Memo 2.pdf - Parable of the Burning House The Mahayana a...

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Parable of the Burning House The Mahayana, a form of Buddhism that is dominate in China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Tibet, view themselves as the “Great Vehicle” to enlightenment, while labelling the Theravada (Hinayana) as the “Lesser Vehicle”. The Parable of the Burning House is an example of one of the Mahayana texts used to endorse the Mahayana while also critiquing the other schools of Buddhism. The story is narrated by Buddha to Sariputra, an enlightened arhat who is one of the Buddha’s chief male disciples, as an explanation of why upaya-kaushalya (skill in means) is necessary in spreading the Dharma. The main message of the story is also to show why the Gautama Buddha initially offered three vehicles to parinirvana, but only utilizes one single vehicle to get there. The other vehicles, which are not the best and true vehicle, were only presented as a communication tool to captivate his followers so that he can teach them the way.
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