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

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

Post by ItsRaining » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:57 am

múscailt wrote:
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


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.
The Mahayana can view others however it likes and take that view as authoratative, whether the Theravada accepts the Mahayana view is another problem. The Theravada does not cultivate full awakening as defined by the Buddha they aim for arhatship at most in the majority of cases outside of certain exceptions like the extinct Mahayana Theravadins and people like Bhikkhu Bodhi's teacher. The Mahayana simply reveals the higher teachings not taught in the Theravada.

Sengcan is likely not even a real person so I'm not too sure how weighty his opinion should be but going by his Xinxin Ming I doubt Theravdins or other Sravakas would have accepted his view. Otherwise they would not have been so averse to the Madhyamaka or Thathgata teachings in ancient India and now as well going by some of their polemics.

The Mahayana does step beyond sectarianism in the teaching of the One Vehicle where all followers of the Buddha are revealed to ultimately attain Buddhaood. This does not mean that the mahayana should simply change its doctrine to accomodate Theravadins or orther Sravak schools as the teachings between the two are often contradictory and take completely different routes.

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

Post by tkp67 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:53 pm

I find this division interesting as I do the varying perceptions. I feel there is an unreasonable attachment to the word lesser.

In a simple treatise (as opposed to a unification) can't they be described to the general public ANTHROPOLOGICALLY as CORE teachings and EXPANDED teachings since they at some point share commonality in this regard. *IN MY MIND* it offers no offence against any teaching and lets the those of prospective interest "enter the water" according to their own ability and with the whole of the body of Buddhism at arm's length?

Is it a denigration of my own practice to think this way?

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

Post by múscailt » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:53 am

ItsRaining wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:57 am
The Mahayana can view others however it likes and take that view as authoritative
No question, the Mahayana can view others as it wishes, which, of course, opens up the Mahayana to the criticisms that are appropriately directed at an aggressive sectarian triumphalism that gets played out by some modern Mahayanists who take too literally the Mahayana classificatory system and polemics.
whether the Theravada accepts the Mahayana view is another problem.
The Theravāda not accepting being characterized as being hīnayāna in terms of the Mahayana constructs is hardly a problem. It is a problem, however, the rightly rejected characterizing the Theravāda as hīnayana, which is a distortion of what the Theravāda teaches. What is sad is that so many present-day Mahayanists lacking compassion reject the Theravādins’ complaints about this use of the word hinayana. In terms of this sort of thing, by insisting that the derogatory, derisive term hīnayāna is an appropriate characterization of the Theravāda, the Mahayana is crossing into the territory of enantiodromia, becoming essentially what it claims to be criticizing.

múscailt wrote: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.
in response ItsRaining wrote:The Theravada does not cultivate full awakening as defined by the Buddha they aim for arhatship at most in the majority of cases outside of certain exceptions like the extinct Mahayana Theravadins and people like Bhikkhu Bodhi's teacher.
So, the Buddha did not use the word sambodi to characterize the arahants’ awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word tathāgata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word buddha in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word sugata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word arahant in reference to Himself? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not use the word sambodi to characterize his own awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not tell his followers that this the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way can attain to that awakening? Is that what you are saying?
Maybe the Theravāda’s teachings are far more radical than assumed by relying on the Mahayana’s point of view.

The Mahayana simply reveals the higher teachings not taught in the Theravada.
That is a belief, and an opinion.

Sengcan is likely not even a real person
Great googaly moogaly.

so I'm not too sure how weighty his opinion should be but going by his Xinxin Ming I doubt Theravdins or other Sravakas would have accepted his view.
One needs not buy into the whole of the text to find value in it.


Otherwise they would not have been so averse to the Madhyamaka or Thathgata[sic] teachings in ancient India and now as well going by some of their polemics.
Interesting, however, the insights of the Madhyamaka are not all that unique nor exclusive to the Mahayana.

