Do you find Hinayana offensive?

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Dhammabodhi » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi all,

Of all the texts posted above I find Kare's "The Myth of Hinayana" the best and the most compelling, and I completely agree with him. The term Hiina has negative connotations in present day indian languages as well. So in my view this term should be avoided.


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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
pink_trike wrote: This use of the term "Hinayana" within Maha/Vajra has nothing to do with Theravada. This is what I'm referring to in the quote above.

Which is true when hinayana is referring to motivation and doctrine within a Mahayana context; however, the sectarian usage of the term hinayana does get used by Mahayanists to characterize Theravada. There is no reason that should not be addressed.

Does Theravada teach about hina?
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:43 pm

Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Just to clarify for the record, I didn't say that I use it - like most Buddhists, I've been trained not to by those who raise a stink about it every time they hear the word. In answer to the question posed by the OP, I said that I don't find it offensive. I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it offensive.


Hi pink maybe your own disclaimer may shed light for you in this area.

Dhammapada 69
Fools perceive evil acts
to be sweet as honey
until they have seen the consequences.
When they behold their fruits,
fools suffer indeed.
232
Beware of contrived utterance
and aware in all that you say.
Renounce all cunning speech
and cultivate that which is wholesome.


You're saying that because I don't see things exactly as you do then I'm a fool, that I find "evil acts" to be as sweet a honey, that I'm blind, that I'm suffering in my blindness, that what I say is contrived, that I'm unaware as I speak, and that I'm cultivating the unwholesome...and you're suggesting that the cause of all this is somehow related to my being a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training. Since you likely can't find serious fault with my practicing in the other traditions I can only assume that it is the "non-religious" part that you're reacting to so strongly. Which reduces your post down to: "You're evil, blind, suffering, contriving, and unwholesome because you're not religious". This reactionary kind of irrational logic is precisely why I'm not religious. Religiosity by its very nature creates enemies "out there" in order to defend something carefully constructed and clung to "in here". Good luck with that.

I'm not offended by the word Hinayana. Hinayana is taught within other traditions. Theravada teaches the knowledge of hina. You can deal with me saying this anyway you like...but reacting as you have above looks to me like a very defended, even aggressive, way to walk through the world.
Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:43 pm

Dear PT,

One taste being what it is, it's tough to get there. I'm a practicing Buddhist and I get all testy about antisemitic labels and remarks.

I'm trying though :bow:
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it [hinayana] offensive.
That is an interesting admission. Again, it is not just the ugly word itself, but it is all that the word carries in term of sectarian baggage strapped to it by Mahayana polemicists that, when inappropriately to the Theravada, distorts understanding of the Theravada, distorts dialogue and mutual understanding. That is reason enough, as a practing Buddhist, to put the word in its place.

"Admission"? :jumping:

Ok, go ahead and put that "offensive" word in its place. Be offended. How dare they!! FIght the good fight. "They" need to be taught, because "I" am right. Keep reacting to the word over and over again...becoming and becoming and becoming. Carry that baggage with a firm grip. It takes two to do the sectarian tango...

And that will benefit your practice and the Dhamma exactly how again? Fighting it every time someone "offends" you with it also perpetuates the constant sectarian bickering. If it will stop, someone needs to let go of it...who's it gonna be first? Are you going to make sure that it's "them" that lets go first?
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:01 pm

It's a thin tightrope. Recognize differences with respect and don't make it all one. It's easiest to simply be quiet if you're talking to people outside of your own religion/path most of the time. But I would like to personally take up PT's challenge to let go of junk. And probably die still trying :)

Best,
Laura
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:04 pm

pink_trike wrote: I'm not offended by the word Hinayana. Hinayana is taught within other traditions. Theravada teaches the knowledge of hina. You can deal with me saying this anyway you like...but reacting as you have above looks to me like a very defended, even aggressive, way to walk through the world.

I agree it's pointless to be defensive. Putting aside historical arguments about who called who exactly which name, Mahayana schools are clearly rather critical of some aspects of Theravada. Theravada, of course, is equally free to regard those criticisms as irrelevant, since they come from heretical schools...

Of course, I don't usually find it useful to use words like "heretical" when talking with Mahayana friends. I prefer to look at the points on their own merits.
As Laura says:
LauraJ wrote:It's a thin tightrope. Recognize differences with respect and don't make it all one.


