Theravada or Mahyanaa

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby paulbear » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:06 am

I've recently started my research and desire to practice Buddhism but I came across a dilemma and I'm not sure the significance or the importance of choosing one. I've come across different opinions via internet but I would like to ask here Are these 2 branches similar and what is the differences. I was thinking I should research both and see what resonates more is this wise? Blessings and peace Paul
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:45 am

Hi Paubear,
Welcome aboard!
paulbear wrote:I've recently started my research and desire to practice Buddhism but I came across a dilemma and I'm not sure the significance or the importance of choosing one. I've come across different opinions via internet but I would like to ask here Are these 2 branches similar and what is the differences. I was thinking I should research both and see what resonates more is this wise? Blessings and peace Paul

starting with what resonates more with you to start is (in my opinion) better than going with the flow of everyone else. it could be the more popular opinion with those you ask, yet not really suitable. Although after saying that, that does not mean both are equal or one is better than the other, only that with either you choose you should be circumspect about where it is leading you as either can be held wrongly.

The practice of the Dhamma should lead to peace, calm, and fewer entaglements (although this doesn't mean fewer participations with things).

Good luck in your search and whatever side you opt to start with don't ignore others advise.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:10 pm

I practice in the Theravada tradition, but from time to time I visit Zen or Shambala etc. centers for some excellent discussions and teachings. No one has ever "carded" me, demanded that I pledge loyalty or asked me to leave. I guess my point is, try a variety of centers and see which is the best fit for you. If you like the teachings provided and the community that gathers, then you found a good place.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:48 pm

Before being a theravada buddhist, I was a tibetan buddhist.

The advice I have is for you not to believe when someone says that this vehicle is faster than the other vehicle. That was the reason I prefered tibetan buddhism: because of its autoproclaimed superiority both in speed and in the sense that those who practice vajrayana are of superior capacities.

Once you take this nonsense out of the way, just choose the one that is more truthful in your opinion. Joining a religion is not just about choosing what one likes. It's also about choosing what is true, even if it is at times unpleasant. Of course it's important to feel confortable in your religion otherwise you'll probably leave it.
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: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby paulbear » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:20 pm

Thank you for the responses, I truly appreciate the feedback. Paul
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby whynotme » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:50 pm

You should ask yourself what is your goal? If you want to relax, whatever will be good.

If you want to find the truth, or if you already knew the goal of the Buddhism and want to achieve it. Start at wherever you want, Theravada or Mahayana is not important, it is yourself that matter. You should keep your mind opened, hear different people, traditions, carefully and wisely try to follow them, compare them and learn from it. If you keep the right direction, wherever you started, you still will go to the finish.

Let be the follower of the truth in whatever form it is, than a follower of a tradition. Be fair and calm and keep your mind open
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:16 pm

I think people have given very good replies and avoided generalising about either one of the schools.

While Theravada is certainly no monolith and teachers' styles in particular differ widely, Mahayana is even more of a motley crew not even being one school but an umbrella term for many schools. Plus these days there are also hybrids like Theravada/Zen (Subhana Barzaghi), Theravada/Dzogchen (Joseph Goldstein), Zen/Dzogchen (Denko Mortensen) to name just a few.

From my perspective it is important to find a reputable teacher, check him/her out personally and commit to the practice. You might find out that 20 years down the track you change, but it won't be time wasted, that's for sure.
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:45 am

Dan74 wrote:I think people have given very good replies and avoided generalising about either one of the schools.

While Theravada is certainly no monolith and teachers' styles in particular differ widely, Mahayana is even more of a motley crew not even being one school but an umbrella term for many schools. Plus these days there are also hybrids like Theravada/Zen (Subhana Barzaghi), Theravada/Dzogchen (Joseph Goldstein), Zen/Dzogchen (Denko Mortensen) to name just a few.

From my perspective it is important to find a reputable teacher, check him/her out personally and commit to the practice. You might find out that 20 years down the track you change, but it won't be time wasted, that's for sure.

I would agree with all that but my priorities have to be slightly different. I live in a smallish (by world standards) provincial city so there are not many groups within four hours' drive of me and I simply have to go with the best local group (nice people, meeting regularly) regardless of affiliation. That's one of the reasons I'm here, actually - to balance what they think is important with what I think is important.

:namaste:
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:58 am

Check out my article on the various types of vehicles (yāna) in vogue these days.

Nanayana - Many and Various Doctrines
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:46 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Check out my article on the various types of vehicles (yāna) in vogue these days.

Nanayana - Many and Various Doctrines


Since this is the Dhamma-ending age, there are a lot of false teachings about. Take care that what you study and practise is the genuine teaching of the Buddha.


The article seems to be roughly comprehensive; in terms of the OP, the underlined portion really does bar Mahayana from serious consideration, but I'm not one to think Buddhist ecumenism is helpful - much too much chaff gets into the grain.
    "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: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:13 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Check out my article on the various types of vehicles (yāna) in vogue these days.

Nanayana - Many and Various Doctrines


Hi Venerable,

I see nothing but dukkha in that article, which I think isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's what makes up the first noble truth, after all... it's one of the only two things which will lead to a noble path of practice, with the other being the cessation.

Hopefully the readers will make a good use of it in their practices.

:anjali:
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby mettafuture » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:34 pm

In my humble and frank opinion, Theravada and Zen Buddhism are the only Buddhisms worth researching.
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:52 am

From my shallow observation;
Theravada practitioners are mostly Buddhists who are yet to let go of their agnostic or atheistic view. While Mahayana guides Buddhists who still fancy faithful traditions and rituals.
It is more like Atheism vs Pagansim with the help of Buddha's footsteps.

As long as the 4noble truths and noble 8fold path are primary, different practitioners still end up achieving equal illumination.
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:57 am

barcsimalsi wrote:From my shallow observation;
Theravada practitioners are mostly Buddhists who are yet to let go of their agnostic or atheistic view. While Mahayana guides Buddhists who still fancy faithful traditions and rituals.
It is more like Atheism vs Pagansim with the help of Buddha's footsteps.


I never thought of it that way. My first impulse is to argue and disagree, but... Sometimes stereotypes are based on the science of repeated observation and confirmation, and this statement sums up my experiences. :stirthepot:
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Raitanator » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:21 pm

I would go with Theravada first in either cases. I believe Theravada-tradition has the best teachings about karma.
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby lojong1 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:50 pm

I consider Theravada to be Mahayana, which includes Hinayana.
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby daverupa » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:58 pm

lojong1 wrote:I consider Theravada to be Mahayana, which includes Hinayana.


:coffee:

:shrug:

What am I reading?
    "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: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:11 pm

lojong1 wrote:I consider Theravada to be Mahayana, which includes Hinayana.

Hi Lojong
You may actually want to read This.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby lojong1 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:25 pm

Thank you cittasanto,
So...I'm not 100% whackjob from every perspective, thanks for that :smile:
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Re: Theravada or Mahyanaa

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:33 pm

lojong1 wrote:Thank you cittasanto,
So...I'm not 100% whackjob from every perspective, thanks for that :smile:

I will consider you 100% human
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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