The Mahayana does step beyond sectarianism in the teaching of the One Vehicle where all followers of the Buddha are revealed to ultimately attain Buddhaood. This does not mean that the mahayana should simply change its doctrine to accomodate Theravadins or orther Sravak schools as the teachings between the two are often contradictory and take completely different routes.
Where have I said that the Mahayana ”should simply change its doctrine to accomodate Theravadins or orther Sravak schools”? I simply suggested that the use of the term hīnayāna, “Hina[yana] (p. 732) [pp. of jahati {Vedic root }] 1. inferior, low; poor, miserable; vile, base, abject, contemptible, despicable [vehicle]” is not really an appropriate way to talk about the Buddha’s teachings.


Honestly, there is room for fruitful, mutual discussion among the followers of the Buddha. It would seem; however, we need to approach things a bit differently.
"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 Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:00 am

Interesting, however, the insights of the Madhyamaka are not all that unique nor exclusive to the Mahayana.
There is no explicit teaching on the emptiness of Dharmas in Theravada that I am aware, let alone a deconstruction of the 12 links etc via dependent origination such as is found in the Heart Sutra, etc. Unless I just haven't seen it. I've poked around the Pali Suttas that mention the emptiness of things, but the most you could argue is that they present an embryonic form of what became Madhyamaka/Prajnaparamita Sutra presentations of emptiness. That does not make it the same teaching.
That is a belief, and an opinion.
Sure, this is a Mahayana site. The default position here sees the Mahayana teachings as definitive. Lots of room for interpretation within that, but no one here needs to feel weird about taking that position, any more than someone on Dharmawheel needs to feel weird advocating for the primacy of Theravada or "early Buddhism".
Where have I said that the Mahayana ”should simply change its doctrine to accomodate Theravadins or orther Sravak schools”? I simply suggested that the use of the term hīnayāna, “Hina[yana] (p. 732) [pp. of jahati {Vedic root hā}] 1. inferior, low; poor, miserable; vile, base, abject, contemptible, despicable [vehicle]” is not really an appropriate way to talk about the Buddha’s teachings.
If there are Mahayana traditions that do it, then it is allowed here. If someone were intentionally using it to denigrate teachings that would be one thing, but the term is quite important in Vajrayana for example, and no one here needs to avoid using it because it offends people who do not practice the Mahayana. Again, any more than a Theravadin should be concerned with disputing the validity of Mahayana sutras on Dhammawheel.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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

Post by múscailt » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:06 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:00 am
Interesting, however, the insights of the Madhyamaka are not all that unique nor exclusive to the Mahayana.
There is no explicit teaching on the emptiness of Dharmas in Theravada that I am aware, let alone a deconstruction of the 12 links etc via dependent origination such as is found in the Heart Sutra, etc. Unless I just haven't seen it. I've poked around the Pali Suttas that mention the emptiness of things, but the most you could argue is that they present an embryonic form of what became Madhyamaka/Prajnaparamita Sutra presentations of emptiness.
Thank you for responding, but before I respond let me ask you what dhamma/dharma means (outside of teachings). I think a bit beyond embryonic, but certainly work a look. "deconstruction of the 12 links" a brief statement of what you mean, please.

Probably best to start a new thread. And, oh gawd, do I really want to do this? Well, sure.
"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 Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:10 am

múscailt wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:06 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:00 am
Interesting, however, the insights of the Madhyamaka are not all that unique nor exclusive to the Mahayana.
There is no explicit teaching on the emptiness of Dharmas in Theravada that I am aware, let alone a deconstruction of the 12 links etc via dependent origination such as is found in the Heart Sutra, etc. Unless I just haven't seen it. I've poked around the Pali Suttas that mention the emptiness of things, but the most you could argue is that they present an embryonic form of what became Madhyamaka/Prajnaparamita Sutra presentations of emptiness.
Thank you for responding, but before I respond let me ask you what dhamma/dharma means (outside of teachings). I think a bit beyond embryonic, but certainly work a look. "deconstruction of the 12 links" a brief statement of what you mean, please.

Probably best to start a new thread. And, oh gawd, do I really want to do this? Well, sure.
I mean emptiness of dharmas with a small 'd' i.e. phenomena, units of dharma from the Abhidharma etc.

Anyway, I'm not sure there really is much more to say, unless you have something specific to talk about. No one here is being frothingly sectarian or anything, so to my mind quibbling over whether or not people use "Hinayana" is kind of pointless, and has been gone over a million times on here.

