Why not Theravada

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Why not Theravada

Postby zAnt » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:50 pm

Why choose Mahayana over Theravada? I see minor differences, but why have you choose this path? Is it because it was what you where first introduced to? Was it the only Dharma school near you? What are the different practices?
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:14 pm

Theravada is a lot smaller in terms of variety of teachings and texts. Mahayana includes everything there is in Buddhism.
"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: Why not Theravada

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:20 pm

Good question.

I find the bodhisattva vision quite compelling.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Seishin » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:31 pm

Huseng wrote:I find the bodhisattva vision quite compelling.


Ditto

Gassho,
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby viniketa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:55 pm

Astus wrote: Mahayana includes everything there is in Buddhism.


If one embraces Mahayana, one need not "reject" Theravada, or even think of it as a "lower" vehicle.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:00 pm

viniketa wrote:
Astus wrote: Mahayana includes everything there is in Buddhism.


If one embraces Mahayana, one need not "reject" Theravada, or even think of it as a "lower" vehicle.

:namaste:


I think for some people the cultural associations play a factor.

Some people dig SE Asia, while others don't find it so appealing. Regardless of the actual Buddhadharma present in those cultures, the outward appearance prompts an emotional response which influences judgement and consequently decision making.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby zAnt » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:53 pm

So what category of Mahayana do you follow?
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Yudron » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:22 pm

Honestly, as an American who was not raised Buddhist, I don't think I would have become a Buddhist if the Theravada was all there was. I respect it, but I'm not drawn to it. It is altruistic motivation to personally bring all beings, equally, to the state of complete Buddhahood, that turns me on.

My practices are Tibetan Vajrayana style, but my purpose is to fulfill my Bodhisattva vow.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby zAnt » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:30 pm

So the difference is that Theravada has less national tradition involved and is focused more on the benefit of the practicing person, than the focus on helping others reach buddhahood along with the practicing person?
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Jikan » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:52 pm

zAnt wrote:So the difference is that Theravada has less national tradition involved


Not necessarily. Thai monks are just as Thai as, say, Korean monks are Korean, and this comes through in everyday life.

and is focused more on the benefit of the practicing person, than the focus on helping others reach buddhahood along with the practicing person?


Close. I'd say it's about the liberation of the individual who strives to become an arhat, rather than on the goal of Buddhahood for the ultimate and provisional benefit of all.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Yudron » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:56 pm

zAnt wrote:So the difference is that Theravada has less national tradition involved and is focused more on the benefit of the practicing person, than the focus on helping others reach buddhahood along with the practicing person?


I think maybe English is not your first language and what you mean to say is the focus of a Theravada practitioner individual liberation into nirvana, and a Mahayana practitioner vows to continuously return to benefit sentient beings. Yes, that is true. We remind ourselves of our motivation to benefit all beings in every meditation session and we dedicate the merit of the practice to all beings.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby zAnt » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:05 pm

English is my primary language. I apologize for my broken writing, I am on my phone which has a French keyboard and correcting software on it. Thus, it is a pain to type everything out properly. That along with my limited knowledge of Buddhist vocabulary. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:07 pm

Tantra, baby. Totally amazing.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby PorkChop » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:11 pm

I guess could probably make a case for being all 3: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana?

I love how the Nikaya Suttas sound in Pali (or at least what I've heard from the Thais & Sri Lankans) and Nikaya teachings are most of my foundation.
One of my biggest Buddhist influences in my day-to-day life is my muay thai coach, who's a Thai/Lao Theravadan.

Like the others, I feel particular affinity for the Bodhisattva path.
I practice at a temple that follows a Vietnamese lineage of TianTai (plus PureLand and Thien) and have had a lot of exposure to other Mahayana traditions in the past (Chinese Shaolin Chan, Chinese Pure Land, & Japanese Zen).
My favorite speakers are from the Tibetan Gelug tradition, I attend a Lam Rim study group a couple times a month, I'm an FPMT member, I take online FPMT courses, I have also received refuge, empowerment, and training from a Tibetan monk (Geshe Soepa).

