Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

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Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:20 pm

I'm not posting this to cause a stir, but really, I just want to know what everyone thinks.

Lately I've been trying to decide which buddhist path is right for me. I started to get lured into Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but then decided it may not be for me. So what I wanted to ask is, Why does it feel, at least to me (again, not trying to start a flame war here), that Vajrayana Buddhism appears to boast that they're the only real way to achieving nirvana?

Okay, I've just re-read what I wrote, and I really don't mean it to come off sounding like that, but I don't know what other way to phrase what I'm trying to convey here. I feel like Vajrayana Buddhism comes off as, perhaps, like Catholicism comes off in Christianity. Does that make sense? Like, they have the Pope, and everything is very old school and ritualized. Only difference is, in Christianity it's thought everyone will get to heaven as long as they are good and accept Christ. But with these different sects of Buddhism, I feel as if it's presented as if there's some sort of... snobbery? Is that a good word? Like, if you don't have a Vajrayana Guru to follow, you just won't become enlightened. Sure, in this life you may subscribe to a Theravadan way, but that's just temporary and maybe your next life you'll be "lucky enough" to have a Vajrayana Guru.

Does this make sense? Again, I'm not trying to put Theravada Buddhism down, I'm merely relaying what I'm perceiving to be going on within the communities (very subtly, at least). That's the impression I get as a new-comer to Buddhism.

Also, I just want to close with that I love Thervada tradition and am asking all of this because I was thinking that this path may be the path I do want to pursue. I have a lot of fascination with the Thai Forest Tradition, and I soon want to take refuge in the 3 jewels. But then the whole Vajrayana tradition throws me off, because I keep thinking that I need to have a guru or it's not "real" and I am not really learning anything. You know? Basically, I'm very confused and almost consumed by guilt that I am straying from the Vajrayana path.

Any insights/help would be much appreciated.

:namaste:
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:30 pm

When you start practicing meditation, you can begin with any method at all, because they all lead to the same results. The reason there are so many methods is because people have different tendencies. This is why there have to be different images to focus on or words to repeat — such as "buddho" or "arahang" — as means of giving the mind a point around which to gather and settle down as the first step. When the mind has gathered and is still, the meditation word will fall away on its own, and that's where every method falls into the same track, with the same flavor. In other words, it has discernment as its surpassing state, and release as its essence.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

Good luck :bow:
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:39 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
When you start practicing meditation, you can begin with any method at all, because they all lead to the same results. The reason there are so many methods is because people have different tendencies. This is why there have to be different images to focus on or words to repeat — such as "buddho" or "arahang" — as means of giving the mind a point around which to gather and settle down as the first step. When the mind has gathered and is still, the meditation word will fall away on its own, and that's where every method falls into the same track, with the same flavor. In other words, it has discernment as its surpassing state, and release as its essence.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

Good luck :bow:


Thank you, m0rl0ck.
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:47 pm

I suppose you could always ask yourself, did the Buddha actually teach Vajrayana? I think doing some research on what is actually likely to be the teaching of the historical samana Gotama, whom we call the Buddha, is the ideal starting point of any serious investigation into buddhism. But anyway, that's just my take on it.

Here's a good starting source:

http://santifm.org/santipada/2010/what- ... ly-taught/

You may also want to check out the early buddhism resources thread here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3167


:anjali:
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:49 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:I suppose you could always ask yourself, did the Buddha actually teach Vajrayana? I think doing some research on what is actually likely to be the teaching of the historical samana Gotama, whom we call the Buddha, is the ideal starting point of any serious investigation into buddhism. But anyway, that's just my take on it.


:anjali:


I think that is a good place to start, actually. I am quite new and ignorant to the history of the religion, really. I just assume that since HHDL is Gelug school, that Vajrayana is the proper vehicle to choose. I don't why I can't dismiss that concept from my mind.

Do you know of a good thread here or an external link that speaks about the history of how the sects of buddhism started?
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:50 pm

Oh I see you've included a link after an edit. Thank you. I will look into it.
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Aloka » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:58 pm

MoDi wrote:I'm not posting this to cause a stir, but really, I just want to know what everyone thinks.

