suanck wrote:Hi all,
If I may be so bold as to express a few thoughts on your question ...?
While reading discussion on ordination (or cross-ordination) of monks/nuns from different Vinayas, I have this question:
- As I know, a monk/nun in East Asia (China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan) after being ordained within the Dharmagupta Vinaya, s/he also receives/observes the Bodhisattva precepts as described in the (Mahayana) Brahma Net Sutra.
That is basically correct, though sometimes the bodhisattva precepts from the Yogacara system are used.
One of the 48 minor precepts listed in this Sutra -- Precept no. 15 (I think) -- is that s/he is not allowed to teach/preach the sutras and moral codes of the Two-Vehicle tradition. The Two-vehicle tradition usually means the Sravaka/Savaka (Hearer - Arahant - Theravada?) vehicle and the Paccekabuddha vehicle.
That is not correct. That is not exactly what the text / precept states.
Given that the question that you ask subsequently is quite a weighty one, ie. dealing with whether or not people are "qualified as ... bhiksu/nis", it would be best to "quote" the actual source text in such a case. Leaving it paraphrased, or in the form you have here, opens up the possibility of misunderstandings. Unfortunately, this appears to be what has happened. I say this, because you placed this thread in the (notorious!) "The Dhammic Free-For-All" Forum, and I believe that this is the standard expected here. (Right?)
The text states:
(CBETA, T24, no. 1484, p. 1006, a10-15)
〔人〕－【宋】【元】【宮】，（惡）＋人【明】。受＝授【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。〔應〕－【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。發＋（趣）【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。（於）＋三【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。〔他〕－【宋】【元】【明】【宮】。[Mahāyāna] Brahmajāla-sūtra, folio 2:
A son of the buddhas [ie. a bodhisattva] should, towards disciples of the buddha, the heterodox, the six kinds of relations, all these good spiritual friends, teach them to undertake the sūtras and vinaya of the Mahāyāna; should teach them to understand the principles therein, letting them aspire their minds [ie. bodhicitta], the ten minds of setting forth, the ten minds of nourishment, and the ten vajra minds; that they understand each and every one of these thirty minds, in their correct order and dharmic function. Yet, if a bodhisattva, with a mind of anger, with a mind of hatred, inappropriately teaches them śrāvakas sūtras and vinaya of the two vehicles, or wrong view heterodox texts, that is a minor transgression.
The point of "...with a mind of anger, with a mind of hatred, inappropriately..." is very important and should not be overlooked. It does not mean that all occasions of teaching the sravaka teachings are with anger, hatred and inappropriate. It refers to only those occasions when it is done incorrectly. Looking through the various commentaries (there are dozens, so I shall simply summarize), the meaning becomes clear:
Firstly, teaching with any sort of anger or hatred is a transgression.
Secondly, people should be taught according to their capacity. If one has the capacity to hear the Mahayana teachings, then they should be taught that. If they have that capacity and the teacher does not teach them that, then that is a transgression.
Thirdly, it is not a transgression to teach people the teachings of the two vehicles if the teacher considers that that is what is appropriate for them. Each should be taught depending on their temperament, etc.
The word "inappropriate" qualifies such teaching with anger and hatred, and does not qualify the sravaka teachings, ie. it is NOT saying that the sravaka teachings are themselves inappropriate.
Likewise, the word "wrong view" qualifies the heterodox texts, and does not qualify the sravaka teachings, either, ie. it is NOT saying that the sravaka teachings are themselves wrong view.
(Elsewhere there are other points in the remainder of the text where a string of terms together is kind of ambiguous, and may give the impression that it relates "two vehicles" to "wrong view", but in each case, I think that the "wrong view" is probably more appropriately connected to the term "heterodox" which is also in that string of word. This is a grammatical issues, I've raised it elsewhere, and a lot depends on the interpretor, if the commentaries are ignored - which probably is not a good thing to do!)
One may also note that the term "Hinayana" does not appear here at all. In fact, the word "Hinayana" does not appear in the Mahayana Brahmajala Sutra AT ALL. Only the term "two vehicles", "sravaka", etc. are used. Considering that the Mahayana Brahmajala is now sometimes thought to be a Central Asian or Chinese composed text, this is significant. We have argued earlier about how Indic "Hinayana" (inferior vehicle) becomes in Chinese the "Xiao Cheng" (small vehicle). It has a different meaning in Chinese, regardless of what the original Indic word was. Many back translations by modern groups try to use the Indic word "Hinayana" but retain an understanding of "small vehicle". If the composers of this text wanted to be insulting, they could easily use such a term here. They did not, but chose "shengwen cheng" (sravakayana) and "er cheng" (two yanas) instead.
I am sure many will not be convinced!
I shall await the day when they read Chinese ...
If the monk/nun is not allowed to teach/preach the sutras and moral codes of the Sravaka, is s/he still qualified as a Dharmagupta bhikkhu/bhikkhuni?
Considering that the "If..." seems to be based on a paraphrasing of the precept which omits the most important part of it, I think that the question itself has some problems. If I may make the old joke, hope nobody finds it in bad taste, it is a bit like asking: "So, have you Mahayanists stopping beating your wives, yet?"
Moreover, your question also has another implication, ie. that one who is not allowed to teach "sravaka sutras / vinaya" is disqualified from bhiksu/ni status. Do we have any material that makes such a claim, for example, in the Dharmagupta vinaya itself?
From memory (gets a bit dangerous!), I recall that even at the time of the Buddha, there were some bhiksu/nis who did not give any teachings. Would they also be disqualified from their bhiksu/ni status? Something makes me doubt that very much.
There is something of a difference between believing / practicing given instructions, and teaching them to others as a rule
. The commentaries all seem to give the strong impression that the sravaka teachings are still very valid, and should be taught, but attention should be given to the Mahayana teachings where people are able to accept and practice them
In fact, elsewhere, there are Bodhisattva precepts which state that teaching the "profound Mahayana" to those who are unprepared, is in fact a transgression. A lot of it is about "skillful means", which is circumstance dependent.