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 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:43 pm

múscailt wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:56 pm
Your appeal to this modern variation of the Thai shaman/Sadhu-istic movement is interesting, but your claim that that is what Theravāda used to be like is rather hollow.
You wish it were like this, but it is not.

Some Theravada temples still maintain some of the pre-reform practices. This one for example.
That would only be so in the later Mahāyāna systematizations, which is not how the Theravādin school defined itself. The Mahāyāna does not get to define what the Theravāda is or believes, though it can make whatever claims it wants, but such claims are meaningless in terms of understanding what it that the Theravāda taught/teaches as its core beliefs.
So you are saying that the Theravada is a Yana?

And again: there is NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE that the Mahayana is "later". Historical evidence points to a concurrent development.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by múscailt » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:19 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:43 pm
múscailt wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:56 pm
Your appeal to this modern variation of the Thai shaman/Sadhu-istic movement is interesting, but your claim that that is what Theravāda used to be like is rather hollow.
You wish it were like this, but it is not.
No wishing here. Simply from you no evidence to support you claim.
Some Theravada temples still maintain some of the pre-reform practices. This one for example.
Seriously? There is nothing in that link to support your claim.
That would only be so in the later Mahāyāna systematizations, which is not how the Theravādin school defined itself. The Mahāyāna does not get to define what the Theravāda is or believes, though it can make whatever claims it wants, but such claims are meaningless in terms of understanding what it that the Theravāda taught/teaches as its core beliefs.
So you are saying that the Theravada is a Yana?
Nope, not saying that, not implying that, or even hinting at that. Yāna is a Mahāyāna construct.
And again: there is NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE that the Mahayana is "later". Historical evidence points to a concurrent development.
Other than you, says who?
"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 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:21 pm

Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:39 pm
Mahāyāna wants to embrace the world ...
Not embrace it, but liberate it.
Take the Lotus Sūtra, for instance ...
This sutra isn't revered by every Mahayana school.
“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 Caoimhghín » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:34 am

tonysharp wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:21 pm
Caoimhghín wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:39 pm
Mahāyāna wants to embrace the world ...
Not embrace it, but liberate it.
Take the Lotus Sūtra, for instance ...
This sutra isn't revered by every Mahayana school.
And even if a few parts of it seem out there, oftentimes these are composite works stitched together out of smaller pieces of pre-existing literature by consensus amongst the Buddhist community of the time. So even if something has a few sections that seem to be the cultural remains of Bronze Age sentiments, there is likely other more universalizing wisdom in other parts.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:04 am

Hi Grigoris,
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:43 pm
And again: there is NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE that the Mahayana is "later". Historical evidence points to a concurrent development.
You have a point, in the sense that the timelines of the development of the Theravada Commentaries and the early Mahayana Sutras seem to overlap.

However, both appear to postdate the "Early Buddhist Texts" preserved in Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese (which extensively parallel each other), though of course if one believes that the Pali Abhidhamma was spoken by the Buddha in one of the Heavens and/or the Mahayana Sutras were preserved by Nagas, then that would render any kind of historical analysis moot. (Not necessarily a bad thing - just saying...).

And it does seem the case that various esoteric practices were "expelled" by the Thai Theravada reforms of the 19th Century, but are still rather obvious to anyone who keeps their eyes open in Thailand. There's always much more of a mixture of stuff on the ground in Asia than some "Modern Buddhists" would like to admit. However, whether those practices were part of Early Buddhism and classic Theravada, is less clear...

