your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

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your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Fri May 28, 2010 1:16 am

Hello everyone, my name is Gaia, and I am somewhat new to the world of Buddhism--- didn't know how else to phrase that lol. I was just wondering what inspired to you all to choose your particular "school" of Buddhism over others. I am merely open to hearing your experiences, for I have not had many people to discuss Buddhism with since I do not know many.

thank you for your time.
:namaste:
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Dexing » Fri May 28, 2010 1:25 am

It seems I simply picked up where I left off.

:namaste:
nopalabhyate...
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Fri May 28, 2010 1:31 am

Thank you for putting it like that. It makes complete sense.
I have a similar feeling; I am not able to explain it. It is merely a feeling to me.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby do_not_zzz » Fri May 28, 2010 3:01 am

:namaste: Couldn't agree more. I see all three (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana) as either a ladder or a building.

When you first begin/continue your path, typically it begins with the core teachings with Theravada (which are also in the others). Theravada = the foundation, Mahayana = the superstructure, and Vajrayana = the roof.

One isn't better than the other by any means. But it helps to have a starting point and kinda go from there. Then again, this might not work for everyone. My first exposure to Buddhism was through Vajrayana, and it ended up not working for me. But it COULD work for someone else.

I just like the ideas of babysteps... :namaste:


My two cents for what they're worth (not much :tongue: ).
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Fri May 28, 2010 3:13 am

That is a very valid point, do_not_zzz, your two cents definitely made sense. Any point is valid :)
I always feel though, that many stories I have read on how peoples experiences have grown with Buddhism have to do with their having a teacher or a master.
Did you all have a master or a teacher? I feel that finding and working with one is a very difficult task, especially to find one. I know it is not necessary, but it sure sounds like it would be an amazing experience.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby do_not_zzz » Fri May 28, 2010 12:26 pm

Definitely agree with you on that it would be a major experience. I've had the priviledge of being near the ordained in my area and hearing some of their teachings. Although, my beginnings of the path did not include one. I leapt into the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a few books by His Holiness, only to confuse myself and leap back out. Then I found Thich Nhat Hanh's books, and it helped me with a more basic understanding of the path. Then again, it's different for everybody.

But having a teacher or access to one is definitely a plus.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri May 28, 2010 12:48 pm

I definitely knew the path that was right for me. I don't know how I knew, I just did. It was something inside that kept pushing me very strongly in the Vajrayana direction. So I pursued it with gusto! Glad I did, too :)

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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 2:01 pm

When I found Buddhism and starter learning about it, it seemed to be a clear, logical religion that can bring one to the depths of reality. In the beginning I fancied Zen koans and teachings but liked studying about Theravada and the Pali Canon too. Vajrayana has always been the one I felt the furthest from me, however, after many years I could amass enough curiosity to learn some basics about it. And while until today my primary affiliation is with Chinese Buddhism, I take the Buddhadharma as my refuge, regardless of lineage, school or tradition.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Indrajala » Fri May 28, 2010 2:17 pm

Astus wrote:When I found Buddhism and starter learning about it, it seemed to be a clear, logical religion that can bring one to the depths of reality. In the beginning I fancied Zen koans and teachings but liked studying about Theravada and the Pali Canon too. Vajrayana has always been the one I felt the furthest from me, however, after many years I could amass enough curiosity to learn some basics about it. And while until today my primary affiliation is with Chinese Buddhism, I take the Buddhadharma as my refuge, regardless of lineage, school or tradition.


Yeah I also fancied those weird Zen stories where legs were being broken and skulls were being beaten with canes, but then I learned about Nagarjuna. :smile:
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Luke » Fri May 28, 2010 3:11 pm

Hello there Gaia,

I used to think that I was interested in Zen because I was obsessed with one book about Zen when I was in high school (I was literally running home to read and re-read that book). When I was 18, I wanted to be (or at least thought I wanted to be) a Zen priest, but was incredibly depressed that there were no Zen teachers near me and the fact that I had to go through a Western educational system whose guiding principles were all based on selfish, materialistic competition and marketing.

However, I never had had a Zen teacher, and many years later, as I began talking to real Zen Buddhists online, I realized that my own personal interpretation of Zen, which I'd developed over the years on my own, was not really Zen at all and was more similar to the way Tibetan Buddhists think.

