The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

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Paññāsikhara
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:50 am

BlackBird wrote:...
Edit: This is the thread I was speaking of: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3064&hilit=historical+buddha&start=140
You'll find a post of mine in a similar vein (if not more friendly and humble than I am these days) about halfway down, and the responses that follow, not just from the Ven. Huifeng but also from others have helped shape my opinion on this. To clarify it seems I have wrongly attributed (in my own mind) at least one clear cut statement to bhante, which is otherwise present on the following page (page 9) by another practitioner but I still feel the general drift of the response conforms to what I thought it had.
...


If you think any statements I have made support your arguments here, I think that you've missed my point entirely. As you said: "I feel like I am missing something here." Though on the next page when you say "You learn something new every day", I'm not so sure, because you seem to be making exactly the same mistake in your claims on this thread.
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby PeterB » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:05 am

I think a vital point needs making here. A point which at first may not be obviously relevant.
There is a maked trend on all forums other than the Classical Theravda for D.W. to become a defacto Mahayana forum.
Or at least a forum where Mahayanists can agree with each other.
I find this deeply disappointing and is one of the reasons I stopped posting.
No loss you might think. But i dont think I am alone.
There are a number of Buddhists forae which cater for the needs of the Mahayana.
There is only one English forum which is International and which is specifically for the Theravada. And it i in dangers losing its raison d'etre.
The fact is you cant make someone love you forcibly.
And while I have no doubt concerning the motives of those who identify with the Mahayana or with no school ( which of course turns out to be the Mahayana by default anyway ) I actually see less, not more, dialogue going on as Dhamma Wheel simply morphs into a bully pulpit for the Mahayana to assert their rights.
And I have no doubt that this will continue until the only Theravadin input apart from mods will be largely confined to the Classical Theravada forum.
I am not sure that is even what Mahayanists want. As they wave to other over the tumbleweed.

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:42 am

PeterB wrote:I think a vital point needs making here. A point which at first may not be obviously relevant.
There is a maked trend on all forums other than the Classical Theravda for D.W. to become a defacto Mahayana forum.
I don't think so.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby PeterB » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:47 am

I would ask Tilt that you consider the possibility that there might be at least an element of truth in my contention.
I think that there is a degree of "mission drift" and that in an commendable effort to sew harmony rather than discord a balance has been lost and needs to be regained.

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:02 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
BlackBird wrote:...
Edit: This is the thread I was speaking of: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... &start=140
You'll find a post of mine in a similar vein (if not more friendly and humble than I am these days) about halfway down, and the responses that follow, not just from the Ven. Huifeng but also from others have helped shape my opinion on this. To clarify it seems I have wrongly attributed (in my own mind) at least one clear cut statement to bhante, which is otherwise present on the following page (page 9) by another practitioner but I still feel the general drift of the response conforms to what I thought it had.
...


If you think any statements I have made support your arguments here, I think that you've missed my point entirely. As you said: "I feel like I am missing something here." Though on the next page when you say "You learn something new every day", I'm not so sure, because you seem to be making exactly the same mistake in your claims on this thread.


I think us humans tend to drift towards ideas that are pleasant to us, much like food I guess. What is pleasant to one person is disgusting to another. My ideas that Mahayana Buddhists tend to avoid the debate of authenticity are pleasant to me when I'm off my guard (which is most of the time these days), and even more so when the issue remains unadressed, as it seems like a confirmation of what I have thought. Having re-read the thread in question, while I may have taken an open minded approach at the time, I mostly disagree with the drift of your argument now.

I certainly don't agree with the undertones that the emphasis of historical authenticity being a modern phenomenon makes it any less important or valid, I think it's very important. I'm sorry if I am reading such things into your response but that's certainly the way it came across.

I don't really like this, because I like you a lot as a person Bhante and there's a conflict here because it's inevitable that we all take things rather personally, just as if someone we're to make a snide remark about the clothes that another wears, or the music that he enjoys, so too when someone's views are questioned the same response can be expected. I'd just like to say that I hope you are well and that I haven't generated too much ill will here.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:05 am

PeterB wrote:I would ask Tilt that you consider the possibility that there might be at least an element of truth in my contention.
I think that there is a degree of "mission drift" and that in an commendable effort to sew harmony rather than discord a balance has been lost and needs to be regained.
Without being caustic maybe you could be a little more expansive on what you see here as a problem, but in the meantime off to the lap of Nyx.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:12 am

BlackBird wrote: I certainly don't agree with the undertones that the emphasis of historical authenticity being a modern phenomenon makes it any less important or valid, I think it's very important.
Mainstream Indian Buddhists questioned the authenticity of Mahayana sutras from the beginning - that is, when they paid any attention to them. This concern for authenticity is found in the Mahayana cult of the book sutras that curse anyone who would dare question the authenticity of such sutras, as we graphically played out in the Lotus Sutra:


