Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:57 pm

Astus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:He did, but he was corrected on this point by Gorampa.

Tsongkhpa is not Candrakirti.


OK, so it is not that there isn't such form of Madhyamaka but rather that you take a view that doesn't accept it just like many others don't agree with the Gelug interpretation (not to mention those who have never even heard of it). No big deal really, there are many views in Buddhism.


Tsongkhapa asserted that what you report as Candrakirti's view. But he did so by ignoring other things that Candrakirti said which bring focus on what Candra was actually intending.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Chaz » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:44 pm

Nangwa wrote:
Kyosan wrote:The word is derogatory and the fact that Theravadins don't like that word should tell us something. Theravada, which I think means "Way of the Elders", is a more respectful name. I think it's best to respect the Theravadins wishes and call them that.
:namaste:

Hinayana in my opinion does not refer to modern Theravada.


I don't believe it does, either. Hinayana is a vehicle, a collection of texts and teachings. Theraveda is a school. They are not one in the same.

Just the same the word is still derogatory.

That said, I can certainly understand why our Theravedin brothers and sisters might take offense of the use of the word.

THAT said, I don't really care if their offended by the word if I'm not using it. I don't see myself as the guardian of the delicate sensibilities of others, even my fellow Buddhists. If they have a problem with the word, it's their problem and not mine. I choose to refrain from using the word around Theravedins, mainly because I don't care to "get into it" with them and I generally find the topic rather tiresome and boring.

There are lots of words in common use that are derogatory. Take the name "Fitzgerald". It's a common enough name and unbeknownst to many, the word "Fitz" means "bastard". So, Fitzgerald means "Gerald's bastard". I don't hear too many people, even those named Fitzgerald, complaining about the use of the word even though the word could be considered not just dergogatory, but actually perjorative, especially in the case where the person woth that name isn't anyone's bastard. My own naming is also like that. I was named after my father, and carry the suffix "Junior" in my name. Depending on how you view such things, "Junior" can mean the same thing as "Lesser".



Hinayana in the modern context that is relevant to us, refers to the point of view of individual practitioners.
Modern Theravada (at least in the US) is basically a non-committal Mahayana at this point anyways.



What do you mean by "non-committal Mahayana"? It reminds me that Episcopalians are sometimes referred to as "Off-Broadway Catholics". "Non-committal Mahayana" sounds almost as derogatory as Hinayana.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:50 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Astus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:We don't agree that a certain Madhyamaka teaching teaches this.


Didn't Tsongkhapa argue that even sravakas realise the emptiness of both personality and phenomena?


He did, but he was corrected on this point by Gorampa.

Tsongkhpa is not Candrakirti.


"Corrected" is a bit strong because Tsongkhapa and Gorampa never met and the Gelug still uphold their view.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Dexing » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:06 am

I find it odd that some Theravādins should take offense to a word. Discussions on this topic with Theravādins can get them pretty worked up, as they fire back at Mahāyāna saying it is not the Buddha's teaching. I don't take offense to that, and that's more derogatory than saying one is an inferior vehicle. It's considered slanderous of the Buddha.

After all, based on the ultimate goal and scope of doctrine, I think even "inferior vehicle" in English is not derogatory, but honestly descriptive. Not to mention, Hīnayāna used in Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras doesn't actually refer to the Theravādins, but others like Sarvāstivādins for example.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Astus » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:05 am

"Recently, many diverse Theravada practices were brought to Spirit Rock through the visit of Achaan Jumnien, a sixty-year-old monk from the jungles of Southern Thailand. In the course of nine days he taught thirty different practices. These included chakra practices (opening of the wisdom-eye and the heart center), skeleton practices (on the nature of the body), and meditations with the elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He trained people to understand emptiness by resting in what he called the “Original Mind” or the “Natural State” and he offered practices unifying participants’ consciousnesses with his own. He also performed many kinds of blessings, described exorcisms, taught chants, and offered protection rituals, visualizations and vows (including bodhisattva vows, practice vows and refuge vows). Throughout, he emphasized that freedom and emptiness and joy can be found in all circumstances. And this in only one week from one Theravada teacher!

