retrofuturist wrote:Generally I think it's difficult for anyone interested in establishing a cult to do it under the guise of Theravada Buddhism, because Theravada takes the Pali Canon as the primary source of authority. Buddhavacana (Buddha word) comes to the Theravada tradition via the Pali Canon, not via a Guru.
Well even within Theravada there are different branches that have some differing interpretations of the Tripitaka and what have you.
TheDhamma wrote:Fortunately, we don't have much of a problem there in Theravada as perhaps some of the other traditions do. One reason might be that we have no pope, no vatican, so no one to 'rebel' against and form a splinter group.
Another reason might be that most cult leaders are not too keen on celibacy, a required precept for bhikkhus and bhikkhinis.
Well there's no figure that oversees all of Theravada, but within Thai and Cambodian Buddhism there is the Supreme Patriarch, or Somdech Phra Sangharaja.
With these two things in mind...
~ How is there not talk of heresy or labeling of groups as heretics for their different interpretations (and therefor practices?) ? Or is there?
~ How is it that this does not cause the same types of schisms that may be found elsewhere? Or does it?
It seems that the former does occur. I have seen at least two groups named here in this thread that it seems some people label as heretics. There could even be a third in this very thread, but Manapa declined to mention a name. Large congregations (Buddhist and Christian) and their praises/criticisms are a topic I'm interested in.
From what I know of the controversy surrounding the two groups mentioned, some seems to be politically driven. Both have or have had attendees that are of high-profile. That being the case, a particular temple becomes "guilty by association" and these groups may face backlash from their attendees' opponents. Criticizing a temple would seem to be a good way to discredit an opponent, especially one in the political realm. In addition, while neither is recently founded, they both have experienced recent growth in reach and size, arguably exponential relative to previous growth and expansion.
It appears universal across faiths that large congregations are on the receiving end of much criticism, the easiest of which is vast finances. Naturally, that's the easiest thing to point out in that many people feel that a religious institutions should not have much assets, etc.