Friday, 23 November 2012

Theravada and Mahayana

8 major schools: four practice-based (Zen, Pure Land, Vajrayana, Vinaya); four philosophy-based (Tendai, Avamtasaka, Yogacara and Madhyamika)
 
Theravada
Mahayana
LocationSouthern (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, parts of Southeast Asia)Northern (Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, parts of Southeast Asia )
Schools and SectsOne surviving school (as many as 18 existed at one time)
BuddhistScripturesPali Canon/Tripitaka onlyBooks of the Theravada Tripitaka plus many other sutras (e.g. Lotus Sutra)
BuddhasHistorical Buddha (Gautama) and past Buddhas onlyGautama Buddha plus Amitabha, Medicine Buddhas, and others
BodhisattvasMaitreya onlyMaitreya plus Avalokitesvara, Mansjuri, Ksitigarbha and Samanthabadra
Goal of TrainingArhatBuddhahood via bodhisattva-path
3 Buddha Bodies (Trikaya)Very limited emphasis; mainly on nirmana-kaya and dharma-kayaEmphasized, including the samboga-kaya or reward/enjoyment body
Original LanguagePaliSanskrit
Language of TransmissionTripitaka is only in Pali. Teaching in Pali supplemented by locallanguage.Scriptures translated into local language.
Buddha's DisciplesHistorical disciples described inScripturesMany bodhisattvas that are not historical figures
Mantras and MudrasSome equivalent in the use of ParittasEmphasized in Vajrayana; sometimes incorporated in other schools
Bardo (Limbo)RejectedTaught by all schools
Non-Buddhist InfluencesMainly pre-Buddhist Indian influences like concepts of karma, sangha, etc.Heavily influenced by local religious ideas as transmitted to new cultures (China, Japan, Tibet).
Buddha NatureNot taughtEmphasized, especially in practice-basedschools
RitualsVery few; not emphasizedMany, owing to local cultural influences

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