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22 octobre 2011 6 22 /10 /octobre /2011 03:47

Prajñ? (Wisdom): vipassana meditation

Prajñ? (Sanskrit) or paññ? (P?li) means wisdom that is based on a realization of dependent origination, The Four Noble Truths and the three marks of existence.Sony VAIO VGN-NS92JS Battery

Prajñ? is the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about bodhi. It is spoken of as the principal means of attaining nirv??a, through its revelation of the true nature of all things as dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), anicca(impermanence) and anatta (not-self). Prajñ? is also listed as the sixth of the six p?ramit?s of the Mahayana.Sony VAIO VGN-NS92XS Battery

Initially, prajñ? is attained at a conceptual level by means of listening to sermons (dharma talks), reading, studying, and sometimes reciting Buddhist texts and engaging in discourse. Once the conceptual understanding is attained, it is applied to daily life so that each Buddhist can verify the truth of the Buddha's teaching at a practical level. Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S Battery

Notably, one could in theory attain Nirvana at any point of practice, whether deep in meditation, listening to a sermon, conducting the business of one's daily life, or any other activity.


Zen Buddhism (?), pronounced chán in Chinese, seon in Korean or zen in Japanese Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T Battery

(derived from the Sanskrit term dhy?na, meaning "meditation") is a form of Buddhism that became popular in China, Korea and Japan and that lays special emphasis on meditation. Zen places less emphasis on scriptures than some other forms of Buddhism and prefers to focus on direct spiritual breakthroughs to truth.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S Battery

Zen Buddhism is divided into two main schools: Rinzai (???) and S?t? (???), the former greatly favouring the use in meditation on the koan (??, a meditative riddle or puzzle) as a device for spiritual break-through, and the latter (while certainly employing koans) focusing more on shikantaza or "just sitting".Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T Battery

Zen Buddhist teaching is often full of paradox, in order to loosen the grip of the ego and to facilitate the penetration into the realm of the True Self or Formless Self, which is equated with the Buddha himself.According to Zen master, Kosho Uchiyama, when thoughts and fixation on the little 'I' are transcended, an Awakening to a universal, non-dual Self occurs:Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery

' When we let go of thoughts and wake up to the reality of life that is working beyond them, we discover the Self that is living universal non-dual life (before the separation into two) that pervades all living creatures and all existence.'. Thinking and thought must therefore not be allowed to confine and bind one.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery

Vajrayana and Tantra

Though based upon Mahayana, Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism is one of the schools that practice Vajray?na or "Diamond Vehicle" (also referred to as Mantray?na, Tantray?na, Tantric Buddhism, oresoteric Buddhism). Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery

It accepts all the basic concepts of Mah?y?na, but also includes a vast array of spiritual and physical techniques designed to enhance Buddhist practice. Tantric Buddhism is largely concerned with ritual and meditative practices.One component of the Vajray?na is harnessing psycho-physical energy through ritual, Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery

visualization, physical exercises, and meditation as a means of developing the mind. Using these techniques, it is claimed that a practitioner can achieve Buddhahood in one lifetime, or even as little as three years. In the Tibetan tradition, these practices can include sexual yoga, though only for some very advanced practitioners.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery

Philosophical roots

Historically, the roots of Buddhism lie in the religious thought of ancient India during the second half of the first millennium BCE.That was a period of social and religious turmoil, as there was significant discontent with the sacrifices and rituals of Vedic Brahmanism.Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery

It was challenged by numerous newascetic religious and philosophical groups and teachings that broke with the Brahmanic tradition and rejected the authority of the Vedas and the Brahmans.These groups, whose members were known as shramanas, were a continuation of a non-Vedic strand of Indian thought distinct from Indo-Aryan Brahmanism.Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF Battery

Scholars have reasons to believe that ideas such as samsara, karma (in the sense of the influence of morality on rebirth), andmoksha originated in the shramanas, and were later adopted by Brahmin orthodoxy.This view is supported by a study of the region in which these notions originated. Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B Battery

