saw a lay Thai teacher that focused on Sati rather than Vipassana meditation (apparently one of the largest practice divides in mainstream Theravada in Thailand) .

He also took me to the (functioning) Hindu Maha Uma Devi temple in Bangkok.

Many western converts to Theravada fail to understand how widespread non-Buddhist influences are on local Theravada practices.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Astus » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:44 am

Varis wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:48 am
Their ideas on meditation were modern, based on their westernized interpretations of the suttas and the vishuddhimagga.
What is a westernised interpretation?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:31 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:03 pm
Astus wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 am
First of all, that is only Thailand, not the whole of Theravada. Secondly, even in Thailand the Dhammayuttika Nikaya is still a small minority (around 10% of all monks) after over a century of strong state support.
So stating that the current form of Theravada is the product of a 19th century reform still looks very much like an oversimplification. It is actually similar to how 20th century "reformed" Japanese Zen was projected on the whole of East Asian Buddhism, while it was just the idealised image of a few people (like DT Suzuki).
Personally, the only reason I am talking about the Thai context is because it is the one that I know about. Actually, when I was in Thailand and was talking with various monk/scholars studying at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University they tried to "blame" the Reusi/Lersi tradition on Cambodian influence. But this just leads me to suspect that the Reusi/Lersi practices were also common in Cambodian (and possibly Lao) Theravada. I also find it extremely difficult to believe that Sri Lankan Theravada did not also incorporate regional practices into their schools. Sri Lanka has a Hindu "tantric" tradition dating back to the time of the Ramayana epic.

The then king of Sri Lanka, Ravana, was a renowned "magician" who it is claimed penned seminal texts on:
1. Astrology - Ravan Samhita narrated to him by Shiva.
2. Medicine - The Ravanakumara Tantra
3. Linguistics.
4. Spirituality - The Samkhya scripture known as the Ravana-bhasya, the Shavite scripture Shiva Tandava Stotrama and others.

Looking at how Thai Theravada was influenced by the Reusi/Lersi, I find it very difficult to believe that Lankan Theravada would not have been influenced by this long-standing spiritual and academic tradition.
Some of us have been here before :smile:
:reading: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 41#p476728 (on the other Wheel)

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by AkashicBrother » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:24 am

tkp67 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 10:30 pm
Lobsang Chojor wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:00 pm
AkashicBrother wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 7:34 pm
unification of buddhism in lets say , 10 or 8 centralized buddhist schools , each with its own interpretation and leadership, would make buddhism stronger and more able to spread. i dont undestand why theravada and mahayana cant unify and reach a compromise. it would do wonders to the dharma. same is valid for hinduism. darmic religions suffer with severe descentralization and lack of organization.
But to be unified there world need to be a universal leader, who would that be? Everyone would want it to be their teacher. If the Buddha gave a lineage head before he passed into parinivarna there would be a lineage for this.

Plus what would be the benefit of this hierarchy of a central leadership with individual leaders of each school? Ignoring the difficulty in the number of schools and the fact not all have a lineage head.


In my mind this statement implies that unification would require a specific teaching to unify the schools.

For me It raises the question can the schools simply respect each other's teachings as the golden words of Buddha while remaining true to their own?
Yes, they can.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by AkashicBrother » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:28 am

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:01 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 10:37 pm
AkashicBrother wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 7:34 pm
dharmic religions suffer with severe decentralization and lack of organization.
That's a feature, not a bug. You want centralised organisation, consider Roman Catholicism. :smile:
That exactly the same thought that ran through my mind when I read the comment! Word for word.
Thats Complete Nonsense. Im not criticising buddhist cosmology/philosophy. im solely criticising the organization. hence this point is absurd . the descentralization weakens buddhism. in 50 years the world proportion of buddhists will decrease while abrahmic religions will increase in number. i think dharmic religions are better but the lack of organization is killing these religions. most people in korea, japan, singapore, china and taiwan are NOT buddhists...

