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A Comparison of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

A World Religions Essay

Carmen Petrick

on 19 April 2010

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Transcript of A Comparison of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

A Comparison of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
History Buddhism Today Originated in India, during the 5th century BCE Passing of Shakyamuni Buddha
into everlasting nirvana 2,500 years ago Dharma and a sangha of disciples ... New age of Buddhism Dominant religion in East, South, and Southeast Asia There are different 'vehicles' of Buddhism that vary throughout Asia

Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism

Same foundations, but much variety A Presentation by Carmen Petrick
16 April 2010 Presentation Objective To compare and contrast Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, while discussing the similar foundations and the extremely different views on Buddha, paths to enlightenment, and the concept of the bodhisattva Similarities between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism Common foundations and similar basic beliefs

Both vehicles accept that Buddha was born in the 6th century BCE

Both accept Shakyamuni Buddha as this Buddha and Teacher

Both acknowledge teachings of Four Noble Truths Difference #1 Interpretation of the Buddha For Theravada, the Buddha is an exceptional human being who has reached total enlightment Mahayana considers the three stages of the Buddha, the 'Doctrine of the Three Bodies,' or the trikaya

The trikaya doctrine envisions one cosmic reality that manifests itself in the form of both heavenly beings and humans Difference #2 Paths to Enlightenment
Daily Rituals For Theravada, enlightenment and liberation is reached through personal effort
Discipline of bhiskshu (males), or bhikshkuni (females)
Ultimate goal of Arahatship

Mahayana Buddhism works towards liberation of all living beings with help of celestial beings
Opportunities for laypeople

Difference #3
Bodhisattva Concept For Mahayana, a bodhisattva is a celestial being who forgoes nirvana for purpose of saving others For Thervada, Pure Land Buddhism

Mahayana are highly critical of Theravada vehicles, and nickame then 'hinayana' to scorn the exclusiveness of the Arahat Other differences In conclusion... thank you...
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