Differences between the schools

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Differences between the schools

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:57 pm

Is there anything anywhere that shows comprehensively the differences between the practices of the different schools?
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:00 pm

The methods should be different, but the teachings should not be different.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Josef » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:03 pm

One school has a few methods.
Another school includes those methods and adds a few more.
The other school has all the methods.

*Edit:
I didnt see that this was in the Tibetan Buddhism sub-forum so my post is irrelevant and kind of stupid.
Last edited by Josef on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby gnegirl » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:11 pm

Nangwa wrote:One school has a few methods.
Another school includes those methods and adds a few more.
The other school has all the methods.


And whatever school the poster practices in is obviously the cool one.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Josef » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:26 pm

gnegirl wrote:
Nangwa wrote:One school has a few methods.
Another school includes those methods and adds a few more.
The other school has all the methods.


And whatever school the poster practices in is obviously the cool one.

To them, sure.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Sönam » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:30 pm

Satirical Advice for the Four Schools
by Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche

Namo manjushriye!

Through the enlightened activity of the victorious buddhas,
And the skilful means of their bodhisattva heirs,
May the four schools of buddhist teachings, old and new,
Successfully transmit their perfect methods of awakening!

The authoritative transmission of sutras, the Gendenpa,
The authoritative transmission of mantra, the Nyingmapa,
The authoritative transmission of exposition, the Sakyapa,
And the authoritative transmission of practice, the Kagyüpa.

The Sakyapas are the masters of learning,
The Gendenpas are the masters of discourse,
The Kagyüpas are the masters of realization,
And the Nyingmapas are the masters of spiritual power.

These are the four marvellous transmissions of the teachings:
The Nyingmapas whose view is beyond all extremes,
The Kagyüpas who persevere in meditation,
The Gendenpas with their perfect conduct,
And the Sakyapas with their regular practice of approach and accomplishment.

Although they all possess infinite qualities,
Each one emphasizes a particular practice.

Nyingmapas chant through their noses,
Sakyapas chant with their lips,
Gendenpas create the melodies mainly in their throats,
And Kagyüpas chant strongly from deep down inside.

The Gendenpas maintain the complete path of scriptural study, so they are like the body of the teachings.
The Sakyapas bring together sutra and mantra approaches, so they are like the eyes of the teachings.
The Kagyüpas bring everything together into the single practice of devotion, so they are like the heart of the teachings.
The Nyingmapas possess the profound key instructions of the tantras and sadhanas, so they are like the life-force of the teachings.

Now for a few words in jest:

The Nyingmapas claim they have a path for accomplishing the level of Vajradhara through the practice of clear light Dzogpachenpo, without the need to rely upon an external consort and so on, and yet the lamas say they must take a wife in order to increase their longevity, improve the clarity of their vision, maintain good health, assist in the revelation of termas and accomplish the welfare of beings. They don’t say that in order to benefit the teachings they should teach and practise! That taking a wife could be a way to benefit the teachings and beings, and a substitute for teaching and practice, and at the same time improve clarity of vision and so on, is, I think, incredible!

The Gendenpas claim the antidote to all the pains of existence is the wisdom which realizes selflessness, and yet when they approach the realization of no-self they are so afraid to let go of this sense of identity that they can not sit still upon their cushions. In the past it was said that the attainment of the path of seeing and the clear experience of selflessness that precedes it are marked by special feelings of joy, so I think this must be a symptom of the current degenerate age!

The Sakyapas make the supreme assertion that one should not place too much emphasis on conduct because inner wisdom is the most important thing, and yet when they recite the Lamdü Hevajra sadhana, they maintain the discipline of never leaving their seats, because to do so would transgress their vow. If they ever did need to get up and do something, they would have to drag their seats behind them, such are their rites of purification and liberation based on time and the physical body. I wonder what would happen to them if they did leave their seats!

The Kagyüpas assert that the Great Mudra is the wisdom which pervades all samsara and nirvana, and yet they think of the word ‘mudra’ as referring to one’s hands. I wonder what such an enormous hand would look like!

Ha ha ha! That was all said in jest.

