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For two and half thousand years, people have followed a religion based on the teachings of a man they called they called the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One. 

The starting point in Buddhism is mankind and the way in which they suffer not just physical pain but the general feelings of dissatisfaction with life, the carving to achieve or have something more, the fear of change and death. It seeks to gives a person peace of mind and to encourage and develop loving compassion towards all living beings.

Buddhism is not a dogmatic religion in the sense that it does not require a person to accept fixed beliefs and ideas. It does not concern itself by debating whether or not there is a God. It regards all such beliefs as secondary importance. The main thing is to help people overcome suffering and to achieve a full life.

 The goal of Buddhist religion is enlightenment which means to be fully awake to the reality of life, to have an understanding of why there is in the teaching of the Buddha they find a path which will eventually lead them to achieve this enlightenment for themselves. 

There is a great variety within Buddhism. There are two main Branches of the religion-Theravada or Hinayana Buddhism in the South and Mahayana Buddhism expressed in what is called the Triple Jewel (Tri Ratna). The Buddha (the enlightened one), the Drama (teaching) and the Sangha (community of monks)..

HINAYANA BUDDHISM

 Different of opinions and arguments arising from time to time caused the formation of new sects. Finally there arose two sects of thought which are known as Hinayana and Mahayana.

 The Hinayana adhered more to the concept of four noble truths and eightfold paths which were primarily a philosophy with rules of conducts and ethics. For them the worship of deities was secondary. The conception of Nirvana was the freedom from the cycle of rebirth.

 Hinayana got its name because this doctrine is meant for the individual salvation where each person has to work out his own destiny. Comparatively few are able by their own efforts to obtain emancipation and achieve a Nirvana. Hinayana Buddhism is also called Theravada Buddhism.

 

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MAHAYANA BUDDHISM

 Early Buddhism stressed that the goal of each individual was to seek freedom from the chain of rebirth and thus from all sufferings and death. The word used to describe this goal was Nirvana. Although there were many different philosophical schools, the religion centred around the institution of the monastery, with its ordained monks and a lay congregation that supported the monastery. The ritual were simple and minimum. Meditation and introspection were encouraged. Each individual sought his own Nirvana. Where as in Mahayana Buddhism the concept of Boddhisatwa., the being who desired highest enlightenment for the welfare of other and his practice of six Parmita (Dana, Sila, kshanti, Birya, Dhyana, Prajna) is emphasized. The function of the Boddhisatwa was to postpone his own final leap into Nirvana and to remain in the round as long as a single sentient beings remained undelivered from suffering. This form of Buddhism came to be known as Mahayana (the great way) or the Boddhisatwayana.

 The goal of Mahayana is to attain Buddhahood, the method of attaining was modified, Buddhism changed through Mahayana into an altruistic faith oriented system in which in addition to meditative practices, devotion to a Boddhisatwa was regarded as an equally valid way to reach Buddhahood. The goal was now characterised as the state of Tatatha, emptiness and nonduality.

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VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM

 Mahyan which  is  dominated by Mantras is known as Mantrayana Tantrayana or Vajrayana. It is chracterised as the path which leads to perfect enlightenment. Vajrayana literally means the adamantine path or vehicle, but its techmical meaning isthe 'Sunya Vahicle' where is use to a special sense to represent vajra. Vajra also means 'Thunderbolt' or 'diamond' and yana means 'path, way or Vehicle'.

 Bajra, connoting diamond, was chosen as the name of the tantric Buddhist tradition because oft he diamond's indestructibility as well as of its physical ability to cut through all substances. Vajrayana constitutes the last major stage in the development of Buddhism.

 Vajrayna Buddhism accepts all assumption of Mahayana, but expands and celebrations them further adding a few of its own. The goal is now characterised as Boddhi Nature (the matrix of Enlightenment). Every sentient being is a potential Buddha, but he or she is unaware of it because of it because of the dense fog of ignorance that clouds the mind. The fog is said to be discursive thought, which discriminates and polarises all concepts. Once it is moved Boddhi nature will emerge like a clear light. This state of reality it achieved by combining Prajna" (knowledge, wisdom or insight) with "Upaya" (means of fitness of action which is the same as karuna or compassion). Thus, both literally and figuratively Vajrayana is the belief in the twin principles of insight and compassion and it's their "sahaja" (so-emergence) which leads one to the state of Mahasukha (greatbliss).

 

 

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