Thread: Non-denominational Mahayanist?

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    Non-denominational Mahayanist?

    Hello KathynLauren, I have only been practicing for about 10 years. Pretty much all of that time, it's been in the Karma Kagyu tradition. However, the recent debacle within Shambhala and other schools has left me cold. I have been considering Zen, but all that chanting and the koans just confuse me.

    I am intrigued by your comment in another thread that you consider yourself a "non-denominational Mahayanist." Would you explain a bit about what this means to you, e.g., what practices and what teachings?

    Thank you,
    Lise

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    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
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    Hi, Lise.

    I basically don't see the alleged differences among sects as being important. In fact, I can't really give a coherent account of what those differences are. I do appreciate that, for example, Zen, Pure Land, and the various Tibetan schools have different "flavours", but they strike me as being more esthetic, rather than differences of substance. I know that scholars have spent a great deal of time, and written a great many words on those differences, and I don't discount their efforts. But, I can't see why I would need to concern myself with them.

    I do like the emphasis in the Mahayana of the Bodhisattva ideal, and that is what makes me a Mahayanist, rather than a Theravadan. And I appreciate the integrity of sticking with one tradition for the purpose of practice. "Shopping around" among different traditions may give a person a feel for their differences, but it doesn't give the practitioner a chance to become good at any of them. Better to pick one and stick with it for a period of time. And, for the most part, I have done that. But I don't see any one Mahayana tradition as "better" than another.

    I, too, have issues with the recent problems in the Shambhala organization, and I am reluctant to associate with them. Since they are the majority Buddhist group in this area, that means that I am unable to find a group to practise with. So I practise on my own, in keeping with what I have been taught.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

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    Thank you, Kathy. I appreciate your perspective on this, and it makes a lot of sense to me as I try to sort out what I do and do believe and trust about Buddhism these days. A lot of practitioners seem to be very attached to their particular tradition, which is why I think I am also supposed to feel this way. There are no centers within a reasonable driving distance from here, so I am a solo practitioner. Unfortunately, I am finding it difficult to remain inspired by the teachings these days.

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