Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
falloutrangerlol
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Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by falloutrangerlol »

Just a little curious, since there are more Mahayana practitioners than Theravada followers in the world.
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by Coyote »

If you don't believe in the fallibility of the arhat, then Mahāyāna seems redundant. Also, Mahāyāna has many teachings which I believe complicate the relatively simple message of early Buddhism - such as Buddha-nature, Śūnyatā, Tantra, and intercessory deities . So that I why I chose Theravāda over Mahāyāna , despite originally being attracted to the latter's emphasis on compassion and universalism (Ekayāna).
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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SDC
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by SDC »

I didn't choose it, it was just the first thing I dove into. I suppose in a way I bypassed Mahayana - two books by the Dali Lama were my first foray - but I never really learned that much about to call my current path a choice over it. I said to myself as I began reading the suttas that I wanted to see it through until I had learned all that I could and then move on if I saw the need. I have yet to have good reason to turn back.

I try not to look at "Buddhism" in its ever-swelling diversities, and I see very little to gain from keeping score between any schools. I think you have to just take what speaks to you initially and follow it, and if that river happens to run dry then you look for another. The point is that if there is a sense that there is something profound to be discovered you don't settle until you find it.
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Mr Man
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by Mr Man »

I believe it was a karmic propensity.
ieee23
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by ieee23 »

I think a lot of Americans get into vipassana meditation and through that Theravada.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19
dhammarelax
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by dhammarelax »

falloutrangerlol wrote:Just a little curious, since there are more Mahayana practitioners than Theravada followers in the world.
I wanted to learn what the Buddha had to say and not to what other people said, Theravada has the advantage of conserving the teaching in the least adulterated form.

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dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5
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mikenz66
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by mikenz66 »

SDC wrote:I didn't choose it, it was just the first thing I dove into. .
Same here. I turned up at a Theravada monastery and stuck around... No analysis of possible alternatives...

:anjali:
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daverupa
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by daverupa »

I ...haven't chosen either, I guess I'd say.
  • "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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retrofuturist
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
daverupa wrote:I ...haven't chosen either, I guess I'd say.
Me too.

My interest is in the Dhamma-vinaya of the Sutta Pitaka (and Vinaya Pitaka if I ever became a monk) and it just happens to be that Theravada is the only tradition that shares that mutual interest.
SDC wrote:The point is that if there is a sense that there is something profound to be discovered you don't settle until you find it.
:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by Reductor »

I do not practice Mahayana but, like Dave and Retro, I do not consider myself a Theravada practitioner, either. Not that I frown on the tradition. It is more that the sutta and vinaya pitakas offer doctrines and tools that clarify my thinking and direct my mind to happiness and peace, while extensive exposition does little more than wear out my mind. Instead, I tuck those things I do not understand into the back of my mind where my subconscious can work on them, and trust that I will understand the meaning, either in whole or in part, at some other time of my life.
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ihrjordan
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by ihrjordan »

We'll was introduced to buddhism via seeing how peaceful and happy then Dalai Lama always looked, I guess I "choose Theravada" because it's straight forward and it's easiest to see the buddha true message via the original sources and I feel the other vehicles complicate things. I don't fully identify as a theravadin buddhist becuase there are some things in Theravada I don't agree with or simply have a problem with. I might simply refer to myself as a buddhist in the general sense when asked because Mahayana and vajraayana sanghas have been so much more stable and commendable throughout the years, so when someone asks about "our leaders" I might point them to vajraayana monks practicing diligently rather than Theravada monks selling blessings, keeping ghosts at bay and doing magic tricks...
Mawkish1983
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by Mawkish1983 »

At first I was drawn to Zen and loved the mysticism of Mahayana. Before too long, the pragmatic part of my brain started screaming at me. For the past seven years I've been practising Theravada.

I've recently started reading some of the Dalai Lama's stuff, having become mentally exhausted with sutta study, and I'm rather enjoying seeing the links with what I've already learnt. His emphasis on developing happiness really ties in nicely with the brahmaviharas and the eightfold path.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

I got started with Theravada because the retreats were free, (I was a student at the time) and in English.
Just as simple as that. Quite likely if there had been free retreats at the local Tibetan monastery I would have gotten into that tradition. It would have been nice, since they have more awesome robes (especially the Zen monks) than us Theravadans, and some of them can drink alcohol. hehehe :tongue:
falloutrangerlol
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by falloutrangerlol »

Bhante Lucky wrote:I got started with Theravada because the retreats were free, (I was a student at the time) and in English.
Just as simple as that. Quite likely if there had been free retreats at the local Tibetan monastery I would have gotten into that tradition. It would have been nice, since they have more awesome robes (especially the Zen monks) than us Theravadans, and some of them can drink alcohol. hehehe :tongue:
I have never heard of any school of Buddhism that allows its disciples to drink alcohol. It is a direct violation of the fifth precept. I guess it's safe to say that anyone who drinks alcohol is not a Buddhist at all.
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Alobha
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Re: Why did you choose Theravada rather than Mahayana?

Post by Alobha »

dhammarelax wrote: I wanted to learn what the Buddha had to say and not to what other people said, Theravada has the advantage of conserving the teaching in the least adulterated form.
Same here.
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