This past Saturday at Hardcore Dharma we settled atop our cushions to discuss one lens through which to view the Buddhist path, the three yanas (vehicles). Descriptive of Tibetan Buddhism, the three yanas are the Hinayana (literally translated as the lesser vehicle, pertaining mainly to conduct), the Mahayana (the great vehicle) and the Vajrayana (the indesctructible/diamond vehicle).
The historical facts about these yanas are best discussed by the precise-minded and research oriented so I plan on staying far far away from those, thank you very much.
That said, the issue that comes up for me when thinking about the three yanas is that it seems contradictory and perhaps discouraging to create a hierarchy out of the experience of awakening and the path of Buddhism. I know that you’ll always keep the hina with the maha an the vajra, but it feels psychologically restrictive to have to (the way practicing Buddhism works right now) spend a ton of money at Buddhism centers across the world in order to access those diamond teachings (and, implicitly suggested, diamond mind). I’m not saying I’m going to get enlightened tomorrow, and I understand that basically all of these levels are indications of a growing commitment to the path, but I do want to feel as though awareness is available to me at any point and at any level. What do you all think about that? Is it an immature or incomplete view? What are the benefits of this three pronged system?
Honestly, I feel a trifle over my head and under the weather so I’m going to leave it at that today, wish you well and in exchange for an abbreviated post provide some links for some of my all-time favorite Buddhist podcasts:
and my main man, GIL
See you on the other side of Choose a President 2008.
*This joke belongs to Snow Lion Publications, brought to my attention by Eva. I can take no credit, only dweeby delight.