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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby Ervin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:39 pm

Can someone please tell me what are the main diferences between the theravada and let's say mahayana and other forms of Buddhism? Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?

Thanks
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:11 am

Try reading ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schools_of_Buddhism
[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Points_Unifying_the_Theravāda_and_the_Mahāyāna[/url]
http://www.freewebs.com/haastexts/Mahayana%20and%20Theravada.htm

:namaste:
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby Tex » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Ervin wrote:Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?


Well, communicating with other kalanya mitta (spiritual friends) is definitely helpful, but Theravada does not have as much of an emphasis on face-to-face teacher-student interaction as Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) or Zen. That's not to say that teachers are not important in Theravada, but if you're inclined to spend a lot of time alone (I am, too) you can certainly read essays by Theravada monks or listen to Dhamma talks online and get plenty of quality instruction.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:04 pm

Tex wrote:Well, communicating with other kalanya mitta (spiritual friends) is definitely helpful, but Theravada does not have as much of an emphasis on face-to-face teacher-student interaction as Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) or Zen. That's not to say that teachers are not important in Theravada, but if you're inclined to spend a lot of time alone (I am, too) you can certainly read essays by Theravada monks or listen to Dhamma talks online and get plenty of quality instruction.


I think that is a good point and also (imo) a very positive trait of Theravada. In Theravada, it is more 'teaching based' rather than 'teacher based' which I think is a good thing. Otherwise one could be following the idiosyncrasies of a specific teacher which may or may not deviate from the original teachings of Buddha.

To use a political analogy, good governments have a strong constitution so that the whims of individual leaders cannot drastically change the system and mess things up. If a charismatic person gets elected but who otherwise has some crazy ideas, he will be limited by the 'original' principles in the Constitution. In a similar way better to give precedence to the Tipitaka, rather than the idiosyncrasies of a teacher. But teachers are good of course and can guide one in practice, especially meditation, but otherwise when in doubt, let the Dhamma be your guide.
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:35 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:To use a political analogy, good governments have a strong constitution so that the whims of individual leaders cannot drastically change the system and mess things up
(See the current situation in the UK for an example of a bad government with a weak constitution)
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Postby Skeptic » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:01 am

Ervin wrote:Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?


Renouncing violence for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone like a rhinoceros.

For a sociable person there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement's drawback,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

One whose mind is
enmeshed in sympathy for
friends & companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Like spreading bamboo,
entwined,
is concern for offspring & spouses.
Like a bamboo sprout,
unentangling,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

As a deer in the wilds,
unfettered,
goes for forage wherever it wants:
the wise person, valuing freedom,
wanders alone like a rhinoceros.

In the midst of companions
— when staying at home,
when going out wandering
— you are prey to requests.
Valuing the freedom
wander alone like a rhinoceros.
...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other

Postby mal4mac » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:35 am

The Sutta continues:

If you gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
overcoming all dangers
go with him, gratified,
mindful.

...

We praise companionship
— yes!
Those on a par, or better,
should be chosen as friends.

---

Metta
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Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other

Postby Kingdubrock » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:38 pm

There are differences. Having practiced in all three (Vajrayana, Mahayana - zen, Thich Nhat Nah... and Theravada) the experiences were sometimes vastly different. But this was not really for the reasons that used to cause a lot of chaos and debate on places like E-sangha where triumphalist assertions based on really old formulations of superiority were rife.
The extent to which the outward cultural expressions and use of traditional terminology were present in the teaching and general atmosphere of the respective groups seemed to me to have the most effect on differentiating.
There are age-old doctrinal disputes which show up in the language too, like the notorious word "hinayana", which sometimes got projected onto Theravada. Even if they tried to be politically correct by using the term Theravada it was often clearly in place of "hinayana" with the connotations left in tact. However, in large part, I didnt run into circumstances, except online where anyone truly exhibited very problematic triumphalism. Sectarianism, sure, but that was just as often towards other groups within ones own larger tradition as it was towards other so-called yanas.

More often I found something of the opposite. Theravada teachers comfortably using terms normally used with connotations associated with Mahayana like 'emptiness' and 'compassion', quoting Suzuki Roshi or the Dalai Lama or Thich Naht Hanh. Indeed if I recall, Bikkhu Bodhi lives or lived in a Chinese Mahayana center. My first Tibetan teacher was sent by the Dalai Lama to go to Thailand to study and practice Vipassana. I remember once for his dharma talk he read from Kornfield's A Path with Heart and gave commentary. In my Zen community, I was often asked by other students who had only tried zen how Tibetan or Theravadin Buddhism would view thisor that. In fact for a fundraiser for a prison program I was asked to find a qualified Tonglen teacher to give a workshop.

Lastly, there is Thich Nhat Hanh. I have never met anyone, anywhere, from any tradition, teacher or student, who didnt just adore him, let alone fundamentally disagreed with him.

Hope this helps.
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