For this reason, and the fact that Tibetan Buddhism has some of the most advanced and fascinating meditation techniques in existence which no other school of Buddhism has, I chose Tibetan Buddhism. Also, the image and personality of the Dalai Lama drew me towards Tibetan Budddhism.

Although in a larger sense, I like any Mahayana school which emphasizes emptiness, compassion, and meditation.

I've never been very attracted to Theravada. I occasionally try to read about it, but I always get so incredibly bored when I do that I just go back to reading about Tibetan Buddhism and Mahayana. However, I occasionally do find certain lines from Theravada texts which I do find interesting and inspiring, though.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 3:55 pm

Huseng wrote:Yeah I also fancied those weird Zen stories where legs were being broken and skulls were being beaten with canes, but then I learned about Nagarjuna.


Oh yes, Nagarjuna breaks your mind.

One day [...] Ko Bong visited Tong Do Sah Temple. He stood at the gate and shouted, "Somebody come here and cut my hair, please. I want to become a monk." Many monks were angered by his arrogant behavior. They grabbed some sticks and went out to beat him. Ko Bong only said, "You can hit my body but you cannot hit my mind. If you can hit my mind, I will become your disciple." But none of the monks could hit his mind.
Another time, outside Nam Ja Sah Temple, he shouted the same kinds of things, and again all of the monks were very angry and wanted to beat him. Ko Bong again asked if anyone could hit his mind. At that time, Zen Master Hae Bong heard this and came to see Ko Bong. He asked, "How many pounds does your mind weigh?" Ko Bong could not answer, so he cut off all his hair and became a monk.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby muni » Fri May 28, 2010 5:18 pm

Oh yes, we imagine to choose. Continuum.

Not so long time ago, an neuroscientist discovered by a test, along MRI scan activity in the brain which could show 10 seconds before one realized to will do so, he should decide to push on the left button.

Oh well! Subtle! And amazing how masters from long time ago could understand what now people discover with technology as well.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Fri May 28, 2010 5:34 pm

It is mind blowing and refreshing to have all of your inputs on such a matter.

muni wrote:Oh yes, we imagine to choose. Continuum.

Not so long time ago, an neuroscientist discovered by a test, along MRI scan activity in the brain which could show 10 seconds before one realized to do so, he should decide to push on the left button.

Oh well! Subtle! And amazing how masters from long time ago could understand what now people discover with technology as well.


I completely understand that, before me even make a movement our brain deciphers our intention in the action we want to make, surely it works in a similar way in beliefs. There is a reason we decide our beliefs, even if we may not be aware to it.

I must admit that I do not know very much of Nagarjuna; but I will certainly look into it, as it sounds interesting.

Similar to what you were saying Luke, I also feel that through my Western society that it is very difficult to keep my beliefs and principles strong. I have noticed by moving around a lot, that especially here in California that most people are driven by material items and status. Especially in my age group; I am 20, I have noticed that it is difficult to live in a pure manner without being somewhat influenced by my surroundings. But I have noticed that the more I read my Buddhism books speaking of the Dharma, and the more I meditate, the easier it has become to simply do what is right, instead of what while make me stick out less. It is a learning process.

I will soon be moving to Italy for a year abroad and will hunt for any Buddhist organizations in Florence, but do you guys have any book suggestions that I may bring with me?
I currently have a few books such as the Pali canon (which I recall seeing in the thread), the Tibetan book of dying and living, as well as Awakening the Buddha within (one of my favorites thus far), and the Dhammapada .

Thank you all again for your insight, I cannot express how relieving it is to be able to speak to other people who are roughly on the same page as I am.
:namaste:
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Astus » Fri May 28, 2010 6:14 pm

Gaiamori,

Are you sure you have the Pali Canon? That's a lot of books.

