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The Difference Between Theravada And Mahayana


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#1 smokey

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 09:25 PM

What is the Difference between Theravada and Mahayana with regards to Meditation, Doctrine - Dhamma/Dharma and Discipline - Vinaya?

#2 Michael John Smith

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 07:24 AM

There is a difference in motivation. There is a difference in why we do these things, why we practice. To be a Buddhist it is acceptable to practice in order to 1. make life easier - less suffering, 2. to liberate oneself from the suffering of samsara altogether or 3. to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings and bring them all to enlightenment.

To understand which is your motivation you can look at where is the source of your joy. Which of the three paths are most satisfying to you - which bring the most joy?

Edited by Michael John Smith, 17 June 2010 - 07:27 AM.


#3 smokey

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:12 AM

There is a difference in motivation. There is a difference in why we do these things, why we practice. To be a Buddhist it is acceptable to practice in order to 1. make life easier - less suffering, 2. to liberate oneself from the suffering of samsara altogether or 3. to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings and bring them all to enlightenment.

To understand which is your motivation you can look at where is the source of your joy. Which of the three paths are most satisfying to you - which bring the most joy?


Well, my goal would be both number 3 and 2. But I do not know how to bring all beings to enlightenment. I believe one that has reached Bodhi can help many beings, but not all of them. The Buddha himself could not help them all. There is one reference to this in the Tripitaka, in one of the suttas. Where the Buddha is asked of whether will all beings reach enlightenment, the Buddha remains silent upon being asked that question. I do not remember the name of the sutta though.

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It is in Uttiya Sutta.
http://www.accesstoi...0.095.than.html

#4 Michael John Smith

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:48 AM

With respect to helping others achieve enlightenment, sometimes a Bodhisattva can help where a Buddha cannot - I think it really depends on karmic connections we may or may not have with each other.

At the present time it is my not seeing all compounded phenomena as impermenant that is causing me to suffer, so I try to meditate on impermenance. I don't think an Arhant is an arhant forever - I believe he will find the causes and conditions to turn him into a Buddha. Maybe I can help him - I don't know. All I know is that the more I see the interdependent nature of all things, the more I would like to help other beings find happiness and the causes of happiness.

I don't believe in the separation of wisdom and compassion - I believe one grows with the other. As we become more compassionate, so we find the means to help others and as we help others we learn about the special means by which to help even more beings. We cannot help others without the wisdom to do so but that wisdom cannot be generated without the wish to help others.

#5 Shenpen.Rinpoche

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:13 AM

What is the Difference between Theravada and Mahayana with regards to Meditation, Doctrine - Dhamma/Dharma and Discipline - Vinaya?

The difference is mainly in the motivation. Bodhicitta is often translated as "compassion", but it's much more than that. It's about reaching Enlightenment for the sake of the others. Therefore, the methods also differ. Theravada practitioners will focus on reaching Nirvana, Emptiness, and once reached, will remain in it for eons! Mahayana practitioners will focus on helping others, wishing to reach omniscience for the sake of the others, reaching Emptiness as a means, not a goal.

So, Mahayana teaches that there is an equal importance in practicing the skilful means and the Wisdom, included in the 6 Perfections (ie. Generosity, Patience, Ethics, Enthusiastic perseverance, Concentration, and Wisdom).
As regard to Vinaya/Code of ethics, the vows and commitments are nearly the same. Without Ethics, no progress, no accumulation of merits.

The Vajrayana Path is based on Mahayana. It adds some specific practices to transform every moment in practice, transforming the perceptions, the energies directly into the pristine nature of the Buddha practiced.
Lama Shenpen Rinpoche
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"For as long as space endures, And as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide, To dispel the misery of the world." (Arya Shantideva)




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