Buddhism arose in Greater Magadha, which stretched from Sravasti, the capital of Kosala in the north-west, to Rajagrha in the south east. This land, to the east of aryavarta, the land of the Aryas, was recognised as non-Vedic. Other Vedic texts reveal a dislike of the people of Magadha, in all probability because the Magadhas at this time were not Brahmanised.Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC Battery

It was not until the 2nd or 3rd centuries BCE that the eastward spread of Brahmanism into Greater Magadha became significant. Ideas that developed in Greater Magadha prior to this were not subject to Vedic influence. These include rebirth and karmic retribution which can be found in a number of movements in Greater Magadha, including Buddhism. Sony VAIO VGN-NW35E Battery

These movements inherited notions of rebirth and karmic retribution from an earlier culture At the same time, these movements were influenced by, and in some respects continued, philosophical thought within the Vedic tradition as reflected e.g. in the Upanishads.Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/S Battery

These movements included, besides Buddhism, variousskeptics (such as Sanjaya Belatthiputta), atomists (such as Pakudha Kaccayana), materialists (such as Ajita Kesakambali), antinomians (such as Purana Kassapa); the most important ones in the 5th century BCE were the Ajivikas,Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/T Battery

who emphasized the rule of fate, the Lokayata (materialists), the Ajnanas(agnostics) and the Jains, who stressed that the soul must be freed from matter.

Many of these new movements shared the same conceptual vocabulary - atman ("Self"), buddha ("awakened one"), dhamma ("rule" or "law"), karma("action"), nirvana ("extinguishing"), samsara ("eternal recurrence") and yoga ("spiritual practice").Sony VAIO VGN-NW50JB Battery

The shramanas rejected the Veda, and the authority of the brahmans, who claimed to be in possession of revealed truths not knowable by any ordinary human means; moreover, they declared that the entire Brahmanical system was fraudulent:Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/N Battery

a conspiracy of the brahmans to enrich themselves by charging exorbitant fees for the performance of bogus rites and the giving of futile advice. A particular criticism of the Buddha's was Vedic animal sacrifice. The Buddha declared that priests reciting the Vedas were like the blind leading the blind.Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/W Battery

According to him, those priests who had memorized the Vedas really knew nothing. He also mocked the Vedic "hymn of the cosmic man". He declared that the primary goal of Upanishadic thought, the Atman, was in fact non-existent, and, having explained that Brahminical attempts to achieve liberation at death were futile, proposed his new idea of liberation in life.Sony VAIO VGN-NW70JB Battery

At the same time, the traditional Brahminical religion itself gradually underwent profound changes, transforming it into what is recognized as early Hinduism.In particular, the brahmans thus developed "philosophical systems of their own, meeting the new ideas with adaptations of their doctrines".Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/N Battery

Indian Buddhism

The history of Indian Buddhism may be divided into five periods: Early Buddhism (occasionally called Pre-sectarian Buddhism), Nikaya Buddhism or Sectarian Buddhism: The period of the Early BuddhSony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/W Batteryist schools, Early Mahayana Buddhism, Later Mahayana Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism (also calledVajrayana Buddhism).

Pre-sectarian Buddhism

Pre-sectarian Buddhism is the earliest phase of Buddhism, recognized by nearly all scholars. Its main scriptures are the Vinaya Pitaka and the four principalNikayas or Agamas. Certain basic teachings appear in many places throughout the early texts, Sony VAIO VGN-NW91FS Battery

so most scholars conclude that Gautama Buddha must have taught something similar to the Three marks of existence, the Five aggregates, Dependent origination, Karma and Rebirth, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, and Nirvana. Some scholars disagree, and have proposed many other theories.Sony VAIO VGN-NW91GS Battery

Early Buddhist schools

According to the scriptures, soon after the parinirv??a (from Sanskrit: "highest extinguishment") of Gautama Buddha, the first Buddhist council was held. As with any ancient Indian tradition, transmission of teaching was done orally.Sony VAIO VGN-NW91VS Battery

The primary purpose of the assembly was to collectively recite the teachings to ensure that no errors occurred in oral transmission. In the first council,?nanda, a cousin of the Buddha and his personal attendant, was called upon to recite the discourses (s?tras, P?li suttas) of the Buddha, and, according to some sources, the abhidhamma. Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

Up?li, another disciple, recited the monastic rules (vinaya). Scholars regard the traditional accounts of the council as greatly exaggerated if not entirely fictitious.

