Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
1. Theravada: “The Way of the Elders”
a. No deification of the BuddhaOne Buddha at a time, in human realm. Disappeared into nirvana; only reached through teaching and sangha.
b. Salvation for religious elite via effort and self-discipline, rationality. Individualistic (with support from monastic community)
c. Bond between monarchy and Sangha: legitimation, prosperity, spiritual benefit.
e. Triratna: The Triple Treasure:
i. I take refuge in:
1. The Buddha: the teacher
2. The Sangha: the community of those who follow
3. The Dharma: the teaching
2. Mahayana Buddhism: "The Greater Vehicle"
a. Everyone has a chance of liberation.
b. Criticizes elitism and selfishness of Theravadan religious.
c. Mahayana emphasis on compassion:
didn't disappear into nirvana, stayed beind to help others to liberation. Can be contacted via prayer, meditation, and
d. Boddhisattva (an enlightened one who, out of compassion, puts off his own final salvation till all others are saved)
i. Buddhas continue to exist, always have. Countless numbers, worlds of buddhas -- boddhisattvas.
1. Example: Avalokatashvara: The Lord
who looks down with compassion. “The lord who sees” - capacity to see the
sufferings of others. Smts represented with 1000 eyes. 1000 hands to help in delivering innumerable
beings from suffering
(Siddhartha Gautama Buddha) came to be a manifestation of a cosmic, divine
reality. Dharmakaya ( “body of reality”) permeats all things. A cosmic
buddha nature of all things, including us.
Our task is to realize this nature.
f. Many traditions within Mahayana Buddhism: Vajrayana, Zen, Pure Land Buddhism
1. Buddha Amitabha constructed a
2. “Buddha Amitabha”means “Buddha of
Infinite Light” (