Dan74 wrote:The statement about Vajrayana being unnecessary and potentially dangerous comes across as simply a sectarian slur showing disrespect and a lack of understanding.
I agree it can come across that way. Frankly I think some of the fault lies with the question, though, rather than the answer. If one asks a person to comment on another tradition, one should be prepared to receive some negative opinions. Likewise, one should know that any negative opinion offered will inevitably cause offense.
Peter, I think I've made it clear that I have no problem with criticism. I welcome criticism. It can be very valuable.
What is not valuable but is in fact harmful is an unsubstantiated dismissal of an entire tradition.
Are there too many shades of grey here, or am I just not putting this across clearly?
Dan wrote:Of course I did not mean "that picking any tradition other than Vajrayana hurts oneself." I am not a Vajrayana practitioner myself. It is the dismissive attitude that is harmful.
You are not a Vajrayana practitioner... yet you are aware there is such a thing as Vajrayana teachings. Doesn't that mean you have dismissed those teachings as unnecessary? You hear a teaching... and you either accept it or dismiss it, yes?
No of course not. Is there no room in your world between accepting and dismissing?
We have to choose. To practice vajrayana, you have to find a teacher etc. I practice Zen (Seon) and I have a Seon teacher. But I do that without confidently asserting that practicing vajrayana would just be a waste of time. Instead I have deep respect for all sincere practitioners and appreciation for the clever skillful means vajrayana has developed for overcoming delusion. But my knowledge of it is very very limited.
When you criticize someone for dismissing Vajrayana, it certainly sounds like you are saying everyone must accept Vajrayana, that anyone who does not accept Vajrayana hurts themselves. That's what it sounds like to me.
Again, only if you have "either with us or against us", "either must accept or dismiss" kind of thinking.
I would do the same if people were dismissing Theravada. In fact I would do the same if people were dismissing Christianity, since many people have developed further in their compassion and wisdom than most (if not all) of us here through following that tradition . Even though I do not believe that it can lead to Buddhahood in this lifetime.
We must be careful if we want to offer a critical opinion.
We also must be careful if we want to offer a critical opinion of someone who gives a critical opinion.
My approach is to try to be thoughtful and respectful and tone the language down for the purpose of having a productive discussion. Which seems to translate to silliness, phoney compassion, sanctimoniousness and being passive-agressive with some people. You do not know me, and making these hasty personal judgments only reflects on you. To use the Buddha's words: these presents were unasked for, so I am afraid you will have to keep them.
In any case, the original question has been answered, although as Christopher had noted, it could've been asked more skillfully.