According to most scholars, at some period after the Second Council the Sangha began to break into separate factions.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery

The various accounts differ as to when the actual schisms occurred. According to the Dipavamsa of the P?li tradition, they started immediately after the Second Council, the Puggalavada tradition places it in 137 AN, the Sarvastivada tradition of Vasumitra says it was in the time of Asoka and the Mahasanghika tradition places it much later, nearly 100 BCE.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery

The root schism was between the Sthaviras and the Mah?s??ghikas. The fortunate survival of accounts from both sides of the dispute reveals disparate traditions. The Sthavira group offers two quite distinct reasons for the schism. The Dipavamsa of the Therav?da says that the losing party in the Second Council dispute broke away in protest and formed the Mahasanghika. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery

This contradicts the Mahasanghikas' own vinaya, which shows them as on the same, winning side. The Mah?s??ghikas argued that the Sthaviras were trying to expand the vinaya and may also have challenged what they perceived to be excessive claims or inhumanly high criteria for arhatship. Both parties, therefore, appealed to tradition.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery

The Sthaviras gave rise to several schools, one of which was the Therav?da school. Originally, these schisms were caused by disputes over vinaya, and monks following different schools of thought seem to have lived happily together in the same monasteries, but eventually, by about 100 CE if not earlier, schisms were being caused by doctrinal disagreements too.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery

Following (or leading up to) the schisms, each Sa?gha started to accumulate an Abhidharma, a detailed scholastic reworking of doctrinal material appearing in the Suttas, according to schematic classifications. These Abhidharma texts do not contain systematic philosophical treatises, but summaries or numerical lists. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery

Scholars generally date these texts to around the 3rd century BCE, 100 to 200 years after the death of the Buddha. Therefore the seven Abhidharma works are generally claimed not to represent the words of the Buddha himself, but those of disciples and great scholars.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery

Every school had its own version of the Adhidharma, with different theories and different texts. The different Adhidharmas of the various schools did not agree with each other. Scholars disagree on whether the Mahasanghika school had an Abhidhamma Pitaka or not.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery

Early Mahayana Buddhism

The origins of Mah?y?na are still not completely understood. The earliest views of Mah?y?na Buddhism in the West assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "H?nay?na" schools. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery

Due to the veneration of buddhas and bodhisattvas, Mah?y?na was often interpreted as a more devotional, lay-inspired form of Buddhism, with supposed origins in st?pa veneration, or by making parallels with the history of the EuropeanProtestant Reformation.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

These views have been largely dismissed in modern times in light of a much broader range of early texts that are now available. The old views of Mah?y?na as a separate lay-inspired and devotional sect are now largely dismissed as misguided and wrong on all counts.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

There is no evidence that Mah?y?na ever referred to a separate formal school or sect of Buddhism, but rather that it existed as a certain set of ideals, and later doctrines, for bodhisattvas. Paul Williams has also noted that the Mah?y?na never had nor ever attempted to have a separate Vinaya or ordination lineage from the early schools of Buddhism, and therefore each bhik?u or bhik?u?? adhering to the Mah?y?na formally belonged to an early school. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

This continues today with the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage in East Asia, and the M?lasarv?stiv?da ordination lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore Mah?y?na was never a separate rival sect of the early schools. From Chinese monks visiting India, we now know that both Mah?y?na and non-Mah?y?na monks in India often lived in the same monasteries side by side.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

The Chinese monk Yijing who visited India in the 7th century CE, distinguishes Mah?y?na from H?nay?na as follows:

Both adopt one and the same Vinaya, and they have in common the prohibitions of the five offences, and also the practice of the Four Noble Truths. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

Those who venerate the bodhisattvas and read the Mah?y?na s?tras are called the Mah?y?nists, while those who do not perform these are called the H?nay?nists.

