Reply To: Different types of Buddhism


I don’t disagree with much of what Christian and Saket stated. However, my thoughts are the following.

1. Those who follow different “sects/traditions” of Buddhism do that mainly because they are “born into families” who follow that particular tradition.

  • Most of them don’t know much about other traditions.

2. Even within Theravada, there is “ritualism” to a significant extent. 

  • The best example is the practice of “breath meditation” as Anapanasati. Isn’t that a ritual?

3. Even regarding the doctrine, most current Theravada texts translate “anatta” as “no-self” and put down the concept of gandhabba as a “Mahayana concept.” 

4. I made the mistake of trying to engage in debates about points #2 and #3 in the Dhamma Wheel forum for several years.

  • Such debates are mostly unproductive. One cannot persuade others by engaging them with a “debate mindset.” It actually hurt my practice. Now that I have given up that effort, my mind is more clear.
  • I may have also hurt some (unintentionally) because my engaging them made them angry with me. Some made nasty comments about me, which can only hurt them. Of course, I forgive all of them; I never had any animosity toward anyone. I was very frustrated about why some people could not see logic and reasoning. But now I understand that is just how it is.

5. We should present our interpretations; anyone interested will read/listen. We can certainly do our best to answer and engage them if they have questions and willingly engage. 

  • hat goes for people from other religions as well. 
  • In fact, I don’t perceive Buddha Dhamma as a religion. That is because the Buddha was not a “savior” who could “save” others if they placed faith in him. No one can “save” anyone else. The Buddha only taught how people get into more future suffering because they do not comprehend the “real nature of this world.” Anyone who can see the truth of that worldview will also see how to live their lives to stop future suffering.

P.S. The Buddha stated that trying to persuade those unwilling to listen is a foolish deed, like trying hard to court a woman who has repeatedly said “no.”

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