It's been a while since I've looked at the Pali Suttas that reference emptiness, but indeed what I remember would certainly be called embryonic in comparison to the elucidation on emptiness in say, the Prajnaparamita Sutras.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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

Post by múscailt » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:21 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:10 am
múscailt wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:06 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:00 am


There is no explicit teaching on the emptiness of Dharmas in Theravada that I am aware, let alone a deconstruction of the 12 links etc via dependent origination such as is found in the Heart Sutra, etc. Unless I just haven't seen it. I've poked around the Pali Suttas that mention the emptiness of things, but the most you could argue is that they present an embryonic form of what became Madhyamaka/Prajnaparamita Sutra presentations of emptiness.
Thank you for responding, but before I respond let me ask you what dhamma/dharma means (outside of teachings). I think a bit beyond embryonic, but certainly work a look. "deconstruction of the 12 links" a brief statement of what you mean, please.

Probably best to start a new thread. And, oh gawd, do I really want to do this? Well, sure.
I mean emptiness of dharmas with a small 'd' i.e. phenomena, units of dharma from the Abhidharma etc.
My point in asking this is to make sure we are talking about the same things.
Anyway, I'm not sure there really is much more to say, unless you have something specific to talk about. No one here is being frothingly sectarian or anything, so to my mind quibbling over whether or not people use "Hinayana" is kind of pointless, and has been gone over a million times on here.
I have not been here for the preceding million discussion. It is important in as much as characterizing the Theravada as hīnayana, as being conservative, not concerned about others, etc can stop a person from having any interest in the Theravada.
It's been a while since I've looked at the Pali Suttas that reference emptiness, but indeed what I remember would certainly be called embryonic in comparison to the elucidation on emptiness in say, the Prajnaparamita Sutras.
We can take a look.
"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 Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:36 am

Maybe.

I personally started my Buddhist journey with the Pali Canon. I think if someone avoided that literature based on it being "Hinayana", that would not be a good thing. However, I am not sure I have ever seen that happen, or ever seen quite that sort of attitude expressed by a Mahayana practitioner. I have seen a general ignorance of the depth of what can be found in the vehicle of Individual Liberation (that's my favorite descriptor, by the way), but very little actual animosity..more just glossing over it.

As an example of thing right in front of the face of Tibetan practitioners that is "Hinayana", The Eight Worldly Dharmas originate in the Pali Canon.

As far as whether people are interested in Theravada the tradition, I really don't have a dog in that fight either way, to be honest. I imagine many here feel something similar.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:36 am

múscailt wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:06 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:00 am
Interesting, however, the insights of the Madhyamaka are not all that unique nor exclusive to the Mahayana.
There is no explicit teaching on the emptiness of Dharmas in Theravada that I am aware, let alone a deconstruction of the 12 links etc via dependent origination such as is found in the Heart Sutra, etc. Unless I just haven't seen it. I've poked around the Pali Suttas that mention the emptiness of things, but the most you could argue is that they present an embryonic form of what became Madhyamaka/Prajnaparamita Sutra presentations of emptiness.
Thank you for responding, but before I respond let me ask you what dhamma/dharma means (outside of teachings). I think a bit beyond embryonic, but certainly work a look. "deconstruction of the 12 links" a brief statement of what you mean, please.

Probably best to start a new thread. And, oh gawd, do I really want to do this? Well, sure.
I suspect that you think that you are here on DW to teach, rather than discuss. But of course I might be wrong.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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

Post by múscailt » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:26 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:36 am


I suspect that you think that you are here on DW to teach, rather than discuss. But of course I might be wrong.
You might want to change your "might be" to "am"; however, yours is an interesting comment, suggesting that I likely have worn out my welcome. So, bye.
"We don't use the Pali Canon as a basis for orthodoxy, we use the Pali Canon to investigate our experience." -- Ajahn Sumedho