Much of the early extant evidence for the origins of Mah?y?na comes from early Chinese translations of Mah?y?na texts. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

These Mah?y?na teachings were first propagated into China by Lokak?ema, the first translator of Mah?y?na s?tras into Chinese during the 2nd century CE. Some scholars have traditionally considered the earliest Mah?y?na s?tras to include the very first versions of the Prajñ?p?ramit? series, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

along with texts concerning Ak?obhya Buddha, which were probably composed in the 1st century BCE in the south of India.

Late Mahayana Buddhism

During the period of Late Mahayana Buddhism, four major types of thought developed: Madhyamaka, Yogacara, Tathagatagarbha, and Buddhist Logic as the last and most recent.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

In India, the two main philosophical schools of the Mahayana were the Madhyamaka and the later Yogacara.According to Dan Lusthaus, Madhyamaka and Yogacara have a great deal in common, and the commonality stems from early Buddhism. There were no great Indian teachers associated with tathagatagarbha thought.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

Vajrayana (Esoteric Buddhism)

Scholarly research concerning Esoteric Buddhism is still in its early stages and has a number of problems which make research difficult:

  1. Vajrayana Buddhism was influenced by Hinduism, and therefore the research has to include research on Hinduism as well.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery
  2. The scriptures of Vajrayana have not yet been put in any kind of order.
  3. Ritual has to be examined as well, not just doctrine.

The early development of Buddhism

Buddhism may have spread only slowly in India until the time of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who was a public supporter of the religion.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

The support of A?oka and his descendants led to the construction of more st?pas(Buddhist religious memorials) and to efforts to spread Buddhism throughout the enlarged Maurya empire and even into neighboring lands—particularly to the Iranian-speaking regions of Afghanistan and Central Asia, beyond the Mauryas' northwest border, and to the island of Sri Lanka south of India. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

These two missions, in opposite directions, would ultimately lead, in the first case to the spread of Buddhism into China, and in the second case, to the emergence of Therav?da Buddhism and its spread from Sri Lanka to the coastal lands of Southeast Asia.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

This period marks the first known spread of Buddhism beyond India. According to the edicts of A?oka, emissaries were sent to various countries west of India in order to spread Buddhism (Dharma), particularly in eastern provinces of the neighboring Seleucid Empire, and even farther to Hellenistic kingdoms of the Mediterranean. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

It is a matter of disagreement among scholars whether or not these emissaries were accompanied by Buddhist missionaries.

The gradual spread of Buddhism into adjacent areas meant that it came into contact with new ethnical groups. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

During this period Buddhism was exposed to a variety of influences, from Persian and Greek civilization, to changing trends in non-Buddhist Indian religions—themselves influenced by Buddhism. Striking examples of this syncretistic development can be seen in the emergence of Greek-speaking Buddhist monarchs in the Indo-Greek Kingdom, Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

and in the development of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandh?ra. A Greek king, Menander, has even been immortalized in the Buddhist canon.

The Theravada school spread south from India in the 3rd century BCE, to Sri Lanka and Thailand and Burma and later also Indonesia.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

The Dharmagupta school spread (also in 3rd century BCE) north to Kashmir, Gandhara and Bactria (Afghanistan).

The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to China is most commonly thought to have started in the late 2nd or the 1st century CE, though the literary sources are all open to question.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

The first documented translation efforts by foreign Buddhist monks in China were in the 2nd century CE, probably as a consequence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin.

In the 2nd century CE, Mahayana Sutras spread to China, and then to Korea and Japan, and were translated into Chinese.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

During the Indian period of Esoteric Buddhism (from the 8th century onwards), Buddhism spread from India to Tibet and Mongolia.

