Buddhism V Western Philosophy

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Postby Bondolon » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:57 pm UTC

zenten wrote:So are you saying that any Buddhist that is like you, in that they practice a secular form of Buddhism, must be a Zen Buddhist? Or are you saying they are just creating their own unique form of Buddhism?

I'm saying that they are of no formal school of Buddhism. Theravada and Mahayana simply can't handle purely secular philosophical sets, and Zen can only do so if heavily modified. One could still call it Zen after said modification, and that person would be right, as of the fundamental aspects of what makes Zen, Zen. However, it's more likely that such an individual is now just a non-religious Buddhist, holding only to the non-mystical aspects of the religion. I'm not saying they are joining a new school of Buddhism, I'm just saying that they are no longer a part of those traditional schools. In any case, I maintain my status as an independent Zen Buddhist because my focus is on meditation as a means to enlightenment. I realize I've gone a bit far in to my personal beliefs, but my only point was that the traditional schools of Buddhism are necessarily religious, though it's possible to be a Philosophical Buddhist.

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Re: Buddhism V Western Philosophy

Postby Lazar » Tue May 05, 2015 7:13 pm UTC

Oh hey, necro. Anyway. This may seem arcane, but I have some interest in Buddhism as an outsider, and recently I was thinking about the use of the term Hīnayāna to refer to Theravāda and other pre-Mahāyāna schools. It seems like it can be a somewhat useful term – in a Tibetan Buddhist context, Hīnayana, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna are seen, neatly, as the three turnings of the dharma wheel – but the problem is that it's pretty insulting. Tibetan Buddhists say that hīna simply has the meaning of "small" (and that is, indeed, how it's been translated into Tibetan and other Asian languages), but if you check out a Sanskrit dictionary, you'll see that it not only means "small" but also "debased", "wretched", "low", "vile", "bereft", "lacking", and so forth. It has an inescapably bad meaning, even if it's no longer used with bad intent. So I was wondering what to do with this term, and I saw that a few people have suggested a replacement: Mūlayāna, meaning "root vehicle" or "foundational vehicle". This term still allows Mahāyānists and Vajrayānists to conceive of the pre-Mahāyāna schools as a starting point from which later forms of Buddhism progressed, but it defines them in a positive and non-insulting way. So basically, if you're thinking of referring to Hīnayāna, maybe use Mūlayāna instead.
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