Can we bridge the two vehicles?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Should Theravada and Mahayana come togeather?

It makes sense to merge
5
16%
It is better as it is
27
84%
 
Total votes: 32

rajitha7
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Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by rajitha7 »

Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. - Sampasādanīya, Dīgha Nikāya 28
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Mkoll
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Mkoll »

Thanks for sharing. I'll contribute to the poll and thread once I've had a chance to listen to his talk.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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retrofuturist
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Triratna (formerly FWBO) is a great case study of what happens when you attempt to do this in practice...

Theravada becomes subsumed as Hinayana, and practitioners are frowned upon if they do not share the bodhisattva aspirations of others. (Such aspirations are baked into Triratna's devotional practices)

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
paul
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by paul »

"If, as upholders of Buddhist faith, we’re to make our distinctive mark on public policy, we may have to establish a Buddhist advocacy group, a pan-Buddhist alliance grounded in the recognition that hot political disputes are also burning ethical issues on which we should take a stand."---Bikkhu Bodhi

Remember that Bihkkhu Bodhi is currently calling for unity among Buddhists so that the dhamma is enabled greater expression on a social level particularly in the US; this is a different proposition and goal to personal practice where the Mahayana and Theravada are separate paths, the former being devotional in character and the latter employing mental investigation and analysis. In practice you cannot mix the two.
Last edited by paul on Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Javi
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Javi »

paul wrote:Remember that Bihkkhu Bodhi is currently calling for unity among Buddhists so that the dhamma is enabled greater expression on a social level particularly in the US; this is a different direction and goal to personal practice where the Mahayana and Theravada are separate paths, the former being devotional in character and the latter employing mental investigation and analysis. In practice you cannot mix the two.
I believe you are misinformed.
There is devotion in Theravada and there is investigation and analysis in Mahayana.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14
rajitha7
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by rajitha7 »

It does not have to be a cultural unity but a doctrinal unity where both agree on the fundamentals and agree on a standard. Subsequently, a Mahayanist could go and take advice from a Theravada monk and vise-verse. Each keeps their rituals and devotional activities.

It will help Dhamma followers to pool resources especially in countries where Buddhism is less prevalent.

The set of guidelines to avoid a schism and steps that should be taken to unite.
Behavior during a schism. When a bhikkhu has learned that a dispute has led to a schism and he wants to get involved, he is to side with whichever faction sides with the Dhamma. According to Mv.X.5.4, a speaker of non-Dhamma is to be recognized as such if he “explains not-Dhamma as ‘Dhamma’ … Dhamma as ‘not-Dhamma’ … not-Vinaya as ‘Vinaya’ … Vinaya as ‘not-Vinaya’ … what was not spoken, not mentioned by the Tathāgata as ‘spoken, mentioned by the Tathāgata’ … what was spoken, mentioned by the Tathāgata as ‘not spoken, not mentioned by the Tathāgata’ … what was not regularly practiced by the Tathāgata as ‘regularly practiced by the Tathāgata’ … what was regularly practiced by the Tathāgata as ‘not regularly practiced by the Tathāgata’ … what was not formulated by the Tathāgata as ‘formulated by the Tathāgata’ … what was formulated by the Tathāgata as ‘not formulated by the Tathāgata’ … a non-offense as ‘an offense’ … an offense as ‘a non-offense’ … a light offense as ‘a heavy offense’ … a heavy offense as ‘a light offense’ … an incurable offense as ‘a curable offense’ … a curable offense as ‘an incurable offense’ … a serious offense as ‘a not-serious offense’ … a not-serious offense as ‘a serious offense.’” A speaker of Dhamma is to be recognized as such if he explains not-Dhamma as “not-Dhamma,” Dhamma as “Dhamma,” and so forth.

http://info-buddhism.com/sangha_schism.html
Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. - Sampasādanīya, Dīgha Nikāya 28
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Zom
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Zom »

It does not have to be a cultural unity but a doctrinal unity where both agree on the fundamentals and agree on a standard. Subsequently, a Mahayanist could go and take advice from a Theravada monk and vise-verse.
This will never happen. Mayahanists won't acknowedge their sutras as wrong ones, same with theravadins. So, only "cultural" unity is possible, that is, the most superficial one. In reality Mahayana is just another religion. It is just like trying to unite Judaism with Christianity.
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seeker242
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

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Javi
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Javi »

It doesn't make sense to merge, but as B Bodhi says, we can learn to better respect each other and learn from each other.

I mean, I attend a Zen sangha, and I enjoy reading about all traditions.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14
Caodemarte
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Caodemarte »

I don't understand the question. There is no one Theravada or one Mahayana organization to merge. Individuals should learn from anybody or anything that can teach them in a non-sectarian way.
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Twilight
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Twilight »

I too consider them a different religion that has nothing to do with what the historical Buddha taught. So I don't see how a school following the historical Buddha could "bridge" with a school not following the historical Buddha.