Buddhism today

By the late Middle Ages, Buddhism had become virtually extinct in India, and although it continued to exist in surrounding countries, its influence was no longer expanding. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

It is now again gaining strength in India and elsewhere. Estimates of the number of Buddhist followers by scholars range from 230 million to 1.691 billion. Most scholars classify similar numbers of people under a category they call "Chinese folk" or "traditional" religion, an amalgam of various traditions that includes Buddhism.Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

Formal membership varies between communities, but basic lay adherence is often defined in terms of a traditional formula in which the practitioner takes refuge in The Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha), and the Sangha (the Buddhist community).Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

Estimates are uncertain for several reasons:

  • difficulties in defining who counts as a Buddhist;
  • syncretism among the Eastern religions. Buddhism is practiced by adherents alongside many other religious traditions- including Taoism, Confucianism,Shinto, traditional religions, shamanism, and animism- throughout East and Southeast Asia.Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery
  • difficulties in estimating the number of Buddhists who do not have congregational memberships and often do not participate in public ceremonies;
  • official policies on religion in several historically Buddhist countries that make accurate assessments of religious adherence more difficult; Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery
  • most notablyChina, Vietnam and North Korea. In many current and former Communist governments in Asia, government policies may discourage adherents from reporting their religious identity, or may encourage official counts to underestimate religious adherence.Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery


According to one analysis, Buddhism is the fourth-largest religion in the world behind Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The monks' order (Sangha), which began during the lifetime of the Buddha, is among the oldest organizations on earth. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

Buddhism was the first world religion and was the world's largest religion in the first half of the 20th century, in 1951 Buddhism was the world's largest religion with 520 million adherents. By comparison, the second largest was Christianity with 500 million adherents .Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery

  • Therav?da Buddhism, using P?li as its scriptural language, is the dominant form of Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, andBurma. The Dalit Buddhist movement in India (inspired by B. R. Ambedkar) also practices Theravada. Approximately 124 million adherents.Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery
  • East Asian forms of Mahayana Buddhism that use Chinese scriptures are dominant in most of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore andVietnam as well as such communities within Indochina, Southeast Asia and the West. Approximately 500 million to one billion  .Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery
  • Tibetan Buddhism is found in Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, areas of India, China, Nepal that border those countries, plus the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation. Approximately 20 million adherents.

Most Buddhist groups in the West are at least nominally affiliated with one of these three traditions.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

At the present time, the teachings of all three branches of Buddhism have spread throughout the world, and Buddhist texts are increasingly translated into local languages. While in the West Buddhism is often seen as exotic and progressive, in the East it is regarded as familiar and traditional. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery

Buddhists in Asia are frequently well organized and well funded. In a number of countries, it is recognized as an official religion and receives state support. Modern influences increasingly lead to new forms of Buddhism that significantly depart from traditional beliefs and practices.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

Overall there is an overwhelming diversity of recent forms of Buddhism.

Schools and traditions

Buddhists generally classify themselves as either Theravada or Mahayana. This classification is also used by some scholars and is the one ordinarily used in the English language.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

An alternative scheme used by some scholars divides Buddhism into the following three traditions or geographical or cultural areas: Theravada, East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.

Some scholars use other schemes. Buddhists themselves have a variety of other schemes. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

Hinayana (literally "lesser vehicle") is used by Mahayana followers to name the family of early philosophical schools and traditions from which contemporary Theravada emerged, but as this term is rooted in the Mahayana viewpoint and can be considered derogatory, Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

a variety of other terms are increasingly used instead, including ?r?vakay?na, Nikaya Buddhism, early Buddhist schools, sectarian Buddhism, conservative Buddhism, mainstream Buddhism and non-Mahayana Buddhism.

Not all traditions of Buddhism share the same philosophical outlook, or treat the same concepts as central. Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

Each tradition, however, does have its own core concepts, and some comparisons can be drawn between them. For example, according to one Buddhist ecumenical organization, several concepts common to both major Buddhist branches:

  • Both accept the Buddha as their teacher. Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery
  • Both accept the Middle way, Dependent origination, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Three marks of existence.
  • Both accept that members of the laity and of the sangha can pursue the path toward enlightenment (bodhi).
  • Both consider buddhahood to be the highest attainment. Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

Theravada school

Therav?da ("Doctrine of the Elders", or "Ancient Doctrine") is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It is relatively conservative, and generally closest to early Buddhism. This school is derived from the Vibhajjav?da grouping which emerged amongst the older Sthavira group at the time of the Third Buddhist Council (c. 250 BCE). Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

This school gradually declined on the Indian subcontinent, but its branch in Sri Lanka and South East Asia continues to survive.

