tiltbillings wrote:That is now how I would read it.
I'm guessing that you meant to say "not" instead of "now"?
Anyway, I should have read the entire passage in context. Je Tsongkhapa is referring to aspiration, hence although a hīnayāna aspiration will benefit oneself and leads to happiness, it is still an obstacle for a boddhisattva. The larger context is that he is trying to correlate the three vehicle notion with the one vehicle notion (ekayāna) where all paths eventually lead to buddhahood.
When the method of mindfulness incorporates a mind endowed with the four immeasurables, you have the same attitude that Mahayana prioritizes. In Gongchig, Jigten Sumgon says that the four immeasurables are the essence of a Buddha (although in the Pali texts the Buddha equates the four immeasurables with the four formless perceptions). So again, Mahayana fails to offer something over and above what is already there, besides disparaging remarks. In the Drikung Kagyu dedication prayer, Jigten Sumgon writes, "I pray that I will not become a sravaka or a prateykabuddha, due to the four causes of samsara or the eight worldly dharmas." The idea is that someone would only revert to the lower vehicle due to ignorance and greed, etc.
I would further argue that the methods in Vajrayana which are claimed to be very fast are actually slower than the four mindfulness methods, due to the way Mahayana has misinterpreted the dynamic between samatha and vipassana as temporally staggered, and also misinterpreting samatha to mean focused concentration and vipassana to mean an insight akin to an intellectual understanding. The misunderstanding also turns on a misinterpretation of avidya to be ignorance of knowledge, rather than unconsciousness of a running process. Whereas, what makes the Pali method faster is that samatha and vipassana are seen to be simultaneous, where samatha is an effortless relaxation and vipassana is directly perceiving the process of perception. There is a super-efficiency with the original thrust of the Buddha's method.
When viewed in this light, Buddha really was telling the truth in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta when he said he wasn't holding anything back, and wasn't making any distinction between esoteric and exoteric (wasn't using skillful means for the sravakas who can only understand dharma up to their level, but simultaneously giving hidden Mahayana teachings to other higher level students).