the historical Gautama (Sakyamuni) Buddha and past Buddhas
Sakyamuni Buddha, other contemporary Buddhas like Amitabha
and Medicine Buddha are also very popular.
Maitreya Bodhisattva is accepted.
Mansjuri, Ksitigarbha and Samanthabadra are four very
well known Bodhisattvas besides Maitreya.
or Pacceka Buddha.
(via the Bodhisattva path).
of Buddhist scriptures
Pali Canon is divided into three baskets (Tipitaka):
Vinaya Pitaka of 5 books, Sutta Pitaka of 5 collections
(many suttas) and Abhidhamma Pitaka of 7 books.
Mahayana Buddhist Canon also consists of Tripitaka of
disciplines, discourses (sutras) and Dharma analysis.
It is usually organised in 12 divisions of topics like
Cause and Conditions and Verses. It contains virtually
all the Theravada Tipikata and many sutras that the
latter does not have.
emphasis is self liberation.
There is total reliance on oneself to eradicate all
self liberation, it is important for Mahayana followers
to help other sentient beings.
limited emphasis on the 3 bodies of a Buddha. References
are mainly on Nirmana-kaya and Dharma-kaya.
well mentioned in Mahayana Buddhism. Samboga-kaya or
reward/enjoyment body completes the Trikaya concept.
transmission: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia
and parts of Southeast Asia.
transmission: Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Mongolia
and parts of Southeast Asia.
of Dharma teaching
is strictly in Pali. Dharma teaching in Pali supplemented
by local language.
canon is translated into the local language (except
for the 5 untranslatables), e.g. Tibetan, Chinese and
Japanese. Original language of transmission is Sanskrit.
(Nibbana in Pali)
distinction is made between nirvana attained by a Buddha
and that of an arahat or Pacceka Buddha.
known as 'liberation from Samsara,' there are subtle
distinctions in the level of attainment for the three
historical disciples, whether Arahats or commoners.
lot of Bodhisattvas are introduced by Sakyamuni Buddha.
Most of these are not historical figures.
Rituals and liturgy
are some rituals but not heavily emphasized as in Mahayana
to local cultural influences, there is much more emphasis
on the use of rituals; e.g. Rituals for the deceased,
feeding of Petas, tantric formalities (in Vajrayana).
of Mantras and Mudras
equivalent in the use of Parittas.
practised in the Vajrayana school of Mahayana Buddhism.
Other schools also have included some mantras in their
and death aspects
little research and knowledge on the process of dying
and death. Usually, the dying persons are advised to
meditate on impermanence, suffering and emptiness.
Vajrayana school is particularly meticulous in these
areas. There are many inner and external signs manifested
by people before they die. There is heavy stress in
doing transference of merit practices in the immediate
few weeks following death to assist in the deceased's
in-between stage after death and before rebirth is
ignored in Theravada school.
Mahayana schools teach this after death aspect.
One meal a day practice
the norm among the Theravada Sangha.
is a highly respected practice but it is left to the
disposition of each individual in the various Sangha.
aspect is not necessary. In places like Thailand where
daily morning rounds are still practised, it is very
difficult to insist on the type of food to be donated
well observed in all Mahayana schools (except the Tibetans
due to the geographical circumstances). However, this
aspect is not compulsory.
of worship in the temple
layout with the image of Sakyamuni Buddha the focus
be quite elaborate; with a chamber/hall for Sakyamuni
Buddha and two disciples, one hall for the 3 Buddhas
(including Amitabha and Medicine Buddha) and one hall
for the 3 key Bodhisattvas; besides the protectors,
of the tradition
surviving major school following years of attrition
reducing the number from as high as 18.
major (Chinese) schools based on the partial doctrines
(sutras, sastras or vinaya) of the teachings. The four
schools inclined towards practices like Pure Land/Amitabha,
Ch'an, Vajrayana and Vinaya (not for lay people) are
more popular than the philosophy based schools like
Tien Tai, Avamtasaka, Yogacara and Madhyamika.
pre-Buddhism Indian/Brahmin influences. Many terms
like Karma, Sangha, etc were prevailing terms during
Sakyamuni Buddha's life time. References were made
from the Vedas and Upanishads.
the course of integration and adoption by the people
in other civilizations, there were heavy mutual influences.
In China, both Confucianism and Taoism exerted some
influence on Buddhism which in turn had an impact on
the indigenous beliefs. This scenario was repeated in
Japan and Tibet.
from the teachings of the Theravada tradition.
stressed, particularly by schools inclined practices.