Posted by David on December 02, 1998 at 10:16:56:
Here's a topic for discussion that everyone from every school of Buddhism can relate too..
People from one school of Buddhism tend to have something to say about other schools of Buddhism. Some good, some not so good. In the not so good category, some Mahayanists say that Hinayana is selfish, and some Hinayanists say that Mahayana isn't even Buddhism. Of course not all from either school feel this way, but... Even within one of these major branches, those of a sub-school often feel that some other schools' teachings or methods are not correct.
And even within a single school, some feel that there are superior and inferior teachings or methods. Does such disharmony really exist?
Some points of discussion could be..
What causes people to feel or percieve things this way?
Are all the major lineage schools really so different or are they just different expedients based on the same Buddhist principles?
How do these views benefit or harm oneself or others?
If the schools really are different, which one is really Buddhism?
If the schools really are the same in essence, what is this essence?
This seems to be an important issue now, especially with the spread of Buddhism into so many new countries. Will Buddhism become divisive and competitive among it's schools or will Buddhist schools recognize a common ground from which to work together or at least harmoniously? I know of at least one group that has organized a inter-school ministership for monastic and lay practitioners from many Mahayana and Hinayana traditions to work together to use common Buddhist teachings and methods to serve the Buddhist community.
Also, when the Dalai Lama met with the Chinese Ch'an Master Sheng-yen in New York earlier this year, the Dalai Lama said that he meets with the heads of other religions often to discuss religious harmony, but seldom meets with the leaders of other schools of Buddhism for this same purpose. The Dalai Lama commented that it would be good to start such interactions among Buddhist schools.
Sounds like a good idea to me. This discussion forum seems like a good place to do just this.
In addition to what we think of these issues, why don't we also let everyone know what school we are from if we are formally affiliated with a particular school. If we're not, then that is just as fine.
I took refuges and precepts in the Ch'an school, and study under Ch'an Master Sheng-yen.
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