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

Post by ItsRaining » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:28 pm

The Theravada does by all means fit the description of Sravakayana described in most Mahayana Sutras - Aims for Arhatship, doesn't teach ultimate emptiness, their abhidharma posits atoms, focuses on only emptiness of the five skhandas, etc. The Mahayana doesn't "Cross into what its criticising". I never used the word Hinayana only you are using it. it's a Mahayana site the higher teachings are accepted as so here. If you want to reject that you can start by refuting Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu. Sengcan isn't a real person lol maybe you should read some scholarship from the last 100 years? The Insights of the Madhyama are quite unique you'll not see them argued in the same way in the Sravaka Abbhidharma and is only eluded to in agamas/plai texts with no eloboration which differs it from the standard sravaka teachigns on emptiness.
So, the Buddha did not use the word sambodi to characterize the arahants’ awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word tathāgata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word buddha in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word sugata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word arahant in reference to Himself? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not use the word sambodi to characterize his own awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not tell his followers that this the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way can attain to that awakening? Is that what you are saying?
Maybe the Theravāda’s teachings are far more radical than assumed by relying on the Mahayana’s point of view.
I am saying his Sravaka disciples can't attain the awakening of the Buddha through the methods generally practiced in the Nikaya schools, though eventually they will reach Buddahood once they are led into the ekayana. Arhats aren't Buddhas, they don't have liberation from the twofold ignorance and compelte removal habit energy, nor do they have the omniscience and wisdom of the Buddha that's accepted in the Nikaya schools as well. An arhat like Shariputra doesn't have the equivelent realisation of a Buddha like Shakyamuni.

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

Post by tkp67 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:50 pm

I am curious to prevalent perceptions between schools pre-internet.

The accessibility of information on the internet seems the diametric opposite the organic expansion of Buddhism as experienced by humanity western expansion included.

I am wondering if arms length Buddhist expressions of being aren't a greater common denominator for harmony than "just words" of minds attracted to distinctly different heritages.

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

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:46 pm

múscailt wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:26 pm
£$&^@ wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:36 am


I suspect that you think that you are here on DW to teach, rather than discuss. But of course I might be wrong.
You might want to change your "might be" to "am"; however, yours is an interesting comment, suggesting that I likely have worn out my welcome. So, bye.
I am one insignificant member. Others might think you the best thing since sliced bread. I think you are being hasty.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

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

Post by múscailt » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:30 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:46 pm
múscailt wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:26 pm
£$&^@ wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:36 am


I suspect that you think that you are here on DW to teach, rather than discuss. But of course I might be wrong.
You might want to change your "might be" to "am"; however, yours is an interesting comment, suggesting that I likely have worn out my welcome. So, bye.
I am one insignificant member. Others might think you the best thing since sliced bread. I think you are being hasty.
Thank you for the kind words. I got sucked into this thread by the OP, thinking it might be worth a comment or two, and I was also wondering if this forum would be any different from other forums in how pan-Buddhist things get discussed. In my 51 years that I have considered myself a Buddhist, I have studied with two Geshes (Tibetan) and a Rinpoche (Tibetan), lived for 3 years in Zen center, participated in 3 month retreats with vipassana teachers, both Western and Eastern, took classes in the Buddhist studies program as the U of Wisconsin, Madison, plus a bunch of other stuff. I certainly make no claims of attainments or of how much I do know. I do, however, enjoy, but not always, discussing stuff online. I am getting old, and may be too damned old for dealing this often cranky media. Anyway, a real person or not, I do find value in Seng-T'san's dictum of not cherishing opinions.
"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 Dan74 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:36 pm

A discussion forum is open to everyone and the standards upheld here are not very high which has the side effect of putting off knowledgeable and interesting contributors.

But then again, the other alternative, of a much tighter moderation comes with its own set of problems.

I just hope that people can use the ignore function and share in spite of the incivility and common discussion fallacies. Because there is a less vocal majority I believe that really appreciates it.

_/|\_

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

Post by tkp67 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:43 pm

when I am completely free of myself I can always find a basis for compassion in the words of others

if we are a community of minds there should be a basis for unity

I am not suggesting one but last night I watched the compassion of emptiness and enjoy it

