Thread: The Three Schools of Buddhism

  1. #1

    The Three Schools of Buddhism

    This is a 20 minute video introduction to the three schools of Buddhism, by secular Buddhist Doug Smith. I haven't had time to watch it myself .... and I wondered if anyone might like to review it?

  2. #2
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Buckingham, Virginia
    It was interesting to learn a little more about the three schools of Buddhism. Doug Smith makes it easy to break down the different aspects of each of the different traditions. Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The only one I wasn’t very familiar with is Vajrayana. It seems to be more secretive, they are involved in Tantric rituals that are kept between Master and student.

    Overall a very good description of the three major schools of Buddhism.

  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    It seems to me that Doug Smith is presenting a very personal account of the three schools of Buddhism in this talk.

    Theravada is said to be less devotional, less hierarchical, less ritualistic [than other schools]. He does say that he's referring here to the Western form of Theravada. It's the root of mindfulness practice, doesn't go in for bells, robes and that sort of thing. Doug summarises Theravada as kind of democratic.

    Mahayana on the other hand is described as a guru-based devotional, hierarchical system with mantras, bells, incense and robes.

    And Vajrayana is intensely guru-based with initiation rites and various magical practices. Doug says that some of these come from other sources, such as later Buddhist tendencies and Hinduism.

    It's very difficult to give a truly independent and unbiased assessment of these three major branches of Buddhism, and Doug here shows how difficult it is.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
    Thank you for this post, Aloka.

    Wonder where he puts the fastest growing school of Buddhism in the West?, referring to Secular Buddhism.

    His discussion regarding Theravada and Mahayana seemed more than a bit superficial. Also, did not agree that "emptiness", "impermanence", "non-self / "no-self" were originated in the Mahayana traditions. Theravadin practice did include these in early practice as well and were taught by Sakyamuni Buddha, while he was alive.

    I do agree that non-duality / duality were teachings of the Mahayana almost exclusively, however, as Buddha said very little about these concepts when he was alive, or at least they were not reported in any Pali Canon literature of which I am personally aware.
    Last edited by Olderon; 31 Dec 18 at 02:02.

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