Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

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Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Disciple » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:16 am

I've been following Mahayana teachings for some time now but would like to know amongst strictly Theravada practitioners why you have have chosen Theravada over Mahayana. Surely many of you have done your research and know specifically why you have chosen the path you are on.

Thanks.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Kamran » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:39 am

Mainly because Theravada resources are free and high quality. Thanissaro Bikhu's dhamma talks and resources at http://www.dhammatalks.org, for example, really motivate me to meditate.

First became interested in Zen, but I would have had to spend a lot of money on books. Zen was also difficult to understand. It seemed like they purposely used unclear language in order give it an aura of mystique, rather than the straight forward approach with helpful similes that is found in the Pali Canon.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:44 am

I don't think we need to bash the Mahayana here. This thread will have a very short life if that what starts to happen.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Dan74 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:57 am

Hi!

There have been many related threads on the Forum and Ive collected most of them here http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18976
_/|\_
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby manas » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:38 am

Another problem I feel, is that Dhamma Wheel also has a sister site, Dharma Wheel, linked from this site. I don't think we here, would appreciate a similar topic phrased in the reverse, over there.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Digity » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:40 am

I went to various Mahayana temples before eventually settling on going to a Theravada meditation center. My experience with the Mahayana centers wasn't that positive to be honest. For instance, the last place I went to I didn't feel the teacher knew that much. A lot of times I was giving more details about the suttas, etc than she was. Also, they focused on discussions like "There is no God" or "These are all the realms of existence." I just felt like there wasn't enough focus on the important stuff. In the Theravada center I go to they focus on stuff like the Satipathanna Sutta, which is far more valuable to your practice and development than having discussions about there being no God or what realm you might end up in. The Theravada center placed a great amount of emphasis on daily practice and working with the here and now. Once I saw that I knew it was right for me. I just wasn't getting that at the Mahayana centers I went to.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:03 am

manas wrote:Another problem I feel, is that Dhamma Wheel also has a sister site, Dharma Wheel, linked from this site. I don't think we here, would appreciate a similar topic phrased in the reverse, over there.
:anjali:


We are keeping a close eye on this thread and any sectarianism will be dealt with as per our TOS.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Digity » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:11 am

Actually, I remember the last Mahayana teacher say something to the effect that there wasn't any more enlightened people because they weren't praying to someone (forget which deity)...or something to that effect...about praying and getting enlightened. Once I heard that, which made no sense to me, I completely stopped going and focused on Theravada instead.

In my mind, everything you need to know is in the Pali Canon. Just put it into practice and see where it takes you.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Reductor » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:31 am

Why? The Theravada chicks are way hotter! :tongue:

But seriously, the phrasing of this question is loaded with dubious meaning. Why not ask "Good reasons to choose Theravada over Mahayana?"

Now to answer the OP: I was young and had read a number of Mahayana books. But since I wasn't made of money, I needed some inexpensive material on the internet. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how all the Mahayana stuff out there was supposed to fit together into a cohesive piece, as there were so many kinds and so many teachers and the whole scene seemed fractured (1998-99). Then I found AccessToInsight, which had so, so many suttas for free, along with study guides and the teachings of new and old teachers.

So there I was, a neophyte who just found a huge collection of organized material, which was reputed to be closer to the original teachings, all for free. And so I started to read and learn that instead of spending a lot of time and money trying to figure out Mahayana. And it hadn't helped that many Mahayana pages spoke of the need for face to face teachings, empowerments and root teachers, none of which was practicable for a 16 year old in the Canadian wastelands.

Since then I have had read a lot of the suttapitaka and mediated. I have reflected on what I've learned. I've concluded that the Pali canon is the best source for me, and that the teachers who taught or teach from it are the most sensible for me. I've concluded that the Dhamma put forward here is just what I need for ease of mind.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby reflection » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:50 am

This won't answer your question, but you can also choose both. Or - and this is what I prefer to identify with - neither. I want to follow the Buddha's original teachings as close as possible, not later additions, commentaries and traditions that have gotten in. And this happened to both groups you mention. Also I see the division is mainly a geographical one and doesn't really have to do much with what is actually taught and practiced, which differs from group to group, person to person.

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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby cooran » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:19 am

Many of us take Teachings from Theravada plus some from other Traditions. I myself have learned much from various Mahayana and Vajrayana teachers.

With metta,
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Disciple » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:I don't think we need to bash the Mahayana here. This thread will have a very short life if that what starts to happen.


I hope that doesn't happen either as I am a Mahayanist myself. I'm just looking to read well written intelligent responses.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Disciple » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:40 am

Reductor wrote:
But seriously, the phrasing of this question is loaded with dubious meaning. Why not ask "Good reasons to choose Theravada over Mahayana?"