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

Post by múscailt » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:12 am

ItsRaining wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:28 pm
The Theravada does by all means fit the description of Sravakayana described in most Mahayana Sutras - Aims for Arhatship, doesn't teach ultimate emptiness, their abhidharma posits atoms, focuses on only emptiness of the five skhandas, etc.
That is quite the list, but of course, the only real issue is how really accurate, honest, of a portrayal do we find when we read the particulars of such a list and compare those particulars to what the Theravada actually teaches. Also, “Sravakayana” is, again, a Mahayana construct used to define and pigeon-hole another living school.
As Red Pine wrote::Shravaka means “one who hears” and originally referred to those disciples who actually heard the Buddha speak. Later, it was extended to include the members of such early sects as the Sarvastivadinds. And later still, it was used pejoratively by Mahayana Buddhists in reference to those who sought nirvana without concern for others. It should be noted, though, that this depiction of the Hinayana was a Mahayana invention and doubtlessly included a certain amount of distortion of the actual practice of those at whom it was aimed, namely monks and nuns who followed the letter and not the spirit of the Dharma. Thus, a shravaka was often described as one who merely heard the teachings of the Buddha but did not put them into practice. – THE HEART SUTRA, page 43.
The Mahayana doesn't "Cross into what its criticising". I never used the word Hinayana only you are using it.
Certainly looks like it does. You may not use hīnayāna, but it does get used by Mahayanists, thus the OP of this thread.

it's a Mahayana site the higher teachings are accepted as so here. If you want to reject that you can start by refuting Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu.
Interesting. Because I question the use of the, at best, questionable word hīnayana does not mean I am rejecting Nāgārjuna and company any more than is Reginald Ray:
Reginald Ray, INDESTRUCTABLE TRUTH, pgs 238-9, 240 wrote: Each school, whether classified as Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana, has practitioners at all levels of understanding. For example, one can be a member of a Hinayana school yet have a Vajrayana level of maturation, or follow a Vajrayana school with a Mahayana level of understanding. And, as Ringu Tulku points out, one can even belong to a Mahayana school and not be practicing Buddhism at all! Trungpa Rinpoche once expressed the view that within the Theravadin Tradition over the course of its history, there were undoubtedly realized people who reflected a Mahayana and even a Vajrayana orientation. He also commented that within historical Theravada there were probably realized siddhas (the Tantric Buddhist enlightened ideal).

This somewhat complex way of talking about schools and practitioners makes a simple but important point. The school or sect that a person belongs to does not really tell us about his or her level of understanding, maturation, or attainment. A practitioner is to be evaluated strictly according to the degree of humility, insight, and compassion. A Vajrayana practitioner who thinks that he or she is automatically at a higher level than a Theravadin completely misunderstands the matter. . . .

In fact, as we shall see presently, "Hinayana" refers to a critical but strictly limited set of views, practices, and results. The pre-Mahayana historical traditions such as the Theravada are far richer, more complex, and more profound than the definition of "Hinayana" would allow. ...The tern "Hinayana" is thus a stereotype that is useful in talking about a particular stage on the Tibetan Buddhist path, but it is really not appropriate to assume that the Tibetan definition of Hinayana identifies a venerable living tradition as the Theravada or any other historical school."


The Insights of the Madhyama are quite unique you'll not see them argued in the same way in the Sravaka Abbhidharma and is only eluded to in agamas/plai texts with no eloboration which differs it from the standard sravaka teachigns on emptiness.
Since you mention “standard sravaka teachings on emptiness”, please tell us what the “standard sravaka teachings on emptiness” are.
So, the Buddha did not use the word sambodhi to characterize the arahants’ awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word tathāgata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word buddha in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word sugata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word arahant in reference to Himself? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not use the word sambodhi to characterize his own awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not tell his followers that this is the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way they can attain to that awakening? Is that what you are saying?
Maybe the Theravāda’s teachings are far more radical than assumed by relying on the Mahayana’s point of view.
I am saying his Sravaka disciples can't attain the awakening of the Buddha through the methods generally practiced in the Nikaya schools,
That is very characteristic of a supersessionist stance. Again, things are not quite so simple.

Since you chose not to answer the questions listed above,
The Buddha did use the word sambodhi to characterize the arahants’ awakening. And he very explicitly explained the distinction between a SammāsamBuddha and the arahants.
The Buddha certainly did use the word tathāgata in reference to arahants.
The Buddha did, indeed, use the word buddha in reference to arahants.
The Buddha did use the word sugata in reference to arahants.

The Buddha use the word arahant in reference to Himself.

The Buddha did use the word sambodhi to characterize his own awakening.