It is essential to understand that “Theravada Buddhism” has no fixed definition. If we claim that the only true and complete locus for the tradition is the monastic sangha, then it is all too easy to undervalue the religious expression and practices of the “Theravada” laity. Regardless of how we choose to define Theravada Buddhism, we do not want to accept the label “Hinayana” for the tradition. The term itself is even more pejorative than the usual English translations of “the Small Vehicle” or the “the Lesser Vehicle.” Hinayana could more literally be translated as the “crummy or lousy vehicle.” (The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary gives “inferior” and “defective” as translations for Hina.) When the word “Hinayana” was first used in Buddhist India it did not refer to any particular school of Buddhism, but rather to a selfish and arrogant attitude of particular practitioners. It is mostly through the quirks of history that it became a label used to contrast the Theravada with the Mahayana tradition.

It is also commonly assumed that the Theravada has different goals from the Mahayana. That is, the Theravada teaches the path to arhathood (a path to full enlightenment which neither develops all the qualities of a Buddha nor cultivates a vow to save all beings), while the Mahayana teaches the bodhisattva path to buddhahood that involves the altruistic vow to save all beings. Though often overlooked by writers on Theravada Buddhism the bodhisattva path has remained available within the Theravada tradition from before the rise of the Mahayana down to the present time. A small but significant number of Theravadan monks and teachers, some of whom were popularly considered to be arhats, have chosen this difficult option as their own."


The Treasures of the Theravada: Recovering the Riches of Our Tradition by Gil Fronsdal
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Does marvelous nature and spirit
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:21 pm

If a friend says that something I'm saying is upsetting to them and I go on saying it, what does that say about me?
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:46 pm

Dexing wrote:Not to mention, Hīnayāna used in Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras doesn't actually refer to the Theravādins, but others like Sarvāstivādins for example.


That is not true -- it refers to anyone who follows teachings in Agamas/Nikayas and takes them being definitive.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:23 am

Astus wrote:[i]"Recently, many diverse Theravada practices were brought to Spirit Rock through the visit of Achaan Jumnien, a sixty-year-old monk from the jungles of Southern Thailand. In the course of nine days he taught thirty different practices. These included chakra practices (opening of the wisdom-eye and the heart center), skeleton practices (on the nature of the body), and meditations with the elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He trained people to understand emptiness by resting in what he called the “Original Mind” or the “Natural State” and he offered practices unifying participants’ consciousnesses with his own. He also performed many kinds of blessings, described exorcisms, taught chants, and offered protection rituals, visualizations and vows (including bodhisattva vows, practice vows and refuge vows). Throughout, he emphasized that freedom and emptiness and joy can be found in all circumstances. And this in only one week from one Theravada teacher!


Actually, many of these practices are probably remnants of ancient Mahayana practices, which existed in the region before the advent of Theravada as a state religion. Some of these practices are in no way endorsed by Theravadin orthodoxy, which stems from the Mahaviharin commentarial tradition. Hence, I am not sure if it is correct to assert all of these teachings under the rubric of Theravada.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Dexing » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:25 am

Namdrol wrote:
Dexing wrote:Not to mention, Hīnayāna used in Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras doesn't actually refer to the Theravādins, but others like Sarvāstivādins for example.


That is not true -- it refers to anyone who follows teachings in Agamas/Nikayas and takes them being definitive.

N


Most examples of direct refutations I've seen are aimed at various groups like the Sarvāstivādins. I've not seen the Theravādin group specifically targeted for their doctrine. Although, as you say the Śrāvakayāna in general is referred to as Hīnayāna.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:40 am

Dexing wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Dexing wrote:Not to mention, Hīnayāna used in Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras doesn't actually refer to the Theravādins, but others like Sarvāstivādins for example.


That is not true -- it refers to anyone who follows teachings in Agamas/Nikayas and takes them being definitive.

N


Most examples of direct refutations I've seen are aimed at various groups like the Sarvāstivādins. I've not seen the Theravādin group specifically targeted for their doctrine. Although, as you say the Śrāvakayāna in general is referred to as Hīnayāna.

:namaste:


There were not many Theravadins present on the Indian mainland to refute. However, the Theravadin theory of karma is rejected by Nagarjuna, etc.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:01 am

Greetings,

On the off chance anyone missed the first page of this topic, I highly recommend Namdrol's post here - viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4763#p48875

:good:

Very concise and focused, yet providing appropriate context.

Maitri,
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Jnana » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:43 am

retrofuturist wrote:On the off chance anyone missed the first page of this topic, I highly recommend Namdrol's post here - viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4763#p48875

:good:

Very concise and focused, yet providing appropriate context.

Yes, Namdrol's post appropriately addresses the issue from a contemporary Mahāyāna perspective.

It's important to appreciate that human beings are more dynamic than simplistic versions of yānas and vādas and tenet systems. As is Buddhist history.

