Why Theravada?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Why Theravada?

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:18 pm

I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?


Thanks for your answers
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby nibbuti » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:29 pm

Don't know

:smile:

(Perhaps because Theras have Nikayas, which are for all Buddhists, from the Buddha's mouth, whereas in the other Tradition teacher usually needs lots of $$.

Could be the other way round too, like for some popular Thera Ajahn, don't know).

:pig:
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:29 pm

Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?


Thanks for your answers


Well, I didn't choose Theravada, I practice Seon (Zen). But I am not at all convinced that it's superior. Apart from a somewhat controversial difference in emphasis (concerning Bodhisattva vows) I think much hinges on the actual teacher and even more on the student. As far as teachers go, Thai Forest, for example, for me has many inspirational living teachers, whereas Seon has few English speaking teachers (apart from the Kwan Um school, which is a little different). So in a practical sense I'd say if you have a good Seon teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have a good Theravada teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have both, well, you are spoilt for choice! Explore both and see which one resonates more strongly.

Hwadu is a great practice but it is not for everyone. Like much of Zen, it is a steep path.
_/|\_
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:31 pm

Because the people who introduced me to Buddhism were in a Theravada tradition, and the Theravada monastery is a few minutes drive away. The practice brings benefits, and I don't think it would be useful for me to change. My mind is not closed to other traditions, but if it ain't broke...
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?


Thanks for your answers


Well, I didn't choose Theravada, I practice Seon (Zen). But I am not at all convinced that it's superior. Apart from a somewhat controversial difference in emphasis (concerning Bodhisattva vows) I think much hinges on the actual teacher and even more on the student. As far as teachers go, Thai Forest, for example, for me has many inspirational living teachers, whereas Seon has few English speaking teachers (apart from the Kwan Um school, which is a little different). So in a practical sense I'd say if you have a good Seon teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have a good Theravada teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have both, well, you are spoilt for choice! Explore both and see which one resonates more strongly.

Hwadu is a great practice but it is not for everyone. Like much of Zen, it is a steep path.



Thanks Dan,

Do you not think each tradition comes with a flavour of sorts though. Buddhism itself doesn't, I get that. But Zen has a definite taste of Japan/Korea/China and Theravada has a more gentle hint of Thailand etc... They seem extremely different to me. Might be wrong though but the aesthetic choice seems to be really important too.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:49 pm

Also I think if I went to a buy a car and a salesman said this car is faster, much more efficient and will get you to your desitnation quicker than the rest....I'd buy that one! :woohoo:
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Hickersonia » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:05 pm

Myotai wrote:Also I think if I went to a buy a car and a salesman said this car is faster, much more efficient and will get you to your desitnation quicker than the rest....I'd buy that one! :woohoo:

The faster vehicle won't get anyone anywhere faster if the driver is stopped for speeding... :anjali:
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:07 pm

Hickersonia wrote:
Myotai wrote:Also I think if I went to a buy a car and a salesman said this car is faster, much more efficient and will get you to your desitnation quicker than the rest....I'd buy that one! :woohoo:

The faster vehicle won't get anyone anywhere faster if the driver is stopped for speeding... :anjali:


Hmmm...
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:08 pm

Myotai wrote:Also I think if I went to a buy a car and a salesman said this car is faster, much more efficient and will get you to your desitnation quicker than the rest....I'd buy that one! :woohoo:


And you would be right to do so. But if you have a car that works (or have a lifestyle that means you don't need one - "Being nobody, going nowhere"?) then sales talk sounds unimpressive.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:11 pm

Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?


Thanks for your answers

Claims based upon what, exactly? I for one, want my Buddhism to trace it's teachings to the earliest record of what the Buddha actually taught. Which, by the way, was the standard the Buddha himself left to evaluate later Dhamma teachers.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Myotai » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:13 pm

I am not an apologist for these other schools. I am just reitterating what they say.

Regarding the Buddhas 'original' teachings, don't things move on? Can teachings be elaborated or embelished?

Thanks
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:45 pm

Myotai wrote:Also I think if I went to a buy a car and a salesman said this car is faster, much more efficient and will get you to your desitnation quicker than the rest....I'd buy that one!


I live in NYC. I enjoy walking and using subways.