If a person fails to have faith
but instead slanders this sutra,
...
The things he says
people will not believe,
the breath from his mouth will be constantly foul
...
If there are monks who,
for the sake of comprehensive wisdom,
seek the Law in every direction,
pressing palms together, gratefully accepting,
desiring only to accept and embrace
the sutra of the Great Vehicle
and not accepting a single verse
of the other sutras
,
to persons such as this
it is permissible to preach it [the Lotus Sutra].
If a person, earnest in mind,
seeks this sutra
as though he were seeking the Buddha's relics,
and having gained and gratefully accepted it,
that person shows no intention
of seeking other sutras
and has never once given thought
to the writings of the non-Buddhist doctrines,
to a person such as this
it is permissible to preach it.


The Lotus Sutra Chapter 3
Is all of Mahayana like this? No, but it is there and it does have its influence.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby PeterB » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
PeterB wrote:I would ask Tilt that you consider the possibility that there might be at least an element of truth in my contention.
I think that there is a degree of "mission drift" and that in an commendable effort to sew harmony rather than discord a balance has been lost and needs to be regained.
Without being caustic maybe you could be a little more expansive on what you see here as a problem, but in the meantime off to the lap of Nyx.

I think almost anything I say on this topic runs the risk of being seen as caustic, perhaps not by you, but by those who see themselves as having olive branches dashed from their hands in brutal fashion...Probably best to leave it there.

metta to all.

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby protosphere » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:25 pm

Well, that was an interesting reading. Had a few laughs, learned a few things.

to the "Wizard in the Forest": is that more clear now? :stirthepot:

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby protosphere » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:56 pm

If I might, I would recommend the following reading to the OP:

Warder, A.K., Indian Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 3rd edition, 2000 (2008 for reprint).

Great reading, quite accessible, and it covers "original" Buddhism presupposed by the traditions of the different schools known to us, and the development of the latter ones and how they modified the original doctrine. A.K. Warder is a great scholar on that topic.

Sorry about my english, not my mother tongue.

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:31 pm

Will wrote:It is not correct to say that bodhisatta path is not taught in Theravada, but only in Mahayana. Both teach it, but Theravada gives little emphasis to it and the Mahayana a great deal. See this thread: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=40

It is not correct to say that the bodhisattva path is taught in Mahayana either, because it is not merely a new form of sravakayana.

tiltbillings wrote:
BlackBird wrote: I certainly don't agree with the undertones that the emphasis of historical authenticity being a modern phenomenon makes it any less important or valid, I think it's very important.
Mainstream Indian Buddhists questioned the authenticity of Mahayana sutras from the beginning - that is, when they paid any attention to them. This concern for authenticity is found in the Mahayana cult of the book sutras that curse anyone who would dare question the authenticity of such sutras, as we graphically played out in the Lotus Sutra:


If a person fails to have faith
but instead slanders this sutra,
...
The things he says
people will not believe,
the breath from his mouth will be constantly foul
...
If there are monks who,
for the sake of comprehensive wisdom,
seek the Law in every direction,
pressing palms together, gratefully accepting,
desiring only to accept and embrace
the sutra of the Great Vehicle
and not accepting a single verse
of the other sutras
,
to persons such as this
it is permissible to preach it [the Lotus Sutra].
If a person, earnest in mind,
seeks this sutra
as though he were seeking the Buddha's relics,
and having gained and gratefully accepted it,
that person shows no intention
of seeking other sutras
and has never once given thought
to the writings of the non-Buddhist doctrines,
to a person such as this
it is permissible to preach it.


The Lotus Sutra Chapter 3
Is all of Mahayana like this? No, but it is there and it does have its influence.

The Pali canon is your Vedas, your Bible, your Lotus Sutra. These things -- the holy books written in holy languages, taught by holy sectarians -- these things do not exist outside oneself (at least not as troubling matters) if one does not harbor sectarian feelings within.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:52 pm

Individual wrote:The Pali canon is your Vedas, your Bible, your Lotus Sutra. These things -- the holy books written in holy languages, taught by holy sectarians -- these things do not exist outside oneself (at least not as troubling matters) if one does not harbor sectarian feelings within.
You are writing this as the Mahayanist you claim to be? And what point are you trying make here? You certainly do not have somnething quite right.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:25 pm

protosphere wrote:Well, that was an interesting reading. Had a few laughs, learned a few things.

to the "Wizard in the Forest": is that more clear now? :stirthepot:


Not quite... I'm still wondering where all this came from.

I am very curious about the authenticity of these doctrinal differences, and what the main ones are.

