Why did you choose Theravada?

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alan
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Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:28 pm

What I'd really like to know is, are there specific Mahayana concepts that anyone here rejected? If so, why?
Web searches have resulted in "there isn't really a big difference" articles, but surely there must be.
Thanks!

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:51 pm

alan wrote:What I'd really like to know is, are there specific Mahayana concepts that anyone here rejected? If so, why?
Web searches have resulted in "there isn't really a big difference" articles, but surely there must be.
Thanks!


because I prefer Theravada! the mahayana texts didn't ring true for me, simple.
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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:59 pm

Yes Manapa I feel the same way. But I'm trying to clarify my thoughts on this .
I could put out specific things that don't ring true to me but thought I'd solicit views of the wise elders of Dhammawheel.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:06 pm

Well I'm certainly no wise elder... but I'll answer anyway.

I didn't specifically look for a tradition based on things I rejected, rather when I read about Theravada Buddhism it all seemed to sit very well with me.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:10 pm

alan wrote:Yes Manapa I feel the same way. But I'm trying to clarify my thoughts on this .
I could put out specific things that don't ring true to me but thought I'd solicit views of the wise elders of Dhammawheel.


:popcorn:
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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby seanpdx » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:15 pm

There's a huge difference. I think most people, in all likelihood, choose theravada because it speaks to them, they can identify with it, which is something that doesn't happen with the mahayana or vajrayana schools. I've slowly been moving backwards through time. My first exposure to buddhism was of a very generic sort, and being in the west, that was mostly infused with zen and tibetan. Then when I started studying and practicing, I aligned with theravada. These days I'm not even that comfortable describing myself as theravadin.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Tex » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:15 pm

The suttas in the Pali Canon are as close as we currently have to what the historical Buddha actually spoke, so I chose to pursue the tradition that practices in accordance with those suttas and not the much later sutras. I don't know if the sutras are apocryphal or not and I don't care to get into that debate -- I have confidence that the suttas are as authentic as possible 2500 years later.
"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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Laurens » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:16 pm

I chose Thervada because its less religious than Mahayana, thats not a cricism - just that for me personally I can do without that stuff.

There is alot less cringe worthy stuff for me in Theravada (I'm speaking for myself here). To me Theravada is Buddhism without too much baggage, it seems to make sense and agree with my reasoning so thats why I chose it.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:25 pm

Are there any specific Mahayana concepts you all have rejected? If so, why?

I'm just going to assume everyone goes through the process of distilling the different versions and has a valid reason for making the choice.
(Note: Reason. Not emotional response or feeling).
Thanks for helping!

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:06 pm

Personal contact.

Wandered into my local Wat, met calm and happy monks and lay people so I stuck around. I didn't have any real understanding about the different types of Buddhism until much later, so there was absolutely no "intellectual decision" or comparing of options in my case.

Metta
Mike

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Laurens » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:14 pm

alan wrote:Are there any specific Mahayana concepts you all have rejected? If so, why?


Well for me it was the whole Bodhisattva thing, don't get me wrong it is a humble and compassionate vow to make, but personally I couldn't but my faith into this, I don't even know for sure whether or not there is such a thing as rebirth, so I couldn't really put much faith into this concept.

Also I am slightly put off by all the invocation of deities and Bodhisattvas etc, that just seemed too much like religious hocus pocus and it doesn't sit easily with me.

I have a great respect for the Mahayana tradition, its just not for me. Horses for courses and all that.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:24 pm

Thanks Mike. I wish it could be that easy for me.
I don't have a local Wat, and even if I did the rational part of my brain would still ask:

Why choose this instead of that?

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Tex » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:26 pm

alan wrote:Are there any specific Mahayana concepts you all have rejected? If so, why?


I'm not crazy about the idea of empowerments and some of the other esoteric practices of Vajrayana, Shingon, etc. The Buddha in the Pali Canon seems pretty intent on making the whole of the Dhamma available to all who seek it. I probably don't understand these esoteric practices, but they seem inconsistent with what the Buddha taught, so I have no real desire to pursue them.
"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: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:30 pm

Tex wrote:
alan wrote:Are there any specific Mahayana concepts you all have rejected? If so, why?


I'm not crazy about the idea of empowerments and some of the other esoteric practices of Vajrayana, Shingon, etc.

They are effective skillful means.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Reductor » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:30 pm

I am far from any Buddhist center, so the large number of Suttas, article, and books on Theravada found online
swayed me toward Theravada. In addition to that was the emphasis Tibetan Buddhism placed on the
teacher-student relationship. Basically it seemed that I could not expect any benefits from Buddhism unless
I moved and took up with a teacher; to do less would be a waste of time (so I understood at the time).

Theravada hasn't got a bunch of visualization tech, or rituals, nor does it have demigods or deity worship(?) so
it appealed to my rebellious nature (having grown up in a pseudo-chrisitian family).

Those are the main reasons.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72


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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:50 pm

I've studied with teachers/ sanghas who followed the Elders, and I've studied with some different Zen and Tibetan groups. I agree with a lot of what is said above. The Tibetan and Zen conceptualization of compassion was hard for me to swallow. And the sectarian thing. Although I know historically the Theravadans were not blameless angels in that dispute, most modern practitioners tend to shrug and say "To each their own" (as has already modeled in this thread). From the other side of things, I encounter a lot of strange claims about the Theravada teachings.
"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

alan
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:01 pm

Surely you have all gone through a process of looking at the various interpretations available.
And then after much thought have decided on Therevada....right?
Or maybe I'm living in an intellectual fantasy land.

I'm asking in a spirit of openness. Not trying to upset anyone.
Was there an idea or concept in Mahayana you (all) did not agree with?
If so, which? why?

Thanks so much for putting up with my questions.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Laurens » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:11 pm

thereductor wrote: In addition to that was the emphasis Tibetan Buddhism placed on the
teacher-student relationship. Basically it seemed that I could not expect any benefits from Buddhism unless
I moved and took up with a teacher; to do less would be a waste of time (so I understood at the time).


Yes this was an aspect that put me off Mahayana too, I didn't have a teacher nearby and I was told that practice without was a pointless affair.

Certain practices in Thervada are advised to be taken under instruction of a teacher, but basic practice is open to everyone, I like that.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby seanpdx » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:25 pm

alan wrote:Surely you have all gone through a process of looking at the various interpretations available.
And then after much thought have decided on Therevada....right?
Or maybe I'm living in an intellectual fantasy land.


I would find it surprising if many people (converts) put much intellectual thought into the decision. Such a thing just isn't necessary, nor a priority, for most people.

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:36 pm

Oh, I'm a having such a hard time trying to understand this. Will you please explain?
What is a convert, how does it apply to this discussion, and why would most people not put much thought into such an important decision?
Thanks!


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