Questions tagged [mahayana]

One of the two major vehicles of Buddhism.

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16
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6answers
2k views

What teachings do all schools of Buddhism share?

Among the many schools and traditions, what core teachings are shared by all Buddhists?
12
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4answers
2k views

What is the oldest text/sutra of the Mahayana tradition?

I'm often interested in the history of Buddhist texts and, being a Theravadan, I'm not very familiar with the Mahayana texts. Please help to educate me in this manner.
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6answers
449 views

How to address wrong view

Did the Buddha give any teachings on how to deal with individuals spreading wrong view? If someone is expounding their beliefs in a public forum under the guise of the Buddha's teaching, given the ...
11
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6answers
502 views

Ignorant mind and Buddha nature

I read in a Mahayana Buddhist book (insight into emptiness) 2 concepts that I find hard to reconcile: 1- Our minds used to be pure, only Buddha nature, and got contaminated with ignorance that led to ...
11
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3answers
318 views

What is it that is re-incarnated ? [duplicate]

I have been reading Mahayana philosophy. It proposes non-self and that self does not exist in the 5 aggregates. If the self/atman does not exist, what is that is re-incarnated? How can nothing ...
10
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10answers
2k views

Logic of Emptiness still unconvincing. Please help explain

I've been a practitioner of Vipassana and Mahamudra for 2 years now. One thing quite bothering me is various explanations from different teachers on emptiness logically disturbing... Usually, it goes ...
10
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9answers
3k views

miscarriage and abortion

3 years back i had to face with an relationships Problem with my ex boy friend and at that time i was pregnant. I had to abort my child at that time as a result of those problems. Now i am married ...
10
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7answers
2k views

Which book by Nagarjuna provides an introduction to his teachings?

I've noticed there are a lot of YouTube video lectures on Nagarjuna. It seems he was a very prolific writer on Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy. Which of his works would be appropriate to get an ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Why did Mahayana leave out the Pali Canon?

I'm quite familiar with Theravada and Zen but I can't understand the historical reasons for not keeping the original Buddha's teaching as a core. The schools do not contradict each other, so why ...
9
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6answers
2k views

Buddha's omniscience

Is a Buddha omniscient? If so, is there some agreement on what omniscience more specifically means? (All traditions are of interest. But particularly Mahayana)
9
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9answers
412 views

Does sutta recitation actually entail understanding of the text?

I'm particularly interested in Chinese morning and evening service Tibetan sadhanas that a monk recites every day Theravada Pali suttas and chants Are these read in modern times by and to an ...
9
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2answers
10k views

Buddhas of The Ten Directions

What are the Buddhas of the ten directions? What are the applications of this teaching in the Buddhist traditions?
8
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7answers
512 views

Is there a compassion only Buddhist path?

In a recent version of the Buddhist Geeks podcast Rick Hanson said that recent academic research is showing that in the Pali Canon there were teachings indicating that compassion is enough to progress ...
8
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7answers
4k views

How is samsara nirvana?

How is samsara nirvana? I have heard this mentioned in a couple books recently, but they never go into much detail.
8
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5answers
938 views

Why do monastics in certain Buddhist traditions take new names?

In the Theravada tradition, and perhaps others, monastics take a new name when becoming bhikkhus/bhikkhunis. Where does this tradition come from, and what is its significance? Others don't - what's ...
8
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4answers
1k views

What is the intermediate state before birth (Gandhabba)?

What is the intermediate state before birth ("Gandhabba"), mentioned in some Buddhist traditions? I have only heard the word so I can't explain the question any further. I would like a detailed ...
8
votes
3answers
872 views

Is a Theravada Buddhist permitted/able to take a Bodhisattva vow?

This is a sister question to this one. Suppose a Theravada practitioner decided they wanted to take a Bodhisattva vow, could they (and remain Theravadin)? I guess there are a few of components to ...
8
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1answer
320 views

What were Nagarjuna's seminal contributions to Buddhist philosophy?

Nagarjuna's ideas are considered to represent the historical starting point of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Can his ideas be considered a clarification of the philosophy presented in the Pali canon? ...
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8answers
2k views

Why is the Heart Sutra so important in Mahayana Buddhism?

So the Heart Sutra is one of the most popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism, said to be the summary and heart of the Prajna Paramita Sutra. It was popularized by the famous monk Xuanzang. It was said ...
7
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5answers
472 views

Is there a better term than Hinayana?

I'm aware that using the term Hinayana isn't ideal as it has derogatory undertones - being coined by the Mahayana school to differentiate themselves from what had gone on before. The implication being ...
7
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2answers
577 views

When is it time to meditate and when is it time to act?

As a Mahayana follower I keep growing my wish to help all beings. To accomplish this, I have developed the wish to become a Buddha. As I meditate and follow the teachings, I really wish to help all ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Are there any cultural or religious guidelines for Buddhist tattoos?

I've notice people on Instagram are getting tattoos of Mahakala and other Buddhist deities. Are there any cultural or religious guidelines to consider when getting a tattoo of a Dharmapala or any ...
7
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4answers
5k views

What is the difference between a Bodhisatta and a Bodhisattva?

Lots of Buddhist words have two different spellings (kamma/karma) because one is the Pali version and the other is the Sanskrit version; but the meaning is the same. My understanding of Bodhisatta and ...
7
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3answers
742 views

What is Nirvana (mahayana)?

...as per the title. In the Theravada literature, the Buddha is seen as someone who found an end to suffering and taught that for all his life, urging his disciples to apply themselves to it, to not ...
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3answers
3k views

How do Buddhists use mudras?