The teachings of the great masters are rich in meaning,
And each school has its own unique vision and key instructions.

Most followers of the Nyingma school shun the taking of life but think that there is no need to give up women. If they are a genuine yogins, I take refuge in them! But in general this ordinary sexual desire is harmful to the Nyingma teachings, so take care, I pray!

Most followers of the Kagyü school dislike classical exposition and logic, preferring the approach that is based purely on mind and meditation. If they are those in whom realization and liberation are simultaneous, I take refuge! But in general this closed-minded attitude is harmful to the Kagyü teachings and must be abandoned!

Most followers of the Genden school do not see any fault in taking life, but their aggression is harmful to the Genden teachings, so take care, I pray!

Most followers of the Sakya school regard as supreme only those empowerments and instructions they themselves have received and the particular branch to which they belong—be it Sakya, Ngor or Tsar—but this strong prejudice and dogmatism is harmful to the Sakya teachings, so it needs to be abandoned!

Generally, even if one has attachment to one’s own tradition it is important to avoid any antipathy towards other traditions. If we consider just our own tradition, since we are all followers of the Buddha, we can consider that we are all closely related. The different systems of teachings began at the time of Khenpo Shantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche and King Trisong Detsen, and, following the noble traditions of the past, all the schools in Tibet accept the four seals which are the hallmark of the buddhist teachings. We are all equal in this respect, and what is more we all assert the great shunyata free from conceptual elaboration. Not only that, we all accept the mantrayana with its inseparable unity of bliss and emptiness. This means that we are exceptionally close in terms of our view and our tenets.

Other traditions, non-buddhist outsiders and philosophical extremists, who differ even in terms of outer signs and dress, are as numerous as the stars in the night sky, and by comparison we buddhists are as rare as stars in broad daylight. Now, when the buddhist teachings are on the verge of extinction, all who seek to ensure their survival must view one another as the closest of allies. Any feelings of hostility will bring only ruin, so instead we must regard each other with joy, like a mother seeing her only child, or a beggar discovering a priceless treasure.

Having become followers of the same teacher,
May all who are students of these same teachings,
Abandon any hostility and prejudiced views,
And work together with a sense of joy!

Whoever practises in accordance with the true meaning of the teachings,
Be they from one’s own or another tradition, may they gain accomplishment,
So that the four great buddhist schools here within the Land of Snows,
Come to blaze in dazzling splendour with a wealth of Dharma teachings,
And gain complete success and universal victory!

This was written playfully at the request of a friend who has the intelligence to follow all four schools—Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyü and Gelug. Mangalam!
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby mudra » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:15 am

:good:

:namaste:
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby dzoki » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:52 am

I love the poem by Mipham Rinpoche. This is how I see the present situation:

Gelugpas engage in politics.
Kagyupas engage in power strugle.
Nyingmapas engage in sex.
Sakyapas engage in financial transactions.
All of them spend too much time on the internet.

Theravadins claim to have the original word of Buddha spoken in pali.
Zen practitioners claim to be enlightened.
Followers of tibetan schools pretend to be monks and yogis.

Each school south and north claims to be special, but Dharma has no corners and no boundaries, it is better to have a Dharma of open and free mind than to stick to some pompous position and propaganda of narrow minded practitioners.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby gnegirl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Its easy actually.

Whatever school you are in, if that's working, keep doing it and work for the liberation of all sentient beings.

The rest is just window dressing.
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." --Surangama Sutra

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:35 pm

dzoki wrote:Nyingmapas engage in sex.


You forgot booze.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby ChangYuan » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:11 pm

gnegirl wrote:Its easy actually.

Whatever school you are in, if that's working, keep doing it and work for the liberation of all sentient beings.

The rest is just window dressing.


But thats the point of wanting to know the differences, to find a school to study with.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby deff » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:15 pm

if you want (and have faith in the process), you could have a mirror divination done by Lama Dawa (http://lamadawa.com/divinations.html) to see which school/path is right for you based on karmic connections etc.

i did this and am very pleased with the results, found my root guru this way too
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Paul » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:26 pm

ChangYuan wrote:
gnegirl wrote:Its easy actually.