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

Post by múscailt » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:27 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:04 am


And it does seem the case that various esoteric practices were "expelled" by the Thai Theravada reforms of the 19th Century, but are still rather obvious to anyone who keeps their eyes open in Thailand. There's always much more of a mixture of stuff on the ground in Asia than some "Modern Buddhists" would like to admit. However, whether those practices were part of Early Buddhism and classic Theravada, is less clear...
It would have to be more than just "part of"; rather, it would be that these things would have to characterize the "classic Theravāda" for his claim to be meaningful.
"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 múscailt » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:28 am

tonysharp wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:22 pm
múscailt wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:03 pm
Explain what you mean here by renunciation that needs counterbalancing, please. Thanks
There are many discourses in the Pali Canon, like the Potaliya Sutta (MN 54), that emphasize the necessity to renounce worldly affairs.
Renunciation is not at all uncommon in the Mahayana outline of practice.
Reginald Ray, INDESTRUCTABLE TRUTH, CHAP 12 Mahayana The View pg 311, 312 wrote:There are certain external criteria that suggest the time has come for a person to take the bodhisattva vow and enter the Mahayana disciple. … Finally, it is important that one has gained some sense of renunciation – that is, that one has some realization that nothing external is going to provide the ultimate answers to the dilemmas of life. … through Hinayana practice, one has become increasingly sensitive to the larger world and particularly to the suffering of others. Now their plights and pain begins to make a claim on us and we feel called to respond.
An important point here is that this is not unique to the Mahayana. It is very much part of the practice outlined by the Buddha.

tonysharp wrote:According to these texts, renunciation is a requisite for arahantship, the end goal of Theravada.
The problem here is that you are equating the Theravada/Pali Canon arahant with the Mahāyāna notion of arhat. These are not necessarily the same thing.


Mahayana teaches renunciation along with the Bodhisattva path, the latter of which provides a strong incentive to engage with the world to help others rather than aspire, primarily, to be cut off from it.
Now, tell me, what is the difference between engaging with the world and being cut off from it.
"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 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:33 am

múscailt wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:19 pm
Seriously? There is nothing in that link to support your claim.
You expect them to list their practices? I was taken to the temple by practitioner who spent 12 years practicing in Thailand, initially in the Thai Forest tradition, before studying in the Reusi/Lersi tradition. He acted as a translator for me while I discussed with one of the head monks . The monk then took me through a series of meditations, not even vaguely related to the Protestanised meditations of modern Theravada. There was a seperate side-temple to Jivaka (the Buddha's doctor) as they also taught traditional Thai medicine there. The walls were covered in painted diagrams of meditations based on moving the breath through certain points of the body (not unlike chakra practices).

But you are just going to deny the validity of anything I am saying now, since it does not fit your preconceived notions of Theravada.

I had similar notions until I visited Thailand.

To be clear: I have great respect for Theravada and have translated many Sutta and other seminal texts (including the Milindpanha) into Greek for the Sangha in this country. So if you think I am saying all this stuff because I have an aversion to Theravada, you are sadly mistaken.

You can continue to stick your head in the sand though, if you wish. It is your prerogative.
Other than you, says who?
Ummm... historians that have carbon dated the earliest extant Pali and Mahayana texts? Yeah, those people. Oh, and a huge section of Buddhist academia. Those people too.
"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 tonysharp » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:46 am

múscailt wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:28 am
Renunciation is not at all uncommon in the Mahayana outline of practice.
I said this in the second half of my previous reply.
Now, tell me, what is the difference between engaging with the world and being cut off from it.
That should be obvious.

What do you hope to achieve in this discussion? Trying to stop Mahayana Buddhists from seeing Theravada as "Hinayana" is a futile pursuit. Many Mahayana Buddhists, myself included, were previously Theravada Buddhists, and sought other paths after growing dissatisfied with the Theravada teachings, or seeing a better way forward with the Mahayana. If you want to defend Theravada's reputation, it would likely be best to do so through actions rather than arguments. Be an example of what the Theravada cultivates.

