Author Topic: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna  (Read 585 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

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Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« on: March 05, 2017, 09:55:24 pm »
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The Basic Points Unifying the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna is an important Buddhist ecumenical statement created in 1967 during the First Congress of the World Buddhist Sangha Council (WBSC), where its founder Secretary-General, the late Venerable Pandita Pimbure Sorata Thera, requested the Ven. Walpola Rahula to present a concise formula for the unification of all the different Buddhist traditions. This text was then unanimously approved by the Council...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_points_unifying_Therav%C4%81da_and_Mah%C4%81y%C4%81na

The notion that Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism are somehow inferior to each other is doctrinally and historically untenable. Mahayana and Theravada are simply different expressions of and paths to the same Ultimate Truth.

Dividing the Sangha is one of the five grave offenses:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anantarika-karma
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 10:31:01 pm by Dharma Flower »
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Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 10:55:37 am »
Thank you for the article, Dharma Flower: 

Buddha pointed out in The Vinaya Rules for Monks that creating a schism within the sangha was reason for being banished from The Sangha.  (Seems like a contradiction, because when you banish a member, you automatically create a schism.)

Unfortunately, these schisms in The Buddhist community have arisen many times over the last twenty-five hundred years , beginning shortly after Buddha's death.   I believe the first schism arose due to a disagreement over the Vinaya Rules themselves. 

One of the more modern issues constantly addressed is the names chosen for each community.  Perhaps what we need to do to begin is to eliminate all names, which indicate such divisions and create an ecumenical Buddhist community - world wide.  That would be a good start, and then come together to address what we all hold in common from Buddha's teachings and drop what we do not hold in common.  The issue then becomes as with all world-wide issues:  cultural differences, language, and struggles for power.

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 06:00:44 pm »
Thank you for the article, Dharma Flower: 

Buddha pointed out in The Vinaya Rules for Monks that creating a schism within the sangha was reason for being banished from The Sangha.  (Seems like a contradiction, because when you banish a member, you automatically create a schism.)

Unfortunately, these schisms in The Buddhist community have arisen many times over the last twenty-five hundred years , beginning shortly after Buddha's death.   I believe the first schism arose due to a disagreement over the Vinaya Rules themselves. 

One of the more modern issues constantly addressed is the names chosen for each community.  Perhaps what we need to do to begin is to eliminate all names, which indicate such divisions and create an ecumenical Buddhist community - world wide.  That would be a good start, and then come together to address what we all hold in common from Buddha's teachings and drop what we do not hold in common.  The issue then becomes as with all world-wide issues:  cultural differences, language, and struggles for power.

Can you give us examples of scisms in Buddhism and how they arose, historically?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 06:11:22 pm by IdleChater »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 07:19:46 am »
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100   -444/-380
100 years after the Buddha's Parinibbana the Second Council convenes in Vesali to discuss controversial points of Vinaya. The first schism of the Sangha occurs, in which the Mahasanghika school parts ways with the traditionalist Sthaviravadins. At issue is the Mahasanghika's reluctance to accept the Suttas and the Vinaya as the final authority on the Buddha's teachings. This schism marks the first beginnings of what would later evolve into Mahayana Buddhism, which would come to dominate Buddhism in northern Asia (China, Tibet, Japan, Korea). {1}

294   -250
Third Council is convened by King Asoka at Pataliputra (India). Disputes on points of doctrine lead to further schisms, spawning the Sarvastivadin and Vibhajjavadin sects. The Abhidhamma Pitaka is recited at the Council, along with additional sections of the Khuddaka Nikaya. The modern Pali Tipitaka is now essentially complete, although some scholars have suggested that at least two parts of the extant Canon — the Parivara in the Vinaya, and the Apadana in the Sutta — may date from a later period.

444   -100
Famine and schisms in Sri Lanka point out the need for a written record of the Tipitaka to preserve the Buddhist religion. King Vattagamani convenes a Fourth Council, in which 500 reciters and scribes from the Mahavihara write down the Pali Tipitaka for the first time, on palm leaves. {4, 5, 6}


Source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/history.html

To show the emphasis placed upon creating a schism, Buddha put creating a schism right up there with murdering your parents all of which would result in a karmic cosequene of a stay in the hell realms:

As reported in "The 31 Planes of Existence":

Quote
Murdering your parents, murdering an arahant, injuring the Buddha, or creating a schism in the Sangha (AN 5.129). · Being quarrelsome and annoying to others ...
www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html


« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 07:35:52 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 08:47:13 am »
Cool, thanks and the link is helpful too.

