Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:23 am

Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

The Buddha gave a wide variety of teachings because sentient beings (any being with mind who is not a Buddha, including those in other realms of existence) have different dispositions, inclinations and interests. The Buddha never expected us all to fit into the same mould. Thus, he gave many teachings and described various ways of practicing so each of us could find something that suits our level of mind and our personality.


With skill and compassion in guiding others, the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma three times, each time setting forth a slightly different philosophical system in order to suit the various dispositions of sentient beings. The essence of all the teachings is the same: the wish definitely to emerge from the cycle of constantly recurring problems (samsara), compassion for others and the wisdom realizing selflessness.

Not everyone likes the same kind of food. When a huge buffet is spread before us, we choose the dishes that we like. There is no obligation to like everything. Although we may have a taste for sweets, that does not mean that the salty dishes are not good and should be thrown away!

Similarly, we may prefer a certain approach to the teachings: Theravada, Pure Land, Zen, Vajrayana, and so on. We are free to choose the approach that suits us best and with which we feel the most comfortable. Yet we still maintain an open mind and respect for other traditions. As our mind develops, we may come to understand elements in other traditions that we failed to comprehend previously.

In short, whatever is useful and helps us live a better life, we practice, and whatever we do not yet understand, we leave aside without rejecting it.

While we may find one particular tradition best suited for our personality, do not identify with it in a concrete way: "I am a Mahayanist, you are a Theravadin," or "I am a Buddhist, you are a Christian." It is important to remember that we are all human beings seeking happiness and wanting to realize the truth, and we each must find a method suitable for our disposition.

However, keeping an open mind to different approaches does not mean to mix everything together at random, making our practice like chop suey.

Do not mix meditation techniques from different traditions together in one meditation session. In one session, it is better to do one technique. If we take a little of this technique and a little from that, and without understanding either one very well mix them together, we may end up confused.

However, a teaching emphasized in one tradition may enrich our understanding and practice of another.

Also, it is advisable to do the same meditations daily. If we do breathing meditation one day, chanting the Buddha's name the next, and analytical meditation the third, we will not make progress in any of them for there is no continuity in the practice.

http://www.fpmt.org/faq/buddhism_faq.asp#bteach
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:36 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

The Buddha gave a wide variety of teachings because sentient beings (any being with mind who is not a Buddha, including those in other realms of existence) have different dispositions, inclinations and interests. The Buddha never expected us all to fit into the same mould. Thus, he gave many teachings and described various ways of practicing so each of us could find something that suits our level of mind and our personality.

Not everyone likes the same kind of food. When a huge buffet is spread before us, we choose the dishes that we like. There is no obligation to like everything. Although we may have a taste for sweets, that does not mean that the salty dishes are not good and should be thrown away!

http://www.fpmt.org/faq/buddhism_faq.asp#bteach


:thumbsup:

That is a good teaching.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Skilful_means
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1619
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby mudra » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:10 am

Ngawang Drolma-la -

To reiterate, excellent post.

People do like to mix it all up at the beginning then end up with difficulties. I would even say not only "not everyone likes the same food", it could be worded even more strongly that not everyone can digest the same food!!!
User avatar
mudra
 
Posts: 453
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:55 am

Re: Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby Stephen » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:15 am

I thought it was a question, as per the thread's title, so I came here to see if I could answer it and... well, no help needed apparently. :)
The "self", which is a construct of the mind, is non-self. It is not us, and we are not it. This self blinds us to reality; it is our Mara, our Satan, our Hades. Cast it out and behold the path to freedom.
(Visit http://www.BodhiBox.com for a free Buddhist e-mail account, while you're still attached to the 'net...)
Stephen
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:51 am
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby muni » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:00 am

Nature is without views when clinging is undone.
Last edited by muni on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
muni
 
Posts: 2737
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:26 am

NO offense to the initial poster nor to any that have versed opinion but..


enough with the smorgasboard already!! I have heard that at least a thousand times and from multiple multiple sometimes highly esteemed sources...

We are all not nutritionists. Some peoples choices at smorgasboards are simply not good choices for their health and happiness. Some may like cotton candy and cheezewhiz always always always...that is what they like.
It will cause them great pain and suffeing if they choose that always. Certainly we cannot force them physically to choose better choices as some religions do(but never Buddhist nor Jains)....but we can try to educate them as to how their choices though being what they like....are not necessarily the best choices.

So yeah mention the smorgasboard perhaps but also mention cheeze whiz and pop tarts perhaps( I personally think it's time as allegory has come and gone but that's just me) .
A little balance would be very very good in that thing.

Geeze Louise.....
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm


Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Sammytwp and 19 guests

>