:anjali:
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Viscid » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:43 pm

My primary attraction to Theravada is its gradual, methodological approach to creating change in the practitioner over an emphasis on the provocation of a sudden realization of dissatisfyingly ambiguous meaning and consequence.
Last edited by Viscid on Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby PimonratC » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:46 pm

.

Interesting question. Thank you so much.
It made me stop and thinking, what am I doing and why am I here.

.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Derek » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:50 pm

Choosing a path always has to be a bit subjective. We don't yet live in a world where there are peer-reviewed outcome studies for every possible tradition and lineage.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:57 pm

Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?
Thanks for your answers


Never heard of those things,
Vipassna and Theravada teachings were what was around when I became interested in meditation,
Theravada is the oldest surviving Buddhist tradition so I think the chances are better that the Pali Canon is closeER to what the historical Buddha MIGHT have actually taught.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Samma » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:02 pm

That form of mediation seems to have been popularized by the Chinese Zen master Ta-Hui (1089 – 1163) a member of the Lin-Chi sect of Zen. So thats around 1500 years after the Buddha. This is the best article I know on the topic:
http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nondu ... lachs..htm

It is a fair question, has the dhamma been improved on over time or not? And well, many of us here would say not. Be especially careful of people saying they are the best and offer the fastest more direct enlightenment. Are they even offering the same thing as the early texts or something different? Keep your common sense.
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby kc2dpt_deactivated » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:21 pm

There is no shortage of people who will tell you what they have is new, improved, faster, and better. That claim on it's own seems worthless to me.

I started with Theravada because of all the teachings I had read, those from this tradition were the first to make some sort of sense to me. Of course, that on it's own doesn't mean I made the right choice. :lol:
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby santa100 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:28 pm

Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?

The Buddha taught the Four References which could be useful for such question..

Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might say: ‘In the presence of the Blessed One I heard this; in his presence I learned this: “This is the Dhamma; this is the discipline; this is the Teacher’s teaching!”’ That bhikkhu’s statement should neither be approved nor rejected. Without approving or rejecting it, you should thoroughly learn those words and phrases and then check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline.893 If, when you check for them in the discourses and seek them in the discipline, [you find that] they are not included among the discourses and are not to be seen in the discipline, you should draw the conclusion: ‘Surely, this is not the word of the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. It has been badly learned by this bhikkhu.’ Thus you should discard it. ~~ http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... _link-1064 ~~
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Re: Why Theravada?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:53 pm

Myotai wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Myotai wrote:I have read recently some of the teachings within the Korean Seon schools. The imply that their practices cut out a lot of talk and conjecture going straight to the core. They speak of Hwadu practices as being a direct path to Enlightenment. For those in here who are aware of this path I am curious why would you choose Theravada in the light of these claims?


Thanks for your answers


Well, I didn't choose Theravada, I practice Seon (Zen). But I am not at all convinced that it's superior. Apart from a somewhat controversial difference in emphasis (concerning Bodhisattva vows) I think much hinges on the actual teacher and even more on the student. As far as teachers go, Thai Forest, for example, for me has many inspirational living teachers, whereas Seon has few English speaking teachers (apart from the Kwan Um school, which is a little different). So in a practical sense I'd say if you have a good Seon teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have a good Theravada teacher nearby, go for it, and if you have both, well, you are spoilt for choice! Explore both and see which one resonates more strongly.

Hwadu is a great practice but it is not for everyone. Like much of Zen, it is a steep path.



Thanks Dan,

Do you not think each tradition comes with a flavour of sorts though. Buddhism itself doesn't, I get that. But Zen has a definite taste of Japan/Korea/China and Theravada has a more gentle hint of Thailand etc... They seem extremely different to me. Might be wrong though but the aesthetic choice seems to be really important too.


Aesthetics enter in tangentially, I think, through things like chant styles, art, food. The core of the teachings is timeless in both cases and much closer than it may appear.

As for claims, there is always a proviso. I think there are some suttas like this too, 'if you do...., then...." The trouble of course is doing ..... Sudden, steep paths work best for people with a great deal of energy, resolve and stamina to last all the way. Such are indeed, very few. But most teachers incorporate elements from various teachings to teach a combination of sudden and gradual, I've found.

Don't get fooled by the label - the important thing, as I've said, are the student and the teacher (especially in Seon, but personally I think in Theravada, too).
_/|\_
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