Whatever school you are in, if that's working, keep doing it and work for the liberation of all sentient beings.

The rest is just window dressing.


But thats the point of wanting to know the differences, to find a school to study with.


Maybe it would help to know what you're interested in studying or doing. That way you can find the most suitable curriculum.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby ChangYuan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:50 pm

Hayagriva wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:
gnegirl wrote:Its easy actually.

Whatever school you are in, if that's working, keep doing it and work for the liberation of all sentient beings.

The rest is just window dressing.


But thats the point of wanting to know the differences, to find a school to study with.


Maybe it would help to know what you're interested in studying or doing. That way you can find the most suitable curriculum.


Well, right now I know that I finding a nice peace and rhythm in chanting mantras. I know the green tara and om mani padme hum you do not need transmissions for, so I have been doing them. Other than that, as I stated before, I am interested in doing all I can for all sentient beings.
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:53 pm

ChangYuan wrote:
gnegirl wrote:Its easy actually.

Whatever school you are in, if that's working, keep doing it and work for the liberation of all sentient beings.

The rest is just window dressing.


But thats the point of wanting to know the differences, to find a school to study with.


Hello ChangYuan -

The main differences between the Tibetan Buddhist schools are the methods that they emphasize and the difference in their view on Buddha Nature.

However most of the teaching and basically all of the basic teaching is the same.

By the methods, I mean the tantric methods/sadhanas for attainment.

But everyone has the same teaching on the four thoughts that turn the mind from samsara for example (although the Sakya school presents it in a slightly different order), the accumulation of merit and wisdom, the renunciation of negativities, ect. All the Mahayana and much of the lower tantra teaching is virtually identical. Padmasambahav is central to the Nyingma and lesser then Kagyu school and is much lesser revered in the Gelug and Sakya schools (although this can be variable depending on the lama). The Gelug school tends to put much more emphasis on mind training overall than the other schools. The Karma Kagyu insist on finishing ngondro before anything major happens. The Sakya school gives you full highest yoga tantra empowerments from day 1 (theoretically - it's actually when a high lama comes around) but usually this means that people have been able to work on sutra and outer tantra for a year or two. Nyingma will vary but basically they almost exclusively give highest yoga tantra and can be a lot of treasure teaching from the start.

As far as the nature of mind goes: most Gelug and Sakya teach that Buddha Nature is a seed and many Kagyu and most Nyingma teach that it is already fully present in some form in every sentient being. So everyone agrees that Buddha Nature is present from the start in some form. The Jonang also hold that Buddha Nature is fully present from the start but in a way that has been criticized as self-existent (this is a massive debate in Tibetan Buddhism historically and some masters of the other schools, esp. Kagyu but not only, have held this too).

So that's a start.

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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby ChangYuan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:15 pm

kirtu wrote:
Hello ChangYuan -

The main differences between the Tibetan Buddhist schools are the methods that they emphasize and the difference in their view on Buddha Nature.

However most of the teaching and basically all of the basic teaching is the same.

By the methods, I mean the tantric methods/sadhanas for attainment.

But everyone has the same teaching on the four thoughts that turn the mind from samsara for example (although the Sakya school presents it in a slightly different order), the accumulation of merit and wisdom, the renunciation of negativities, ect. All the Mahayana and much of the lower tantra teaching is virtually identical. Padmasambahav is central to the Nyingma and lesser then Kagyu school and is much lesser revered in the Gelug and Sakya schools (although this can be variable depending on the lama). The Gelug school tends to put much more emphasis on mind training overall than the other schools. The Karma Kagyu insist on finishing ngondro before anything major happens. The Sakya school gives you full highest yoga tantra empowerments from day 1 (theoretically - it's actually when a high lama comes around) but usually this means that people have been able to work on sutra and outer tantra for a year or two. Nyingma will vary but basically they almost exclusively give highest yoga tantra and can be a lot of treasure teaching from the start.

