13

No they are not the same, Tibetan Buddhism is a broader concept that subsumes Tibetan Vajrayana. Also, there's non-Tibetan Vajrayana, some still practiced in e.g. Japan. To some degree all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and particularly Karma Kagyu, recognize three yanas (Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) as subsequent stages on an individual's path to ...


10

Japan- tattoos are taboo in general, since the assumption only criminals, prostitutes and other low class sorts have tattoos. I think it would be hard to distinguish a religious from a classist objection in Japan. Sri Lanka- recently a tourist was ejected from the country for having a Buddhist themed tattoo Thailand - Buddhist themed tattoo are very common ...


10

There is an existent reference to the similarities between Theravāda & Mahāyāna which I will cite: (I think it also applies to Vajrayāna although I may be wrong in this regard.) Whatever our sects, denominations or systems, as Buddhists we all accept the Buddha as our Master who gave us the Teaching. We all take refuge in the Triple Jewel: ...


8

According to the early texts the Buddha didn't have any secret teachings. Somewhere in the Digha Nikaya (I think it's in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, but it's a very long Sutta and I can't quite locate it) the Buddha said: "I do not have the closed fist of the teacher who holds anything back" and in AN 1.283 the Buddha said: "Three things shine openly, not in ...


7

This question, indeed, requires a whole book in order to be answered completely. Let me address only Theravada and Mahayana here. In two words: The most important aspect is that Theravada is focused on your own liberation from suffering, while Mahayana is targeted to all sentient creatures; There are many consequences here: Theravada assumes that you have ...


7

Vajrayana was practiced in China, Vietnam and Korea. This is often called esoteric Buddhism. Kukyo brought esoteric Buddhist to Japan and founded the Shingon sect. In Russia (well, Kalmykia and Buryatia now) Buddhism was essentially Mongolian Buddhism, which in turn came from Tibet. And in the US, we have modern formulations of Vajrayana like Shambhala. ...


7

I practice with the Triratna Buddhists which is an explicit attempt to bring Buddhism into the Western context. It is ecumenical so brings in all traditions so for me this question is very interesting. For us the sutras that are particularly studied are Pali Canon Middle Length Discourses generally but more specifically from the pali canon Satipatthana ...


6

Demographically the majority of Buddhists today (nearly 99%) are born in Asia into Buddhists families and would likely follow their family or local tradition. But assuming your question is regarding those of us who have converted to Buddhism in primarily non Buddhist countries, there may still be no consensus on what the majority of these Buddhist converts ...


5

My understanding of a refuge tree is a visual representation of a lineage of a particular school of Buddhism. From Wikipedia the lineage of gurus and transmission of teachings is depicted in visual form as a visual mind map For instance I practice with the Triratna Buddhist community and we have our own refuge tree (shown below). At the bottom is ...


5

Firstly, what are the 10 directions: "Specifically, the ten directions are the eight directions of the compass—north, south, east, west, northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest—plus up and down." ref: http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=2245 Second, sutras that attempt to list and describe the 10 buddhas. http://www.tientai.net/...


5

I think both interpretations should be somewhat intertwined and doesn't need to be clearly distinguished. See, you'll not say 'I only take refuge in Gautama Buddha, but not Buddhahood', or 'I will take refuge only in Buddhahood, but not Gautama Buddha', both of these sounds weird. Buddha Gautama represents Buddhahood, so we can not separate Him from ...


5

In Vajrayana every practice is done on 3 levels - on the level of body, speech and mind. We work with the mind through visualising the Buddha forms, the speech centre is exercised through mantra repetitions and the body - through keeping the posture, using prayer beads (mala) and through the use of mudras. As a Vajrayana practitioner I can think of a few ...


5

It's important to keep in mind the true pupose of a reincarnated Teacher: "As long as sentient being remain, may I too remain and dispel the miseries of the world". If there was no one left, then the teacher's job would've been completed and there would be no further need to come back to this world. From a bigger cosmos perspective, there're uncountable ...


4

As well as the list which is quoted in Unrul3r's answer there are, also, three other lists included on Wikipedia's Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna article. A less canonical list was written by Christmas Humphreys, In 1945 he drafted the Twelve Principles of Buddhism for which he obtained the approval of all the Buddhist sects in Japan (...


