Posted by Zolla (184.108.40.206) on November 08, 2000 at 18:33:45:
In Reply to: Re: The Bodhisattva path (I disagree) posted by Sergio on November 08, 2000 at 05:24:56:
First I have to say that Grace and Susan were right to say that everyone has the right to post their opinions here. I also agree that one shouldn't over react. Just be patience and see more...
Well I think it depends on which school we follow, I also tend to believe that since a Bodhisattva has Bodhicitta, he is closer to Buddhahood. I just brought up the topics for discussion, because I know that recently there are communications between different schools and I believe it can be quite meaningful. I also brought up the point to say that there are certain misconceptions about Theravada, thinking that Theravada only seeks personal liberation and only Mahayana schools talk about Bodhicitta and Buddhahood is one example. Thinking tht Theravada is "Hinayana", which doesn't exist anymore, is another.
I could almost imagine that by bringing up this point might make some of you uncomfortable. Just remember when a Bodhisattva attain enlightenment, he's a Buddha, and a Buddha is also called an Arhat. That's enough. In the earliest records of the Buddha's teaching, it is the Sainthood, while Bodhisattvas are those still on their way to Sainthood, that's the way they're different. I didn't say that Arhats are "higher" than Bodhisattvas neither, even some Theravadan texts also mentioned that a Bodhisattva's insight and realization is much higher than an ordinary Arhat, it's only that he cannot enter any Fruit part of the Sainthood because he needs the time to accumulate Paramittas in order to attain Buddhahood.
So don't be too over-reacted, try to look at the differences with a more pacified mind then you'll be able to discover something...
I myself have studied Tibetan Buddhism for some years and I also used to ignore Theravada, it was just until last year I discovered a few teachings which changed my attitude. Now I study both, I have to admit that at this point the more I look at the teachings of Theravada, the more I like it. It is not only that Theravada and Mahayana do not contradict to each other, it's also an indepensible part to have a better understanding of the earlier records of the Buddha's teachings, especially the four Nikayas, which are also studied by the Galugpa school. I've just been to the Robe Giving Festival which is a big event in those Theravada countries, where I could see Mahayana masters came to the Theravada monastary, and the two traditions are really like a family. So who said religion is another kind of politics game?
Mahayana is superior to Hinayana in terms of its philosophy about Emptiness, and there are more skillful means that allow people to accumulate merit. But can practitioners of Theravada not attain Buddhahood? Definitely. They can. In Theravada there are also teachings about Bodhisattas, accumulating Paramis, attaining Buddhahood and all that. It's just a matter of choice, so there shouldn't be any problem.
Let's not talk about Theravada. Say for example, Zen. Historically there were some debates between Zen and Tibetan Buddhism as a result now it might become very confusing for someone new to Buddhism who tries to understand these two schools. But as there're more and more communications, even tho' there're many differences at the surface, deep in the essence, it appears more and more clearly that there is some kind of consistence in the teachings of all these schools.
By looking at the more basic and sometime pretty strict doctrines of the earlier form of Buddhism, we'll be able to notice the common principles that can also be found in the more developed forms, we'll be more open, but at the same time be more aware of what is Buddhism and what are cultural influences.
So just relax, compare the differences, the more we look into it the more we'll find that the core of the teachings of all three "yanas" are basically the same.
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