Lately I've been trying to decide which buddhist path is right for me. I started to get lured into Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but then decided it may not be for me. So what I wanted to ask is, Why does it feel, at least to me (again, not trying to start a flame war here), that Vajrayana Buddhism appears to boast that they're the only real way to achieving nirvana?



Hello MoDi,

Have you never heard of "sales talk" ? lol! Dont get caught up in the fastest path persuasion.

I was involved with Vajrayana for many years and then gradually started having grave doubts about a few things and a strong feeling that I needed to move on. I came across Ajahn Chah's teachings on the internet and didn't look back after that. I now read the suttas and go to a western Theravada Thai Forest Tradition monastery when I can - and its all been like a much needed breath of fresh air.

I just assume that since HHDL is Gelug school, that Vajrayana is the proper vehicle to choose. I don't why I can't dismiss that concept from my mind.


HHDL isn't the head of all Buddhism, by the way, or even the head of Tibetan Buddhism.

with kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:09 pm

As long as you don't buy the story that the vajrayana is the fastest vehicle, I think that after an investigation into the history of buddhism you'll make a good choice. Even if you don't chose theravada, you'll have the information that the suttas (Nikaya or Agama) and the vinaya are the most reliable scriptures in the various canons _ from the historical point of view. And that's a really big treasure to have.
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 Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:32 pm

Aloka wrote:
MoDi wrote:I'm not posting this to cause a stir, but really, I just want to know what everyone thinks.

Lately I've been trying to decide which buddhist path is right for me. I started to get lured into Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but then decided it may not be for me. So what I wanted to ask is, Why does it feel, at least to me (again, not trying to start a flame war here), that Vajrayana Buddhism appears to boast that they're the only real way to achieving nirvana?



Hello MoDi,

Have you never heard of "sales talk" ? lol! Dont get caught up in the fastest path persuasion.

I was involved with Vajrayana for many years and then gradually started having grave doubts about a few things and a strong feeling that I needed to move on. I came across Ajahn Chah's teachings on the internet and didn't look back after that. I now read the suttas and go to a western Theravada Thai Forest Tradition monastery when I can - and its all been like a much needed breath of fresh air.

I just assume that since HHDL is Gelug school, that Vajrayana is the proper vehicle to choose. I don't why I can't dismiss that concept from my mind.


HHDL isn't the head of all Buddhism, by the way, or even the head of Tibetan Buddhism.

with kind wishes,

Aloka


I guess I just have a problem with guilt and remaining loyal to a certain teacher and path. Thank you for clearing things up for me a bit.
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby MoDi » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:34 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:As long as you don't buy the story that the vajrayana is the fastest vehicle, I think that after an investigation into the history of buddhism you'll make a good choice. Even if you don't chose theravada, you'll have the information that the suttas (Nikaya or Agama) and the vinaya are the most reliable scriptures in the various canons _ from the historical point of view. And that's a really big treasure to have.


Yes I think that is my problem: I believe the hype around vajrayana because many of the gurus are just so persuasive in their teachings.

So basically I can just study the suttas and the vinaya and apply them to daily life and be okay? No need to actually take refuge to make it legitimate or subscribe to a certain teacher or sect?
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:07 pm

MoDi wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:As long as you don't buy the story that the vajrayana is the fastest vehicle, I think that after an investigation into the history of buddhism you'll make a good choice. Even if you don't chose theravada, you'll have the information that the suttas (Nikaya or Agama) and the vinaya are the most reliable scriptures in the various canons _ from the historical point of view. And that's a really big treasure to have.


Yes I think that is my problem: I believe the hype around vajrayana because many of the gurus are just so persuasive in their teachings.

So basically I can just study the suttas and the vinaya and apply them to daily life and be okay? No need to actually take refuge to make it legitimate or subscribe to a certain teacher or sect?