The Buddha did tell his followers that this is the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way they can attain to that awakening.



An arhat like Shariputra doesn't have the equivelent realisation of a Buddha like Shakyamuni.
You might want to explore what the Buddha said about the arahant Kassapa, keeping in mind how he characterized the difference between and the arahants..
A taste of what one would see: I [the Buddha], monks dwell, having actualized here and now the higher knowledges [abinna], freed through the heart/mind and freed through wisdom. Kassapa, too, monks, dwells having actualized here and now the higher knowledges, freed through the heart/mind and freed through wisdom. - S II, 214.
"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 Grigoris » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:53 am

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:27 am
(apparently one of the largest practice divides in mainstream Theravada in Thailand)
Sorry to quote myself.

The text by Cox I linked to above, which a review of the book by Crosby (a book which is currently unavailable according to the publishers) gives the following information which clarifies and/or lends credence to my statement:

"To argue for the existence of a major meditation tradition hitherto almost unsuspected by scholars is a strong claim, and much of the denseness of this deceptively compact volume is accounted for by the need to present and interpret a complex and, at times, fragmentary body of evidence. Chapter one begins where borān kammaṭṭhāna starts to fade into history, with the growing power of a series of cultural dichotomies that accompanied Western colonialism in Buddhist Asia. These constructed specific roles for “science” and “religion,” and asserted the superiority of western science over Asian, irrespective of the empirical evidence: for example, Crosby shows how vaccination, the use of injected cowpox, was often less effective and with more significant problems than the traditional use of variolation, the nasal inhalation of pulverised smallpox scabs, in preventing smallpox, but became a key signifier of Western scientific—and not simply military—superiority (23–32). As such it became favoured by British and French colonial authorities as well as missionaries, but also by Asian modernisers, notably the Thai monarchy, which used the introduction of compulsory vaccination to outlaw local medicine in the 1920s.

If this dichotomy (and associated discourses of progressive/primitive, rational/superstitious, etc.) assigned greater power to colonial knowledge in matters physical, it however left the way open for Buddhists as well as Western sympathisers to claim superiority in “mental science,” meditation—and hence, too, to position Buddhism on the side of reason and progress. In the hands of a figure like Ledi Sayadaw, this entailed a strict disavowal of samatha practice as pertaining to the mundane and the physical (whether medicinal or magical), and advocacy of an essentialised vipassanā, related to the supramundane and the psyche: “The sphere of Vipassanā was located safely above the physical realms over which scientists/colonial powers claimed dominance” (43). In this process, earlier traditions which did not separate the somatic from the spiritual found themselves in a weakened position vis-a-vis both the growing power of Western science and the new Buddhist modernisms."
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by ItsRaining » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:38 am

múscailt wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:12 am
ItsRaining wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:28 pm
The Theravada does by all means fit the description of Sravakayana described in most Mahayana Sutras - Aims for Arhatship, doesn't teach ultimate emptiness, their abhidharma posits atoms, focuses on only emptiness of the five skhandas, etc.
That is quite the list, but of course, the only real issue is how really accurate, honest, of a portrayal do we find when we read the particulars of such a list and compare those particulars to what the Theravada actually teaches. Also, “Sravakayana” is, again, a Mahayana construct used to define and pigeon-hole another living school.
As Red Pine wrote::Shravaka means “one who hears” and originally referred to those disciples who actually heard the Buddha speak. Later, it was extended to include the members of such early sects as the Sarvastivadinds. And later still, it was used pejoratively by Mahayana Buddhists in reference to those who sought nirvana without concern for others. It should be noted, though, that this depiction of the Hinayana was a Mahayana invention and doubtlessly included a certain amount of distortion of the actual practice of those at whom it was aimed, namely monks and nuns who followed the letter and not the spirit of the Dharma. Thus, a shravaka was often described as one who merely heard the teachings of the Buddha but did not put them into practice. – THE HEART SUTRA, page 43.
The Mahayana doesn't "Cross into what its criticising". I never used the word Hinayana only you are using it.
Certainly looks like it does. You may not use hīnayāna, but it does get used by Mahayanists, thus the OP of this thread.

