Before having a conversation with Mahayanists, I think one should establish whether they
1) believe that Arahats also have to become Sammasambuddha's in the end?
2) believe that the Mahayana path to Buddhahood is 'faster' than the Theravada path to Buddhahood
3) believe that Theravada is for people with 'lesser capacity'
Most Mahayanists would answer 'yes' for the above. One might say 'oh but you're focusing on the differences' - true, but the goal of pointing these out is to show that when most Mahayanists claim they want to have a conversation with Theravada, they want to do it all the while maintaining their disparaging opinion towards Theravada - which does not seem very honest. Can we have proper discussions with those who do not have proper respect for the Dhamma and the Ariyas? Proper conversation cannot occur if one party believes themselves to be superior to the other.
I'm with Dan. I've never heard a Zen Buddhist talk this way. Sadly, I have heard some
Mahayana Buddhists speak this way, over at a certain forum we all know and love. For me, the very tone of such speech, with its assumptions of superiority and inferiority, is a sign to ignore the topic. I ignore a lot of things I hear, if they sound like they are setting things up in an exclusive us/them superior/inferior way.
I think Dan mentioned over at ZFI that he teaches with the Dhammapada. That's a favorite book for many Zen Buddhists, and a lot of us are drawn to Ajahn Chah and the Thai Forest tradition. There are also a lot of Tibetan Buddhist teachers and teachings
that are popular with Zen Buddhists. They are mostly teachings that have to do with dhamma practice and how the mind works. Same with the Theravadin teachings we are drawn to...
The Dhamma, how the mind works, how to practice, how to meditate, how to transform your suffering, how to become a happier and more compassionate person. These are spoken of by Buddhist teachers in all traditions, and the core wisdom is pretty much the same, what they share
I mean, for me that's how I identify something as "core wisdom." If its taught by the great teachers of many different traditions, its "core wisdom"... core dhamma.... the heart of Buddhism...