Schools

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.

Schools

Postby Josi P. B. » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:12 am

Well guys, I finally have choosen the theravada tradition as my path, but I have a lot of questions about it; meanly about the schools. While in Mahayana tradition we face a lot of resources to make our researches and easily find information, thats totally different with the Theravada. And my difficult is about the schools that exist within it. I only know a little about the "Forest Tradition", but besides this one neither other... so I'd love to ask u all which Theravada schools exist today (at least the main ones). Thank you! :anjali:
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Re: Schools

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:36 am

Greetings Josiane,

Theravada (Way Of The Elders) is the formal school / tradition / lineage.

Within that though, you may hear of different informal delineations such as "Thai Forest tradition" for example which describe a certain approach, or recognise the legacy of influential teachers.

In relation to ordination lineages you may also hear about these, in the Thai context:

Maha Nikaya: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Nikaya
Dhammayuttika Nikaya : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhammayuttika_Nikaya

It's all much of a muchness though, except for the controversial Dhammakaya Sect: :alien: : viewtopic.php?f=14&t=339 - who personally I'd steer clear of. :spy:

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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: Schools

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:55 am

As I think retro is alluding to, there is not much of a difference between different variations of Theravada. They all see the Pali Canon as authoritative and the text to go to and then also the Commentaries for further elaboration.

The differences are primarily around ordination lineages. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theravada ... av.C4.81da

For lay people, it is all pretty much the same; 4 Noble Truths, 8-fold Path, Pali Canon, vipassana meditation with periods of sitting and walking meditation in group activities.

For many Theravadins today I imagine the differences are mostly around how much authority is given to the Commentaries. There are some who reject the Commentaries and prefer to focus on the 5 Nikayas. Others place the Commentaries on a level equal to the Canon and then others still take a more middle position of placing the Pali Canon in highest regard and the Commentaries for additional reference but where the 2 come in conflict, to take the position found in the Pali Canon.
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Re: Schools

Postby Samma » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:50 am

I might add that actually Theravada has the advantage of having much of its texts translated into English, while it seems many Mahayana texts have not been translated. Go to suttacentral.net and just start reading, or easier start with an anthology such as Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddhas Words. Also a good place to start is his free intro to buddhism and 8fold path book:
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma10/bbodhi10.html

There are several compilations of information and talks...so much you could not expect to read/listen to anywhere near all of it all:
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebidx.htm
http://dhammatalks.net/
http://birken.ca/audio_monastics

Also, I think forrest tradition is more of a general term to refer to monastics that reside in wilderness, take vinaya seriously, and so on. The thai forrest being the best known of course. The thai forrest tradition has gained popularity primarly due to ajahn chah's students spreading west and starting centers. Some history:
http://forestsangha.org/history/
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... stoms.html
Last edited by Samma on Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Schools

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:01 am

Good resources, Samma :smile:
There are lots more in the Introductory Resources thread - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

:coffee:
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Re: Schools

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:45 am

A school should be a place where you go to learn, but for many it is more like a school of fish which you join for protection from predators. Whichever way the school turns, you have to follow to avoid getting isolated. :redherring:
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Re: Schools

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:45 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:A school should be a place where you go to learn, but for many it is more like a school of fish which you join for protection from predators. Whichever way the school turns, you have to follow to avoid getting isolated. :redherring:

:goodpost:

Some people fret over schools which to me looks like someone dying of hunger worrying about which cuisine is the best. Yes, within each cuisine there are chefs of different abilities and some food agrees with one more than others, but as long as one is diligent, there is so much that is of value, so much lifesaving stuff. Of course no one can do the work for us, this is a deep and subtle practice not for blind followers.
_/|\_
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Re: Schools

Postby Josi P. B. » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:43 pm

Thank u everyone for the replies :anjali: , but now I'd like to know which lineage in Theravada defends that even lay practitioners can be arahants and doesnt focus so much in a "ordination way" as the only one to awakening and nirvana. I´m afraid that there is none :console:
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Re: Schools

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:57 pm

All of them accept that lay people can make it all the way to full-enlightenment, as far as I know. See this article I wrote:

Lay Arahant

It is one of the misconceptions of Buddhism especially a misconception of Theravada; that only ordained can become arahants.
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Re: Schools

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:24 pm

Josi P. B. wrote: Thank u everyone for the replies :anjali: , but now I'd like to know which lineage in Theravada defends that even lay practitioners can be arahants and doesnt focus so much in a "ordination way" as the only one to awakening and nirvana. I´m afraid that there is none


Since the Satipatthana Sutta is widely studied and practiced across schools, I'd suppose most would support the idea of lay arahantship:
"Let alone seven years. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for six years... five... four... three... two years... one year... seven months... six months... five... four... three... two months... one month... half a month, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return.

"Let alone half a month. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven days, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return. ~~ http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ~~
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Re: Schools

Postby Josi P. B. » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:58 pm

Thank u all! _/\_
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Re: Schools

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:49 am

Josi P. B. wrote:Thank u everyone for the replies :anjali: , but now I'd like to know which lineage in Theravada defends that even lay practitioners can be arahants and doesnt focus so much in a "ordination way" as the only one to awakening and nirvana. I´m afraid that there is none :console:

If you do come across a tradition claiming that lay people in the present day and age can and do attain Arahantship, they are probably screwballs. In theory, it's possible, as in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta quoted, but in practice it's unlikely in the extreme. If someone claims to be an Arahant, but is still living at home with the wife, then he's almost certainly a screwball. We come across a few of these from time to time — there was even one calling himself the Tathāgata.

If you sincerely wish to realise nibbāna in this very life and became a Stream-winner, that is a realistic aim for anyone who is perfectly honest, courageous, and intelligent. After that, one might be in a position to consider whether Arahantship was attainable as a lay person, or whether it would be better to ordain.
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Re: Schools

Postby SarathW » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:58 am

Well said Bhante!
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Re: Schools

Postby Josi P. B. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:42 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Josi P. B. wrote:Thank u everyone for the replies :anjali: , but now I'd like to know which lineage in Theravada defends that even lay practitioners can be arahants and doesnt focus so much in a "ordination way" as the only one to awakening and nirvana. I´m afraid that there is none :console:

If you do come across a tradition claiming that lay people in the present day and age can and do attain Arahantship, they are probably screwballs. In theory, it's possible, as in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta quoted, but in practice it's unlikely in the extreme. If someone claims to be an Arahant, but is still living at home with the wife, then he's almost certainly a screwball. We come across a few of these from time to time — there was even one calling himself the Tathāgata.

If you sincerely wish to realise nibbāna in this very life and became a Stream-winner, that is a realistic aim for anyone who is perfectly honest, courageous, and intelligent. After that, one might be in a position to consider whether Arahantship was attainable as a lay person, or whether it would be better to ordain.

:anjali:
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