it's a Mahayana site the higher teachings are accepted as so here. If you want to reject that you can start by refuting Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu.
Interesting. Because I question the use of the, at best, questionable word hīnayana does not mean I am rejecting Nāgārjuna and company any more than is Reginald Ray:
Reginald Ray, INDESTRUCTABLE TRUTH, pgs 238-9, 240 wrote: Each school, whether classified as Hinayana, Mahayana, or Vajrayana, has practitioners at all levels of understanding. For example, one can be a member of a Hinayana school yet have a Vajrayana level of maturation, or follow a Vajrayana school with a Mahayana level of understanding. And, as Ringu Tulku points out, one can even belong to a Mahayana school and not be practicing Buddhism at all! Trungpa Rinpoche once expressed the view that within the Theravadin Tradition over the course of its history, there were undoubtedly realized people who reflected a Mahayana and even a Vajrayana orientation. He also commented that within historical Theravada there were probably realized siddhas (the Tantric Buddhist enlightened ideal).

This somewhat complex way of talking about schools and practitioners makes a simple but important point. The school or sect that a person belongs to does not really tell us about his or her level of understanding, maturation, or attainment. A practitioner is to be evaluated strictly according to the degree of humility, insight, and compassion. A Vajrayana practitioner who thinks that he or she is automatically at a higher level than a Theravadin completely misunderstands the matter. . . .

In fact, as we shall see presently, "Hinayana" refers to a critical but strictly limited set of views, practices, and results. The pre-Mahayana historical traditions such as the Theravada are far richer, more complex, and more profound than the definition of "Hinayana" would allow. ...The tern "Hinayana" is thus a stereotype that is useful in talking about a particular stage on the Tibetan Buddhist path, but it is really not appropriate to assume that the Tibetan definition of Hinayana identifies a venerable living tradition as the Theravada or any other historical school."


The Insights of the Madhyama are quite unique you'll not see them argued in the same way in the Sravaka Abbhidharma and is only eluded to in agamas/plai texts with no eloboration which differs it from the standard sravaka teachigns on emptiness.
Since you mention “standard sravaka teachings on emptiness”, please tell us what the “standard sravaka teachings on emptiness” are.
So, the Buddha did not use the word sambodhi to characterize the arahants’ awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word tathāgata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word buddha in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word sugata in reference to arahants? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha never used the word arahant in reference to Himself? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not use the word sambodhi to characterize his own awakening? Is that what you are saying?
The Buddha did not tell his followers that this is the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way they can attain to that awakening? Is that what you are saying?
Maybe the Theravāda’s teachings are far more radical than assumed by relying on the Mahayana’s point of view.
I am saying his Sravaka disciples can't attain the awakening of the Buddha through the methods generally practiced in the Nikaya schools,
That is very characteristic of a supersessionist stance. Again, things are not quite so simple.

Since you chose not to answer the questions listed above,
The Buddha did use the word sambodhi to characterize the arahants’ awakening. And he very explicitly explained the distinction between a SammāsamBuddha and the arahants.
The Buddha certainly did use the word tathāgata in reference to arahants.
The Buddha did, indeed, use the word buddha in reference to arahants.
The Buddha did use the word sugata in reference to arahants.

The Buddha use the word arahant in reference to Himself.

The Buddha did use the word sambodhi to characterize his own awakening.

The Buddha did tell his followers that this is the way he attained to awakening, that they, too, by following this way they can attain to that awakening.



An arhat like Shariputra doesn't have the equivelent realisation of a Buddha like Shakyamuni.
You might want to explore what the Buddha said about the arahant Kassapa, keeping in mind how he characterized the difference between and the arahants..
A taste of what one would see: I [the Buddha], monks dwell, having actualized here and now the higher knowledges [abinna], freed through the heart/mind and freed through wisdom. Kassapa, too, monks, dwells having actualized here and now the higher knowledges, freed through the heart/mind and freed through wisdom. - S II, 214.
Are you denying the Theravada do not generally aim for Arhatship? If you can prove they do not I'll admit they aren't part of the Sravakayana.

I'm not sure why Reginal Ray's characterisation of the three vehicles is relevant here, he is just redifeining the three vechicles in terms of personal practice and cultivation rather than a overarching classification of Buddhist teachings. Sure Sravaka practitioners can have higher development than Mahayana practitioners like an arhat would be higher cultivation than a Bodhisattva on the stages of abiding for example. That doesn't change the classification of Sravaka teachings as generally focused on liberation for oneself and not for Buddhahood.