The taking refuge is symbolic of your entrance in buddhism. No one is obligated to do that! You can practice the path without taking refuge. If you want to, take refuge only when you feel so grateful for the teachings you've received that you cannot stop your self from bowing to the Buddha, dhamma and sangha. That would be beautiful, I think. :)

No, no need to call yourself anything. Only if you want to. But reading the suttas alone is hard work and may not contain detailed explanations of meditation techniques and shortcuts/tips, so it would be wise to read, side by side, some teachers who have put into practice what the suttas say. The vinaya is mainly directed to monks, but there can only be benefit from reading it.

Don't feel guilty. You can aim at being an arahat for the sake of yourself and other beings as well. The ideal of the person who works for his benefit and the benefit of others is the one most praised by the Buddha.
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 Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Myotai » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:38 pm

Hope this guy is doing ok...

:anjali:
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Kusala » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:34 am

MoDi wrote:I'm not posting this to cause a stir, but really, I just want to know what everyone thinks.

Lately I've been trying to decide which buddhist path is right for me. I started to get lured into Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but then decided it may not be for me. So what I wanted to ask is, Why does it feel, at least to me (again, not trying to start a flame war here), that Vajrayana Buddhism appears to boast that they're the only real way to achieving nirvana?

Okay, I've just re-read what I wrote, and I really don't mean it to come off sounding like that, but I don't know what other way to phrase what I'm trying to convey here. I feel like Vajrayana Buddhism comes off as, perhaps, like Catholicism comes off in Christianity. Does that make sense? Like, they have the Pope, and everything is very old school and ritualized. Only difference is, in Christianity it's thought everyone will get to heaven as long as they are good and accept Christ. But with these different sects of Buddhism, I feel as if it's presented as if there's some sort of... snobbery? Is that a good word? Like, if you don't have a Vajrayana Guru to follow, you just won't become enlightened. Sure, in this life you may subscribe to a Theravadan way, but that's just temporary and maybe your next life you'll be "lucky enough" to have a Vajrayana Guru.

Does this make sense? Again, I'm not trying to put Theravada Buddhism down, I'm merely relaying what I'm perceiving to be going on within the communities (very subtly, at least). That's the impression I get as a new-comer to Buddhism.

Also, I just want to close with that I love Thervada tradition and am asking all of this because I was thinking that this path may be the path I do want to pursue. I have a lot of fascination with the Thai Forest Tradition, and I soon want to take refuge in the 3 jewels. But then the whole Vajrayana tradition throws me off, because I keep thinking that I need to have a guru or it's not "real" and I am not really learning anything. You know? Basically, I'm very confused and almost consumed by guilt that I am straying from the Vajrayana path.

Any insights/help would be much appreciated.

:namaste:


The Dhamma is our guru. The Buddha made it perfectly clear in the Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Thus spoke the Venerable Ananda, but the Blessed One answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. Whosoever may think that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him, it is such a one that would have to give last instructions respecting them. But, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him. So what instructions should he have to give respecting the community of bhikkhus? http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Wri » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 pm

I don't think you need to follow any one tradition unless you are planning on ordaining ;)

I consider myself mainly Theravada, since that was where I first started learning Buddhism and the concepts were delivered in ways that I immediately understood. I think having a main path helps keep you focused and grounded. However, it wouldn't be fair to yourself to completely lock yourself away, would it? I like to take dhamma influence from wherever provides a good practice based on reasoning and experience. It's okay to consider yourself mainly Theravada and take influence from Vajrayana, Zen, or other traditions. There are some conflicting elements, sure, but you are free to have your own practice. In lay life, it helps you to be very adaptable in this chaotic society. If and when you ordain, you will want to have one path to focus on. Although it doesn't hurt to listen to other traditions and support them as well. The only downside to opening yourself up to all traditions, is that it can become very confusing. What training do I need and at what time? It's difficult to answer this yourself. You have to think deeply and trust your instincts.