4

As @bytebuster said, this could take an expert a book to answer. But in the spirit of constructive collaboration, let me throw in my two cents: In Theravada, the focus is on escaping from Samsara to Nirvana, mainly through attaining perfect control of your mind, which in day-to-day life manifests as practice of minimalism. In Mahayana, the focus is on ...


4

In the editor's preface of my copy of Trungpa's 'Shambhala - The Sacred Path of the Warrior' it is claimed (and I do well agree with that), that the Shambhala teaching is "a major departure" from Trungpa's earlier, popular but quite orthodox Tibetan Buddhist books. This is further elaborated, saying that the outlook is rather secular than religious and in ...


4

Beyond culture, and more towards the philosophy of Buddhism, if you look up the 'Eight Percepts', you will notice that number seven mentions abstainment from cosmetics, jewelry, etc.. Yes, this percept is of three monk percepts added to the layperson's 'Five Percepts.' However, I think tattoos in general are kind of at odds with the Buddhist worldview in ...


4

The Dharmaguptaka school was one of the old 18 to 20 early schools of Buddhism that arose before the arrival of Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism is really just a blanket term we use to refer to groups that started following various new sutras that were written after this period which have an emphasis on Bodhisattva practice and various other new ...


4

I think your question is much larger than can be answered with just three texts. Mahāyāna is not one thing, it is many Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Pure Land, Yogacāra, Chan/Zen, Huayen etc. Similarly Vajrayāna is not one thing either. For the Mahāyāna a comprehensive guide would have dozens of texts. At a minimum: Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra ...


4

Wrathful Buddhas (or wrathful gurus for that matter) are not actually angry, in the way untrained people are. In Vajrayana before we even reach highest tantra, we learn to transmute emotions. If you are not good at it yet, at the very least you should be able to transmute anger into headache. Once you reach some mastery though, you can transmute any emotion ...


4

Upasaka Swapnil, interested, It's a still practiced way in the high cold mountains, with also practical aspects, since such as fire-wood for burning is raw and soil might be frozen. Next to that it serves good for Asubha-meditation for yogies and monks. Nothing generally wrong with such and not inhuman but not beloved by those attached to body as the Self ...


3

Refuge tree is a visual representation of the objects of refuge. All the Buddhist schools take refuge in Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) but in Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners also take refuge in the teacher - Lama, who in fact unites Three Roots - Blessing (Lama), Methods (Yidams) and Protection (Protectors). Let me illustrate the above ...


3

The notion of Buddhas of the 10 directions is used to depict the first Jewel - Buddha - in some refuge trees. (In the picture below on the left one can see a circle of 10 Buddhas) Some refuge trees instead of 10 might have 3 Buddhas which in turn will depict Buddhas of the three times - Past, Present and Future. Taken together, one can come across a phrase '...


3

Since the question is broad my answer is opinionated towards the Theravada tradition. Main aspect of Buddhism is that your practice should cover the 8 fold path (which is part of Bodhipakkhiyādhammā). Out of which a major part is meditation but ethics / morality is important. Your choice of study ideally should cover the Bodhipakkhiyādhammā, Dependent ...


3

In the theory of Five Buddha Families, green light is associated with Karma-family, which is where Green Tara comes from. The family of Karma-Buddhas, green, in its neurotic aspect stands for a tendency to see imperfections everywhere, to get stuck in analysis-paralysis, to overestimate one's game skills while staying on the sidelines, to feel like one is ...


3

"The Words of My Perfect Teacher" by Patrul Rinpoche has a chapter (Ch. 6) on how to choose, test and follow a "spiritual friend" (teacher): pure, never having contravened any of the commitments or prohibitions (Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva's Vow, Secret Vows of Secret Mantrayana) unstained by negative emotions learned, not lacking in knowledge of sutras, ...


3

Vajrasattva is a specific bodhisattva, not another word for "bodhisattva." In esoteric traditions Vajrasattva is invoked as a counter measure to unwholesome actions. Esoteric traditions, and Tibetan traditions in particular, have elaborate explanations for the mechanics of karma+vipaka, and Vajrasattva is used as one of the opponent powers of confessing ...


3

I'd say nothing, there are so many sects, that you can find any Buddhism that lacks one element or the other. Meditation (less common, matra and mudra) The Historical Buddha. In some forms of Buddhism, the historical Buddha is not so important. Monasticism and renunciation. Philosophical bent that cares about topics like identity, change and it's ...


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