That works for me.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:40 am

Disciple wrote:I've been following Mahayana teachings for some time now but would like to know amongst strictly Theravada practitioners why you have have chosen Theravada over Mahayana. Surely many of you have done your research and know specifically why you have chosen the path you are on.

Thanks.


Hi

My first contact with buddhism was through accesstoinsight.org . It probably made an impression. But I didn't reexplore buddhism until 3 years later. Then I started reading Dalai Lama books and I realy liked it. And I bought into the absurd marketing that the "hinayana" was the slow vehicle, the mahayana was the fast vehicle and the vajrayana was a super fast vehicle. So I went to teachings and even one retreat.

But I took a break from buddhism for about a year. The next contact I had was with Goenka's vipassana courses. It was so pure and direct, when compared to mahayana _ let alone vajrayana _ that I slowly started to change my mind. Then, through forums, I learned what constituted the original teachings of the Buddha and what were later additions. Theravada was, without any doubt, the closest school to the original teachings of the Buddha. And the original teachings were much more coherent, rational, down to earth, direct and not secretive. That's basicaly it.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:31 am

I don't think many actively choose one tradition over another. It's more a matter of where their kamma leads them.

I was first introduced to Buddhism by meditators who practised with Goenka in India, following the U Ba Khin tradition. Through retreats in that tradition I met Sayādaw U Rewata Dhamma, who was a friend of Goenkaji. When Bhante was studying in India at the Benares Hindu University, he knew the Karmapa Lama.

Disciples of the Karmapa Lama in Birmingham asked him to send them a Lama, so he sent Sayādaw U Rewata Dhamma. Thus, when I moved to Birmingham in 1976 to stay with the Sayādaw, he was supported by a mixture of English Tibetan Buddhists (John Maxwell QC), Indian Buddhists who were followers of Dr Ambedkar, and some Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan, and other Theravāda Buddhists.

While staying at that centre, I met several Lamas, attended a Black hat ceremony, helped an English Tibetan nun type her Abhidhamma Thesis, attended Vipassanā retreats in Samye Ling with the Sayādaw, and met Ajahn Khemadhammo who stayed at the centre for some time. All sorts of Buddhists passed through the centre, but I had no interest in the ritualism of Tibetan Buddhism. I read one or two books that I found helpful, like the Bodhisattvācariyavatara, but seeing monks blowing trumpets was just weird. I can see why some people like ritualism, but it's not for me.
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:33 am

Disciple wrote:I've been following Mahayana teachings for some time now but would like to know amongst strictly Theravada practitioners why you have have chosen Theravada over Mahayana.


I've never been strictly Theravada, so I can't really help. I'm not even sure what Theravada is. ;)
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:35 am

cooran wrote:Many of us take Teachings from Theravada plus some from other Traditions. I myself have learned much from various Mahayana and Vajrayana teachers.


Same here. If anything I'd describe myself as pan-Buddhist. At times I even wonder if I'm a closet universalist... ;)
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:28 am

Greetings,

I just happen to prefer the teachings of the Buddha, as best recorded in Sutta Pitaka.

It also just happens to be the case that Theravada is the only tradition that particularly seems to care what's actually contained in the Sutta Pitaka so that would make me Theravadin by default, though I don't necessarily go in for Theravada's "post-sutta creations" any more than I do the Mahayana's.

Therefore, in my case, it's a preference for a particular teacher (i.e. The Buddha) rather than a preference for a particular Buddhist school.

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: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby daverupa » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:02 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Therefore, in my case, it's a preference for a particular teacher (i.e. The Buddha) rather than a preference for a particular Buddhist school.


+1
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Good reasons to reject Mahayana and follow Theravada

Postby Anders » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:39 pm

As a Mahayanika with a lot of love for Theravada, maybe I can offer some reasons on why I have always felt very attracted and connected to Theravada:

Coherent presentation - The Pali Canon is just a beautiful presentation of teachings with an internal consistency and coherency that is to me unparalleled. Coming from Zen to the Pali suttas was a revelation in terms of how pedagogical the historical Buddha can be.

Clearer - Mahayana is a kitchen sink religion, with a dozen exceptions to every rule and at least one good contradiction of same. In Theravada, you have a simpler set of practices and views to pick up before digging in.

A beautiful society - I am full of awe and admiration for Kammatthana monks and those of similar habits who follow the vinaya to a tee and show that it is in fact both feasible and worthwhile to do so in modern society - the standard of dana-conomics is to me far too quickly disregarded in modern society. These exist in Mahayana too, but I personally find them harder to come by (a product no doubt of my own karma).

Good western teachers - Theravada has been fortunate to have a solid transition to the west with a good selection of outstanding western teachers with profound cultivation and standards.

I personally feel my own cultivation would be lacking without my exposure to these jewels of the Theravada tradition. :namaste:
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