Why Theravada...?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Why Theravada...?

Postby BobbyC » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:00 pm

Hi everyone :)

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?

Much metta,

Bobby

:yingyang:
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby bodom » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:36 pm

I have chosen the Buddhayana path. Whether some want to call it Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, the methods vipassana or zazen, is up to them. The important thing is the understanding and practice of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. If my inclinations are towards the "Theravadan" side of things so be it. I was never much for labels anyway.

:anjali:
Last edited by bodom on Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:47 pm

Greetings Bobby,

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?


For me it was because Theravada is the only extant tradition that seems to care about what the Buddha actually taught. Not coincidentally, it also makes a lot of sense.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:12 pm

BobbyC wrote:Hi everyone :)

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?


I liked the ideal of the medicant monk and started ot expecting to become one.

There was/is plenty of Theravada/Insight meditation activity in the city where I live, not so much of the other schools.

When I started travelling in my own country and around the world to do retreats I found generally the Theravadin/Insight meditation style retreats were intensive enough for me and readily available quite cheaply so I could do more of them.

I liked the fact that there were both monastic and secularised Insight meditation styles available.

Aside from the above I could have equally have ended up practicing Zen.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Kare » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:59 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Bobby,

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?


For me it was because Theravada is the only extant tradition that seems to care about what the Buddha actually taught. Not coincidentally, it also makes a lot of sense.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)


:goodpost: :clap:
Mettāya,
Kåre
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:54 am

As I answered on other threads:
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3188#p46492
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 064#p44116
Personal contact.
Wandered into my local Wat, met calm and happy monks and lay people so I stuck around. I didn't have any real understanding about the different types of Buddhism until much later, so there was absolutely no "intellectual decision" or comparing of options in my case.

This idea that some talk about of deciding that one needs a spiritual path, and then deciding between the alternatives never occurred to me. I just stumbled onto some sort of path...

Metta
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Stephen » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:37 am

For me, I started studying Buddhism from the Theravadin viewpoint because it seemed to me to be the least "modified" by cultural change/compromise. So, the Pali Canon (Tipitaka) and associated books by Theravadin bhikkhus and scholars were at the top of my to-do list.

I've grown to appreciate the totality of Buddhism as encompassed by all schools of thought and cultures within which Buddhism can be found. As such, if I were to become a monk in the future I have absolutely no idea which "school" it would be; likely it would just be whatever is convenient, since I'm already versed in the core concepts that are found in all Buddhist schools and have made some realization progress.

I still think the Pali Canon is the most authentic/reliable source of the Buddha's original teachings around, though that does not discount that Buddhism in other cultures does not also represent the path.
The "self", which is a construct of the mind, is non-self. It is not us, and we are not it. This self blinds us to reality; it is our Mara, our Satan, our Hades. Cast it out and behold the path to freedom.
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:46 am

Stephen wrote:I still think the Pali Canon is the most authentic/reliable source of the Buddha's original teachings around, though that does not discount that Buddhism in other cultures does not also represent the path.

I'll go along with that and with Retro's reply, but my experience is almost the opposite of Mike's in that there is no local Theravada meditation group so I sit with (shh! :tongue: ) a local Tibetan group. They are nice folk and give me encouragement and a sense of community that I wouldn't otherwise get.

:namaste:
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Brizzy » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:15 am

BobbyC wrote:Hi everyone :)

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?

Much metta,

Bobby

:yingyang:


Hi

I came to follow the "Theravada Path" by a very cicuitous route. My first attraction to it, was as a child I loved the pure simplicity & tranquility it appeared to represent. Then as I grew into my mid to late teens the MAGIC of Tibetan Buddhism was very alluring. I then drifted into the vipassana religion before I finally re-evaluated and I now follow the four Nikaya path(represented by certain groups/teachers within the Theravada tradition).
I seem to have come full circle(what a muddle we make if we always look for something that was obvious in the first place).

:smile:
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Kokoro » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:43 pm

I was very attracted to the analytical aspect of Theravada Dhamma. Theravada Buddhists I spoke with encouraged me to investigate things honestly and sincerely without shame or the stigma of being called faithless which is often associated with many religious teachings in the world today. I have studied many philosophies and religious doctrines, and I was often met with hostility or anger if I looked into something for a while and then decided to move on rather than embrace that teaching. This has never been the case with Theravada Buddhism. One Bhikkhu I had been in contact with, even when I began studying a teaching which was in stark contrast to Theravada, continued to offer me friendly advice when I asked, and encouraged me to continue my study of that teaching until my mind had been satisfied.
People often told me the greatest warrior never reveals his skill unless it is absolutely necessary. He listens to those who brag their way is the best way and observes them without judgement or jealousy. His skill is revealed when he finds himself in a situation that requires it, but he reveals only what is required and when it is done he moves on without becoming intoxicated by his victory and ignores the fame accumulated with it while avoiding snubbery. He teaches those who make an honest and sincere request to learn, and he does not fear the chance they may surpass him in skill. To me this is the "Thera Nature." Like the great warrior, Theravada Buddhism welcomes all who sincerely wish to learn, but those who are not ready need not feel threatened. Those who feel threatened often feel so because they're not used to "an opponent who remains unmoved by braggery and intimidation."
I can not think of a war or battle that had the support of the Theravada Sangha at any point in time, other than the battle against one's own untrained mind, which has always been supported.
There is much more I can say but it all boils down to the main point I've made above. As the Blessed Buddha said, and this holds so much meaning to me and is to me the epitomy of "why Theravada:"

"Ehipassiko" (Come and See)

:anjali:
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Jack » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:41 pm

>I liked the fact that there were both monastic and secularised Insight meditation styles available.<

What do you see as the difference?

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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Virgo » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:53 pm

I used to like Madhyamaka a lot and that is what lead me to believe in Mahayana and Vajrayana ideals; however, from a Theravada abhidhammic point of view, I see that while Madhyamaka might seem appealing it is still conceptual proliferation. It does not have to do with realities that arise here and now, and which are empty of a self. Their main problem, as I see it, is that they rejected the abhidhamma, began philosophising and writing their own abhidharmas to fit their thoughts. Had they accepted the Abhidhamma that the Buddha taught, they would know the distinction between realities and concepts and not get lost in that proliferating mire. The concepts they developed are simply concepts, just like concepts of god, or of nothing, or of a tree, a person, a house, rock, a being, etc. It is far from satipatthana, which arises based on conditions, and eradicates the view of self. The mind is like a great painter.

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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:14 pm

Jack wrote:>I liked the fact that there were both monastic and secularised Insight meditation styles available.<

What do you see as the difference?

jack


This would probably be clearer if I insert a couple of commas;
"I liked the fact that there were both monastic, and secularised Insight meditation, styles available."

So I meant both styles, not both insight meditation styles.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:17 pm

Virgo wrote:Abhidhamma that the Buddha taught


Well actually... Nah just kidding ;)

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Why Theravada...?

Postby Northernbuck » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:09 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Bobby,

I'm just curious as to why all of you have chosen Theravada as your chosen path in Buddhism? Or possibly why you did not choose another path...?


For me it was because Theravada is the only extant tradition that seems to care about what the Buddha actually taught. Not coincidentally, it also makes a lot of sense.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yup. That would be my answer as well.
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7
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