Yes, it is interesting how different your perception is from mine.
Your reply to my comment that I take faith from Buddha, Dhamma and
Sangha, and hence historicity is not so important to me as to you is interesting. I think that this is relevant to the topic, in that, as I understand it, the various Mahayana schools put a lot of emphasis on awakened disciples from hundreds or thousands of years after the Buddha's time. Whereas it seems to me that some "Theravadins" here (presumably including you) have doubts that the Theravadin commentators (and therefore many modern-day teachers) understood what they were talking about, let alone that some of them were awakened (a strange conundrum).
You seem to be comparing, therefore, a "modernist historic" (as in zavk's post: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p239573
)form of Buddhism to Mahayana, not Theravada itself.
BlackBird wrote:I have at times thought the same way Mike.
But applying a skeptical rigour, it became more important to cut right to the heart of the matter. That is, if I were existing during the Buddha's time, and I came across a teacher who claimed that enlightenment was possible but was not themselves enlightened, my fundamental question would be: Well where's your proof? Wheres your proof that your path leads where it says it does?
The Buddha claimed to be the enlightened one, many of his followers claimed to have attained arahantship, and the Dhamma encourages one to come and see for oneself. But if there was no Buddha, no arahants, no ariyans. The skeptic in me would ultimately come to think: "Well, where's the proof that this path leads where it says it does?"
That is why I ended up following Nanavira Thera's teachings. Because fundamentally here was a guy whom made the claim (to his preceptor and was later published following his suicide) that he had attained sotapatti. He said ya know, this is what's wrong with the traditional method, I've got a good reason to think so (sotapatti) they're quite mistaken, follow my method and you'll get there yourself, proof is in the pudding.
So, as you say, you've rejected the general Theravada, so your question is not about Theravada vs Mahayana at all.
For me Ven. Nanavira is just another monk with some interesting ideas. I don't see any reason to take him (or various other modern interpreters) more
seriously than some of the teachers I have read, know, or have known, most of whom have been/were monks considerably longer than Ven Nanavira. I simply don't buy into the "one or two people have it right, the rest don't" idea.
Sorry to be blunt. I have found it interesting to read, and/or meet, a variety of iconoclastic monks, so it's not that I think that such views are not worth considering. At the very least as a means of sharpening up one's analysis.
But if your faith is based on one very specific interpretation, then it seems to me that it may be somewhat fragile:
So I'm willing to try it out. Maybe if it doesn't work I'll return to a traditional interpretation at some point and I don't discount other people's methods or teachings like I once did, I say this to show you there are correlations between my faith in the Buddha and my faith in Nanavira Thera. Hopefully it clarifies my method of thinking on this subject: That my faith is predicated on truth and factuality (not to suppose yours or others are otherwise