Buddhism is one of the oldest religions inside the world. It commenced in the sixth century BCE in Nepal. Today, it’s an international following of over 500 million people. But Buddhism isn’t one set of ideas or practices. In fact, Buddhism is break up into two important branches: Theravada and Mahayana.

What are the primary differences among Theravada vs Mahayana Buddhism? And why did they split within the first place?

These two branches of Buddhism every have their personal unique identity. And you’ll probably be surprised by way of what each offers the amateur practitioner learning the way to practice Buddhism. But before we dive into the differences among Theravada vs Mahayana, let’s take a quick take a look at out the three important branches of Buddhism.

What Are the 3 sorts of Buddhism?

The 3 important branches of Buddhism are Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

But confine mind that there are greater branches, inclusive of Zen Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Thai Forest Tradition.

That said, the 3 fundamental branches of Buddhism are:

  • Theravada Buddhism: the college Of The Elders
  • Mahayana Buddhism: the good Vehicle
  • Vajrayana Buddhism: The Way Of The Diamond

Is Zen Buddhism Theravada or Mahayana?

Even although Zen Buddhism can be a separate department of Buddhism, it originated from Mahayana. As a count number of fact, it uses the Mahayana sutras and strongly emphasizes the Bodhisattva route.

Why Did Theravada And Mahayana Split?

Almost every primary religion within the international is formed from smaller branches. And it’s miles sensible — while you’ve got many followers, now not maximum are becoming to agree on everything. This is the tale of Buddhism additionally. The core teachings of Buddhism are reinterpreted repeatedly over the years. And there are colleges of Buddhism that have created a definite identification for themselves.

Theravada Buddhism came first. It makes a specialty of the lessons of Buddha via strict meditation and consequently the Buddha’s Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. Theravada Buddhists are trying to find to turn out to be an arhat or absolutely awakened beings. Becoming an arhat requires terrific dedication. In fact, it’s usually best attempted by means of monks.

On the other hand, the Mahayana lifestyle aimed to encompass more recent teachings into the practice. It additionally gave laypeople the prospect to succeed in Enlightenment. With less emphasis on the first Pali canon and attention on encouraging all and sundry towards Enlightenment, the Mahayana department of Buddhism changed into established.

theravada buddha statue

What does Theravada and Mahayana mean?

Theravada literally means “Teaching of the Elders,” at the same time as Mahayana means “The Great Vehicle.”

What Are the Primary Differences Between Theravada Vs Mahayana Buddhism?

The two primary branches of Buddhism have their personal interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings. But it’s critical to take into account that even as Theravada and Mahayana are particular, they nevertheless are supported equivalent ideals.

At the pinnacle of the day, Buddhists observe the lessons of Buddha. But they need opportunity methods of going approximately it.

So, here’s a quick breakdown of the main variations among Theravada vs Mahayana.

Major capabilities of Theravada Buddhism:

  • Called “The School of the Elders”
  • Follows teachings in Pali
  • Mainly practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar
  • Focus on man or woman attainment of Enlightenment or turning into an arhat
  • Uses Samatha and vipassana meditation

Major functions of Mahayana Buddhism:

  • Called “The Greater Vehicle”
  • Follows teachings in Sanskrit
  • Nepal, Japan, China, Tibet, and Korea practice it mainly
  • Focus at the Bodhisattva path of encouraging and teaching others
  • Uses chanting of mantras and sutras

While Theravada and Mahayana take different processes to Buddhism, each follows the Four Noble Truths and consequently the Noble Eightfold Path. After all, these had been the center teachings of Buddha while he becomes alive. And that they stay at the center of both branches of Buddhism today.

Theravada and Mahayana are precise in their technique to the lessons. So, is one higher than the other? No.

They’re surely different. In fact, in many instances, the two branches coexist quite harmoniously.

Another common thread these Buddhist faculties share? Meditation. And as Deborah King, Author of Mindvalley’s Be a present-day Master Program says, “Meditation is that the firmest basis on which to create your spiritual temple.”

So, have you ever practiced Buddhist meditation earlier than? Share your thoughts below.


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