Do you find Hinayana offensive?

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:13 pm

Manapa wrote:
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?

Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:16 pm

pink_trike wrote:
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 slop, especially for those who practice little and intellectualize much.


You've been in the circles a lot longer than I, so this is very interesting.
Thanks a lot :)
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:25 pm

LauraJ wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
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.


You've been in the circles a lot longer than I, so this is very interesting.
Thanks a lot :)
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:30 pm

pink_trike wrote:Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?

so you are 'therapizing' (?) then, you are using a form of person centred counselling.
one problem is, you are the one inserting the emotions, and disrespect. words have a specific meaning like it or not, we don't have to accept the disrespect, but we also don't have to put up with those who are being disrespectful.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:33 pm

Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?

so you are 'therapizing' (?) then, you are using a form of person centred counselling.
one problem is, you are the one inserting the emotions, and disrespect. words have a specific meaning like it or not, we don't have to accept the disrespect, but we also don't have to put up with those who are being disrespectful.

But ultimately, it is the imagined "self" that is feeling disrespected and that feels the need to protect itself against anything that challenges its imagined fragile hyper-vigilant supremacy. This isn't therapy...it is basic Dharma. It is we who attached the disrespect to incoming words and then defend our "self" against them.
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Union is Great Bliss

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:54 pm

pink_trike wrote:
Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?

so you are 'therapizing' (?) then, you are using a form of person centred counselling.
one problem is, you are the one inserting the emotions, and disrespect. words have a specific meaning like it or not, we don't have to accept the disrespect, but we also don't have to put up with those who are being disrespectful.

But ultimately, it is the imagined "self" that is feeling disrespected and that feels the need to protect itself against anything that challenges its imagined fragile hyper-vigilant supremacy. This isn't therapy...it is basic Dharma. It is we who attached the disrespect to incoming words and then defend our "self" against them.

Pink
where did I say this was therapy? I said you were (using your word) 'therapizing' I would say using counselling techneques, big difference.
here is a basic techneque found in both Dhamma and therapy "Reflection on what we are doing, why, and the effect of what the action coud have"
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Kare » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:48 am

pink_trike wrote:
Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?

so you are 'therapizing' (?) then, you are using a form of person centred counselling.
one problem is, you are the one inserting the emotions, and disrespect. words have a specific meaning like it or not, we don't have to accept the disrespect, but we also don't have to put up with those who are being disrespectful.

But ultimately, it is the imagined "self" that is feeling disrespected and that feels the need to protect itself against anything that challenges its imagined fragile hyper-vigilant supremacy. This isn't therapy...it is basic Dharma. It is we who attached the disrespect to incoming words and then defend our "self" against them.


Did the Buddha misunderstand Basic Dhamma then, as for instance in Samaññaphala Sutta?

"Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. This, too, is part of his virtue."

Or do you consider the word "hinayana" affectionate and polite?
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:26 am

pink_trike wrote:
But ultimately, it is the imagined "self" that is feeling disrespected and that feels the need to protect itself against anything that challenges its imagined fragile hyper-vigilant supremacy. This isn't therapy...it is basic Dharma. It is we who attached the disrespect to incoming words and then defend our "self" against them.

And, of course, it is the 'imagined "self' the feels it is appropriate to use and defend, as you are doing, a term that carries baggage that distorts the understanding of another school of the Dhamma as the examples I gave clearly show.


pink_trike wrote:"Admission"? ::
Seems so, by your own words.

Ok, go ahead and put that "offensive" word in its place.

Is “hinayana” - “discarded vehicle” - an offensive thing to call another school of the Dhamma? Well, it is not very polite. Put it in its place? Of course. Putting it in its place is to understand “hinayana” in its context in the history of Buddhist ideas, which makes quite clear that the Theravada is not hinayana, it is not a hinayna school..

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...
It rather sound exactly like what you are doing in this thread with your defensiveness.

And that will benefit your practice and the Dhamma exactly how again?
That is easy. It is an act of giving, and act of teaching. Someone who unquestioning buys into the hinayana stuff, applying it to the Theravada, is going to miss what it is that the Theravada and the Pali suttas teach. If they can put aside the sectarian polemics they very well may see something that is rich and infinitely deep rather then simply seeing the shallow sectarian stuff they think that some other schools says is true about the Theravada and the Pali suttas.