The Theravada school bases its practice and doctrine exclusively on the P?li Canon and its commentaries. Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

After being orally transmitted for a few centuries, its scriptures, the Pali Canon, were finally committed to writing in the 1st century BCE, in Sri Lanka, at what the Theravada usually reckon as the fourth council. It is also one of the first Buddhist schools to commit the complete set of its canon into writing.Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

The Sutta collections and Vinaya texts of the P?li Canon (and the corresponding texts in other versions of the Tripitaka), are generally considered by modern scholars to be the earliest Buddhist literature, and they are accepted as authentic in every branch of Buddhism.Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

Therav?da is primarily practiced today in Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia as well as small portions of China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangladesh. It has a growing presence in Europe and America.

Mahayana traditions

Mahayana Buddhism flourished in India from the 5th century CE onwards, during the dynasty of the Guptas. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery

Mah?y?na centres of learning were established, the most important one being the N?land? University in north-eastern India.

Mahayana schools recognize all or part of the Mahayana Sutras. Some of these sutras became for Mahayanists a manifestation of the Buddha himself, and faith in and veneration of those texts are stated in some sutras (e.g. the Lotus Sutra and the Mahaparinirvana Sutra) to lay the foundations for the later attainment of Buddhahood itself.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery

Native Mahayana Buddhism is practiced today in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, parts of Russia and most of Vietnam (also commonly referred to as "Eastern Buddhism"). The Buddhism practiced in Tibet, the Himalayan regions, and Mongolia is also Mahayana in origin, but will be discussed below under the heading of Vajrayana (also commonly referred to as "Northern Buddhism".Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery

There are a variety of strands in Eastern Buddhism, of which "the Pure Land school of Mahayana is the most widely practised today.". In most of this area however, they are fused into a single unified form of Buddhism. In Japan in particular, they form separate denominations with the five major ones being:Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

Nichiren, peculiar to Japan; Pure Land; Shingon, a form of Vajrayana; Tendai; and Chan/Zen. In Korea, nearly all Buddhists belong to the Chogye school, which is officially Son (Zen), but with substantial elements from other traditions.

Vajrayana traditions

The Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism spread to China, Mongolia, and Tibet.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

In Tibet, Vajrayana has always been a main component of Tibetan Buddhism, while in China it formed a separate sect. However, Vajrayana Buddhism became extinct in China but survived in elements of Japan's Shingon and Tendai sects.

There are differing views as to just when Vajray?na and its tantric practice started. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

In the Tibetan tradition, it is claimed that the historical ??kyamuni Buddha taught tantra, but as these are esoteric teachings, they were passed on orally first and only written down long after the Buddha's other teachings. N?land? University became a center for the development of Vajray?na theory and continued as the source of leading-edge Vajray?na practices up through the 11th century.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery

These practices, scriptures and theories were transmitted to China, Tibet, Indochina and Southeast Asia. China generally received Indian transmission up to the 11th century including tantric practice, while a vast amount of what is considered to be Tibetan Buddhism (Vajray?na) stems from the late (9th–12th century) N?land? tradition.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery

In one of the first major contemporary academic treatises on the subject, Fairfield University professor Ronald M. Davidson argues that the rise of Vajrayana was in part a reaction to the changing political climate in India at the time. With the fall of the Gupta dynasty, Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

in an increasingly fractious political environment, institutional Buddhism had difficulty attracting patronage, and the folk movement led by siddhas became more prominent. After perhaps two hundred years, it had begun to get integrated into the monastic establishment.Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery

Vajrayana combined and developed a variety of elements, a number of which had already existed for centuries.In addition to the Mah?y?na scriptures, Vajray?na Buddhists recognise a large body of Buddhist Tantras, some of which are also included in Chinese and Japanese collections of Buddhist literature, and versions of a few even in the Pali Canon.Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery

Buddhist texts

Buddhist scriptures and other texts exist in great variety. Different schools of Buddhism place varying levels of value on learning the various texts. Some schools venerate certain texts as religious objects in themselves, while others take a more scholastic approach.Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery

Buddhist scriptures are written in these languages: P?li, Tibetan, Mongolian, Chinese, along with some texts that still exist inSanskrit and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.

