Mahayana And Theravada Buddhism

2067 Words 9 Pages
Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha Gautama lived about 2500 years ago in what is now Nepal and northern India. After undergoing a profound realization of the nature of life, death, and existence, Gautama became known as "the Buddha," which means "awakened one.” The Buddha taught people how to realize enlightenment for themselves through direct experiences, not through beliefs and dogmas like in other religions. Although Buddhism was founded in India, it is mainly practiced in countries such as China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. There are two main branches of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana means “great vehicle,” while Theravada …show more content…
One of these differences is that the two branches each have different religious goals. Even though the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists share many of the same main beliefs, their religious goals are actually quite different. For the Mahayana inner peace, enlightenment, and wisdom are what they focus on. For the Theravada, they focus on spiritually awakening one’s self through meditation. Both branches aim to become enlightened or awakened, but their religious goals actually differ greatly when looked at closely. While the Theravada funnel most of their energy into meditation in order to obtain becoming an awakened one, the Mahayana broaden their focus to include not only meditation, but other ways to bring themselves closer to becoming enlightened. For the Mahayana, their main religious goal is “Becoming a Buddha, hence fulfilling the destiny of a Bodhisattva, enlightenment, and inner peace.”1 In contrast, for the Theravada, their main religious goal is to have deliverance of the mind and to become an Arahant by freeing themselves from bondage, namely samsara. Samsara is the repeating cycle of birth, life, and death, including one 's actions and the consequences of those actions in the past, present, and

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