Hope this helps :anjali: and this is only my experience, so please use your own reason to find what's best for you.
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Mkoll » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:29 pm

Wri wrote:I don't think you need to follow any one tradition unless you are planning on ordaining ;)

I consider myself mainly Theravada, since that was where I first started learning Buddhism and the concepts were delivered in ways that I immediately understood. I think having a main path helps keep you focused and grounded. However, it wouldn't be fair to yourself to completely lock yourself away, would it? I like to take dhamma influence from wherever provides a good practice based on reasoning and experience. It's okay to consider yourself mainly Theravada and take influence from Vajrayana, Zen, or other traditions. There are some conflicting elements, sure, but you are free to have your own practice. In lay life, it helps you to be very adaptable in this chaotic society. If and when you ordain, you will want to have one path to focus on. Although it doesn't hurt to listen to other traditions and support them as well. The only downside to opening yourself up to all traditions, is that it can become very confusing. What training do I need and at what time? It's difficult to answer this yourself. You have to think deeply and trust your instincts.

Hope this helps :anjali: and this is only my experience, so please use your own reason to find what's best for you.

:goodpost:
Peace,
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Re: Theravada Buddhism vs The Rest!

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:08 pm

MoDi wrote:I'm not posting this to cause a stir, but really, I just want to know what everyone thinks.

Lately I've been trying to decide which buddhist path is right for me. I started to get lured into Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but then decided it may not be for me. So what I wanted to ask is, Why does it feel, at least to me (again, not trying to start a flame war here), that Vajrayana Buddhism appears to boast that they're the only real way to achieving nirvana?

Okay, I've just re-read what I wrote, and I really don't mean it to come off sounding like that, but I don't know what other way to phrase what I'm trying to convey here. I feel like Vajrayana Buddhism comes off as, perhaps, like Catholicism comes off in Christianity. Does that make sense? Like, they have the Pope, and everything is very old school and ritualized. Only difference is, in Christianity it's thought everyone will get to heaven as long as they are good and accept Christ. But with these different sects of Buddhism, I feel as if it's presented as if there's some sort of... snobbery? Is that a good word? Like, if you don't have a Vajrayana Guru to follow, you just won't become enlightened. Sure, in this life you may subscribe to a Theravadan way, but that's just temporary and maybe your next life you'll be "lucky enough" to have a Vajrayana Guru.

Does this make sense? Again, I'm not trying to put Theravada Buddhism down, I'm merely relaying what I'm perceiving to be going on within the communities (very subtly, at least). That's the impression I get as a new-comer to Buddhism.

Also, I just want to close with that I love Thervada tradition and am asking all of this because I was thinking that this path may be the path I do want to pursue. I have a lot of fascination with the Thai Forest Tradition, and I soon want to take refuge in the 3 jewels. But then the whole Vajrayana tradition throws me off, because I keep thinking that I need to have a guru or it's not "real" and I am not really learning anything. You know? Basically, I'm very confused and almost consumed by guilt that I am straying from the Vajrayana path.

Any insights/help would be much appreciated.

:namaste:


In Tibetan Buddhism you only need a Guru for tantric stuff. For following just general teachings and practices that aren't tantric (such as Lam Rim, Lojong mind training, etc...) you don't have to make some big sort of commitment.

In Theravada Buddhism you don't have any particular Guru like figure to go to at all, and you can take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha all by yourself if you like. If you want to start practicing the Thai forest tradition for example, I would recommend just learning about the 5 precepts and moral living, read about meditation from a teacher whose method you feel drawn to, and just start meditating. If you don't have a teacher near by, you always have us at Dhammawheel to talk with to grow in understanding and practice.

Also I'd like to say that you don't have to throw out everything related to Tibetan Buddhism to call yourself a Theravadin. I've looked into Tibetan Buddhism and (not counting Tantra) although there are differences, not everything is incompatible. If you do decide to become a Theravadin and there are practices of Tibetan Buddhism that you still feel drawn to you can investigate and see if there are any contradictions between it and Theravada, and if there aren't, then I wouldn't worry about it.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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