I've seen a lot of the roots of other practices in the Nikayas (from PureLand practice to charnel ground practice).
I haven't hit that point where I have to make a choice yet and except from the Bodhisattva path, I don't see a whole lot of difference yet.
If I had to make a choice today, I'd stick with the Gelug tradition - mostly because the tradition is pretty universal (don't think I would have to lose the Pali Nikayas) & the teaching materials are very accessible.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:55 pm

Yes, Why not Theravada? :tongue: I'm Theravada.

However, there is much I like in the Mahayana including the emphasis on compassion, the Lankavatara Sutra, the Heart Sutra, and others.

The Buddha taught different teachings for those with different temperaments. So this is another reason I like all the schools, traditions of Buddhism.

Another reason I like the Mahayana (as a Theravadin) is that it has more mass appeal and I don't think Buddhism would be where it is today at around 500 million to 1 billion adherents were it not for the Mahayana. The Theravada is very similar to Jainism and there are only about 5 million Jain adherents worldwide.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:04 am

zAnt wrote:So what category of Mahayana do you follow?


Bodhisattvayāna. I.e., the kind where you get to look forward to many lifetimes of trying to benefit others. :smile:

Individual mileage will of course vary.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby BuddhaSoup » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:49 am

Astus wrote:Theravada is a lot smaller in terms of variety of teachings and texts. Mahayana includes everything there is in Buddhism.


It can also be said that Mahayana includes a fair amount that is not Buddhism, at least how anyone who studies traditional Buddhist teachings might see it. It seems to me that a lot of stuff that ends up in Mahayana is pre and post-13th century poetry and stories that are wonderful, beautiful and thoughtful, but not necessarily Buddhist. Cutting a cat in half seems to me a koan that really deviates from anything that Gotama was trying to teach. Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon...I'll go stand in the yard and shout at kids driving past too fast... http://youtu.be/Cy-f7ZDfnmg
Last edited by BuddhaSoup on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby BuddhaSoup » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:51 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Yes, Why not Theravada? :tongue: I'm Theravada.

However, there is much I like in the Mahayana including the emphasis on compassion, the Lankavatara Sutra, the Heart Sutra, and others.

The Buddha taught different teachings for those with different temperaments. So this is another reason I like all the schools, traditions of Buddhism.

Another reason I like the Mahayana (as a Theravadin) is that it has more mass appeal and I don't think Buddhism would be where it is today at around 500 million to 1 billion adherents were it not for the Mahayana. The Theravada is very similar to Jainism and there are only about 5 million Jain adherents worldwide.
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... nd_Jainism


:good:
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Jnana » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:52 am

zAnt wrote:So the difference is that Theravada has less national tradition involved and is focused more on the benefit of the practicing person, than the focus on helping others reach buddhahood along with the practicing person?

This is the distinction between the śrāvakayāna and the bodhisattvayāna. The Theravāda has teachings on both of these yānas, and one can choose to follow one or the other.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Devotionary » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:53 am

I actually started solitary practice as a child of 12, when we took a family trip to Thailand. I was so awed and moved by Thai Theravada monks that when we got back home, I downloaded the Parittas and started chanting them. Of course, there were no Buddhist temples in my area then, and no Buddhist masters. So I fervently asked the Buddha to provide me with someone I can take refuge from - "when the student is ready, the teacher will come."

Fast forward to 7 years later, a temple from a lineage in Taiwan opened near my place. I took their classes on Chan, went to Taiwan to attend their retreats, and found that my practice has been conducive ever since. It's been 5 years since I've taken refuge, and I treasure every day of it.

So why did I shift to Mahayana from Theravada? Simply put, it's all my karmic affinity, I think.

Sometimes, affinity and karmic conditions play as big a role as one's own preferential judgments, either they jive or karma overpowers the other. :p
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