In order to give the un-bias, un-misleading answers to the questioners in this forum, I advocate the captioned.

For example, this questioner asked "nirvana", but the 1st answerer gives his version of Theravadin/Pali opinion which is completely contradictory to the Mahayana view, he either should state it's Theravadin view, or, at least use the Pali terminologies.

3 Answers 3



It seems this issue you raise has been discussed in How should we handle the different traditions of Buddhism in our answers?.

I believe the current way of dealing with answers with unclear "affiliation" is that stating them is not required. But they can be encouraged, just asking the author of the answer about it in a comment as in "Hi, could you please tell me from what tradition this answer is given? Thank you!".

We can discuss this further, if we find the current way of dealing with this is unsatisfactory.

Now, here's why I think distinguishing between dialect as a way to distinguish views is not good.

I think it's unfair to expect people answering questions that they should know not only that there are variations on vocabulary, but to find out what the associations with the sect are. Another problem is these associations don't exist: one could infer from a pali canon quote that the answer is given from the theravada perspective. But, say, a quote from a sanskrit sutra says absolutely nothing about the sect: as it's well known, there are sutras in sanskrit with parallels in pali. Something similar can be said about quotes from, say, the chinese canon.

The matter is even worse for personal views, which seems to be the actual point of this issue: pick 3 people here quoting the pali canon, and they will likely disagree in how they understand some doctrines.

Finally, here's a pali sutta (MN 139) about this that I personally think it's helpful to reflect on:

“How, bhikkhus, does there come to be insistence on local language and overriding of normal usage? Here, bhikkhus, in different localities they call the same thing a ‘dish’ [pāti], 235 a ‘bowl’ [patta], a ‘vessel’ [vittha], a ‘saucer’ [sarāva], a ‘pan’ [dhāropa], a ‘pot’ [poṇa], a ‘mug’ [hana] or a ‘basin’ [pisīla]. So whatever they call it in such and such a locality, one speaks accordingly, firmly adhering [to that expression] and insisting: ‘Only this is correct; anything else is wrong.’ This is how there comes to be insistence on local language and overriding normal usage.

  • Thank you for this answer.
    – user2424
    Jun 17, 2017 at 15:33

Thank you. This question I do not intend seeking an answer. From your answer (@Thiago Silva) and the response of this forum I just confirmed that "This is a Conventional Theravada site camouflaged under the Buddhism banner". So is the Wikipedia Buddhist entries now are overtaken by the conventional Theravada to insert them majestically to represent the whole of Buddhism. It is sad. The Buddha has already foretold the destruction of his Dharma, rottening from inside, by the so-called followers. Anyone practicipate in this scheme, consciously or unconsciously, is forever bearing this gravel grim fruit in his making. All the best.

  • 1
    You suggested that people stick to certain conventions regarding vocabulary to make things clearer. I suggested how this might not work for the intention you seek. We both want questions and answers to be well understood by readers, which is a challenging problem. I'm sorry you understood all those things from this simple exchange of ideas to solve a problem.
    – user382
    Jun 18, 2017 at 8:43

If you're interested in this topic please review the comments underneath this answer -- excluding the comments about jhana, but including comments at the start and the end about "it is incredibly important that these questions be answered with an explicit mention of the tradition on which the answer is based."

I think the summary on that topic is:

  • It's been discussed
  • Some people agree it's a good idea
  • Not enough users on Meta have voted in favour of a specific suggestion, to make it official policy
  • There's push-back (i.e. counter-arguments) from some users (e.g. Suminda)
  • As moderator I'm not sure that any such policy would be practically enforceable: e.g. if someone does or doesn't want to state that they and/or their answer is Theravada, I'd be "on thin ice" if I tried to contradict them

Furthermore I don't think that Pali versus Sanskrit is the best way to signal the difference between schools.

In the question you referenced there's no evidence that the OP (laser2302) knows any difference between Theravada or Mahayana, or any difference between Pali or Sanskrit.

If the OP wanted the be specific they should have used a tag for that purpose e.g. or or or similar.

In the absence of such a tag the question is open to answers from any school or any person.

I recommend that one thing you can do, in this situation, is to post another answer: which could start by mentioning that you think the other answer is Theravada (without disparaging that), and then adding what you think is a (contrasting) Mahayana answer on that subject.

I'd like to see that answer.

See also What language should our tags be in? ... I think it was decided that tags be in Sanskrit (because the Sankrit may be better-known) ... the (less-well-known) Pali terms may be used, but might also be considered as a synonym of the Sanskrit.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .