Vjaryana Buddhist

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What would a Theravda monk say to a Vajrayana Buddhist regarding Tantric practices and beliefs, and how would the Vajrayana Buddhist respond? What features of Tantric Buddhism are unlikely to be accepted by Theravadin? Please provide a concrete example.

Theravada refers to the doctrine of the elders, or senor monks in Buddhism. A Theravada monk will explain tantric practices to a Vajrayana about the relationship between magical and ritual practices and the theoretical Buddhist path. Using sacred language and chants, for example, is essential in addition to reading esoteric works and following their teachings.In addition, he will explain the creation of a Buddha by performing a ritual, which involves placing and recognizing the Buddha qualities (Harvey 34). Theravada should also use a sacred language containing phrases that represents a larger entity. In addition, the sacred language is also used as a creative principle since Dharma comes out of Pali alphabet as well as sacred syllables. Pali is the language of Theravada, which constitutes the canonical texts and learning of the language helps followers to understand the dogmas with ease.

As Theravada, one must understand the esoteric interpretations of words, myths, and objects, which contain a standard exoteric meaning in the practices of Theravada Buddhism. Before a ritual can be performed, there must be initiation, which is a very important practice in Buddhism. Pursuit of Nibbaa is very important but rules must be followed. There are noble truths such as the Noble Truth of dukkha, which states that life has its fraught, and one faces dissatisfaction and disappointment many times (Harvey 46). The other truth is the cause of dukkha caused by tanha or craving. It must be understood to help in controlling desires that may be insatiable. There is also the truth of cessation that helps followers to end the unsatisfactory desire by abandoning the craving. The truth of the path leading to cessation of dukkha helps n ending all human troubles associated with lack of satisfaction. A Theravada monk would advise a vijrayana the importance of the practices and advises him to follow them. In the earlier times, monastic was the main religious leadership although kings had vital role in governance. Recently lay leaders and organizations have been allowed to lead the congregation through semi-monastic status.

Theravada encourages several models to aid in ethical reflection such as karma and understanding of Buddhism as a path to purification and perfection. Development of moral values such as being kind, loving, and devoting to various values is a requirement for Theravadas. There is symbiotic relationship in the societies especially between Sangha and the state in which the king is considered as the main upholder of Dharma (Harvey 65). In addition, he is the lead and head of the community of Buddhists. Men and women may awaken and although women of today live ascetics, re-establishment of ordination of nuns may take place. This will cater for gender inclusion in this group of Buddhists in the modern era.

A Vajrayana Buddhist is more modernized and his beliefs may differ from those of the Theravada. The common ritual practiced is the vajra, which represents the imperishable diamond of lightning and thunder. The Vajrayana believes in Mahayana text as well as the Theravada canon to guide their practices. It is a movement since it has acquired most of its teachings from Tantra, which shows that the beliefs were gotten by reworking on the central doctrines of Buddhism. The group relies on stories about the lives of the Buddha, female deities, and bodhisattvas to spread the doctrines to younger generations and new followers. It also believes that suffering comes due to grasping onto things and impermanent experiences. This implies that evil does not exist but is an illusion that appears to people. The truth of Samara, the cycle of births, and rebirth are strongly followed and salvation is through Nirvana, which helps in attainment of buddhahood. Vijrayana holds the belief that Buddha and bodhisattvas are always in the world and humans are always interacting with them making the world a sacred place. There are rituals and ceremonies such as meditations, devotion to Buddha, pilgrimages, and recitation of mantra. One aspect a Theravada cannot agree with a Vajrayana is the use of the symbols such as the diamond or thunderbolt as a worship symbol. Theravada believes in images of Buddha and others such as the monastic robes and bo tree among others. However, a Theravada cannot consider Vijrayana symbols as signifying holiness. Vijrayana monks' code of conduct varies with the traditional sub-school that structured their rituals, lives, and other activities. Monks are expected to be models of moral and ethical living to the followers. In this case, they must guide, teach, and enlighten the followers to enable them follow the Vinaya. Karma is very important in developing morality and ethical values especially encouragement of selfless living by ala. Every follower of Vijrayana has the obligation to take care of others by helping them in matters related to life. This group is more gender egalitarian than the other Buddhism schools due to the strong female empowerment. Vijrayana is more modernized than Theravada who holds several believes in the old Buddhism.

2. What doctrinal and practical elements you find to be shared by all of three Vehicles (Hınayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana) studied in this course? Please explain how are these elements interpreted and reinterpreted in the context of each Vehicle.

The similarities between Hınayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana are mostly based on the fundamental teachings of Buddha, which are generally acceptable. Buddha is the founder of Buddhism and all believe in the three universal seals and the Twelve Links of Dependent origination. In addition, the three-fold Precepts of training, meditations, and possession of wisdom are very important practices in the three vehicles of Buddhism. Dharma is classified into Sutra, Vinaya, and Sastra in all of them. For instance, both believe in Sakyamuni as the teacher who offers guidance about life. They also believe in the four noble truths and they are the same in the three schools. In addition, they all follow the Eightfold Path and both do not believe in the existence of a supreme being as the creator and governor of the entire world (Tsongkhapa 43). They all honor various deities and give them a lot of respect and scriptures guide them all, thus defines their way of life and relationship with Buddha. The three have undergone various reformations to accommodate modernity and other customs. Therefore, they have their sacred narratives about Buddhism, Buddha, and the Deities, which guides them in their daily lives. The narratives help in explaining the doctrines of the vehicles as well as spreading the practice to all followers. The three schools also teach about ultimate reality and divine beings especially the enlightened ones that help those that are suffering. Buddha is highly respected although each believes in other beings such as the deities, Bodhisattvas, and dakinis. For instance, according to Vajrayana, deities represent a person's purified body and mind. The three schools hold that suffering exists and human beings must try to overcome it for their well-beings. Lessons about afterlife are taught in both schools, in which human beings are reborn after their death some as deities in paradise. The core beliefs and devotion to life and Buddha teachings, which are passed to every generation.

Works Cited

Harvey, Peter. An introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, history and practices. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Tsongkhapa, Je. Tantric Ethics: An Explanation of the Precepts for Buddhist Vajrayana Practice. Simon and Schuster, 2016.

April 13, 2023




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