What is important are the "higher teachings" of the buddha not the "mundane teachings" about rebirth, devas, morality etc. All religions have some of those but that doesn't make them buddhist.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
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Jojola
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by Jojola »

I don't see how, being that the "bodihsattva ideal", from as far as I can tell, is antithetical to the "arahant ideal". If their main aims, the very corner stones of their practice, are in direct opposition then I don't see reconciliation being possible. I think the Buddha was very clear that the welfare of ourselves should not be neglected for another's no matter how great their need is:

Dhammapada, Ch.12 Atta Vagga - "Self"
9. Attanā'va kataṃ pāpaṃ attanā saṃkilissati165
Attanā akataṃ pāpaṃ attanā'va visujjhati
Suddhi asuddhi paccattaṃ nāññamañño visodhaye.

10. Attadatthaṃ paratthena bahunā'pi na hāpaye166
Attadatthambhiññāya sadatthapasuto siyā.

"By oneself, indeed, is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself, indeed, is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one purifies another.
For the sake of others' welfare, however great, let not one neglect one's own welfare. Clearly perceiving ones own welfare, let one be intent on ones own goal." - Narada Thera translation


"Evil is done by oneself, by oneself is one defiled. Evil is left undone by oneself by oneself is one cleansed. Purity & impurity are one's own doing. No one purifies another. No other purifies one. Don't sacrifice your own welfare for that of another, no matter how great. Realizing your own true welfare, be intent on just that." - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation.


(the background story is actually when the Buddha was about to pass away, disciples flocked from far and near to pay their last respects to him. One monk Attadattha, did not, he retired to his own cell and meditated, the other monks reported the matter to the Buddha, who questioned him as to his intention, who replied he figured the best way to honor him would be to attain Arahantship during this very lifetime, the Buddha then praised him for his exemplary conduct and made the remarks that are now recorded as those verses.)

Also in the Mahayana school; Nibbana, the nature of Consciousness, and the definition of a Buddha have quite different meanings; to such an extent that I get the impression they actually specifically synthesized their teachings for the sole purpose of not being able to reconcile with the original doctrine, they truly wanted to be 'other'.

For instance I've heard it taught that the bodhisattva goes all the way up to "Nirvana" but doesn't 'enter' and forgoes their enlightenment for the sake of others, or I've also heard it put "they un-selfishly don't cling to either Samsara nor Nirvana", which makes no sense to me knowing the original meaning of "Nibbana" - the extinguish of clinging. So what their "Nirvana" even is I have no idea.

Again the impression I get is that their agenda during their formation was specifically to make "bridging" impossible. So to answer your question, I don't think so, and I'm pretty sure they wanted it that way.
Regards,

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"Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching." - Nanavira Thera (1920-1965) :candle:
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by mikenz66 »

Jojola wrote:I don't see how, being that the "bodihsattva ideal", from as far as I can tell, is antithetical to the "arahant ideal". If their main aims, the very corner stones of their practice, are in direct opposition then I don't see reconciliation being possible. I think the Buddha was very clear that the welfare of ourselves should not be neglected for another's no matter how great their need is:
But, of course compassion is a key part of the teachings...
“Bhikkhus, these three persons appearing in the world appear for the welfare of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. What three?
...
https://suttacentral.net/en/iti84
“So, bhikkhus, you think thus about me: ‘The Blessed One is compassionate and seeks our welfare; he teaches the Dhamma out of compassion.’
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn103/6
:anjali:
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mikenz66
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by mikenz66 »

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: I have been seeking a point of view that can do justice to both perspectives, that of the Nikāyas and the early Mahāyāna sūtras, a point of view that can accommodate their respective strengths without falling into a soft and easy syncretism, without blotting out conceptual dissonances between them, without abandoning faithfulness to the historical records – yet one which also recognizes that these records are by no means crystal clear and are unlikely to be free of bias. This task has by no means been easy. It is much simpler to adopt either a standpoint of "Nikāya purism" or one of "Mahāyāna elitism" and hold to it without flinching. The problem with these two standpoints, however, is that both are obliged to neglect facts that are discomforting to their respective points of view.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ttvas.html
:anjali:
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SarathW
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Re: Can we bridge the two vehicles?

Post by SarathW »

Here we are talking about bridging not merging.
I think there is already a bridge.
We can say there is no bridge only if we start bombing each other.
If anyone seen the religion tree will understand that the division is a natural part of growth.
So it will grow and die one day.

==========
PS:
Now I noticed the voting section is about merging.
My understanding is merging is not possible and not necessary.
It is like we trying to have a one world government (one religion)
I do not think if we merge Mahayana and Theravada, we are going to get a perfect Buddhism.
Two imperfect won't add up to one perfect.
It is a matter of learning to live with differences and take the most of both which help us for achieving our goals.
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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