Unlike many religions, Buddhism has no single central text that is universally referred to by all traditions. Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery

However, some scholars have referred to the Vinaya Pitaka and the first four Nikayas of theSutta Pitaka as the common core of all Buddhist traditions. This could be considered misleading, as Mah?y?na considers these merely a preliminary, and not a core, teaching. Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

The Tibetan Buddhists have not even translated most of the ?gamas (though theoretically they recognize them) and they play no part in the religious life of either clergy or laity in China and Japan. Other scholars say there is no universally accepted common core.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

The size and complexity of the Buddhist canons have been seen by some (including Buddhist social reformer Babasaheb Ambedkar) as presenting barriers to the wider understanding of Buddhist philosophy.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

The followers of Therav?da Buddhism take the scriptures known as the P?li Canon as definitive and authoritative, while the followers of Mah?y?na Buddhism base their faith and philosophy primarily on the Mah?y?na s?tras and their own vinaya. The P?li sutras, along with other, closely related scriptures, are known to the other schools as the ?gamas.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

Over the years, various attempts have been made to synthesize a single Buddhist text that can encompass all of the major principles of Buddhism. In the Theravada tradition, condensed 'study texts' were created that combined popular or influential scriptures into single volumes that could be studied by novice monks. Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

Later in Sri Lanka, the Dhammapada was championed as a unifying scripture.

Dwight Goddard collected a sample of Buddhist scriptures, with the emphasis on Zen, along with other classics of Eastern philosophy, such as the Tao Te Ching, into his 'Buddhist Bible' in the 1920s. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

More recently, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar attempted to create a single, combined document of Buddhist principles in "The Buddha and His Dhamma". Other such efforts have persisted to present day, but currently there is no single text that represents all Buddhist traditions.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

P?li Tipitaka

The P?li Tipitaka, which means "three baskets", refers to the Vinaya Pitaka, the Sutta Pitaka, and the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Vinaya Pitaka contains disciplinary rules for the Buddhist monks and nuns, as well as explanations of why and how these rules were instituted, supporting material, and doctrinal clarification. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91S Battery

The Sutta Pitaka contains discourses ascribed to Gautama Buddha. The Abhidhamma Pitaka contains material often described as systematic expositions of the Gautama Buddha's teachings.

The P?li Tipitaka is the only early Tipitaka (Sanskrit: Tripi?aka) to survive intact in its original language, but a number of early schools had their own recensions of the Tipitaka featuring much of the same material. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

We have portions of the Tipitakas of the S?rv?stiv?da, Dharmaguptaka, Sammitya, Mah?sa?ghika, K??yap?ya, and Mah???saka schools, most of which survive in Chinese translation only. According to some sources, some early schools of Buddhism had five or seven pitakas.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

According to the scriptures, soon after the death of the Buddha, the first Buddhist council was held; a monk named Mah?k??yapa (P?li: Mah?kassapa) presided. The goal of the council was to record the Buddha's teachings. Up?li recited the vinaya. ?nanda, the Buddha's personal attendant, was called upon to recite the dhamma. Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

These became the basis of the Tripitaka. However, this record was initially transmitted orally in form of chanting, and was committed to text in the last century BCE. Both the s?tras and the vinaya of every Buddhist school contain a wide variety of elements including discourses on the Dharma,ttery" href="http://www.laptopbattery-pack.co.uk/original-sony-vaio-vgn-sr92s-battery-27419.htm">Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

commentaries on other teachings, cosmological and cosmogonical texts, stories of the Gautama Buddha's previous lives, and various other subjects.

