Dan,Dan74 wrote:Tharpa, what you believe seems to go completely against the evidence. For instance Paul Williams, Emeritus Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy at the University of Bristol, in his Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, argues that it was the desire to be true to the Buddha's teachings and strive hard for enlightenment that aid the origins of what was to become Mahayana. In fact, there are many records of early Mahayana masters going into seclusion, practicing very hard, perhaps even going to extremes, rather than "seeking the goodies" or "being lax with Vinaya".tharpa wrote:Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu. It pleases me very much to see the original post stated so clearly. Usually Theravadins are so polite that they don't dare say something like this.
Then in the comments, we get back to the usual mish-mash that we know and tolerate so well.
I would go further and say that I believe that one of the primary motives for composition of the Mahayana Sutras was that the authors saw Old School monks getting all the goodies, (the requisities, good food, adulation, honor, etc), and that the authors wanted that but did not want to pay the price, i.e. following the Vinaya. The Heart Sutra, in particular, can be seen as a point-by-point refutation of the Buddha's primary teachings. Once there was a Sutra that contradicted the Buddha's teachings, the inconvenience of reason, common sense and logic in the student's minds had been eliminated, and the teachers could then teach anything they wanted and call it Buddhism, all with the ultimate goal of obtaining requisites without paying the price of sila.
You say that what I believe goes completely against the evidence. But I don't see how what you say illustrates that. Paul Williams gives his opinion, as I gave mine, but this is not evidence. There's two problems with your statement of early Mahayana masters going into seclusion. Firstly, were they the authors of any of the Mahayana Sutras? If so, how would you know, as orthodox Mahayana belief is that the Mahayana Sutras are authentic from the Buddha (which I no longer believe). Secondly, since Mahayanists believe that good intentions justify lying, why would one believe anybody's claim that early Mahayana masters went into seclusion, going to extremes? And how does going to extremes illustrate that a monk practices the Vinaya? Quite the opposite, a monk who goes to extremes probably knows very little about even the core of the Buddha's actual teachings (The Middle Way), and thus is unlikely to be practicing the Vinaya either, if he is even a monk at all. However, I do agree that a person who voluntarily goes to the extreme of self-mortification would be unlikely to be the same person who is seeking the "worldly goodies".
Also, a disclaimer. I am not specifically a Theravadin, but rather more of a Vijnaptivaadin. I respect a Mahayanist who at least has an honest practice of The Five Noble Precepts more than I do a Theravadin who does not. And the temple I go to the most often is a Vietnamese Pure Land convent. But I have come to the conclusion, after many years of carefully examining the evidence, that the Mahayana Sutras are an anthology of fan fiction, whereas the Pali Sutta Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka are historically-based.