I discovered Buddhism by reading and practising the Theravada teachings. As I wanted to make some progress, I started looking for a teacher who could guide me and direct my practicing.

So I decided to go to a local Mahayana School near my home, and I've been going there for two years now. Until this time I've still been practicing both Theravada teachings and Mahayana. Also I discovered about the S.N. Goenka Vipassana movement and did some courses (retreats).

I would like to know if is there a problem from mixing different sources of teachings in my practice? I saw many famous teachers who searched different teachings, till finding their way to enlightenment.

Is it inappropriate mixing different sources of teachings, and could it disturb/confuse my practice? I would appreciate seeing different perspectives, and their own experiences from other practitioners.

Thanks :)

3 Answers 3


The Teaching is just one but there might be many interpretations. That's why the Buddha advised us to always verify a teacher's words, no matter how famous or well respected he is, against the Buddha's original Words in the Suttas and the Books of Discipline:

1) “Here, monks, a monk might speak like this: ‘I have heard this directly from the Gracious One, friends, directly I learned it: “This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ That monk’s speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at. Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well, they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

2) If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare well with the Discipline, you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One’s word, it is not well learned by that monk,’ and, monks, you should abandon it. If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline, they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare well with the Discipline, you may come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One’s word, it is well-learned by that monk.’ This, monks, is the first Great Referral you should bear in mind. ~ DN 16 ~


There will probably be some contradictions. I have heard Nicca Sukkha Atta to describe Nirvana by Dhammakaya Movement which I quickly dismissed. It's polar opposite of anicca dukkha anatta. From my study, Buddha never said a anything to be Atta (or self). From war drum sutta, Buddha said not to lend ear to new lectures. However, if you want to listen to the other schools make sure you chose carefully. Just like santa100 said, verify it first. it is a sensitive subject. you never want to criticize food eaten by people from different cultures than yours. They will get offended.


In Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 16.13, the Buddha warned that the true Dhamma would remain unadulterated for 500 years after his passing into Nibbana. Thereafter, it will become very difficult to distinguish the true Teachings from the false. Why? Because although many of these books contain a lot of Dhamma, some adhamma (i.e. what is contrary to the Dhamma) are added here and there. These alterations scattered throughout the text are only noticeable if one is sharp and very well versed in the earliest 4 Nikayas. Otherwise, one would find it very difficult to distinguish the later books from the earlier ones.

The Buddha likened this to gold trading. The market for gold will be strong when people are confident that it is pure, but if we come to a time when it is possible to make fake "gold" which is difficult to distinguish from real gold, people will be reluctant to buy. So it is that if the Dhamma becomes polluted with adhamma (ie what is contrary to the dhamma), people will start to lose interest in the Dhamma.

For example if someone tells you that it is necessary to have kamatahan, whether it is a well known monk or layman, then he/she spread and promote an adhamma.- - a falsehood. If I write, what I write for your eyes and ears only it is a ‘kamatahan’. But what I write is open to one and all, thus it is open and transparent.

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