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?
Fighting is your word, not mine, though it does seem to be fighting is what you are doing a lot of here as you continue to push your position against anyone who sees and says that the term hinayana and the baggage it carries is not appropriate way to characterize the Theravada and the Pali suttas.

Again, the word hinayana and it polemical baggage is Mahayana construct that unfortunately, as I have shown, gets used by Mahayanists against the Theravada. The burden that needs to be dropped is being carried by the Mahayanists, not the Theravadins.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:23 am

I am guessing that Mr Pink felt rather like a bystander watching Don Quixote fighting with the windmill. He must've felt rather sorry for both the Don and the mill. Then again it is foolishness to intervene as anyone can tell at least in retrospect.

PS Still some nice scholarly accounts, while Wikipedia adds some more:

In the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese languages, the term means small vehicle (小 meaning "small", 乘 meaning "vehicle"), and in the Tibetan language (theg chung) the word means "small" or "lesser" vehicle.[3].


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinayana

Still whatever a Mahayanist believes about Hinayana, Theravada, etc, the following is pretty clear:

Lotus Sutra wrote:A bodhisattva [...] does not hold other Buddhists in contempt, not even those who follow the Hinayana path, nor does he cause them to have doubts or regrets by criticizing their way of practice or making discouraging remarks.


So that should answer some concerns regarding behaviour of people on that other forum.

_/|\_

PPS My vehicle is bigger than yours! :tongue:
_/|\_
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:42 am

Dan74 wrote:
Still whatever a Mahayanist believes about Hinayana, Theravada, etc, the following is pretty clear:

Lotus Sutra wrote:A bodhisattva [...] does not hold other Buddhists in contempt, not even those who follow the Hinayana path, nor does he cause them to have doubts or regrets by criticizing their way of practice or making discouraging remarks.


So that should answer some concerns regarding behaviour of people on that other forum.

_/|\_ My vehicle is bigger than yours!

It was in the Lotus where the term hinayana was likely first introduced, giving us the Mahayana/hinayana sectarian division that is absent in some of the very earliest Mahayana sutras. "Hinayana" (and size) finds expression in other early Mahayana sutras such as in the Asokadattavyakarana Sutra, where 12 year old princess (and bodhisattva) Asokadatta refuses to stand and make obeisance to (“Hinayana”) monks when they entered the palace, and of this she said to her father:

”Your Majesty, why should one who follows the path leading to supreme enlightenment, who is like the lion, king of beasts, salute those who follow the Hinayana, who are like jackals?

Your Majesty, if one is already engaged in a virtuous effort to seek the great, pure path, should he associate with S'raavakas of small and few good roots?

Your Majesty, if a person wishes to go to sea of great wisdom to seek thorough knowledge of the great Dharma in its entirety, does he bother to turn to S'raavakas, whose knowledge, based upon the Buddha's oral teachings, is as limited as the water in a cow's hoof print?

Your Majesty, if one wishes top reach Buddhahood, [the spiritual] Mount Sumeru, and acquire the infinite body of a Tathaagata, should he pay homage to S'raavakas, who seek only as much samaadhi power as could be confined to the space of a tiny mustard seed?” [And on and on and on]
-- A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, Garma Chang page 116.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:53 am

Kare wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Words have no inherent power to be disrespectful. We must attach the disrespect to them. Where does the disrespect originate?


pink_trike wrote:But ultimately, it is the imagined "self" that is feeling disrespected and that feels the need to protect itself against anything that challenges its imagined fragile hyper-vigilant supremacy. This isn't therapy...it is basic Dharma. It is we who attached the disrespect to incoming words and then defend our "self" against them.


Did the Buddha misunderstand Basic Dhamma then, as for instance in Samaññaphala Sutta?

"Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. This, too, is part of his virtue."
?


He didn't mention in that quote that we are responsible for making sure other people use right speech. My understanding of this quote is that we are all responsible for our own right speech.

---

Or do you consider the word "hinayana" affectionate and polite?


Outside of Theravada, Hinayana means something very narrow and specific:

The yana of hina. The mode or action by which hina mind states become known (and subdued).

...in the same way that Mahayana means something very narrow and specific:

The yana of maha. The mode or action by which maha states of mind become known( and made dominant)

...in the same way that Vajrayana means something very narrow and specific:

The yana of Vajra. The mode or action by which vajra states of mind become known (and made dominant).