Much of the material in the Canon is not specifically "Theravadin", but is instead the collection of teachings that this school preserved from the early, non-sectarian body of teachings.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

According to Peter Harvey, it contains material which is at odds with later Theravadin orthodoxy. He states: "The Theravadins, then, may have added texts to the Canon for some time, but they do not appear to have tampered with what they already had from an earlier period."Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

Mahayana sutras

The Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that the Mahayana Buddhist tradition holds are original teachings of the Buddha. Some adherents of Mahayana accept both the early teachings (including in this the Sarvastivada Abhidharma, Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery

which was criticized by Nagarjuna and is in fact opposed to early Buddhist thought) and the Mahayana sutras as authentic teachings of Gautama Buddha, and claim they were designed for different types of persons and different levels of spiritual understanding.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

The Mahayana sutras often claim to articulate the Buddha's deeper, more advanced doctrines, reserved for those who follow the bodhisattva path. That path is explained as being built upon the motivation to liberate all living beings from unhappiness. Hence the name Mah?y?na (lit., the Great Vehicle).Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

According to Mahayana tradition, the Mahayana sutras were transmitted in secret, came from other Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, or were preserved in non-human worlds because human beings at the time could not understand them:

Some of our sources maintain the authenticity of certain other texts not found in the canons of these schools (the early schools).Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

These texts are those held genuine by the later school, not one of the eighteen, which arrogated to itself the title of Mahayana, 'Great Vehicle'. According to the Mahayana historians these texts were admittedly unknown to the early schools of Buddhists. However, they had all been promulgated by the Buddha.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

[The Buddha's] followers on earth, the sravakas ('pupils'), had not been sufficiently advanced to understand them, and hence were not given them to remember, but they were taught to various supernatural beings and then preserved in such places as the Dragon World.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

Approximately six hundred Mahayana sutras have survived in Sanskrit or in Chinese or Tibetan translations. In addition, East Asian Buddhism recognizes some sutras regarded by scholars to be of Chinese rather than Indian origin.

Generally, scholars conclude that the Mahayana scriptures were composed from the 1st century CE onwards:Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

"Large numbers of Mahayana sutras were being composed in the period between the beginning of the common era and the fifth century", five centuries after the historical Gautama Buddha. Some of these had their roots in other scriptures composed in the 1st century BCE. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ35B/B Battery

It was not until after the 5th century CE that the Mahayana sutras started to influence the behavior of mainstream Buddhists in India: "But outside of texts, at least in India, at exactly the same period, very different—in fact seemingly older—ideas and aspirations appear to be motivating actual behavior, Sony VAIO VGN-SZ54B/B Battery

and old and established Hinnayana groups appear to be the only ones that are patronized and supported." These texts were apparently not universally accepted among Indian Buddhists when they appeared; the pejorative label hinayana was applied by Mahayana supporters to those who rejected the Mahayana sutras.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55B/B Battery

Only the Theravada school does not include the Mahayana scriptures in its canon. As the modern Theravada school is descended from a branch of Buddhism that diverged and established itself in Sri Lanka prior to the emergence of the Mahayana texts, debate exists as to whether the Theravada were historically included in the hinayana designation; Sony VAIO VGN-SZ55GN/B Battery

in the modern era, this label is seen as derogatory, and is generally avoided.

Comparative studies

Buddhism provides many opportunities for comparative study with a diverse range of subjects. For example, dependent origination can be considered one of Buddhism's contributions to metaphysics.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ56 Battery

Additionally, Buddhism's emphasis on the Middle way not only provides a unique guideline for ethics but has also allowed Buddhism to peacefully coexist with various differing beliefs, customs and institutions in countries in which it has resided throughout its history. Sony VAIO VGN-SZ561N Battery

Also, its moral and spiritual parallels with other systems of thought—for example, with various tenets of Christianity—have been subjects of close study.Sony VAIO VGN-SZ562N Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ57N Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58GN/C Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SZ58N Battery

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