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by AkashicBrother » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:30 am

Astus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:08 am
It doesn't really make sense to unify schools. Mahayana includes and accepts the Agamas and Abhidharma works, while if a Theravadin were to accept Mahayana scriptures and treatises that would simply make that person a Mahayana follower, unless they come up with a new explanation of how the Mahayana is a subsidiary of the Theravada doctrines, thus not unifying the schools but actually creating a new one.
that would be awesome. unification of theravada and mahayana in a new, renewed and stronger buddhist path.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by ItsRaining » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:32 am

AkashicBrother wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:30 am
Astus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:08 am
It doesn't really make sense to unify schools. Mahayana includes and accepts the Agamas and Abhidharma works, while if a Theravadin were to accept Mahayana scriptures and treatises that would simply make that person a Mahayana follower, unless they come up with a new explanation of how the Mahayana is a subsidiary of the Theravada doctrines, thus not unifying the schools but actually creating a new one.
that would be awesome. unification of theravada and mahayana in a new, renewed and stronger buddhist path.
It would make no sense for the Theravada and Mahayana to unify. The Theravada would have to willingly accept being a lower path to the Mahayana and that their goal is just a skillful means the Buddha taught for people of lower falculties not ready to practice the Mahayana.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by múscailt » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:09 am

ItsRaining wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:32 am
AkashicBrother wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:30 am
Astus wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:08 am
It doesn't really make sense to unify schools. Mahayana includes and accepts the Agamas and Abhidharma works, while if a Theravadin were to accept Mahayana scriptures and treatises that would simply make that person a Mahayana follower, unless they come up with a new explanation of how the Mahayana is a subsidiary of the Theravada doctrines, thus not unifying the schools but actually creating a new one.
that would be awesome. unification of theravada and mahayana in a new, renewed and stronger buddhist path.
It would make no sense for the Theravada and Mahayana to unify. The Theravada would have to willingly accept being a lower path to the Mahayana and that their goal is just a skillful means the Buddha taught for people of lower falculties not ready to practice the Mahayana.
Since no school ever chose to define itself by the negative sectarian term, hīnayana, as constructed by the Mahayana, there is certainly no reason to expect that the Theravāda would choose to define itself in such way that is congruent with such an inappropriate term as hīnayana and its polemical baggage, when in fact the Theravāda can rightly characterize itself as a path to sambodhi, full awakening, as outlined by the Buddha. The Mahayana does not get to be the arbiter of what is so for any other school of Buddhism.

If one would be willing to step beyond the limitations of sectarianism (cease to cherish opinions, as suggested by Seng-T'san), it is quite possible to see that the differences tend to be far more apparent than real.
"We don't use the Pali Canon as a basis for orthodoxy, we use the Pali Canon to investigate our experience." -- Ajahn Sumedho

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Varis » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:59 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:44 am
What is a westernised interpretation?
The major figures of the vipassana revival movements, as well as the reform movements were influenced and inspired by western academic opinion of what Buddhism was supposed to be. A Buddhism devoid of so-called "superstition", divorced from popular Theravada at that time. Additionally, there were influences from Theosophy as mentioned in my previous post.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:28 am

AkashicBrother wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:30 am
that would be awesome. unification of theravada and mahayana in a new, renewed and stronger buddhist path.
There is no need to unify, they are already unified under the victory banner of the Conqueror, there just needs to be more mutual respect.

One example of this mutual respect is the organisation of the annual United Nations Vesak Day conference, where representatives of Buddhist traditions from all denominations and countries, come together to celebrate and discuss Dharma and it's practical application.

Another example is the initiative by the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University of Bangkok to bring together and publish translations of Nikaya from every textual tradition in one huge encyclopedia.

There is a lot going on that we in the West have no idea about.
Eight-auspicious-symbols-in-Tibetan-Buddhism-Victory-Banner.jpg
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"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Simon E. » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:56 am

:good:

I suspect that the different schools exist because they serve different needs.
I know nothing. This is not false modesty.

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Astus » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:17 am

Varis wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:59 am
A Buddhism devoid of so-called "superstition", divorced from popular Theravada at that time.
If I get you right, the westernised interpretation means relying on canonical scriptures and rejecting practices that cannot be derived from them. If so, that is not necessarily a western idea, as that view is found at other times and other places in Buddhism. On the other hand, even if it's considered an external influence, as it simply means emphasising canonical authority, it is not introducing something new or foreign. Also, have those popular practices disappeared, or is it more like being less accepted among certain monastics?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:23 am

Astus wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:17 am
If I get you right, the westernised interpretation means relying on canonical scriptures and rejecting practices that cannot be derived from them.
That is some thin ice you are on there my friend. Who gets to decide what is canonical? Who gets to assess derivation?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Astus » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:49 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:23 am
Who gets to decide what is canonical?
E.g. Sixth Buddhist council
Who gets to assess derivation?
That's probably up to each individual/organisation.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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