For those who may have forgotten:
False Teachings in Buddhism (defined)
In Buddhism, teaching practices which were not taught by Buddha are considered by definition as "false teachings". To take a custom from an existing society and to represent it as something that Buddha taught is False Speech. Unfortunately, as Buddhism spread around the world and as the memorized dhamma was passed from one community to another distortions arose, and representations were made, particularly in ritual, which had nothing to do with Buddhism.
For support as to the many false teachings and distortions of The Mahayana (only for those who have an interest) I suggest the following links, which specifically address false teachings in Buddhism. As taught by Buddha himself, don't take my word or anyone else's word as authoritative, especially not so-called masters, because they are only regurgitating what they have been taught through indoctrination. Validate and verify all teachings for yourself. Don't allow anyone to persuade you not to do so with everything that you are taught. Ignore their ridicule and objections, because they are only squirming in the light of reality and personal discovery, which will reveal them to be perpetrators of distortions.
The truth, the dhamma, is there for everyone to discover on their own.
This is what Buddha himself advised!http://thebigview.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6834viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10575
Notable, in that language and time can make a difference with regard to accuracy. One can predict distortions of process both due to language translation errors and the passage of time without studying even one word of The Tripitaka originally written in Sanskrit, the Mahayana version of The Tipitaka originally written in Pali:
Thanks to David N. Snyder: "From around 350 BCE to 200 BCE there were many early schools of Buddhism rivaling / competing with Theravada but they no longer exist.
What Buddhism was called at the time of the Buddhist Councils:
* The time of the Buddha: "Buddhism" is called Dhamma-Vinaya
* First Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (483 BCE)
* Second Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (350 BCE)
* Third Council: Vibhajjavada ("doctrine of analysis") and shortly thereafter: Theravada (250 BCE)
* Fourth Council: Theravada (100 BCE)
Mahayana probably developed around 100 BCE to 100 CE."
It has been proposed by some Mahayanists that The Mahayana developed from some singular great revelation, which presented "hidden teachings" from his earliest followers. Odd if this slur against The Elders were true that many of Buddha's followers became unbound and released themselves. The fact is that the Mahayana did not arise from but one source, but from self-serving splinter groups.
Most sources place the origin of the Mahāsāṃghikas to the Second Buddhist council. Traditions regarding the Second Council are confusing and ambiguous, but it is agreed that the overall result was the first schism in the Saṃgha, between the Sthaviras and the Mahāsāṃghikas, although it is not agreed upon by all what the cause of this split was. Andrew Skilton has suggested that the problems of contradictory accounts are solved by the Mahāsāṃghika Śariputraparipṛcchā, which is the earliest surviving account of the schism. In this account, the council was convened at Pāṭaliputra over matters of vinaya, and it is explained that the schism resulted from the majority (Mahāsaṃgha) refusing to accept the addition of rules to the Vinaya by the minority (Sthaviras). The Mahāsāṃghikas therefore saw the Sthaviras as being a breakaway group which was attempting to modify the original Vinaya.
Scholars have generally agreed that the matter of dispute was indeed a matter of vinaya, and have noted that the account of the Mahāsāṃghikas is bolstered by the vinaya texts themselves, as vinayas associated with the Sthaviras do contain more rules than those of the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya. Modern scholarship therefore generally agrees that the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya is the oldest. According to Skilton, future scholars may determine that a study of the Mahāsāṃghika school will contribute to a better understanding of the early Dharma-Vinaya than the Theravāda school.
As taught by Buddha himself, don't take my word, or anyone else's word as authoritative, especially not so-called masters, because they are only regurgitating what they have been taught through indoctrination. Validate and verify all teachings for yourself. Don't allow anyone to persuade you not to do so with everything that you are taught. Ignore ridicule and objections for daring to verify and validate on your own, because those who ridicule you are but squirming in the light of reality and personal discovery, which will reveal them to be perpetrators of distortions of The Buddha-dhamma.
The truth, the dhamma, Buddha's teachings is there for everyone to discover on their own. We, as individual practitioners have an obligation to test what we glean from what has been presented as Buddha's teachings. "Nothing Buddha taught is mysterious or hidden." Buddha taught the truth of suffering, the mechanisms of suffering, that suffering can be ended, and that singular means to ending suffering is The Nobel Eight Fold Path.