:meditate:
“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 Matylda » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:07 am

JMGinPDX wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:00 pm
For sake of context, when I began my Buddhist practice, I took the time to research the various traditions and history to see which lineage might be a good fit for the way I tend to operate - I settled on the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah, and still practice within it. However, I have also been studying and practicing Zen, participating in retreats at Great Vow Monastery and sitting with a local Rinzai group (which happens to rent the building owned by my home community Portland Friends of the Dhamma), reading and listening to teachers from both traditions equally on a daily basis, and more importantly, incorporating elements of both in my sitting/walking/standing/lying down practice throughout the day.
I was initially drawn Zen itself, but chose Portland Friends of the Dhamma only because there was no local Zen center that was both fairly close to home and had a children's program for my 8-year-old and 1.5-year-old. Thai Forest and Zen seemed close enough to each other in terms of doctrine and practice that they both felt like a good fit.

One thing that continually puts me off when reading Zen texts in particular is the anti-Hinayana (e.g. Theravada) bias present in much of the literature.
Hui-neng, Huang Po, Dogen to a degree, and others quite often are critical of the "individualistic" nature of the Theravadin approach to nirvana, casting it as selfish and not compassionate, inferior to the more altruistic path of the bodhisattva, etc. etc.

In and of itself, maybe that's not completely false (although I believe there is a compassionate/metta for all sentient beings component to the Theravadin approach that is overlooked by Mahayanists), but for a teaching that emphasizes sunyata, and the emptiness of all dharmas, the non-existence of right/wrong, light/dark etc. that characterizes the conditioned world.....such blatant, negative condescension seems completely out of place.

And while I have chalked much of it up to the context of the times those ancient teachers lived in, where Theravada truly WAS in decline as a merit-based practice (and many who followed those teachers thought enlightenment was reserved for monastics anyway), a downward spiral that I think the Thai Forest Tradition in particular has eschewed and therefore saved EBT practice from itself, the bias still lives on today - the most recent example I read being in contemporary author Red Pine's commentary on the Platform Sutra.
And while contemporary Zen teachers I have encountered are more open-minded (Great Vow includes Ajahn Sumedho in their chanting in honor of important teachers, and the leader of the Rinzai group that uses the Portland Friends of the Dhamma space has been a visiting teacher for PFOD's services), I wonder how pervasive the "we're on the bodhisattva path so we're better than you" bigotry really runs.

Especially since it seems patently unnecessary - can't the Theravadins (including Thai Forest, Burmese, Sri Lankan, Insight Meditation, etc) have their individual nirvana, and the Mahayana have their bodhisattva path, without being critical of each other?
As far as Japanese zen i considered, there is no any bias, definitely. Not directed to any existing school or tradition like theravada for example. In fact in Japan historicaly there was only mahayana, right from the beginning. So there was nothing to feell bias against.
But mahayana literature of zen genre, points put 'small vehicle' as a wrong motivation, and the one which is anti-zen in fact, since its principle was bodhichitta as very basis of the zen path. All zen practice should be according to past masters be based on 4 bodhisattva vows etc. what is wrong with that? and 'hinayanist' in this sense might be also someone practicing zen, at least in a formal way. it was not so much directed against schools but against individuals who were selfconcerned. nothing else. zen anti-hinayana bias is somehow made up problem. Specially if you look at Japanese zen monks since late XIX century, some of them went to Sri Lanka or Thailand to practice in theravada monasteries. and we do not all them 'hinayanists' or so. Just opposite, they were respected for this in Japan.

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

Post by Astus » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:42 am

Taking the topic back on Zen, here are some quotes:

'Because of their inferior capacity, the Tathagata preached to the Hinayanists only the doctrine of the nonexistence of atman and did not preach his doctrines in their entirety; as a result the Hinayanists have come to believe that the five components, the constituents of samsaric existence, are real; being terrified at the thought of being subject to birth and death, they erroneously attach themselves to nirvana.'
(Asvaghosa: The Awakening of Faith, BDK ed, p 57-58)

'To awaken to the incomplete truth of voidness of self and then practice is inferior-vehicle dhyana.'
(Chan Prolegomenon, in Zongmi on Chan, p 103)

