I am wondering where the idea comes from that Theravada Buddhism is inherently selfish. This misconception seems to be outdated for the 21st century, in which there’s enough information out there to better understand Buddhist paths other than our own.
I also watch Ajahn Brahm’s videos pretty often, along with others at his temple, and they seem like very compassionate, unselfish people.
It’s sort of like the misconception about Mahayana Buddhism that we’re somehow required to postpone our enlightenment until all other beings are enlightened, which would be a logical impossibility if sentient beings are innumerable.
Another misconception we need to get rid of is the idea that Theravada Buddhists seek a selfish Nirvana as arahants, while Mahayana Buddhists seek full Buddhahood.
This term might be little used in the West, but deceased meditation masters in Theravada countries are often referred to as Savakabuddhas.
The Buddha himself is referred to as an Arahant, even in Mahayana sutras, so it seems to me that the main difference between the Buddha and his enlightened disciples in Theravada Buddhism is that he discovered the path first. This point is made by Bhikkhu Bodhi’s commentary in In the Buddha’s Words.
It seems to me that whether one is “Hinayana” or not depends on one’s motivation in seeking enlightenment, whether it’s for a selfish reason or an unselfish reason, regardless of one’s school or sect of Buddhism. This is similar to how the Buddha taught that one is a Brahmin based on one’s attitude and deeds, rather than one’s birth and social status.
There are also multiple views in Theravada for what happens after death for the enlightened being, not just the view that they are either annihilated or remain completely inactive from the world: https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Nibbana
Lastly, the Buddha promises in the Lotus Sutra that all his arahant disciples will ultimately attain full Buddhahood, whether they realize that yet or not. If the Buddha taught 84,000 paths to enlightenment, then I believe that includes Theravada.