Vajrayana vs Theravada

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Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby octobersun79 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:21 pm

Hi there

I'm quite new to Buddhism and as I find out more, I find that there are so many different schools of Buddhism... if only things were simple (for my simple mind) :-)

Can anyone tell me what their views are on Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism as I am interested to see what peoples thoughts are. The only monastary near me is a theravada practice, which is lovely too :-)

I have read a book called an Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe and from what I can gather I need a good teacher (not possible in the area where I live) and I'll struggle in the UK!

From what I can gather, I transform each experience into the spiritual path?

Love to know everyones view on this.

Metta

Caroline
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby LastLegend » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:45 pm

octobersun79 wrote:Hi there

I'm quite new to Buddhism and as I find out more, I find that there are so many different schools of Buddhism... if only things were simple (for my simple mind) :-)

Can anyone tell me what their views are on Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism as I am interested to see what peoples thoughts are. The only monastary near me is a theravada practice, which is lovely too :-)

I have read a book called an Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe and from what I can gather I need a good teacher (not possible in the area where I live) and I'll struggle in the UK!

From what I can gather, I transform each experience into the spiritual path?

Love to know everyones view on this.

Metta

Caroline


Buddhism is a teaching that leads sentient beings away from suffering (from cycle of death and rebirth) and ultimately to become Buddhas. There are many methods to achieve this; and these methods are for examples Tantra, Pure Land, Chan, and whatever Theravada teaches, etc. The difference between Theravada and Mahayana is the goal of Theravada is to be become Arhat and Mahayana is to become Buddha. But this can be reconciled through understanding the teaching of Dependent Origination and through observing compassion exhibited by Sakyamuni in 49 years of teaching.
Last edited by LastLegend on Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby ZenLem » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:02 pm

My understanding is that there are three points of practice, self, other, and crazy wisdom. Theravada has come to represent the self knowledge, working out your own personal spiritual conundrums, which in tern, enable you to be more free and open to the world. Vajrayana is the crazy wisdom aspect, that there comes a time in life of non-thinking, spontaneous, out of your mind action. Mahayana is the bridge between the two, it is the compassion vehicle , doing things for other, embracing the unknown fearlessly and doing what is right for the collective.

For a good Buddhist practice, I am of the opinion that all three need to be addressed, Yourself, to enable you to help better, others, so your practice doesn't become a very nice shiny thing of no use, and crazy wisdom, which pushes you into the unexplored territories and keeps things fresh and renewed.

But, If I had to pick, Theravada is a good place to start, just sit and get to know yourself, your boundaries what makes you angry and why, get real familiar with this guy *points at self*, before considering if Buddhism is right for you. Use the Buddhism, to find out if the Buddhism is right for you.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby Josef » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Its good to keep in mind that Vajrayana includes all of the teachings, methods, and practices of Theravada and Mahayana in some form or another.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby octobersun79 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:44 pm

Thank you.

Any recommended reading for a lay person in terms of mahayana and vajrayana? I intend to go on retreat at the theravada monastary, but would like to keep an open mind before commiting to a school of buddhism.

Also, do I need a teacher, or is this something i can do on my own?

:anjali:
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:26 am

Hi Caroline,

octobersun79 wrote:Can anyone tell me what their views are on Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism as I am interested to see what peoples thoughts are. The only monastary near me is a theravada practice, which is lovely too :-)


In general Vajrayāna asserts, both in its Tibetan and Japanese forms, that Buddhahood is possible in a single lifetime. Vajrayāna is a development of the Mahāyāna. However, the idea is that it provides the technology or means to attain Buddhahood in a rapid period of time. In much Mahāyāna thought Buddhahood is said to take an incalculable amount of time.

My guru cautions his students that Buddhahood in a single lifetime, while possible, is unlikely for most of us. Patience and constant effort are essential.

From what I can gather, I transform each experience into the spiritual path?


I think before one attempts to employ such ideas into real life a foundation in Buddhism 101 is absolutely essential. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, emptiness, impermanence, Buddhist history, basic calm-abiding meditation and so on.

Visiting and participating in a Theravada community will do no harm. It will be quite beneficial.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:29 am

octobersun79 wrote:Thank you.

Any recommended reading for a lay person in terms of mahayana and vajrayana? I intend to go on retreat at the theravada monastary, but would like to keep an open mind before commiting to a school of buddhism.

Also, do I need a teacher, or is this something i can do on my own?

:anjali:


Having a good, virtuous and wise teacher is essential.

Do not attempt to practice Vajrayāna on your own without a teacher (guru). The system essentially requires verbal transmission via a lineage.

This is why I suggest before even reading about Vajrayāna you get a firm grounding in basic Buddhism.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:37 pm

Huseng wrote:
My guru cautions his students that Buddhahood in a single lifetime, while possible, is unlikely for most of us.



Hence, Dzogchen.
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby ground » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:30 am

octobersun79 wrote:Can anyone tell me what their views are on Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism as I am interested to see what peoples thoughts are. The only monastary near me is a theravada practice, which is lovely too :-)

Both Mahayana and Theravada teach the ideal of benefitting both, oneself and others through one's practice. So in this respect there is no difference. Perhaps worshipping idealized figures and devotion to them is more emphasized in Mahayana.

Vajrayana may stimulate fantasy and clinging to that fantasy in beginners without a solid base of having realized renunciation thusly perpetuating samsara. Therefore it is perhaps better to stay away from it in the beginning and follow Lama Tsongkhapa's advice who taught that renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom are a prerequisite for vajrayana practices.
Whereas renunciation and wisdom may be realized based on Theravada teachings too, bodhicitta is a specific Mahayana instruction that cannot be found in Theravada. However Theravada teachings and Mahayana bodhicitta instructions are perfectly compatible.

To summarize based on my experience I would recommend Lamrim teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa with the sutta pitaka of the Pali canon as mandatory amendment.

Kind regards
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Re: Vajrayana vs Theravada

Postby Tilopa » Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:46 am

octobersun79 wrote: Any recommended reading for a lay person in terms of mahayana and vajrayana?


Kindness, Clarity and Insight: HH the Dalai Lama

Words of My Perfect Teacher: Patrul Rinpoche

Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up: Alan Wallace

Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism: John Powers

Luminous Mind: Kalu Rinpoche

Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Sogyal Rinpoche

Wisdom Energy: Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche

..to name but a few.
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