But tell me, according to the stuff, this item (100) where there was a scism over the authority of sutra and vinaya a entury or more before cannonization.  Anyone would bristle at laying final authority on the vagueries of an oral tradition.

Are there any other sources?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 09:38:43 am »
This is from Sutta Central (search for "schism"):

https://suttacentral.net/search?query=schism
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 10:23:47 am »
This is from Sutta Central (search for "schism"):

https://suttacentral.net/search?query=schism

And?

Please explain?

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 10:39:48 am »
Perhaps what we need to do to begin is to eliminate all names, which indicate such divisions and create an ecumenical Buddhist community - world wide.  That would be a good start, and then come together to address what we all hold in common from Buddha's teachings and drop what we do not hold in common.  The issue then becomes as with all world-wide issues:  cultural differences, language, and struggles for power.

Which is precisely the reason there are so many different flavors of Buddhism out there.

I like the term flavor over scism, as it seems to me that there really aren't scisms like we see in Christian sects, for example.  Within the Mahayana, we see examples of teaching and practice lineage, more than scism due to doctrinal impasse.  In fact, there sems to be a lot of cross-over such as teachers holding 2 or more lineages while focusing on one.  My own teacher holds both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, be being sent to the Nyingma by the Karmapa.  This is not uncommon.  Trungpa Rinpoche held both Kagyu and Nyingma lineages as well as full transmission of Soto Zen.  I know a woman here who recieved full Vajyrayana empowerment and then became a full-time minister in Jodo Shinshu.  I've seen Zen monks attend Vajrayana teachings and Theravedins take Bodhisattva vows.

It's all the same, basic thing - lines of inheritance, interwoven.  They all point to the same moon, while preserving practices that lead to enlightenment, handed down teacher to student since the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma.

I say leave it alone.  It has worked to the benefit of beings for 2500 years.


Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 11:57:36 am »
This is from Sutta Central (search for "schism"):

https://suttacentral.net/search?query=schism

And?

Please explain?

You asked for other sources.  I gave one to you.  You may want to go to a Mahayana website and do the same.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2017, 12:20:39 pm »
I don't really have to Ron.  You are the one making assertions about scism.  It's up to you to offer explanation when queried.  That's high school debate and declamation rules as well as any form of logical discource.  The party making the assertion must provide proof.  If I have to go out and verify your assertion, then your assertion is without merit.

I wanted historical references not sutras.

I don't see sutra as adequate for historical discussion.  Something from learned discourse about the history of Buddhism was more along the line of what I was asking for.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 12:28:22 pm by IdleChater »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2017, 03:00:58 pm »
All I did was respond to your request.  I am not in high school.  Haven't been for 55 years.  And, I don't relish debates, no matter where they are held.  You live by the rules of debate.  I don't.

Also, you don't have any obligation to be sorry that you were not clear.  I am simply sorry that I tried to be of assistance to you (again), because there appears to be nothing that I or anyone else on this forum can ever do or say to be of acceptable service to you.  Honest service needs no appreciation, and often when service is offered it is rejected and resented.

I am reminded of the following story, entitled:

  "Putrid"

Quote
...the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. Then early in the morning the Blessed One, having put on his robes and carrying his bowl & outer robe, went into Varanasi for alms. As he was walking for alms near the fig-tree at the cattle yoke, he saw a certain monk whose delight was in what is empty, whose delight was in exterior things, his mindfulness muddled, his alertness lacking, his concentration lacking, his mind gone astray, his faculties uncontrolled. On seeing him, the Blessed One said to him: "Monk, monk, don't let yourself putrefy! On one who lets himself putrefy & stink with the stench of carrion, there's no way that flies won't swarm & attack!"

Then the monk — admonished with this, the Blessed One's admonishment — came to his senses.

So the Blessed One, having gone for alms in Varanasi, after the meal, returning from his alms round, addressed the monks [and told them what had happened].

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "What, lord, is putrefaction? What is the stench of carrion? What are flies?"