'One just cultivates the discerning wisdom of non-self (the truth of the path) in order to cut off passion, etc., stop all karma, and realize the thusness of voidness ofself. He obtains the fruit of stream enterer, [the fruit ofonce returner to this world, and the fruit of non-returner to this world,] up to and including extinguishing all evil bonds and obtaining the fruit ofarhat (the truth of. extinction). Having burned up body and extinguished knowledge, he is eternally free of all suffering.'
(Chan Prolegomenon, in Zongmi on Chan, p 126-127)

'If he activates the various ascriptive views for a single moment, he will fall into the way of heresy. If he perceives there to be generation [of the elements of reality] and moves toward [a state of ] extinction, he will fall into the way of the sravakas. If he does not perceive there to be generation but only perceives extinction, he will fall into the way of the solitary enlightened ones (pratyekabuddhas).'
(Huangbo Xiyun: Essentials of the Transmission of Mind, in Zen Texts, BDK ed, p 24)

'The party of perverse teachers teaches members of the scholar- official class “to unify mind, to do stillness- sitting, to pay no attention to any matter [mundane or supramundane], and to go on stopping- to- rest.” Isn’t this nothing other than using [ false] mind to put [ false] mind to rest, using [ false] mind to put a stop to [ false] mind, using [ false] mind to exert [ false] mind? If you practice in this way, how could you not fall into an outside Way or into the extremist annihilationism of “Chan peace and quiet” found in the Hīnayāna-hearer and private-buddha vehicles?'
(Dahui Zonggao, in The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue, p 126)

(Moreover, as the Dharma Master Wonhyo said:)
'Furthermore, in Lesser [Vehicle] sages’s assumptions about the mind, because initially the nature is produced, through progressively subtle mental states (viz., lesser sages gain access [to higher states of meditative absorption] through the three expedients of gradual subtlety, gradual refinement, and refined refinement), [those sages] attain mental extinction; [however, since this state] is devoid of wisdom or its radiance, it is no different from empty space. In Great Beings’ [S. Mahāsattva] understanding of the mind, because originally the nature is unproduced, [those bodhisattvas] do not aspire to extinction by leaving behind subtle thoughts; rather, through the presence of authentic, radiant wisdom, they realize the dharmadhātu.'

(Bojo Jinul: Encouragement to Practice: The Compact of the Samādhi and Prajñā Society, in Collected Works of Korean Buddhism, vol 2, p 131)

'Some people do not realize that the nature of merit and demerit is empty; they sit rigidly without moving and suppress both body and mind, like a rock crushing grass. To regard this as cultivation of the mind is a great delusion.
For this reason it is said, “Śrāvakas eradicate their delusions thought after thought, but the thought to perform this eradication is a brigand.”'

(Bojo Jinul: Moguja’s Secrets on Cultivating the Mind, in Collected Works of Korean Buddhism, vol 2, p 228)

'In the zazen of patch-robed monks, first you should sit correctly with upright posture. Then regulate your breath and settle your mind. In the lesser vehicle originally there were two gateways, which were counting breaths and contemplating impurity. In the lesser vehicle, people used counting to regulate their breath. However, the buddha ancestors’ engaging of the way always differed from the lesser vehicle.
A buddha ancestor said, “Even if you arouse the mind of a leprous wild fox, never practice the self-regulation of the two vehicles.”'

(Dogen: Eihei Koroku, p 348)

'Those of the two vehicles are distressed and fall into empty voidness; ordinary people are attached and tangled up in discriminations.'
(Dogen: Eihei Koroku, p 375)

'The ancestral teacher Nagarjuna said, “Zazen is exactly the Dharma of all buddhas, and yet, those outside the way also have zazen. However, those outside the way make the error of attaching to its taste and to the thorns of false views. Therefore it is not the same as the zazen of buddhas and bodhisattvas. The two vehicles of Ÿr›vakas [and pratyekabuddhas] also have zazen. However, those two vehicles [seek to] control their own minds, and have the tendency of seeking after nirvana. Therefore, this is different from the zazen of buddhas and bodhisattvas.”
The teacher Dogen said: The ancestral teacher Nagarjuna spoke like this. We should know that although the name of zazen (sitting meditation) is used by those of the two vehicles and those outside the way, it is not the same as the sitting transmitted by buddha ancestors.'