This is considered to be a progression, in the same way that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a progression...with the acknowledgement that we are sometimes in more than one of these dominant mind states at a time.

This is how I was taught by my teachers. There are countless other translations of "hina" online but I rely on my teachers to have given me the correct context, meaning, and usage.

Its true that some Maya/Vajra adherents used a twisted distortion of the correct meaning of Hinayana during early sectarian scuffles, just as some Theravada adherents used terms like "heretical" and "illegitimate" to describe the Maha/Vajra traditions. It was my Maha and Vajra teachers who taught me that it was used inappropriately in sectarian battle, and it is why they took great care to tell students the correct meaning and usage. But that isn't enough for those who imagine that the word has the power to offend them. These people want the word banned so it no longer has this power that they assign to it.

A more sensible approach, imo, is to educate Buddhists in all traditions regarding how the term is correctly and benignly used (see above) within the Maha/Vajra tradition rather than to condemn the term and put it in the word jail because some people used it in an inappropriate way during the heat of a protracted sectarian turf war.

Unfortunately the modern tendency is to banish words rather than educate as to their correct context, meaning, and usage. So much easier to throw words in jail. Bad words, Bad!! :rofl: Perhaps we should start burning the books that used that term, or any other term that we imagine has the power to offend the frightened and hyper-vigilant "I" that rejects ownership of its feelings of diminishment and projects the generation of these feelings of diminishment onto the word and those who use it so that the "I" can do battle with what it generated and then frightened itself with.

That's all I have to say. If I continue I'll just be repeating.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:39 am

pink_trike wrote:
Its true that some Maya/Vajra adherents used a twisted distortion of the correct meaning of Hinayana during early sectarian scuffles,.

What you are calling a "correct meaning" is a meaning of hinayana that developed within the Mahayana quite sometime after the word hinayana as a sectarian cudgel was introduced into the Mahayana lexicon. In other words, later Mahayanist commentators backed away from the harsher uses and meanings of the word. Be that as it may, you admit that some adherents of the Mahayana/Vajrayana apply the word hinayana inappropriately. You see no value in pointing out that that inappropriate use of the word hinayana might be a problem?

Unfortunately the modern tendency is to banish words rather than educate as to their correct context, meaning, and usage
Education as to the correct context, meaning, and usage is exactly and clearly what I have been advocating.

A more sensible approach, imo, is to educate Buddhists in all traditions regarding how the term is correctly and benignly used (see above) within the Maha/Vajra tradition rather than to condemn the term and put it in the word jail because some people used it in an inappropriate way during the heat of a protracted sectarian turf war.
No one in this thread is advocating anything different from educating Buddhists in all tradition regarding the term hinayana and how it should be used and understood.

Perhaps we should start burning the books that used that term, or any other term that we imagine has the power to offend the frightened and hyper-vigilant "I" that rejects ownership of its feelings of diminishment and projects the generation of these feelings of diminishment onto the word and those who use it so that the "I" can do battle with what it generated and then frightened itself with.
You have made variations of this statement throughout this thread, which is a not too subtle way of putting down those who seemingly do not agree with your assessment of things. So, to follow what you have said above, how does such a characterization of those with whom you disagree help your practice?
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:52 am

Greetings pink_trike,

pink_trike wrote:Unfortunately the modern tendency is to banish words rather than educate as to their correct context, meaning, and usage. So much easier to throw words in jail. Bad words, Bad!! :rofl: Perhaps we should start burning the books that used that term, or any other term that we imagine has the power to offend the frightened and hyper-vigilant "I" that rejects ownership of its feelings of diminishment and projects the generation of these feelings of diminishment onto the word and those who use it so that the "I" can do battle with what it generated and then frightened itself with.

That's all I have to say. If I continue I'll just be repeating.


I can't help feeling you're arguing against straw men here. It's hard to tell whether you've actually listened to what people have been trying to tell you... people who, by and large by the look of their responses, do not get all freaked out if someone else uses the term "hinayana" despite your implications that they do.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:30 am

I'm not trying to be patronizing here, so I hope this will not be taken in that manner, also it's very big so I'm sorry if it's not to your liking but it gets the point across rather well :)

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:41 am

Letting go is good, but it never can be forced.
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Sometimes things just need to be worked through.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby cooran » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:35 am

A Medic said: So is Hinayana a negative or even insulting term to use? Is there a proper us of it? Should I not use it at all? What is the meaning of Hinayana to followers of Theravada?

