BuddhaSoup wrote:My own view is that if we were discussing Einstein's theory of general relativity, and someone came along and said that they were teaching Eintein's theories and that spacetime was not actually curved but linear, would it be appropriate to correct them?
I think so; but there is a delicate line to walk here, isn't there? With the following in play for Mahayana adherents generally:
Dan74 wrote:Also there is clearly a wealth of sublime liberating teachings in Mahayana
...we find that the statement "this was not taught by the Buddha", despite being perfectly objective, is at root antagonistic to the idea that liberating teachings occur elsewhere than via what the Buddha did teach.
I wrote a snippet about this during the Early Buddhism+ thread over on the other DW, so I'll put a few of those points here:
on offer all do this in various ways; certain texts are taken as authoritative, others are discarded or interpreted to align with the prior authority. Otherwise, differences are rendered altogether meaningless; distinguishing Buddhism does not occur in the first place and some sort of New Age amalgamation, etc., results.
"It's very important to demarcate what one is trying to understand. If trying to understand the Nikayas, reading those will impart a certain initial weltanschauung which can then be refined or discarded, etc. Or one reads other Buddhist (or other religious) texts... and if one did this, and noticed comparatively different things being said, there would be degrees of variance in terms of this or that point of view."
These degrees of variance seem to be taken as either sublime skillful means, or questionable deviance.
The idea that Mahayana offers liberative teachings is a claim that the liberation described in text-group A by the historical Buddha is not to be pursued according to text-group A, but instead according to text-group B, which post-dates the historical Buddha.
As time passes, we then find the claim that the liberation of text-group A is in fact simply one sort of
liberation - emphasis on the 'sort of' - and that text-groups B and now C are the better bets, what with skillful means being what it is (as explained in text-group B...).
In fact, continuing on we find the claim that text-group C is a liberative shortcut, and while we're on the subject it seems that standalone text D is basically the teachers edition so you may as well read only that and, with the right infusings and empowerments, accomplish the goal.
You know, or, you could just chant the (non-historical) teacher's name with perfect faith and nevermind all that work described in text-group A, to say nothing of B-C.
Mahayana may be beneficial in wide-ranging ways, the same as Eastern Xianity and ancient Druidism and so forth. These things last because people find them beneficial.
But the Buddha described liberation and the practice for it in certain ways, and while I strive to avoid saying "only this is true, anything else is worthless" (which can be strong and recurrent problem for me), nevertheless, Mahayana is not one of those ways.