Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Kare
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by Kare »

pink_trike wrote:Keeping this pot stirred over running decades benefits practitioners of Buddhism exactly how?
By helping those who abuse others through nasty language, to realize their mistakes - and thus help them to practice the 8-fold path, we can benefit Buddhists and Buddhism.
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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by pink_trike »

Kare wrote:
pink_trike wrote:
Kare wrote:
So if you know Pali or Sanskrit, you would react to the word "hinayana", and see that no matter in what way it might be said - the word in itself carries a very unpleasant meaning.
Hinayana means "the teachings are about hina".

It does not mean "the teachings are hina", which is an incorrect translation, to the best of my knowledge.

There's a big difference there.
Sorry, but you are mistaken. Yana does not mean "teaching". It is derived from a verb which means "to go", so it may be taken in two different, but equally correct, meanings: the way upon which you go, or the vehicle by which you go. Therefore yana can be translated as "way" or "vehicle". From the similes in the Lotus sutra it seems that "vehicle" is the intended meaning.

Therefore, Hinayana has never been understood as the teachings about hina, as you indicate, but as the vehicle/teaching/way that is hina. The guy who first coined that word was a brilliant propagandist. But so was Goebbels ...
Yes, I know that yana means vehicle or way...I mentioned this in one of my previous posts here.

In Maha/Vajra, there are a range of teachings associated with what is referred to as "Hinayana" within those traditions - that is to say, there are teachings about hina within Maha/Vajra that are called "Hinayana" teachings. This use of the term "Hinayana" within Maha/Vajra has nothing to do with Theravada. This is what I'm referring to in the quote above.
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poto
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by poto »

I don't yet have 3 or 4 decades of experience, but I do think "Hinayana" is an offensive term.

The very fact that so many Buddhists find it offensive is enough reason for me to not use it. Why would you want to use a word that you know people find offensive?
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by pink_trike »

Just to clarify for the record, I didn't say that I use it - like most Buddhists, I've been trained not to by those who raise a stink about it every time they hear the word. In answer to the question posed by the OP, I said that I don't find it offensive. I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it offensive.
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Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by tiltbillings »

pink_trike wrote: This use of the term "Hinayana" within Maha/Vajra has nothing to do with Theravada. This is what I'm referring to in the quote above.
Which is true when hinayana is referring to motivation and doctrine within a Mahayana context; however, the sectarian usage of the term hinayana does get used by Mahayanists to characterize Theravada. There is no reason that should not be addressed.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by Cittasanto »

pink_trike wrote:Just to clarify for the record, I didn't say that I use it - like most Buddhists, I've been trained not to by those who raise a stink about it every time they hear the word. In answer to the question posed by the OP, I said that I don't find it offensive. I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it offensive.
Hi pink maybe your own disclaimer may shed light for you in this area.

Dhammapada 69
Fools perceive evil acts
to be sweet as honey
until they have seen the consequences.
When they behold their fruits,
fools suffer indeed.
232
Beware of contrived utterance
and aware in all that you say.
Renounce all cunning speech
and cultivate that which is wholesome.
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But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by tiltbillings »

pink_trike wrote:I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it [hinayana] offensive.
That is an interesting admission. Again, it is not just the ugly word itself, but it is all that the word carries in term of sectarian baggage strapped to it by Mahayana polemicists that, when inappropriately to the Theravada, distorts understanding of the Theravada, distorts dialogue and mutual understanding. That is reason enough, as a practing Buddhist, to put the word in its place.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
Dan74
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by Dan74 »

This discussion reminded me of the Simpsons episode when Nelson (Mahayana) laughs at an extremely tall man scrunched up driving in a Volks Beetle (Hinayana). "This was the largest vehicle I could afford," the guy (insert Tilt) says holding Nelson by the scruff of his neck. He then proceeds to march Nelson down the road with his pants down.

Lesser Vehicle, Ha ha!