I'd recommend you Paul Williams' Mahayana Doctrinal Foundations as a good summary, Ven. Sheng-yen's Orthodox Chinese Buddhism as an introduction, Ven. Dharmamitra's translation of Zhiyi's The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation for practice and Hakeda's trasnaltion of Asvaghosa's The Awakening of Faith for something to contemplate. These four books will give you a solid understanding of East Asian Mahayana.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Fri May 28, 2010 6:31 pm

Sorry I did not explain correctly, I do not have the entire Pali canon no... that would be an immense read.
I have an anthology of discourses from the Pali canon.
Thank you kindly for the suggestions, I will look into getting those :)
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Luke » Fri May 28, 2010 8:45 pm

gaiamori wrote:But I have noticed that the more I read my Buddhism books speaking of the Dharma, and the more I meditate, the easier it has become to simply do what is right, instead of what while make me stick out less. It is a learning process.

Yes, our minds contain the amazing ability to heal themselves and to come closer to our true nature if we let them.

gaiamori wrote:I will soon be moving to Italy for a year abroad and will hunt for any Buddhist organizations in Florence, but do you guys have any book suggestions that I may bring with me?

I was going to wait to mention this book on this forum, but since you asked, I have just started reading "The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones" by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Treasure-En ... 259&sr=8-1

It's based on a very concise root text by the great Tibetan lama Patrul Rinpoche which gives an overview of the entire Buddhist path (from a Tibetan point of view). Then Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, who was one of the greatest lamas of the twentieth century, comments on the stanzas of the root text.

I am currently only forty pages into it, but I'm just blown away by how it truly does live up to its title: it does brilliantly cut right to the heart of things. It does not read like a normal book about Buddhism with a few good parts which was written by a nice but normal guy. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was an enlightened master, so his commentary is basically a sacred Buddhist text itself. He understands the modern world and nothing slips by him. I'm just in spiritual ecstasy when I read this. I wish I'd read this ages ago.

gaiamori wrote:Thank you all again for your insight, I cannot express how relieving it is to be able to speak to other people who are roughly on the same page as I am.

Yes, the internet is pretty amazing. When I was in high school, the internet wasn't yet so popular and I didn't have a computer, so I didn't have that resource.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby gaiamori » Sat May 29, 2010 1:38 am

I completely agree, the internet when used properly is an amazing way to learn and to better oneself; of course when it is not used as an outlet.
Thank you, Luke, for the book reference, I have looked on the website you sent me and read some reviews on it, and it looks like a wonderful read.
I have received replies from some of the Buddhist organizations in Florence (although they are not all of the same "school") I will visit some of them once I arrive there. I hope they will be able to open my path.
If anyone else in this thread has any advice or words of wisdom or even a statement, I am more than thrilled to hear it :)
especially if it is regarding meditation.

:namaste:
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Luke » Sun May 30, 2010 10:49 pm

gaiamori wrote:If anyone else in this thread has any advice or words of wisdom or even a statement, I am more than thrilled to hear it :)
especially if it is regarding meditation.

Ah, if you want a book about meditation from the Tibetan Kagyu point of view try "Mind at Ease: Self-Liberation through Mahamudra Meditation" by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche.

http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Ease-Self-Li ... 921&sr=8-1

Despite the fancy title, most of the book is about the basics of Mahayana and Vajrayana and contains many meditations which you can try on your own without any empowerments or a teacher. At the end of the book, there is a very general overview of Mahamudra.

It's easy reading, but so deep in meaning that I found myself reading parts over and over again.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Sonrisa » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:54 am

I really cannot remember how I came to the Dharma gate I practice now.

When I first started, it was by a book called Basic Buddhism Course by: Phra Sunthorn Plamintr. It is a book written by a Theravada monk. Though when I first got the book, I had no idea that there existed Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.
I liked the book because it was very simple to understand. (I recommend it for beginners too!)

At first, I thought Zen was the only form of Buddhism. I found it too complex for me. I love some of the humorous koans but other than that, it is all Greek to me :tongue:

I ended up with East Asian Mahayana Buddhism. I admire the flavour of Vajrayana but it is a bit too strong for me. Just Mahayana will do fine for me. Though I have a very soft spot for Theravada and the Dhammapada. Theravada teachings are very simple that keeps me motivated. It offered me an entrance to the Dharma.
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Re: your choice of Mahyana & Vajrayana

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:49 pm

Like the post above, I see the Triyanas as a ladder, so I started with Theravada meditation and then became fascinated with Soto Zen, which I still practice along with Vajrayana.
IMO, the three yanas is more delusional distinction, Gautamas teaching is his teaching, so I accept all forms of Buddhism which stems from Gautama.
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