tiltbillings wrote:Can't say Mahayana without implying hinayana.
Yes, that's true. Great (no pun intended) point!
And yes, Mahayana and Theravada have conflicting premises -- e.g, Mahayana's claim to represent "later, superior teachings of the Buddha" versus Theravada's rejection/non-acknowledgment of same. But perhaps if we remove some of the loaded adjectival stuff the distinction can be made in a way that is less adversarial. That is, we can define Mahayana teachings as extrapolations, and the Mahayana conception of Buddha as a general principle derived from an historical instantiation.
Given that scholarship stands in the way of taking the Mahayana foundational myth literally, I wonder if this is the only viable choice anyway, for the Mahayana side at least.
(Warning: yet another Zen/Theravada sob story to follow...) My encounter with Mahayana has been through teachers who place strong emphasis on the Pali suttas, and my encounter with Theravada has been, in some cases, through teachers who accept/incorporate aspects of Mahayana! All of which makes me think there is some room for accord.
Maybe, but that does not negate the vast divide between such doctrines as a docetic buddha and a abiding vs non-abiding nirvana which renders the arhat as a deluded being.
But nibbana can be a contentious topic within Theravada too, no? I'll have to dig it up, but I remember Joseph Goldstein saying in a talk that he went through a profound crisis occasioned by the disparity between Burmese and Thai Forest traditions on this question.