(Dogen: Eihei Koroku, p 459)

'A questioner asked: “If one were truly able to attain an empty mind, would he return directly to the void, never to be born again?”
Bassui responded: “That is the view of nonexistence held by heretics and those of the two vehicles. Of what value could this be to one who has obtained the Way? Actually, holders of this view are inferior to dogs and wild foxes.”'

(Mud and Water: The Collected Teachings of Zen Master Bassui, p 176)
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 tkp67 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:47 pm

Comparative teaching within a given school is a relative practice of evolution, using those comparatives outside of that given school is where seems to all fall apart. Is there any reason no one is questioning the lack of globally relevant criteria as part of the process of evaluation as being the culprit here?

I hope this doesn't sound too critical but to me this seems more an exercise of expressing subconscious desire than verity in buddhist truth because it seems to me that opinion does not reflect expressed reality.

There are many loyal adherents to all these practices that are devoted because of the transformation that comes with it. Do we need to find something wrong with this reality to free ourselves of suffering or is "attachment" to a particular teaching a means of avoiding personal extinction?

I do understand there is a fine line between attachment and a commitment to doctrinal/realized accuracy and mean not offend with any of these statements.

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

Post by tkp67 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:00 pm

Are all teachings attributed to the original Buddha manifestations of his karma by proxy cause and effect and in this way the benefit or detriment to eliminating suffering ours and does this make all external schism bad karma even though we need to reconcile theses conflicts internally to maintain practice properly to cultivate good karma?

Is this the conceptual fish trap that block the mind from accepting the diverse teachings of Buddha in light of its own need to focus on only one?

Are rhetorical questions appreciated or found to be a distraction because I hate to be the later but these are the thought inspired in my mind when I read this thread.

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

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:25 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:47 pm
There are many loyal adherents to all these practices that are devoted because of the transformation that comes with it. Do we need to find something wrong with this reality to free ourselves of suffering or is "attachment" to a particular teaching a means of avoiding personal extinction?
Good point. It's good to remember that the practices are means to an end, not the end...

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

Post by múscailt » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:52 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:25 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:47 pm
There are many loyal adherents to all these practices that are devoted because of the transformation that comes with it. Do we need to find something wrong with this reality to free ourselves of suffering or is "attachment" to a particular teaching a means of avoiding personal extinction?
Good point. It's good to remember that the practices are means to an end, not the end...

:heart:
Mike
In light of this last comment by Mike:

Nagarjuna:

• "The teaching of the Mahayana of non-production
And of extinction in the Hinayana are the same
Emptiness [since they show that inherent existence] is extinguished,
And that nothing [inherently existent] is produced;
Then let the Mahayana be accepted [as the Buddha’s word]"

• "If emptiness and the great nature of a Buddha are viewed with reason,
how could what is taught in the two vehicles be of unequal value for the wise?" verse 387; Hopkins translations, THE PRECIOUS GARLAND AND THE SONG OF FOUR MINDFULLNESSES, page 75

Tsongkapa:

• "Hinayana and Mahayana are not differentiated through their view (of emptiness); the Superior Nagarjuna and his sons assert that the vehicles are discriminated by the way of acts of skillful method." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins, p 99

• "There is no contradiction in the fact that for a Mahayanist, Hinayana is an obstacle to full enlightenment, but for one in the Hinayana lineage, it is a method for full enlightenment." sNgags rim chen mo in TANTRA IN TIBET, trans by J. Hopkins p 103.
"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 múscailt » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:24 am

tonysharp wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:46 am
múscailt wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:28 am
Renunciation is not at all uncommon in the Mahayana outline of practice.
I said this in the second half of my previous reply.

