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Namo Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha!

Dear Master! What is the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?


Namo Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha!

Dear Buddhists!

Actually, they have a little bit different. Now I would like to introduce those.

I - Similarity:

Buddhism was taught by the Buddha. So Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism are the same Buddha`s teachings.

II - Difference:

The Buddha did not establish Theravada and Mahayana sects. These two sects were divided by the Sangha at the time of the second collection of the sutras, presided over by the Yassa master, in 444 BCE, in Vaishali state. Therefore, there were two sects and a few different forms as followings:

Example: 1) Name; 2) Clothing; 3) Lifestyles; 4) Language; 5) Dharma practice.

1) Name:

Theravada Buddhism had spread to the south of India, such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, etc.

Mahayana Buddhism had spread to the north of India, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Viet Nam, etc.

2) Costumes:

          Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, Sri Lanka had the same cultural traditions of clothing such as wearing a sarong. The Buddha used these traditional robes for Buddhist monks. Theravada monks kept this traditional robe style until now.

China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Viet Nam had the same clothing styles as the western people. So Their robes were changed a little bit different from traditional robes.

3) Life form:

Theravada monks still keep the Buddhist tradition of going for alms.

Mahayana monks go for alms very seldom. They make foods in monasteries, they eat mostly vegetarians.

4) Language:

In Buddha`s time, India had two main languages. There were Sanscrit in northern and Pali in Southern. All Theravada monks did chanting sutras in Pali. This is the original language. However, the Theravada countries had also translated the Pali Tripitaka into their own languages.

All Mahayana monks did chanting sutras in their own languages. Almost Mahayana Buddhist countries translated the Sanskrit Tripitaka into their national languages. The reasons were to study and to understand easier.

5) Dharma practice:

          The Theravada monks almost practiced the same meditation as known Samatha and Vipassana meditation.

          The Mahayana monks practiced many different meditations, all meditation aims to attain Samadhi and Wisdom.

In summary: Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism have different forms of life, names, ceremonies, and practices, but they all followed the Buddha`s teachings.

          Buddhism is for all human beings to qualify their personality. If you followed the Buddha`s teachings, then you become a Buddhist. On the contrary, If you did not follow His teachings, then you are not a Buddhist.


Namo Amitabha Buddha!



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