I'm always grateful that people are willing to answer, but I still have only a vague cryptic idea. So ultimately, Mahayana Buddhists don't quite adhere to the 3 marks of existence in the way Theravada Buddhists do, they believe in a docetic emanation of the Buddha rather than a real historically existing Buddha, they believe in an innate awakened state (which is weird, how would someone become defiled and unawakened then? :cookoo: ), they believe in a different definition of enlightenment, a different definition of Buddhahood, and that doctrinal authenticity is expedient?
:shrug:


Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:41 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:The Pali canon is your Vedas, your Bible, your Lotus Sutra. These things -- the holy books written in holy languages, taught by holy sectarians -- these things do not exist outside oneself (at least not as troubling matters) if one does not harbor sectarian feelings within.
You are writing this as the Mahayanist you claim to be? And what point are you trying make here? You certainly do not have somnething quite right.

You keep calling me a Mahayanist and therefore that's what I seem to be. But honestly I don't choose to be a Mahayanist; it's just that Theravadins seem too intolerant to accept me as a Theravadin, Theravadins seem more upset when I speak when I feel is the truth, and the average person would probably claim that the views they think that I have line up most closely with Mahayana. I honor and respect your religion; I do not understand why there is no reciprocity of the same attitude of honor and respect. Instead, you and many others like you would turn Mahayana and Theravada into something like political parties and sports teams.

It's like there's two friends with two different vehicles (maybe a Corvette and a Camaro?) who both like to drive their cars. But instead of these two friends each appreciating one another's unique qualities, and just enjoying the ride, some treat the two vehicles as a drag race.
Last edited by Individual on Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:44 pm

Individual wrote: Instead, you and many others like you would turn Mahayana and Theravada into something like political parties and sports teams.


Well if it's any comfort, both political parties where I live both adhere to classical liberalism, and essentially have few defining characteristics, and both sports teams have and understand the rules of the same game, they just have different teams.

As for the alleged intolerance of Theravada, it's merely that we don't agree. Nor do we have to agree, and that's not intolerance to disagree. If you don't adopt the same rules of the game, you're not playing the same game. That's ultimately the reality.
Last edited by Wizard in the Forest on Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:50 pm

Individual wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Individual wrote:The Pali canon is your Vedas, your Bible, your Lotus Sutra. These things -- the holy books written in holy languages, taught by holy sectarians -- these things do not exist outside oneself (at least not as troubling matters) if one does not harbor sectarian feelings within.
You are writing this as the Mahayanist you claim to be? And what point are you trying make here? You certainly do not have somnething quite right.

You keep calling me a Mahayanist
You identified yourself, quite unbidden, to me as a Mahayanist in a PM. As for your assessment of Theravadins being intolerant, to follow your line, it naught more than stuff existing inside yourself that you are projecting outwards.

As for the your mini-rant about the Pali Canon being this and that. The Pali Canon was never held by the Theravadsin in the same way the authors of the Lotus Sutra portrayed the Lotus Sutra. Pali is not a "holy" language.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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

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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Individual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:53 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Well if it's any comfort, both political parties where I live both adhere to classical liberalism, and essentially have few defining characteristics, and both sports teams have and understand the rules of the same game, they just have different teams.

As for the alleged intolerance of Theravada, it's merely that we don't agree. Nor do we have to agree, and that's not intolerance. If you don't adopt the same rules of the game, you're not playing the same game. That's ultimately the reality.

That is good to hear. :)

tiltbillings wrote:You identified yourself, quite unbidden, to me as a Mahayanist in a PM.

That might have been a mistake. Seeing me as a Mahayanist seems to be easier to relate to than just thinking I'm a weird and crazy person, you know?

tiltbillings wrote:As for your assessment of Theravadins being intolerant, to follow your line, it naught more than stuff existing inside yourself that you are projecting outwards.

That is possible. Do you deny it is possible that the reverse may be true? It could be. We should both be mindful of these things. :)

tiltbillings wrote:As for the your mini-rant about the Pali Canon being this and that. The Pali Canon was never held by the Theravadsin in the same way the authors of the Lotus Sutra portrayed the Lotus Sutra. Pali is not a "holy" language.

...Also good to hear. :)
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:57 pm

Individual wrote:It's like there's two friends with two different vehicles (maybe a Corvette and a Camaro?) who both like to drive their cars. But instead of these two friends each appreciating one another's unique qualities, and just enjoying the ride, some treat the two vehicles as a drag race.


They're not driving 2 cars. This is 2 almost completely different doctrines. So it's like one person is driving a car, and another is driving a motorcycle. Sure, they might make it to the same place, might even both be really awesome, but to call them the same is to ignore that they're fundamentally different.
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:12 pm

Image

Theravada

Image

Mahayana.

Image

The path to enlightenment.

In order to make it through the gap, we got to let go of both vehicles, but admittedly I think one can get through more easily, so that is why I am Theravada.

makes sense?
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Re: The specific differences between Mahayana and Theravada?

Postby Virgo » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:43 pm

I see it like this:

Theravada:

Image

Mahayana:

Image

Kevin


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