This is a practice question. I know both Mahayana buddhists and Vajrayana buddhists use mudras. In the former they show up in inconography, and hand resting positions while meditating, in the later it'...
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2answers
6k views

What is meant by Namu Amida Butsu and also Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

In two schools of Buddhism, an important part of the practice is the repetition of special mantras which sound like simple expressions of honor or gratitude to those of us outside of the sects, but ...
7
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1answer
223 views

Were robes a factor in the spread of Buddhism?

If you look at the countries where Theravada Buddhism has historically taken hold (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar/Burma) they are all in fairly close proximity to each other in the ...
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3answers
505 views

What is the Pure Land?

The Three Pure Land sutras contain descriptions of a beautiful and serene place with trees, ponds, and palaces all made of jewels and surrounded with heavenly music and fragrance. How is this Pure ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What practices are included in (daily lay) life for a Buddhist? [closed]

There are a number of Buddhist traditions, each with different teachings and practices. What are the daily practices lay people normally live by? For instance, living by five or eight precepts, in ...
7
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3answers
340 views

Tathagatagarbha and dhammakaya

Can we consider 'tathagatagarbha' and 'dhammakaya' as synonyms? If not, what is the difference between those words.
7
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1answer
1k views

What are the core Mahayana and Vajrayana Sutras?

When starting a more in-depth study of the Dharma from a Mahayana and Vajrayana perspective, what are the core (3 most recommended) Sutras (or texts), and the reasons why they are considered important,...
7
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4answers
264 views

Is it more important not to break precepts through proxy, or to not cause suffering to your family?

An important point I see is how one furthers death and lying. Through working, you are taxed, and taxes fund the breaking of the precepts. Taxes fund war and espionage, so killing and stealing are ...
7
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2answers
979 views

Heart Sūtra root in Pali Canon?

It's hard not to think of the Heart Sūtra when reading the Kassaka Sutta (Saŋyutta Nikāya 4:19), part of which runs as below (Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation, emphasis added). Is there any ...
7
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1answer
372 views

Is there a legendary biography of Avalokitesvara/Kwan-Yin/Chenrezig?

I've googled this, but can't find it. I know there is a tradition of writing legendary/mythological/fictional biographies (hagiographies) of monks in the Chinese tradition. Just a few days ago was ...
7
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5answers
797 views

Stages of the Bardo

From the moment of death, to the moment of rebirth (or alternative outcomes) How would you map the flowchart of the bardo? or instead of a flowchart a tree map? A list of stages would also be ...
6
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9answers
358 views

Why should Mahayana practitioners strive for anything at all?

In the Theravada tradition: There is no self in all phenomena (including the five aggregates). The five aggregates and the rest of nature and the world is always changing and not permanent (anicca). ...
6
votes
8answers
6k views

Is there a Vipassana meditation in the Mahayana tradition?

I was brought up in the Theravada tradition and have little knowledge on Mahayana. Recently some of my friends participated in a Mahayana retreat and praised it highly. One of them even claimed that ...
6
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9answers
2k views

What is Karuṇā? Is 'compassion' really a good translation?

Is compassion really a good translation for Karuna? I've been fooled by "patience" before, now I'm sort of suspicious of the other common translations for the paramitas. Does karuna in addition to ...
6
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12answers
12k views

Are Amitabha and Sakyamuni the same?

Buddha is the name for the Supreme Being, right? So are Amitabha Buddha and Sakyamuni Buddha both Supreme Beings but of different galaxies or something? I assume there are more buddhas than just these ...
6
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4answers
676 views

In the five paramitas, what is patience and why is it on the list?

I understand the English dictionary definition of patience, the ability to wait. When reading about the paramitas, it seems like this word in the original language covered forbearance, i.e. the ...
6
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7answers
3k views

Does Paritta/Sutta really have magical power?

Many people believed certain Paritta/Sutta have certain magical power, for example Bojjhanga Sutta for curing illness and Om Mani Padme Hum having a great (even greatest) magical power among other ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya Sūtra in Sanskrit with English translation

Is there any book or internet resource which has Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya Sūtra in Sanskrit and word to word English translation? I am not exactly looking for commentaries(though I don't mind ...
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2answers
4k views

What are the main differences between the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana branches of Buddhism? [closed]

The question basically says it all, but I'll try to elaborate a bit: Are there differences in terms of the concepts used in each of these branches? Are there differences in the practices of each of ...
6
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3answers
357 views

What is the purpose of the Mahayana 'emptiness' doctrine?

Another naive question... Further to e.g. this answer, which may be an overview of what Mahayana teaches about emptiness, my question is why does Mahayana teach that? I gather that the purpose of ...
6
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7answers
999 views

How does a person enter the 1st bhumi

In order to attain the bhumis a person needs to enter somewhere so my question is pretty important in the way of the Bodhisattva. How does a person enter the 1st Bhumi?
6
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3answers
571 views

Two unconditioned dhammas?

In A history of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Early Mahayana, Professor Hirakawa states: Both nirvana and space were considered to be unconditioned dharmas. This fundamental classification of ...
6
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2answers
474 views

Sutras in Western Buddhism?

How should western practitioners approach the sutras? What are the most important sutras from the main Buddhist traditions for westerners to study? When studying the sutras should that be considered a ...
6
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3answers
477 views

Pāramitāyāna and Tantrayāna

Wikipedia includes this (unreferenced) sentence: According to the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism, Mahāyāna practitioners have the choice of two practice paths: the path of perfection (Sanskrit: ...
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5answers
7k views

What is the difference between Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya?

Within the Trikāya doctrine (the bodies of the Buddha) I've never felt very clear about the differences between the Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya. I believe that the Nirmanakaya is the physicality of ...
6
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10answers
982 views

Theravada and Mahayana - The Crucial Differences

I struggle with the idea that Buddhism has two warring schools and wonder why they cannot make peace. What are the issues on which Theravada and Mahayana cannot agree? Just bullet points would be ...

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