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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:32 pm

Chris wrote:The same way constantly bringing to mind people's racist idioms helps them to see the damage they do. Excusing the word 'nigger' as something that has been around for so long that people don't really mean it "that" way, and anyone taking offense is keeping the pot stirred over decades wouldn't be accepted. The person using the term would simply be expected to 'shut up" and not try to shut up those who are offended by it.

Hi Chris,

As a gay man, I've walked through my entire adult life knowing that at any moment of any day a het man might say fag, faggot, queer, or any number of other words to negatively describe me, some other gay man, or gay men in general. These are regarded as "loaded" words. In my early years I made sure to teach them. I rose to the occasion over and over and over and over. Rising, rising, rising in order to educate them and the world that the word is "offensive". Then, after many years of rising to the occasion I realized that I was being baited. Years later I realized that I was actually baiting myself. When I realized this I stopped rising to the bait - by doing so I make the bait impotent. I de-charge it. By doing so I hand it back to to whoever used it, untouched. I note it and no longer rise, become. I can't fix it - I can just note it, not bite down on it. If anything will have a de-energizing effect on those words, it will be when the entire gay male population stops reacting to them defensively, both externally and more importantly internally.

Becoming constantly in reaction to words we don't like drains away energy that can be used more skillfully in other directions and it concretizes unskillful ways and patterns of being in the world that actually have more negative long term effects than the short term deliciously satisfying gain we get from rising to the bait.

This way of mediating reality is a valuable Maha practice. I see that these het men who use those words need to create division either consciously or unconsciously - and both causes are coming from ignorance that is much deeper than just the use of a particular word. I no longer react to their neediness or my own, and by doing so I am doing my part to clear the air between us, creating a space that may eventually be used more productively.

Drive all Blame into One (Lojang slogan):

http://lojongmindtraining.com/Commentar ... proverb=12 Jamgon Kongtrul

http://lojongmindtraining.com/Commentar ... proverb=12 Chogyam

http://lojongmindtraining.com/Commentar ... proverb=12 B. Alan Wallace
Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
pink_trike wrote: I'm not offended by the word Hinayana. Hinayana is taught within other traditions. Theravada teaches the knowledge of hina. You can deal with me saying this anyway you like...but reacting as you have above looks to me like a very defended, even aggressive, way to walk through the world.

I agree it's pointless to be defensive. Putting aside historical arguments about who called who exactly which name, Mahayana schools are clearly rather critical of some aspects of Theravada. Theravada, of course, is equally free to regard those criticisms as irrelevant, since they come from heretical schools...

Of course, I don't usually find it useful to use words like "heretical" when talking with Mahayana friends. I prefer to look at the points on their own merits.
As Laura says:
LauraJ wrote:It's a thin tightrope. Recognize differences with respect and don't make it all one.


Metta
Mike

Exactly. How is calling Maya/Vajra "heretical" any different from being labeled as "Hinayana?

Yes, note differences respectfully. This is the key.
Vision is Mind
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Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:46 pm

LauraJ wrote: And probably die still trying :)

Yep, we'll all die trying. That's the whole point of the Dharma. :)
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:18 pm

pink_trike wrote:You're saying that because I don't see things exactly as you do then I'm a fool, that I find "evil acts" to be as sweet a honey, that I'm blind, that I'm suffering in my blindness, that what I say is contrived, that I'm unaware as I speak, and that I'm cultivating the unwholesome...and you're suggesting that the cause of all this is somehow related to my being a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training. Since you likely can't find serious fault with my practicing in the other traditions I can only assume that it is the "non-religious" part that you're reacting to so strongly. Which reduces your post down to: "You're evil, blind, suffering, contriving, and unwholesome because you're not religious". This reactionary kind of irrational logic is precisely why I'm not religious. Religiosity by its very nature creates enemies "out there" in order to defend something carefully constructed and clung to "in here". Good luck with that.

