ronnewmexico wrote:I would suppose a Theravadan may consider this a very noble and great aspiration ...."to benefit some sentient beings out of compassion is significantly different from having the intention to benefit all sentient beings out of compassion and to remain in samsara until they all have been freed from stuffering".....but considering the constraiants of our reality...quite a impossible or unrealistic one.
I think that's a pretty often case actually. But I guess that would be an instance of someone not being predisposed to the Mahayana path -- which is fine, not everyone has to be.
That said..... then the question would be..... why hold any aspiration which cannot be filled even if a great one?
Well, even in the Pali Cannon, the Buddha made that aspiration and became a Buddha, so I think there is an acknowledgement of it and it's possibility.
I really don't think it is ever a question of inferior compassionate intent that is the marker of T as opposed to M. There are other reasons.
I'm not quite sure bout that. They say what separates Hinayana from Mahayana is the intention of a Bodhisattva. But like I said before, I don't think all Theravadins are Hinayana practicioners (sorry for using the H word).
On the original statement, there are, multiple reasons one may stay in isolation for spiritual purpose, and multiple reasonsone may instead do compassionate acts of giving . Both T and M have adherants to isolation for spiritual purpose to my knowledge. Both have monastic members who do not to my knowledge as well.
Many Pali Suttas describe Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis (although in the case of Bhikkhunis they would go in pairs or small groups because of their vows) going into isolation to achieve Arahantship. The Buddha himself did it before reaching enlightenment. So did Ananda, and many many others. So I think Buddhism has a strong and long tradition of isolated retreat, achieving enlightenment, and then teaching.