_/|\_
_/|\_
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LauraJ
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by LauraJ »

Someone brought up the point that the kind thing to do is to let the person using the term know that it's not a good word. Particularly if the person doesn't realize it's not good to say. I've been in that position and I was very glad that my friend raised my awareness. It's a little embarrassing in the moment but far better in the long run.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by tiltbillings »

Dan74 wrote:This discussion reminded me of the Simpsons episode when Nelson (Mahayana) laughs at an extremely tall man scrunched up driving in a Volks Beetle (Hinayana). "This was the largest vehicle I could afford," the guy (insert Tilt) says holding Nelson by the scruff of his neck. He then proceeds to march Nelson down the road with his pants down.

Lesser Vehicle, Ha ha!
Nelson vid

_/|\_
Not a perfect analogy, but, remebering the episode, somehow to the point and rather funny.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Dhammabodhi
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by Dhammabodhi »

Hi all,

Of all the texts posted above I find Kare's "The Myth of Hinayana" the best and the most compelling, and I completely agree with him. The term Hiina has negative connotations in present day indian languages as well. So in my view this term should be avoided.


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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by pink_trike »

tiltbillings wrote:
pink_trike wrote: This use of the term "Hinayana" within Maha/Vajra has nothing to do with Theravada. This is what I'm referring to in the quote above.
Which is true when hinayana is referring to motivation and doctrine within a Mahayana context; however, the sectarian usage of the term hinayana does get used by Mahayanists to characterize Theravada. There is no reason that should not be addressed.
Does Theravada teach about hina?
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Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by pink_trike »

Manapa wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Just to clarify for the record, I didn't say that I use it - like most Buddhists, I've been trained not to by those who raise a stink about it every time they hear the word. In answer to the question posed by the OP, I said that I don't find it offensive. I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it offensive.
Hi pink maybe your own disclaimer may shed light for you in this area.

Dhammapada 69
Fools perceive evil acts
to be sweet as honey
until they have seen the consequences.
When they behold their fruits,
fools suffer indeed.
232
Beware of contrived utterance
and aware in all that you say.
Renounce all cunning speech
and cultivate that which is wholesome.
You're saying that because I don't see things exactly as you do then I'm a fool, that I find "evil acts" to be as sweet a honey, that I'm blind, that I'm suffering in my blindness, that what I say is contrived, that I'm unaware as I speak, and that I'm cultivating the unwholesome...and you're suggesting that the cause of all this is somehow related to my being a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training. Since you likely can't find serious fault with my practicing in the other traditions I can only assume that it is the "non-religious" part that you're reacting to so strongly. Which reduces your post down to: "You're evil, blind, suffering, contriving, and unwholesome because you're not religious". This reactionary kind of irrational logic is precisely why I'm not religious. Religiosity by its very nature creates enemies "out there" in order to defend something carefully constructed and clung to "in here". Good luck with that.

I'm not offended by the word Hinayana. Hinayana is taught within other traditions. Theravada teaches the knowledge of hina. You can deal with me saying this anyway you like...but reacting as you have above looks to me like a very defended, even aggressive, way to walk through the world.
Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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LauraJ
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by LauraJ »

Dear PT,

One taste being what it is, it's tough to get there. I'm a practicing Buddhist and I get all testy about antisemitic labels and remarks.

I'm trying though :bow:
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Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth. -The Dhammapada
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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Post by pink_trike »

tiltbillings wrote:
pink_trike wrote:I don't understand how any practicing Buddhist would find it [hinayana] offensive.
That is an interesting admission. Again, it is not just the ugly word itself, but it is all that the word carries in term of sectarian baggage strapped to it by Mahayana polemicists that, when inappropriately to the Theravada, distorts understanding of the Theravada, distorts dialogue and mutual understanding. That is reason enough, as a practing Buddhist, to put the word in its place.
"Admission"? :jumping:

Ok, go ahead and put that "offensive" word in its place. Be offended. How dare they!! FIght the good fight. "They" need to be taught, because "I" am right. Keep reacting to the word over and over again...becoming and becoming and becoming. Carry that baggage with a firm grip. It takes two to do the sectarian tango...

And that will benefit your practice and the Dhamma exactly how again? Fighting it every time someone "offends" you with it also perpetuates the constant sectarian bickering. If it will stop, someone needs to let go of it...who's it gonna be first? Are you going to make sure that it's "them" that lets go first?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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