I'm not offended by the word Hinayana. Hinayana is taught within other traditions. Theravada teaches the knowledge of hina. You can deal with me saying this anyway you like...but reacting as you have above looks to me like a very defended, even aggressive, way to walk through the world.

am I???
you may like to reflect on any other possible interpretations, I did not say you were anything, you have though, I was talking about your practice, experiance etc shapes how you see things, just as mine or anyone elses does ours, but still using something which is blame worthy in any way doesn't stop it being blame worthy, just because it can be used in a certain way which is not blame worthy, its all about context.

pink_trike wrote: Yes, note differences respectfully. This is the key.

hinayana is not a respectful term
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:21 pm

Manapa wrote:hinayana is not a respectful term

What I hear you saying is "I feel disrespected by this term".
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:28 pm

I think someone on board might be a therapist of some kind.
Just a shot in the dark here. I like the listening skills. I try to do the same.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby sattva » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:31 pm

I consider myself somewhat of a Mahayana and don't like the term Hinayana. I use the term Theravadan. There seems to be quite a bit of negativity between these 2 branches of Buddhism at times. Personally, i think it is all good and that one has to go with what resonates most strongly within oneself. There are some of us who drink from the stream of different paths at time. I am not sure if this is wise, but it is what it is.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:35 pm

LauraJ wrote:I think someone on board might be a therapist.
Just a shot in the dark here ;)

:anjali:

I was a therapist, but I'm not therapizing here. I'm saying that we frequently blame words for what we're feeling, rather than acknowledging that what we're feeling is of our own creation.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:37 pm

I changed my words to note the listening skills. Providing feedback or rephrasing another person's words to see if we're getting them right, and so on.

:)
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:42 pm

Hi Pink
pink_trike wrote:Yes, note differences respectfully. This is the key.

Excellent point.
You remind me of an event that happened about three years ago when we had some Tibetan monks create a sand mandalla in one of the local shrines to mass consumerism, the shopping mall. I went down and introduced myself to Rinpoche and explained that I was just a 'humble Theravadin practitioner', and he said, We are all the same. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path. He was incredibly warm and spent a great deal of time explaining the madala to me and chatting to me about the Dhamma. So, from a Tibetan Rinpoche I was told that the differences between Mahayana and Theravada were insignifcant and irrelevant to practice.
Imagine then, going home and logging on to the Internet and witnessing the worst sort of sectarian namecalling and polemical revisionism in the name of the Dhamma. As you can imagine, the juxtopposed experiences created a bit of cognitive dissonance between what was going on in the real world and in the virtual world.
Personally, I've never been attached to labels. I've been studying for 24 years under a teacher who is famous for saying 'I don't teach Buddhism, I teach the Buddha's Dhamma!'. So, coming from this perspective, I have witnessed the characterisation of Theravadins and the Theravada as inadequate, wanting, sinister by certain western cyber-buddhists who through the cloak of imagined separateness entertains their mental defilements. But I have also witnessed Theravadins engaging in sectarianisms against the Mahayana. Some of those people have had the unfortunate misconception that Dhamma Wheel is an enclave that supports that sort of behaviour and then have hadthe unfortunate experience of dealing with me.
I have to agree with the statements made to me by Rinpoche some years ago. When pitted against the great and urgent task of liberation, our differences are secondary.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:50 pm

My experience in real life matches what Ben describes. I wonder if this kind of arguing is primarily an Internet phenomenon, and I've wondered this for a while now. I would be curious to hear real-life experiences from Theravada folks if they're willing to share.

Thanks

:anjali:
Last edited by LauraJ on Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:55 pm

pink_trike wrote:
Manapa wrote:hinayana is not a respectful term

What I hear you saying is "I feel disrespected by this term".

OK you need to go to the optitians for a hearing test then.
I am talking about the use of a term what are you talking about?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:11 pm

LauraJ wrote: I wonder if this kind of arguing is primarily an Internet phenomenon, and I've wondered this for a while now. I would be curious to hear real-life experiences from Theravada folks if they're willing to share.

I was thinking about this earlier today. It does seem to me to be somewhat of an internet phenomenon. In the early years of my dharma experince, practitioners were primarily interested in practice, and if they were fortunate enough to be part of a sangha and have a teacher, the focus was on the practices, and secondarily on the teachings, of that tradition. Any attempts at comparison of traditions were swiftly knocked down by teachers, and the sangha ignored those who wanted to make a federal case out of doctrinal differences. Unfortunately, the electronic fora is noted for not having teachers who would nip this unhealthy and damaging comparing in the bud - so it grows wild, like untrained mind. Its understandable...without support of teacher and sangha for a sustained practice, belief takes on more prominence and is grasped tightly. The thing about making belief central though is that very quickly someone else's belief becomes wrong...and since belief is so central, it becomes necessary to defend it. Slippery slope, especially for those who practice little and intellectualize much.
Last edited by pink_trike on Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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