Posted by Savaka (22.214.171.124) on November 08, 2000 at 14:08:42:
In Reply to: The Bodhisattva path posted by Zolla on November 07, 2000 at 15:16:03:
What an interesting debate that's going on here.
Still, here in Malaysia, where Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana temples are no more than a few kilometers from each other, such debates happen frequently. I hear it a lot.
I believe a lot has been said here on the subject between Sergio and Zolla, and there is little else to add. Susan is correct to point out that the heat on this debate is improper.
Still, one must believe in something or fall for anything. Being a Theravadin for over two decades, I therefore subscribe to Zolla's insights. Your analogy of the traveller and the tourist guide is very good, Zolla.
There are inherent differences between the three traditions. At times, I am almost tempted to use the term "sects".
There are more similarities than there are differences, of course. But where the differences occur, they occur painfully. These differences were set in place hundreds upon hundreds of years ago by high ranking monks and personalities equal to that of kings. The reasons for those differences are further buried in archaic and incomplete historical data.
As such, we are in no position to change these age-old differences on our own; just as Lotus pointed out, "no proof of what you have said".
What I wish you to know is that you are not alone. A lot of other people share your views. But a lot of people don't as well.
In almost every part of the Buddhist world. Theravadins have a strange knack of being caught in debates.
About 500 years after the Blessed One's demise, an extinct Buddhist sect (part of the Hinayana family) had a row with the Mahayanins. This story is in the Vinaya Pitaka. Seems that the monks of the particular Hinayana sect wanted it to be permissible to have wives and to add salt to their food if they feel like it or some such. Theravadin monks simply walked into the forest and stayed away from the fray...evidently, the Mahayanins won the debates. Sadly, when the Theravadin monks walk out of the forest after that, they were branded in the same fashion as the monks of the vanquished sect for a variety of reasons including the fact that Thervadin monks were wearing the same hue of robes as the vanquished monks. Again, the Theravadin monks kept their silence.
In any case, all that is irrelevant. Just remember what the arahants traditionally declare on the minute they achieve Nibbana:
"Rebirth has ended. The Holy Life has been lived. Done what was to be done. There is nothing left to do. This, is my last birth."
Strive for that morning when you can say the above from the bottom of your heart. All else bear little consequence.
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