"Greed, monk, is putrefaction. Ill will is the stench of carrion. Evil, unskillful thoughts are flies. On one who lets himself putrefy & stink with the stench of carrion, there's no way that flies won't swarm & attack.


"On one whose eyes & ears
are unguarded,
whose senses
are unrestrained,
   flies    swarm:
   resolves    dependent on passion.

The monk who is putrid,
who stinks of the stench of carrion,
is far from Unbinding.
His share is    vexation.

Whether he stays
in village or wilderness,
having gained for himself no
tranquillity,
   he's surrounded by flies.

But those who are consummate
      in virtue,
who delight
      in discernment & calm,
pacified, they sleep in ease.
   No flies settle on them."


source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.126.than.html

« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 03:20:02 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 04:50:40 pm »
All I did was respond to your request.  I am not in high school.  Haven't been for 55 years.  And, I don't relish debates, no matter where they are held.  You live by the rules of debate.  I don't.

It's not so much debate, but a desire to see clarity and sound statement.

If you say "There are scisms in Buddhism", then it also up to you to provide examples of scisms, to clarify your statement and offer a demonstration that what you assert, is, in fact, an accurate statement of how things are.

We can look up things like the reasons for the scism created by Martin Luther or the divide brought out by John Wesley.  These are all established and explained by historians.

So, if you say there are scisms in Buddhism, it is not unreasonable to expect that you can provide examples of such things and how they came about.  It's not a matter of debate, it's a matter of having evidence to back your assertion.  If you have such info, there will be no debate, because there will be nother to debate.

It's like people saying that president Obama is a crypto-Muslim and not being able to offer a shred of evidence to back it up.  We see way to much of that these days, and what's truly alarming is that people will accept it.

But you seem yto be reluctant to provide that.  Either that or unable to.  It's okay.  All you have to say is "I don't have information to back up what I say on line.



Quote
Also, you don't have any obligation to be sorry that you were not clear.  I am simply sorry that I tried to be of assistance to you (again), because there appears to be nothing that I or anyone else on this forum can ever do or say to be of acceptable service to you.  Honest service needs no appreciation, and often when service is offered it is rejected and resented.

I appreciate that to tried, but sadly it is insufficient to the question at hand.  All you can provide is what is contained in the Pali regarding the concept of scism, and not concrete examples of scism, except for one.  You're obvisously referring to the multitude of schools extant in modern Buddhism, but you can't or won't demonstrate that they're actually the product of scism.

You're asking us to simply take your word for it, andf you're the guy who insists on verification and validation.  For you to same something like you did, presupposes that you, of all people, should have validated and verified before you made the statement.

Did you?

Offline francis

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2017, 02:06:47 am »
Hi Ron,

Thanks for the link to the Katuviya Sutta: Putrid (AN 3.126). I hadn’t read that one before, but it somehow seems appropriate in this context.

The bottom line “No flies settle on them” reminds me of an Australian idiom “There are no flies on him.” Meaning, wide awake or a quick thinker.  To which, “but you can see where they have been” is sometimes added. Meaning someone has been trying to pull the wool over your eyes but you weren’t  fooled, or in modern context don’t take the bait.

Cheers :)
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 05:41:21 am »
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Idle Chater:  "You're asking us to simply take your word for it, andf you're the guy who insists on verification and validation.  For you to same something like you did, presupposes that you, of all people, should have validated and verified before you made the statement.

Did you?"

I did.  re-Read the first response I provided to you from an historical listing of events in early Buddhism, before and after the documentation of The Suttas.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 06:33:55 am »
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Idle Chater:  "You're asking us to simply take your word for it, andf you're the guy who insists on verification and validation.  For you to same something like you did, presupposes that you, of all people, should have validated and verified before you made the statement.

Did you?"

I did.  re-Read the first response I provided to you from an historical listing of events in early Buddhism, before and after the documentation of The Suttas.

Ok, but how does that relate to Modern scism?  The events you describe occurred both prior to cononization and the historical rise of Mahayana. Was Mahayana actually a scism or the result of divergence of teaching without any real conflict.

Wait!  It just occured to me there is a scism in the Gelug lineage over Shugden practice.  So there's  another one and that makes 2, right?  Others?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 06:38:30 am by IdleChater »

 


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