I think the issue isn't so much with us not accepting that there is a long oral tradition. The problem is that purification practices are, for westerners, a cry back to catholic confession boxes and guilt. Most of us became Buddhists to learn to meditate and here are these Tibetan guys telling us we need to purify instead.
Perhaps some people feel that way, but this is not at all an issue with me. I have a very traditional Tibetan lama (who I see seldomly, unfortuntately) and I enjoy Tibetan Buddhist rituals.
My concern is avoiding Jain and Hindu views of karma which Shakyamuni showed were incorrect. I have no problem with faith, but also believe that it should be backed up by correct understanding.
Nor do I have a problem with the word "purify"--the question is just what it exactly means. Is it the Mahayana view that bad karma is actually removed
by purification practices or are the effects of the bad karma simply minimized
? It's the mechanics of karma that I'm really interested in...
It seems that Theravada does have the concept of past bad actions being "diluted" by serious Buddhist practice. I wonder if the concept is the same in Mahayana...
"'Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in the body [i.e., pleasant feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in virtue, developed in mind [i.e., painful feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the unlimited. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.
...'Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges. What do you think? Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?'
AN 3.99http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Khalil Bodhi wrote:
In the Theravada tradition and the Sutta-pitaka there is no idea of purifying kamma per se but one can certainly change the way in which akusala kamma manifests as vipaka by living a virtuous life by abiding by sila, and practicing samadhi and thereby developing panna. It's the salt in water metaphor
It appears we were thinking the same thought!