As the OP posted this in the Discovering Theravada forum, oughtn't it only to refer to that Tradition's understanding of the Term Hinayana?

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:14 am

Chris wrote:
A Medic said: So is Hinayana a negative or even insulting term to use? Is there a proper us of it? Should I not use it at all? What is the meaning of Hinayana to followers of Theravada?

As the OP posted this in the Discovering Theravada forum, oughtn't it only to refer to that Tradition's understanding of the Term Hinayana?

metta
Chris

That makes complete sense to me.
Just as, I assume on Zen Forum International the default position is Zen, and on Dharma Wheel Forum the default position is the Mahayana , even if those forums are accomodating to other views. I would find it odd to be told by a non Theravdin what Theravadins should or should not be offended by, even if in the absolute sense being offended is not in accord with the Dhamma. It would be like telling my Pakistani friends that they should be above being offended when called " Paki". In the absolute sense many of them do just rise above it, That does not give carte blanche to their abusers however.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:27 am

Sanghamitta wrote:That makes complete sense to me.
Just as, I assume on Zen Forum International the default position is Zen, and on Dharma Wheel Forum the default position is the Mahayana , even if those forums are accomodating to other views. I would find it odd to be told by a non Theravdin what Theravadins should or should not be offended by, even if in the absolute sense being offended is not in accord with the Dhamma.

You and Chris do have a point, but on the other hand PinkTrike's posting have help draw some of the issues around the vexed and complicated notion of hinayana. The way he wants the term hinayna understood represents a later evolution of the term, and it important to understand that the term is used that way.

There is, however, the reality that this polemically laden term does get applied to the Theravada by Mahayanists, and I would hope that in the back and forth in this thread that some useful information as to why that is an inappropriate epithet has been drawn out.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:38 am

And its not as though the polemically laden term in its perjorative sense is obsolete, I never posted on the " grey forum " but I remember a number of threads in which the "h" word was used in just that way, as describing a lesser or inferior vehicle by people who had authority within that forum. And they meant it, it was clear from context.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:14 am

Sanghamitta wrote:And its not as though the polemically laden term in its perjorative sense is obsolete, I never posted on the " grey forum " but I remember a number of threads in which the "h" word was used in just that way, as describing a lesser or inferior vehicle by people who had authority within that forum. And they meant it, it was clear from context.

I was there, at times in the middle of it. I know, and often some on the Mahayana side presented it as if the Mahayana were the arbiter of all things Buddhist, which, is of course, sectarian nonsense. The Mahayana does not get to define the Theravada for Theravadins any more than the Theravada gets to define the Mahayana for Mahayanists. The is not to say that there cannot be criticisms of by the other, but there is no basis for either claiming some sort of objective independent truth by which the other is rightfully critiqued.

The sort of stuff the Theravadins had to continually contend with is that Mahayanists insisted on using their understandings of nibbana, bodhi, the Buddha, dhammas, etc as being the basis of the critique of the Theravada, and never mind how the Theravada understood and used those terms. It was an uphill climb to get them to see that their limited hinayana was not at all appropriate to the Theravada. The notion of chosen ignorance comes to mind for some the participants who would not see that the Mahayana does not get to define the Theravada for Theravadins.

Using Nagarjuna and Co., for example, as a basis for critiquing the Theravada carries no weight, simply given that Nagarjuna and Co. are not recognized as having any authority within the Theravada, and it was not unusual for some of the Mahayanist to get a bit testy when showing that Nagarjuna's positions did not accurately characterize the Theravada.

While I engaged in these debates, my concern was not to convince or beat up the true believers of the Mahayana; rather, it was to give information to those who were open to listening what was being said.

Quite frankly, in my opinion the concept of hinayana as a sectarian way of classification is one of the most singularly problematic things to come out all of Buddhism in general, and it needs to be looked at within a context of the history of Buddhist ideas in order to correctly understand it. As much as one might try, there are still going to be those who are going to insist that Mahayana/hinayana is the truth and that the Theravada IS hinayana because it is not Mahayana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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