Do you find Hinayana offensive?

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby adeh » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:39 pm

From what I 've read the word hinayana is the word often used as a synonym for these groups and not Theravada...I've just recently read a book by Kogen Mizuno called "Buddhist Sutras" and he uses the word hinayana to describe anything that is not mahayana or tantric, and he includes Theravada as one of the hinayana schools.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby 5heaps » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Also, contrary to what many Mahayanists might think, the Theravada is not hinayana, the garbage vehicle, or even the "lower" vehicle.

Why?

From the mahayana pov, any vehicle leading to liberation which does not include bodhichitta as a path is by definition "lower". In the same way that shravaka arhats have far fewer good qualities than pratyekabuddha arhats, they are by definition lesser. I hope this is ok with retro to say, I am merely responding to the points you're bringing up (it's not my intention to senselessly bring these things up).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby 5heaps » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:48 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:So, having rejected "hinayana" (obviously!) and "mainstream" as terms to describe non-Mahayana groups as a whole, do you have any other terms that will work? I think that this is an important question. If we are keen to drop the nasty terms as long gone history, how are we to proceed in the present?

It's also sometimes called shravakayana.
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby 5heaps » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote: "Small vehicle" is no compliment, but they don't think that it is a nasty insult, either.
If we always think that when modern Anglophone Mahayanists use the word "hinayana" they mean it as "inferior / despicable vehicle", then we are probably misrepresenting them.
But misrepresentation seems par for the course in a lot of things in this area. :sigh:

when Mahayanists assume that their understandings of notions such as what a Buddha is, arahant, nibbana, bodhi are all appropriately applied without question to the Theravada.

Do you have an example Tilt?

For example, in general, the mahayana tenets are based on first understanding and mastering the non-mahayana tenets. It's literally impossible to have a mahayana realization without having non-mahayana realizations. So an implication is that any mahayana scholar is by definition very knowledgeable in non-mahayana. (/hides from retro)
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:59 pm

5heaps wrote:From the mahayana pov, any vehicle leading to liberation which does not include bodhichitta as a path is by definition "lower". In the same way that shravaka arhats have far fewer good qualities than pratyekabuddha arhats, they are by definition lesser. I hope this is ok with retro to say, I am merely responding to the points you're bringing up (it's not my intention to senselessly bring these things up).


5heaps,

Which message from retro are you responding to? The last one I see from him is this:

retrofuturist wrote:
This subforum is "A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravada (The Way of the Elders)", not about how great (or otherwise) Mahayana Buddhism is.

As for the Terms Of Service, you'll find them here - viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2

Of particular relevance is the following...

Dhamma Wheel is an environment for the discussion of the Theravada. All are welcome but are required to abide by the TOS. Special forums have been created for special areas of interest so please respect these boundaries. Dhamma Wheel administrators and moderators reserve the right to edit inappropriate content, and to remove or transfer any posts or threads that are not relevant to the sub-forum in which they are posted. Any subject matter that may be off-topic or is intended only to cause disruption or harm to others may be removed without notice. This includes the badmouthing of other Buddhist discussion forums, trolling, solicitation of funds and proselytizing.


And then your response referring to Theravada as "lower." How is that a response to the TOS retro quoted? It appears more like a direct attack on the TOS and Theravada.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:00 pm

Hi 5heaps,
5heaps wrote:From the mahayana pov, any vehicle leading to liberation which does not include bodhichitta as a path is by definition "lower". ...

Of course, that's fine. No one is disputing that from the POV of (some?) Mayahana schools Theravada and other non-Mayahana schools are missing something. Similarly, I would not expect you to be surprised that the standard Theravada POV is that those views are completely irrelevant and can therefore be safely ignored. There are, therefore, some rather basic points of disagreement, and it is important to be respectful of the existence of those contradictions, rather than to try to pretend that they don't exist, or, worse, to be condescending, which could take these forms:
Mahayana Buddhist: "Theravada, etc, is OK as far as it goes, but the poor dears will see their errors eventually when they become Arahats and discover that it's not really the final goal."
Theravada Buddhist: "Mahayana is OK, I guess. The poor dears are a bit deluded about all this Bodhisattva stuff, but since it's just a skilful way of making them play nice it doesn't really do much harm, and they'll come right in the end when they figure it out."

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:05 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi adeh,
adeh wrote:I think "Theravada" sounds just fine....and we should keep on insisting that the other traditions use it and stop using the term "hinayana".

Obviously, if someone is actually talking about Theravada.

