Why did you choose Theravada?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby alan » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:05 pm

Approaching my anniversary as a "convert", hope you'll indulge me...

For many years I had Buddhism as my Preferred Intellectual Framework; It made me feel slightly better about the world when that old feeling of "it's all pointless and meaningless" popped up. But I didn't live it. I used it to excoriate any Christian who had the misfortune of engaging me in a philosophical discussion, which made me feel smart but achieved nothing. I talked Buddhism but lived Hedonism.
Decided last year to re-investigate Buddhism and see if it was something I could really live rather than talk about. When I went through and analyzed all the cluttered concepts and opinions I'd formed over the years, I was embarrassed to note that I couldn't really defend a lot of them, at least not beyond a surface level. Emptiness is fascinating as an idea, but how does it apply to real life? I had to admit it was far too abstract to really influence my behavior. And what about Buddha Mind/Buddha Nature? I so loved that one. I was holding onto stuff I'd read in high school. But did it make sense? Why put out any effort if our true nature is already enlightened? My attempts to act "Spontaneously" from my "True Nature" usually resulted in dumb or silly behavior--so much in contrast to the rational approach I took to the rest of my life.
When the questions started they didn't stop. Why have I been accepting this Zen stuff, anyway? Jumping into Enlightenment by furiously engaging a nonsensical riddle? What about those arational aphorisms? Did they really teach me anything useful? None of it stood up to reason and the whole Mahayana edifice crumbled. I decided to throw it all away and go right to the source. Found accesstoinsight.com and was so impressed. Clear air! Decided to take a shot at the Pali Canon, read it straight through and see what happened.
It was truly an Auspicious Day when Handful of Leaves arrived at my door! I was immediately fascinated and transfixed. Here finally was something I could respect from a rational standpoint, that laid out a path that was understandable. Not easy to understand, of course, but consistent and believable. Since then I've been through the important stuff twice, and am more impressed than ever. Sutta reading has become a part of my day. I expect to be reading for the rest of my life. Feels great to be walking down the street and suddenly remember a teaching, and apply it directly. It's made me a happier, saner, more focused person. Obviously I have a long way to go, but at least I'm working on it, which is far better than the way I used to live.

And that, my friends, is why I choose Therevada.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:50 pm

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! May you meet with success! :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:28 am

Great post, Alan!
Congratulations on your progress so far and best wishes for the future.

:anjali:
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:15 am

Thank you Alan. :anjali:
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 Thaibebop » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:34 am

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!

There is alot of wonderful things in the Mahayana sects but I found that there was too much myth and stories as well as this aspect of some one else gaining enlightenment for you, if not the Buddha than another enlightened being. I really liked Theravada's (forgive this pharse please) do it yourself, because no one else is, view. I perferred the stronger sense of philosophical thinking I found in the Pali Canon instead of the more faith based Mahayana.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby withoutcolour » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:43 am

Thaibebop wrote:
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!

There is alot of wonderful things in the Mahayana sects but I found that there was too much myth and stories as well as this aspect of some one else gaining enlightenment for you, if not the Buddha than another enlightened being. I really liked Theravada's (forgive this pharse please) do it yourself, because no one else is, view. I perferred the stronger sense of philosophical thinking I found in the Pali Canon instead of the more faith based Mahayana.

:anjali:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:52 pm

Honestly, the way I came to find Theravada was by first taking an online "what religion am I?" quiz. It sounds funny, I know--but I just needed to see if continuing to "claim" to believe in Christianity really was what I believed. I was looking for those questions to be asked, however had someone asked me in person (from the church) I would have not felt comfortable enough to be totally honest with myself in my answers. While Mahayana Buddhism was the "100%" match, Theravada was a "96%" match. I researched them both and after some truly honest soul searching, Theravada was the one that was a complete fit for me. While I'm still researching the difference between "Theravada Buddhism" and "Modern Theravada Buddhism", I am completely at ease and in agreement with Theravada. I'm still learning and studying--barely scratching the surface I know--but I feel at peace. I feel like I "fit in" spiritually. Every time I had gone to church and did all the things they say to be a better Christian, I was still left feeling doubtful, confused, awkward, and just overall like the black sheep! I truly gave it my all to study and learn and follow...I'm 27 years old now with 3 (soon to be 4) small children, and I've just finally allowed myself to be who I really am--Theravada Buddhist. I don't feel ashamed, I don't feel scared or guilty. I feel free--happy...I feel like the true me has finally been let out of that box everyone ELSE told me to get into.

Sorry this is a bit long winded! But this is how I truly came to choose Theravada. I can even say that I no longer fear the future--Christianity had me so terrified about all that "rapture", "end of time", "judgment day" etc etc that I spent so many nights crying myself to sleep worrying about my children and feeling so guilty for bringing them into the kind of world that would end in such a horrifying way! I don't feel that now, and in fact I don't believe it either! I look forward to a wonderfully peacefully life with my family!

:namaste:
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby suanck » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:51 am

Why did you choose Theravada?

- Very simple. I chose Theravada because among all Buddhist traditions available today, it's "relatively" the closest to the source.

(However, I also endeavor to study other Buddhist traditions as well).

Suan.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada?

Postby Bankei » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:01 am

suanck wrote:Why did you choose Theravada?

- Very simple. I chose Theravada because among all Buddhist traditions available today, it's "relatively" the closest to the source.

(However, I also endeavor to study other Buddhist traditions as well).

Suan.


That is my reason as well. Theravada is the closest living tradition to what the Buddha taught.

Bankei
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