What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Post Reply
Ervin
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:46 pm

What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Post by Ervin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:39 pm

Can someone please tell me what are the main diferences between the theravada and let's say mahayana and other forms of Buddhism? Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?

Thanks


User avatar
Tex
Posts: 703
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:46 pm
Location: Austin, TX, USA

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Post by Tex » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Ervin wrote:Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?
Well, communicating with other kalanya mitta (spiritual friends) is definitely helpful, but Theravada does not have as much of an emphasis on face-to-face teacher-student interaction as Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) or Zen. That's not to say that teachers are not important in Theravada, but if you're inclined to spend a lot of time alone (I am, too) you can certainly read essays by Theravada monks or listen to Dhamma talks online and get plenty of quality instruction.
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Post by DNS » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:04 pm

Tex wrote: Well, communicating with other kalanya mitta (spiritual friends) is definitely helpful, but Theravada does not have as much of an emphasis on face-to-face teacher-student interaction as Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) or Zen. That's not to say that teachers are not important in Theravada, but if you're inclined to spend a lot of time alone (I am, too) you can certainly read essays by Theravada monks or listen to Dhamma talks online and get plenty of quality instruction.
I think that is a good point and also (imo) a very positive trait of Theravada. In Theravada, it is more 'teaching based' rather than 'teacher based' which I think is a good thing. Otherwise one could be following the idiosyncrasies of a specific teacher which may or may not deviate from the original teachings of Buddha.

To use a political analogy, good governments have a strong constitution so that the whims of individual leaders cannot drastically change the system and mess things up. If a charismatic person gets elected but who otherwise has some crazy ideas, he will be limited by the 'original' principles in the Constitution. In a similar way better to give precedence to the Tipitaka, rather than the idiosyncrasies of a teacher. But teachers are good of course and can guide one in practice, especially meditation, but otherwise when in doubt, let the Dhamma be your guide.

Mawkish1983
Posts: 1286
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Post by Mawkish1983 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:35 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:To use a political analogy, good governments have a strong constitution so that the whims of individual leaders cannot drastically change the system and mess things up
(See the current situation in the UK for an example of a bad government with a weak constitution)

User avatar
Skeptic
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:51 pm

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other for

Post by Skeptic » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:01 am

Ervin wrote:Is theravada like for people that are happy to spend a lot of time by them selves?
Renouncing violence for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone like a rhinoceros.

For a sociable person there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement's drawback,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

One whose mind is
enmeshed in sympathy for
friends & companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Like spreading bamboo,
entwined,
is concern for offspring & spouses.
Like a bamboo sprout,
unentangling,
wander alone like a rhinoceros.

As a deer in the wilds,
unfettered,
goes for forage wherever it wants:
the wise person, valuing freedom,
wanders alone like a rhinoceros.

In the midst of companions
— when staying at home,
when going out wandering
— you are prey to requests.
Valuing the freedom
wander alone like a rhinoceros.
...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

mal4mac
Posts: 271
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other

Post by mal4mac » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:35 am

The Sutta continues:

If you gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right-living & wise,
overcoming all dangers
go with him, gratified,
mindful.

...

We praise companionship
— yes!
Those on a par, or better,
should be chosen as friends.

---

Metta
Mal
- Mal

Kingdubrock
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:25 am

Re: What are the main diferences between theravada and other

Post by Kingdubrock » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:38 pm

There are differences. Having practiced in all three (Vajrayana, Mahayana - zen, Thich Nhat Nah... and Theravada) the experiences were sometimes vastly different. But this was not really for the reasons that used to cause a lot of chaos and debate on places like E-sangha where triumphalist assertions based on really old formulations of superiority were rife.
The extent to which the outward cultural expressions and use of traditional terminology were present in the teaching and general atmosphere of the respective groups seemed to me to have the most effect on differentiating.
There are age-old doctrinal disputes which show up in the language too, like the notorious word "hinayana", which sometimes got projected onto Theravada. Even if they tried to be politically correct by using the term Theravada it was often clearly in place of "hinayana" with the connotations left in tact. However, in large part, I didnt run into circumstances, except online where anyone truly exhibited very problematic triumphalism. Sectarianism, sure, but that was just as often towards other groups within ones own larger tradition as it was towards other so-called yanas.

More often I found something of the opposite. Theravada teachers comfortably using terms normally used with connotations associated with Mahayana like 'emptiness' and 'compassion', quoting Suzuki Roshi or the Dalai Lama or Thich Naht Hanh. Indeed if I recall, Bikkhu Bodhi lives or lived in a Chinese Mahayana center. My first Tibetan teacher was sent by the Dalai Lama to go to Thailand to study and practice Vipassana. I remember once for his dharma talk he read from Kornfield's A Path with Heart and gave commentary. In my Zen community, I was often asked by other students who had only tried zen how Tibetan or Theravadin Buddhism would view thisor that. In fact for a fundraiser for a prison program I was asked to find a qualified Tonglen teacher to give a workshop.

Lastly, there is Thich Nhat Hanh. I have never met anyone, anywhere, from any tradition, teacher or student, who didnt just adore him, let alone fundamentally disagreed with him.

Hope this helps.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests