Jhana4 wrote:His intentions might have been different, but he wrote in his book that his intentions where to inspire positive change by making people aware of a side of Buddhism that they weren't aware of. I think his written statement of his intentions published in his book takes priority as far as trying to decide what his intentions in writing the book were.
I don't give a rat's tookus what his intentions were or were not. It is simply an unskilful and somewhat destructive effort.
It is one thing to offer a criticism of the Theravada as is manifests in a cultural context, but this bit is really way out of hand:
Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed, step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript he says he hopes that the
merit he has earned by writing the Visuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment.
It shows a significant lack on his part.
One often hears Theravadins say that they don’t like Mahayana because it has too much ritual. I
would contend that ritual is more integral to Theravada and more prevalent in it than in Mahayana.
For ancient Mahayana monks the alms round wasn’t a ritual, it was a way of getting sustenance and
yet another opportunity to develop compassion. The Ratnarasi Sutra says a monk going on
pindapata should think like this. ‘ “Those people are busy, they are not obliged to give me anything.
There are plenty of example within the Theravada of how a monk should regard the food offered to him and the sense of gratitude, etc towards the laity. Also, it is one thing what a sutra says and it is another how the reality of is played out, and in this the Mahayana is no different from the Theravada. Taking a statement of an ideal from the Mahayana text and using that to bash the Theravada leaves something to be desired. This essay is full of crap like that.
Mahayana arose in part as a protest against exactly this type of mean-spirited egoism and
Maybe. That is certainly debatable as to why the Mahayana arose, but then the Mahayana turns around and gives Buddhism its ugliest sectarian polemical division -- Mahayana/Hinayana -- that is still playing itself out to this day.
Mahayana sutras often refer to what they call ‘all the proud arahats’ and centuries later many
Theravadin monks still give the impression of being just slightly haughty and conceited. This
incident occurred just recently in a small Buddhist group in Europe. A certain visiting monk who
shall remain nameless was giving a talk to an audience of about thirty people which included a
woman who had a hat on. The monk noticed this and apparently felt that it was a serious enough
threat to his dignity to be eluded to in his talk. He deviated from the gist of his sermon and
mentioned how important it is to render proper respect to the Sangha and how rude it would be to
wear a hat, for example, while a monk was teaching the Dhamma. Everyone in the room turned to
the embarrassed woman and a few minuets later she crept quietly from the room and burst into
tears. It later emerged that this woman had terminal cancer and had lost all her hair while
undergoing chemotherapy. She wore a hat to hide her disfigurement. In Sri Lanka I once attended a
talk by a well-known meditation teacher. When he entered the hall several people failed to stand up.
Visibly annoyed at not getting the respect he believed was his due, he walked to the front of the
hall, harangued the organizers of the talk and the audience and then stormed out. I have witnessed
similar performances on several other occasions.
And? One draws a serious generalization from these stories to the whole of the Theravada bhikkhu sangha? And the reference to the Mahayana here, what is the point? They are more compassionate, more open/liberal? That has no reality in reality. The history of the Mahayana, in its various guises, is not pleasant, and there are enough stories of modern day Mahayana teachers' abuses of a very wide variety of sorts that would make those stories look very insignificant.
The problem with this essay is that that is is unbalanced and corrosive.