However, the key point that Paññāsikhara has made many times is that it is misleading to use the term "Theravada" for pre-Theravada Buddhism, or to use it as a collective label for the numerous (non-Mahayana) schools that existed alongside it. There were significant doctrinal differences, some of which are presented in the Theravada Canon and make interesting reading...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/abhi/index.html
V. Kathavatthu ("Points of Controversy").
Another odd inclusion in the Abhidhamma, this book contains questions and answers that were compiled by Moggaliputta Tissa in the 3rd century BCE, in order to help clarify points of controversy that existed between the various "Hinayana" schools of Buddhism at the time.
English translations:
* Points of Controversy, translated from the Pali by S.Z. Aung and C.A.F. Rhys Davids (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1915).

Metta
Mike


Hi Mike
Theravada is the pali version of the sanskrit Sthaviravāda school which name is used as the umbrella term for all the schools of buddhism who are not part of the Mahasanghika school/umbrella. it is an umbrella term, aswell as being the modern name of the Sri Lankan school.

* Sthaviravāda
o Pudgalavāda ('Personalist') (c. 280 BCE)
+ Vatsīputrīya (under Aśoka) later name: Saṃmitīya
+ Dharmottarīya
+ Bhadrayānīya
+ Sannāgarika
o Vibhajjavāda (prior to 240 BCE; during Aśoka)
+ Mahīśāsaka (after 232 BCE)
+ Kāśyapīya (after 232 BCE)
+ Dharmaguptaka (after 232 BCE)
+ Theravāda (c. 240 BCE)
o Sarvāstivāda (c. 237 BCE)
+ Mūlasarvāstivāda (third and fourth centuries)
+ Sautrāntika (between 50 BCE and c. 100 CE)
* Mahāsaṃghika ('Majority', c. 380 BCE)
o Ekavyahārikas (under Aśoka)
o Lokottaravāda
o Gokulika (during Aśoka)
o Bahuśrutīya (late third century BCE)
o Prajñaptivāda (late third century BCE)
o Cetiyavāda
o Caitika (mid-first century BCE)
o Apara Śaila
o Uttara Śaila
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Buddhist_Schools
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Kare » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:07 pm

5heaps wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Also, contrary to what many Mahayanists might think, the Theravada is not hinayana, the garbage vehicle, or even the "lower" vehicle.

Why?

From the mahayana pov, any vehicle leading to liberation which does not include bodhichitta as a path is by definition "lower". In the same way that shravaka arhats have far fewer good qualities than pratyekabuddha arhats, they are by definition lesser. I hope this is ok with retro to say, I am merely responding to the points you're bringing up (it's not my intention to senselessly bring these things up).


It is rather strange that the theravada manages quite well on its own, while the mahayana seems to have a deep need for kicking at other schools in order to justify their existence.

If the mahayanaists insist on this, we might one day find that the theravadists get tired of meekly bowing for all this rather unpolite sectarian propaganda, and pick up some old arguments from the non-mahayana side of the debate. I do not want to present those arguments here. In my view they are better forgotten, like the mahayana arguments ought to be.

But if the mahayana should insist on their argumentation, the debate might heat up to a level none of us would be happy with.

Therefore it would be much wiser to put that old-fashioned sectarianism to sleep and learn to accept that although history has created different kinds of buddhism, there is no 'higher' or 'lower' way. The important differences are not the differences between the schools, but maybe rather between the individual practitioners.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:11 pm

Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:Theravada is the pali version of the sanskrit Sthaviravāda school which name is used as the umbrella term for all the schools of buddhism who are not part of the Mahasanghika school/umbrella.

I'm not completely clear what you are suggesting. I take it you mean that if one wants to refer to all those non-Mahayana schools one can say "Sthaviravāda". (But definitely not "Theravada", which is a subset). Is that right?

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby cooran » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:11 pm

Well said Kåre!

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:12 pm

:anjali:
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:46 pm

Kåre is cool 8-)

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:56 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:Theravada is the pali version of the sanskrit Sthaviravāda school which name is used as the umbrella term for all the schools of buddhism who are not part of the Mahasanghika school/umbrella.

I'm not completely clear what you are suggesting. I take it you mean that if one wants to refer to all those non-Mahayana schools one can say "Sthaviravāda". (But definitely not "Theravada", which is a subset). Is that right?

Mike

Hi Mike,
Essentially yes, although Theravada & Sthaviravāda are the same word in different languages so technically the same thing. I give an alternative for Theravada & Sthaviravāda when refering to the early schools of this line earlier as early thera schools which i think is less confusing than the actual terms and gives a time context but when talking about post Mahayanas formation the current names or groupings should be used not terms such as non-mahayana or hinayana which are essentially meaning the same thing.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:13 am

Manapa wrote:terms such as non-mahayana or hinayana which are essentially meaning the same thing.