Tony wrote:
muscailt wrote:Now, tell me, what is the difference between engaging with the world and being cut off from it.
That should be obvious.
Apparently not obvious, given that you did by-pass Ray’s comment, particularly the last sentence, which makes an important point that would actually be worth discussing.
Tony wrote:What do you hope to achieve in this discussion? Trying to stop Mahayana Buddhists from seeing Theravada as "Hinayana" is a futile pursuit.
I am not trying to stop anyone from doing anything. But it is interesting observing the resistance to any suggestion to giving up term hīnayāna as an appropriate epithet for the Theravāda.

It is not unlike taking the term “non-duality” out of its context, using it to criticize a differing opinion, turning the word into an extreme expression of dualism. Taking hīnayāna out of its appropriate context, using it as a way of criticizing a point of view that differs from one’s own is as hīnayāna behavior as one could imagine



That Mahayana and the Theravada have a great deal more in common that is all too often overlooked or simply not seen, which is too bad.

Many Mahayana Buddhists, myself included, were previously Theravada Buddhists, and sought other paths after growing dissatisfied with the Theravada teachings, or seeing a better way forward with the Mahayana. If you want to defend Theravada's reputation, it would likely be best to do so through actions rather than arguments. Be an example of what the Theravada cultivates.
This is a verbal forum, where people discuss – give and take – things of little importance, of no importance, and of great importance, which is not for everyone.

Anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish.
"We don't use the Pali Canon as a basis for orthodoxy, we use the Pali Canon to investigate our experience." -- Ajahn Sumedho

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

Post by Varis » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:50 am

Astus wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:40 am
That is a serious simplification, that could as well be applied to the various Mahayana schools as well. For instance, just because the Rime movement appeared in the 19th century, and Humanistic Buddhism in the 20th, it does not render the whole of Mahayana a new thing.
Grigoris is correct, it's really not an oversimplification at all. There was a concerted effort to remove what was regarded by the Dhammayuttika Nikaya as superstitious and non-Buddhist practices from Theravada monasteries. In effect, it was a protestantization of Theravada Buddhism. Prior to the 19th century, aside from the esoteric practitioners, the majority of Theravada monks didn't even practice meditation at all, it was commonly believed that the teachings were lost and arhatship was impossible. Monasticism devolved into a method of accumulating merit and nothing more. The sort of vipassana practices taught by Theravadins today is based on a modern interpretation of the suttas. From a historical perspective, modern Theravada is no more representative of the practices of the Buddha than Mahayana or Vajrayana are.

I would recommend reading:
Traditional Theravada Meditation and Its Modern-era Suppression by Kate Crosby, she is the leading expert on the subject.

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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 8:07 am

Varis wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:50 am
I would recommend reading:
Traditional Theravada Meditation and Its Modern-era Suppression by Kate Crosby, she is the leading expert on the subject.
There is a five page review/summary available here as a pdf: http://www.globalbuddhism.org/jgb/index ... le/view/12

The book does not seem to be available for purchase anywhere! :shock:

Here is another text worth looking at, in regards to Theravada reform:
The Ancient Theravāda Meditation System, Borān Kammaṭṭhāna: Ānāpānasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub
https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.p ... view/28172
"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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Astus
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by Astus » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:28 am

Varis wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:50 am
Grigoris is correct, it's really not an oversimplification at all. There was a concerted effort to remove what was regarded by the Dhammayuttika Nikaya as superstitious and non-Buddhist practices from Theravada monasteries. In effect, it was a protestantization of Theravada Buddhism.
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).
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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tonysharp
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Re: anti-"Hinayana" bias in Zen (and Mahayana in general)

Post by tonysharp » 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, 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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