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Mahayana split - Page 3 - Dhamma Wheel

Mahayana split

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:22 am

Just a note: As I am slowly reading through the essay in question, Whose Buddhism is Truest?, outside of maybe some comments about the very most recent finds concerning the Gandhari texts, there is really nothing in this essay that has not been around for quite sometime. In these terms, Williams' book is not out of date.

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

Postby manas » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:58 am

My gut feeling happens to concur with the opinion of most scholars (and of course, most people here on DW), ie that the Pali Canon is most likely to be the most accurate representation of what the historical Buddha actually taught. But one good thing about this religion / path / way, is that the founder, to the best of our knowledge, intended for us to always test the Teachings against our own experience, and that is ultimately how we will end up proving them, one way or the other. If it's true, it will stand up to scrutiny and examination...

:anjali:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

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Dan74
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Re: Mahayana split

Postby Dan74 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:42 am

I've been told that Mahayana was a schism and those responsible are burning in the worst of hells. I've been told that Mahayana is invented by renegade monks drunk on samadhi or worse. That it is a forgery, a heresy and a perversion of the Buddha's teachings (the last instance of this sort of thing was not too long ago on this forum). And of course I've been told that Mahayana is arrogant, supremacist and supercessionist. All of these I have heard from multiple sources both in fora and "meatspace".

It probably doesn't need saying that when one's faith in Dharma is not yet firmly established, such sentiments hurt and undermine everything one has managed to achieve in practice.

What I see as a practitioner are a collection of wisdom teachings that in practice have helped open my eyes a little, develop more clarity, patience and compassion in dealing with myself and others. In practical terms I haven't found anything that contradicts what I have learned in the Suttas although there are scholarly differences that may be relevant to other people or at other stages. The Bodhisattva orientation is perhaps one exception.

I should perhaps add that the later genesis of all Mahayana Sutras is not commonly accepted in Mahayana. I don't think my teacher who is a monastic of many years particularly minds one way or another, but Red Pine, who is perhaps the greatest of the translators of Chinese Mahayana literature (though I will defer to Ven Huifeng on that judgment) does not hold much stock by the current academic consensus on this matter. I am no expert and so I don't hold to a view here.

But to me if the Buddha's teachings are worthwhile then people have become liberated in the last 2500 years and these people could have elaborated on his teachings and adapted them to their culture and times. Modern Theravada teachers do that too and to me it is nothing but our Judeo-Christian bias that is responsible for the distaste many feel for such "innovations." Ajahn Sumedho's Sound of Silence meditation springs to mind and of course the never-ending debate about the Burmese vipassana. Whatever helps you get to the other shore, I say, and we are all different. Some may need only the Pali Suttas but for others different methods work best. In any case if you have not yet crossed to the other shore, what makes you qualified to say it must be "nothing but this"?

Sorry for the long-winded post...

Image
_/|\_

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Re: Mahayana split

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:16 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Mahayana split

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Re: Mahayana split

Postby Dan74 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:42 am

This is exactly to the point, retro. What criteria do we use? I think there are several given in the Pali scriptures and you would know them well.

Rather than relying on historical authenticity, I rely on self-assessment, assessment by my fellow practitioners and my teacher.

Self-assessment is primarily to do with conduct particularly with respect to the Paramitas. It is also to do with a sense of being mindful and present (which is included in the Paramitas anyway).

Assessment by my fellow practitioners is possible because I have a number of close friends who are also practitioners (both Mahayana and Theravada) and we try to be open and frank with each other. Besides even without words I can sense when I go off track - good friends (kalyanamitras) are like mirrors. Another aspect is a site like this where I learn about another tradition and critically examine my own on this light and get feedback from more experienced members.

Finally and perhaps most importantly for me is assessment by my teacher. Which of course if one supposes that the said teacher herself has gone wrong is not worth much. Well looking at my teacher and also at her lineage of teachers, I see precisely the values that the Buddha held up for the wise. I also see the focus of her tradition as being perfectly aligned to the Buddha's mission in Pali Suttas, ie awakening.

My teacher is an even clearer and greater mirror than my friends in some respects. It is not an easy practice - one would rather turn away at times, but here we are!

In the final analysis, I guess we need a measure of trust, both in our innate capacity to tell what is wholesome from what is unwholesome and trust in wise people past and present. Between these trusts, moderated as they are with common sense and a commitment to truth, practice can blossom.

Or so one hopes, eh?
_/|\_


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