Comparing Theravada Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism And Zen Buddhism

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Buddhism can be broken down into main schools all have their own teachings and purposes. The school are Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism and Zen Buddhism I will discuss the similarities and differences.

Theravada Buddhism,it is considered the most conservative branch of Buddhism. It is known to be a monastic branch and is very strict, Thereavada is known for sticking to the original teachings of Buddha. According to Theravada Buddhism, one must live ethically, meditate, and seek wisdom. These teachings come from the sacred texts of Buddhism, known as the Tripitaka. In following the Tripitaka, a person will achieve the ultimate Buddhist goal of nirvana, which is enlightenment and freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. With its focus on nirvana and its adherence to the oldest
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Vajra in Sanskrit means diamond, while yana means vehicle. Vajrayana is translated as "Diamond Vehicle."The Vajrayana is also known as "Tibetan Buddhism." Vajrajyana quickly developed into a complex philosophical and ritual system. Vajrayana is also sometimes called "Tantric Buddhism," an esoteric extension of Buddhist thought and practice which sees itself as a quicker, more effective path to enlightenment. As with Mahayana Buddhism, the Vajrayana emphasizes the role of the bodhisattva, but the tradition tends to favor fierce deities, and significantly expands the bodhisattva pantheon. Vajrayana ritual and devotion employs mantras, mandalas , and other rituals. Much emphasis is placed on the role of the guru in the Vajrayana; these are religious teachers who have mastered the philosophical and ritual tradition. “The Tibet translation of guru is "lama," and the various Tibetan schools of the Vajrayana trace long lineages of gurus who serve both as religious and political leaders (the Dalai Lama is the most well known of Tibet's Lamas).”

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