I'm not sure that they do mean the same thing. Non-mahayana just means all schools not mahayana. The word Hinayana has a place within Mahayana as a name of a practice focused on the defilements (from what I understand from earlier in the thread) but NOT as a description of non-mahayana schools. <shrugs> I'm amazed this discussion is still going.
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:34 am

non- indicates without, or the opposite of as well as not, which also indicates the opposite, plus if you take in the use of the word great and look at antonyms in the thesaurus it would give exactly the same meaning as hinayana.

so non-mahayana could mean
the school that is not great
school without greatness
or unimportant, lowly or at best ordinary school, no real difference between the two except one uses two different languages
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:09 am

I am not as book-learned as most here, so here's my practical question: I attend some non-denominational or multi-denominational groups. (Read denominational= sectarian.) If the word hinayana should come up in "polite" conversation, what is the best way to respond? My gratitude in advance for responses.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:32 am

Monkey Mind wrote:I am not as book-learned as most here, so here's my practical question: I attend some non-denominational or multi-denominational groups. (Read denominational= sectarian.) If the word hinayana should come up in "polite" conversation, what is the best way to respond? My gratitude in advance for responses.

Slap the person and then shake your finger at him or her telling them that they are remarkably stupid. Actually, if you do not want to do that, it depends upon how it is used. If the situation comes up you might point out that hinayana and the baggage that goes with it is not something accepted by Theravadins and that Theravadins see things a bit diffeently. Or you might simply ignore it, or you might say: "Thank gawd the Theravada is not hinayana." You could call the offender a HINAWEENIE: A Mahayana practitioner who refers to Theravadin Buddhists with the pejorative term Hinayana. Hinayana is a technical term used in Mahayana Buddhism to describe someone, usually within the tradition, who has a lesser motivation along the path. Someone who practices only for the benefit of themselves would be considered to have Hinayana motivation.

Seriously, it depends upon how it is used and the nature of the conversation as to what you might say. Some Mahayanists take the word and its baggage very seriously as being what the Buddha really taught; again the circumstance should dictate the response or the non-response.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:10 pm

Hi all,

I'm quite sure that there will be at least someone, who's going to come up with any good reason why the term "hinayana" should be used like this or like that or that it means this or that or why this discussion may be more or less benificial or is just responding to my post or ...whatever.
In the end there is no "hinayana" nor "mahayana" nor "theravada"! There isn't even "buddhism"!
Everything what seems to be there, are some people, who are giving those "nonsense" terms some relative meaning, attaching much importance to it. Just because some more people may give a term a particular meaning, doesn't make it "right", "real" or even "important". Why should one pay it that much attention?
Imho it would be much better to watch one's own reaction closely when it comes to the term "hinayana" instead of trying to disabuse others what "hinayana" really means or what one suppose to mean "hinayana".
All this doesn't mean anything! (this post included) You are the one giving this any meaning!
I'm not saying that this issue shouldn't be discussed at all. But it shouldn't be paid too much attention to terms.
Btw it reminds me of a quote of Ajahn Chah:
A clever person watches others, but he watches with wisdom, not with ignorance. If one watches with wisdom, one can learn much. But if one watches with ignorance one can only find faults.

This can nearly be applied to all of us.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:01 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
Imho it would be much better to watch one's own reaction closely when it comes to the term "hinayana" instead of trying to disabuse others what "hinayana" really means or what one suppose to mean "hinayana".

Of course; however, if there is a teachable moment maybe one can teach.

When I first started reading Buddhist books and started considering myself a Buddhist, one of the books that was most influential was Philip Kaleau's THREE PILLARS OF ZEN. It put Buddhism in terms of actual practice and actual realization. Looking in this book's index: "Theravada, see hinayana" And Theravada/hinayana was characterized by the usual stuff of being monkish, conservative, looking out for oen's own liberation in contrast to the great, liberal open compassionate Mahayana. Who wants to be Theravada/hinayana?

The problem with this is, of course, that it cuts one off from a viable, deep expression of the Dhamma, also setting up an un-versus-them mindset, even if it is subtle. I am NOT advocating going out there and whacking everyone over the head who, for whatever reason, might use the word hinayana in reference to the Theravada, and I agree that we need to be aware of our own reactions to the word, but if there is a teachable moment around the term hinayana and its baggage, it might be useful.

When I got into long drawn debates on e-sandbox over the word and its inappropriaeness when applied to the Theravada, it was not to change the minds of the true believers, though I would hope for an increase in sensitivity to the problems entailed by such sectarian terminology. It was, rather, for others who were reading along, and judging from the fair number PMs I got in response to such efforts, I would say that it was worth the effort, in that people who were likely to look at the Theravada through Mahayana eyes only saw that when looking at the Theravada from a Theravada point of view that there was something there that was far richer, far deeper than the polemical picture of it presented by the sectarian characterization of all things hinayana.
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.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Kokoro » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:36 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You could call the offender a HINAWEENIE: A Mahayana practitioner who refers to Theravadin Buddhists with the pejorative term Hinayana.


Hinaweenie!! :rofl:
I don't know why but that made me laugh so hard I almost fell out my chair!
Thanks Tiltbillings! I really enjoyed that post.

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