As far as the nature of mind goes: most Gelug and Sakya teach that Buddha Nature is a seed and many Kagyu and most Nyingma teach that it is already fully present in some form in every sentient being. So everyone agrees that Buddha Nature is present from the start in some form. The Jonang also hold that Buddha Nature is fully present from the start but in a way that has been criticized as self-existent (this is a massive debate in Tibetan Buddhism historically and some masters of the other schools, esp. Kagyu but not only, have held this too).

So that's a start.

Kirt


Thanks for a very comprehensive answer. I'm rather ignorant of some of the things you mention, so excuse any silly questions. What do you mean by the "mind training" of the Gelug? Is this akin to zen style meditation?
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:18 pm

ChangYuan wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Hello ChangYuan -

The main differences between the Tibetan Buddhist schools are the methods that they emphasize and the difference in their view on Buddha Nature.

However most of the teaching and basically all of the basic teaching is the same.

By the methods, I mean the tantric methods/sadhanas for attainment.

But everyone has the same teaching on the four thoughts that turn the mind from samsara for example (although the Sakya school presents it in a slightly different order), the accumulation of merit and wisdom, the renunciation of negativities, ect. All the Mahayana and much of the lower tantra teaching is virtually identical. Padmasambahav is central to the Nyingma and lesser then Kagyu school and is much lesser revered in the Gelug and Sakya schools (although this can be variable depending on the lama). The Gelug school tends to put much more emphasis on mind training overall than the other schools. The Karma Kagyu insist on finishing ngondro before anything major happens. The Sakya school gives you full highest yoga tantra empowerments from day 1 (theoretically - it's actually when a high lama comes around) but usually this means that people have been able to work on sutra and outer tantra for a year or two. Nyingma will vary but basically they almost exclusively give highest yoga tantra and can be a lot of treasure teaching from the start.

As far as the nature of mind goes: most Gelug and Sakya teach that Buddha Nature is a seed and many Kagyu and most Nyingma teach that it is already fully present in some form in every sentient being. So everyone agrees that Buddha Nature is present from the start in some form. The Jonang also hold that Buddha Nature is fully present from the start but in a way that has been criticized as self-existent (this is a massive debate in Tibetan Buddhism historically and some masters of the other schools, esp. Kagyu but not only, have held this too).

So that's a start.

Kirt


Thanks for a very comprehensive answer. I'm rather ignorant of some of the things you mention, so excuse any silly questions. What do you mean by the "mind training" of the Gelug? Is this akin to zen style meditation?


They're a set of aphorisms for training the mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby ChangYuan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:08 pm

Hayagriva wrote:
They're a set of aphorisms for training the mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong


Thanks, thats quite interesting. Is there a lot of use of mantras in all the schools, or some more than others?
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:14 pm

ChangYuan wrote:
Hayagriva wrote:
They're a set of aphorisms for training the mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong


Thanks, thats quite interesting. Is there a lot of use of mantras in all the schools, or some more than others?


Well vajrayana is also termed 'mantrayana', so all four schools use them, but Kagyu and Nyingma are stereotypically more meditation/yoga/sadhana orientated, so probably those two.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Differences between the schools

Postby kirtu » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:56 am

Hayagriva wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:What do you mean by the "mind training" of the Gelug? Is this akin to zen style meditation?


They're a set of aphorisms for training the mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojong


These are aphorisms but they are intended for analytical meditation. So a person would comtemplate them as they went through their day and they would also sit in meditation and analytically meditate on them. This can also take different forms. All the lineages also have their own mind training but Gelug places an emphasis on systematically working through them. Sakya does too but but not as much. This is not like Zen meditation which typically does not emphasize overt analytical meditation unless one encounters a problem during sitting meditation.

There is a whole genre of lojong/mind training. The main lojong text comes from Geshe Chekawa and one of the best published versions is from Jamgon Kongtrul's brief commentary translated by Ken McLeod and published as "The Great Path of Awakening" although I now think this text is too embeded in Tibetan Buddhism but the slogans themselves are straightforward Mahayana Buddhism (albeit directly from Indian Buddhism as they are originally from Atisha) and are totally independant of any school.

So one of the slogans would be to keep impermanance in mind - death comes for everyone and then sit in analytical meditation with that topic as a subject.

Kirt
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