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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Chaz » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:42 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:If a friend says that something I'm saying is upsetting to them and I go on saying it, what does that say about me?


Seems simple to me - doing that would mean you're kinda rude.

But it would also depend a lot on your motivation for using the word in the first place. If you were using a word to be deliberately provocative, then to continue using it after being told off about would be a bit rude.

If it was me being told off by a Theravedin because they didn't like my choice of phrasing (using the H-word), after apologizing, I'd politely suggest they leave the conversation immediately and not come back unless they had a list of terms they'll find offensive so I, and the rest of us in the convo don't risk offending that person any further.

On another point, I never, and I do mean NEVER, use the word to be deliberately offensive. In addition I never use it interchangably with Theraveda. If I want to be offensive, there are much more effective ways of offending or insulting someone. When I talk about Theraveda, I say "Theraveda" and nothing else. Am I allowed the same luxury of offense at someone presuming, unfairly, that in my choice of wording that I'm being deliberately offensive or talking about them? If we concern oursleves with such things it a sword that cuts both ways.

So, because it's such a difficult proposition, and in my mind boring and tiresome, I do two things. One, I avoid contact with Theravedins. It's not that I don't like them, it's that I fear a simple slip of the tongue would cause immeasurable problems that I would just as soon avoid and a good way to do that is to avoid those who you may offend. Second, I generally don't use the word Hinayana in mixed company, because you never know when a Theravedin might suddenly reveal himself or herself, and then we get into all kinds of pointless nonsense and I prefer to avoid that.

I don't feel it's incumbent on me to safegaurd the sensibilities of others, so my avoidance is strictly self-serving. It's not a question for me of some sense of right and wrong. I just don't want to get into it. I don't want to be bothered.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby ground » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:49 am

ananda wrote:What is your opinion ?
Should Hīnayāna continue to be used to refer to the Theravāda teachings or should it be avoided ?
Do you think the term is derogatory ?


Theravada ideal ist the benefit for others and for oneself as is the ideal of traditions that label themselves "Mahayana".

When there is sectarianism and clinging to views then the label "Hīnayāna" is applied to traditions and schools.

The Buddha taught neither Hīnayāna nor Mahayana.


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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:56 am

You have come great one ^
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Quiet Heart » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:36 am

:smile:
I don't personally think the term is derogatory.
However, that isn't the point.
Some of the Theravada community do, and it isn't practicing "Right Speech" or "Right Action" to use a term that they feel offensive is it?
For that reason, I'd rather not do it.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Josef » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:38 am

TMingyur wrote:
ananda wrote:What is your opinion ?
Should Hīnayāna continue to be used to refer to the Theravāda teachings or should it be avoided ?
Do you think the term is derogatory ?


Theravada ideal ist the benefit for others and for oneself as is the ideal of traditions that label themselves "Mahayana".

When there is sectarianism and clinging to views then the label "Hīnayāna" is applied to traditions and schools.

The Buddha taught neither Hīnayāna nor Mahayana.


Kind regards

Redundant, as usual.
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:20 am

pueraeternus wrote:Actually, many of these practices are probably remnants of ancient Mahayana practices, which existed in the region before the advent of Theravada as a state religion. Some of these practices are in no way endorsed by Theravadin orthodoxy, which stems from the Mahaviharin commentarial tradition. Hence, I am not sure if it is correct to assert all of these teachings under the rubric of Theravada.


I think it should be noted that there was a "purification" of Theravada in the 19th century. So when people think of Theravada as a "pure Buddhism" it is because of a modern development, a bias generated also by Western influence.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby muni » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:04 pm

It would be a great job when I could purify all "labeled" traditions! But how they all would be when i purify my mind?
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Re: Use of the term 'Hīnayāna'

Postby Dexing » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:44 pm

Quiet Heart wrote::smile:
I don't personally think the term is derogatory.
However, that isn't the point.
Some of the Theravada community do, and it isn't practicing "Right Speech" or "Right Action" to use a term that they feel offensive is it?
For that reason, I'd rather not do it.
:smile:


I understand the idea here, but I don't think "Right Speech" has anything to do with it.

There will always be people who are uncomfortable with what you have to say, or the words you use to say it. "Right Speech" is preceded by "Right Intention". If your speech is led by right intention, then when others feel offended it is really their issue.

If you say we should not use a word if we know it is going to offend someone, regardless of our intention, then you must also stop all kinds of daily activities. You should never drive a car again for example, because you know it will kill many insects, even though your intention is to just get from point A to point B. If you know this but continue anyway, it is not "Right Action".

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