Mayahana v Theravada

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Mayahana v Theravada

Postby flowerbudh » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:36 am

I understand that Theravada is more deeply-rooted in older tradition, but what are the distinguishable differences between these two schools?
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:32 am

I've found one particularly striking major difference.
In Mahayana, you'll find lots of teachings on the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.
Wanting nirvana in preference to samsara is sometimes seen as a hindrance in itself.
This is almost heretical in Theravada. To oversimplify, in Theravada, samsara is to be totally abandoned and nirvana is to be obtained.

Related to this, whereas in Zen you often speak of already being enlightened, in Theravada, enlightenment is something extremely rare that takes countless lifetimes to attain.

That's what immediately springs to mind. Hope I'm not too far off.
As you might expect, the huge factors of distance, time, and culture have resulted in many differences in how the Dharma has manifested.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:23 am

flowerbudh wrote:I understand that Theravada is more deeply-rooted in older tradition, but what are the distinguishable differences between these two schools?



Bodhisattva v.s Arhat is a huge one, the ideal is different. Shorthand, a Bodhisattva wishes to gain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, and Arhat (while still doing meritorious things etc. is sort of 'done" so to speak.

There's also the duality thing Duckfiasco mentions, further elucidated emptiness teaching in Mahayana, a huge array of practices etc...it's a lot of history.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:51 am

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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:37 am

i repeat what johnny said

mahayana and theravada is differentiated mainly with the motivation to practice, mahayana motivation is the wish to benefit all beings and bring them to full enlightenment while theravadins are oriented with individual liberation.

and mahayana practitioners because of bodhicitta can achieve full enlightenment while arahats of theravada can only achieve individual liberation ( nibbana)

therava is mainly practiced in monasteries, mainly forest monasteries, of course there are lay practitioners also. the main thing in lay life is keeping vow's and meditating. developing shamatha and vipashyana.

in mahayana there is so much material to work with. the mind training or lojong teachings are great teachings to work with in daily life as a lay practitioner. mahayana suits perfectly for people deeply connected with western world and all this mess, its a great opportunity to practice bodhicitta in aspiration and action and is the seed of enlightenment.

if you wanna know more about mahayana you can ask me or someone to elaborate more and tell more about mahayana..
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby porpoise » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:32 am

duckfiasco wrote:Related to this, whereas in Zen you often speak of already being enlightened, in Theravada, enlightenment is something extremely rare that takes countless lifetimes to attain.


I think that's true if we're talking about classical Theravada, but some modern variants of Theravada are more Zen-like in this respect.
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:37 am

flowerbudh wrote:I understand that Theravada is more deeply-rooted in older tradition, but what are the distinguishable differences between these two schools?

Actually flowerbudh some scholars consider that the Theravada in its present form may in fact be more recent than some Mahayana schools... ;)
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Re: Mayahana v Theravada

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:11 am

if that is so in lay community , it might be, but in the forest monasteries its still pretty much like in the old days i would imagine.
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