username wrote:Actually as I said before we consider all (17 historic) Hinayana schools such as Theravada (plus Mahayana ones) Buddhist but they do not consider Mahayana as buddhists & all of them consider Vajrayana not buddhist. This is much much worse than calling a path within Buddhism lower or higher or slower or faster, that was never answered here. If Hinayana establishment centers announce Mahayana as buddhists or both of them announce we Vajrayana followers are buddhists then they have made a Leap from the dark ages.
A bit of historical investigation quickly exposes your conceptual categories as over-simplistic. When we look at the extant historical records we see that in India and Sri Lanka there were many fully ordained Theravāda monastics who accepted the Pāli Tipiṭaka and who also accepted Mahāyāna teachings.
For example, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (7th century CE) met Mahāyāna Sthaviras at Bodhgayā (1000 monks in one monastery), at Kaliṅa (500 monks in 10 monasteris), at Bhārukaccha (300 monks in 10 monasteries), and at Surāṣtra (about 3000 monks in 50 monasteries). Those at Bodhgayā were living in a monastery built by an early king of Sri Lanka. He also described the Abhayagirivihāra of Sri Lanka as being a Mahāyāna Sthavira monastery.
In History of Buddhism in Ceylon
, Walpola Rahula describes the Abhayagiri monastics as follows:
They were liberal in their views, and always welcomed new ideas from abroad and tried to be progressive. They studied both Theravāda and Mahāyāna and widely diffused the Tripitika.
Moreover, of the eight dhāraṇī inscriptions found at the Abhayagiri Stūpa, Gregory Schopen has identified the source of six of them as being the Sarvatathāgatādhiṣṭhānahṛdayaguhyadhātukaraṇḍadhāraṇī Sūtra, and Ven. Chandawimala has identified the source of the latter two as being the Tattvasaṃgraha Tantra.
Eventually, bodhisattvayāna teachings were even absorbed into the Mahāvihāra Theravāda commentaries and sub-commentaries. The commentator Dhammapāla wrote at some length on the subject in his Cariyāpiṭaka Aṭṭhakathā which was also included in his sub-commentary on the Brahmajāla Sutta. Ven. Bodhi has noted that Dhammapāla, in part, relied on the Bodhisattvabhūmi for his exegesis.
And so there is no impenetrable barrier; nor any line in the sand. The historical development of Buddhist ideas is quite dynamic, much moreso than is often commonly acknowledged.