What I'm referring to as Sravaka emptiness is referred to as the "Deconstruction Emptiness" in the traditions I'm faimiliar with, simply analysis of emptiness and non-self through the 5 aggregates, 18 bases, etc. E.g. The self is not found in the five aggregates as it isn't form, nor sense, etc. like the example of the chariot in the Millindapanha. Sravaka teachings is simply a description of schools that focus on this (Saravastivada and Theravada) and those that aim for arhatship.

Sure the Buddha used the word arhat on himself as it has the connetation of Worthy of Worship, Destroyer of Foes, etc. but its not the cast he was an arhat in the same way as Kassapa was an arhat. The Buddha had distinct powers as accepted by the Theravadins and other Sravakas which sets him apart from the regulat arhats
Ten Powers of a Tathagata
9. "Sariputta, the Tathagata has these ten Tathagata's powers, possessing which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.[5] What are the ten?

10. (1) "Here, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible.[6] And that [70] is a Tathagata's power that the Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.

11. (2) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes. That too is a Tathagata's power...[7]

12. (3) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the ways leading to all destinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[8]

13. (4) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the world with its many and different elements. That too is a Tathagata's power...[9]

14. (5) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[10]

15. (6) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata's power...[11]

16. (7) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the defilement, the cleansing and the emergence in regard to the jhanas, liberations, concentrations and attainments. That too is a Tathagata's power...[12]

17. (8) "Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. That too is a Tathagata's power...

18. (9) "Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions thus: 'These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, [71] after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well-conducted in body, speech and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.' Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions. That too is a Tathagata's power...

19. (10) "Again, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, the Tathagata here and now enters upon and abides in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. That too is a Tathagata's power that a Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.

20. "The Tathagata has these ten Tathagata's powers, possessing which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.

21. "Sariputta, when I know and see thus, should anyone say of me: 'The recluse Gotama does not have any superhum
-MN 12

Other than that the Arhats do not attain the Dharmakaya of the Buddhas
The Buddha informed Manjusri: "Good man, if in the various grouds of the paramitas one cultivates well renouciation and transformation to perfection this is known as the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata.... (

Manjusri: World Honoured one, is the transormation attained by Sravakas and Solitary Awakened ones known as the Dharmakaya?

Buddha: No good man, this is not the Dharmakaya... this is the body of liberation through this body of liberation it is saud Saravaks and Solitary Awakened ones are equal to the Buddha, however, it is through the Dharmakaya that they are differentiated and through limitless difference in merit.
saṃdhi-nirmocana-sūtra

Arhats also have not removed their habit energy like the Buddha Pilinda-vatsa who the Buddha said to be a Brahman for 500 lives and retained his derogative way of talking after achieving awakening (Disciples chapter of the Ekottara Āgama and Mahaprajnaparamita Sastra fasicle 2).

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

Post by JMGinPDX » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:33 pm

ItsRaining wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:57 am


Sengcan is likely not even a real person so I'm not too sure how weighty his opinion should be but going by his Xinxin Ming I doubt Theravdins or other Sravakas would have accepted his view. Otherwise they would not have been so averse to the Madhyamaka or Thathgata teachings in ancient India and now as well going by some of their polemics.
This paragraph caught my eye because I had an experience that supports this...

I was at a talk being given by Thanissaro Bhikkhu/Ajahn Geoff.
He quoted the opening line of the Hsin Hsin Ming translated as 'the great way is not difficult for those with no preferences' and then went on to criticize that viewpoint, saying there's no way to not have preferences, it's how we deal with them that matters, etc. etc. and basically used that as a launching pad to be critical of Zen.
I immediately bristled a bit, as I was already leaning towards Zen, and was very familiar with that text and Richard Clark's translation that 'the great way is not difficult for those not attached to preferences' - which is a different thing entirely, and actually in alignment with Ajahn's viewpoint.
I almost wanted to speak up and say "Ajahn, I don't think you have that quite right" - but I didn't. :)

So yeah, as per my original post, the bias goes both ways....

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