Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

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Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:24 pm

I'm often struck with the differences between how Buddhist traditions interpret the essentials: emptiness, self, ultimate ground, etc.

What are the commonalities among *all* Buddhist traditions?

I.e. what assertions/conclusions would virtually any Buddhist of any school/lineage/nationality agree on?

Thanks!

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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:36 pm

Man that the Skandhas are not self.

Normally people would say that the four seals could be agreed upon, but it sure doesn't seem like that from the conversation on here, lol.
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:37 pm

I would think that the Four Arya/Noble Truths are a safe bet, from what I know of the various traditions.

Also, the 4 Dharma Seals- even if the formulation is not expressed in exactly the same way, the Buddhist traditions I am familiar with uphold them in one way or another. Though I agree with what you say above- there are as many limitless loopholes as there are so many varying interpretations according to the different sects.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Seishin » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:02 pm

When asked the same questions by different people the Buddha would sometimes give the same answer, sometimes a different answer and sometimes no answer. The Buddha knew that everyone is different and the same answer is not always the best way to rid people of their suffering. Looking for commonality between schools would be difficult as there are different interpretations because we all understand things differently. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the differences are wrong. This is how I've been taught and how I understand it.

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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:39 pm

Thanks for the responses. Keep 'em coming!

I'm going to compile a list of all the possible commonalities submitted to this thread. And when it's nice and full, I'll post it here for a look/discussion.

Is "liberation from samsara" (or similar terms) common to all flavors of Buddhism?
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby oldbob » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:07 pm

ENLIGHTENMENT
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby rachmiel » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:00 pm

Oh yeah, that old thing. Added to the list.

;-)
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:59 pm

http://buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/comparative.htm

Common Ground Between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

Sakayamuni Buddha is the original and historical founder of Buddhism.
The Three Universal Seals, Four Noble Truths, Eight Fold Paths and Twelve Links of Dependent Origination are the basic foundation to all schools of Buddhism including the Tibetan schools of Vajrayana.
Threefold training of Precepts, Meditation and Wisdom is universal to all schools.
Organisation of the Buddhist teachings / Dharma into three classifications (Sutra, Vinaya and Sastra) is practised among the Buddhist Canons of various countries.
Mind over matter concept. Mind as the principal area of taming and control is fundamental to all schools.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:41 am

The list is a good idea. Here's an older one, still good: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Points_Unifying_the_Theravāda_and_the_Mahāyāna[/url]

:reading:
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby lobster » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:03 am

I am not sure that the three jewels are universal?
Enlightenment or some form of improvement seems universal? Again not sure, do we include the extinct schools?
Maybe the story of the Buddhas life is universal?
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Martin007 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:59 am

rachmiel wrote:Is "liberation from samsara" (or similar terms) common to all flavors of Buddhism?


Yes, liberation from samsara ( suffering ) seems like the common goal. But beyond that, well, things rapidly get complicated. ;)
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby shaunc » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:39 am

4 noble truths
Noble 8 fold path
5 precepts
3 jewels
The law of dependant origination
The law of cause & affect (karma)
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Martin007 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:45 pm

shaunc wrote:4 noble truths
Noble 8 fold path
5 precepts
3 jewels
The law of dependant origination
The law of cause & affect (karma)


Not all traditions have those.
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:48 pm

porpoise wrote:
shaunc wrote:4 noble truths
Noble 8 fold path
5 precepts
3 jewels
The law of dependant origination
The law of cause & affect (karma)


Not all traditions have those.
Which Buddhist tradition does not have the Four Noble Truths??? :shrug:
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Martin007 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:58 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
porpoise wrote:
shaunc wrote:4 noble truths
Noble 8 fold path
5 precepts
3 jewels
The law of dependant origination
The law of cause & affect (karma)


Not all traditions have those.
Which Buddhist tradition does not have the Four Noble Truths??? :shrug:


Not all traditions use the 8-fold path, the 4th Noble Truth. Not all traditions use the 5 precepts or 3 jewels.
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:02 pm

There is suffering and work towards liberation from suffering.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby rachmiel » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:06 pm

Here's the compiled list so far. The goal is to find commonalities among all Buddhist traditions; I'm taking that "all" to mean early Buddhist schools, Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Please feel free to add anything that's missing, argue for the removal of anything that you think doesn't belong, etc.

Dependent Origination
Eightfold Path
Five Precepts
Five Skandhas
Four Dharma Seals
Four Noble Truths
Karma
Enlightenment, liberation from samsara/dukkha/suffering
Meditation / mindfulness / practice
Mind as the principal area of taming and control is fundamental to all schools.
Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder
The Three Universal Seals
Three Jewels
Threefold training of Precepts, Meditation and Wisdom
Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

Thanks, everyone, for your help with this. Keep those cards 'n letters coming!
Last edited by rachmiel on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:07 pm

Porpoise,

Without the Four Noble Truths and Three Jewels, what are you left with as a backbone for the practices? If there is something that does not include those foundations, would it really be "Buddhism", as in the teachings of Lord Buddha?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:08 pm

porpoise wrote:Not all traditions use the 8-fold path, the 4th Noble Truth. Not all traditions use the 5 precepts or 3 jewels.
The question was: which Buddhist tradition does not have the 4 Noble truths? Your statement does not answer my question. So let me ask which Buddhist traditions do not "use" the Four Noble Truths?
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Re: Commonalities among all Buddhist traditions

Postby oldbob » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:15 pm

I dunnno? I never heard of any tradition that does not have the Four Nobel Truths.

Doesn't everybody agree on the words of Lord Buddha:

as summed up in the Dhammapada,

and

The Long Discourses,

The Middle Length Discourses,

The Connected Discourses, etc.,

also,

ENLIGHTENMENT

refers to a direct non-intellectual experience. It is not an intellectual understanding, or philosophical modal, or anything that can be described in words.

Enlightenment is not ENLIGHTENMENT. It is ENLIGHTENMENT which differentiated Lord Buddha from everyone else.

Without ENLIGHTENMENT, Buddhism is not Buddhism.

So if you want to include ENLIGHTENMENT in the the list, I think it is better to be kept as ENLIGHTENMENT.

But maybe that is what differentiates two schools of thought. Maybe we should hold a council and decide which is the true, and only, Buddhist View. :smile:

Of course it is your list - so you should do what you want - just my 2 cents.

:smile:
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