Buddhism is one of the oldest lasting Eastern religion having been in existence for 2500 years. During this time several sects have sprung up with their own interpretation of Buddha’s teachings. Even today there continues to emerge new types of Buddhism including:
This form is practiced in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma among other places that believe in the 'Way of the Elders’. This type strictly adheres to the original teachings by Buddha, paying major emphasis to meditation, realization of enlightenment by living a life of austerity. Monks who practice this form of Buddhism are required to follow 227 rules of conduct as they explore the fundamental causes of suffering and in their hearts cultivate the path to freedom from such things. They should only sleep where they find a place to, eat what is offered by people and remain celibate. Living this way humbles people, and keeps them in touch with nature.
Zen means meditation and this practice is rooted in both China’s and Japan’s history. There are several teaching lines of Zen each with a distinct style depending on where it is practiced. The western world owes its knowledge of this practice to Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett an English woman who studied it, became a Zen master and was ordained to teach it to men and women of the world. To do Zen or Zazen as some call it involves remaining seated, opening your mind and allowing feelings to come and go without holding on to them or ignoring them. This teaches you to accept your world as it is to achieve profound transformation. This form of meditation follows 16 precepts among them.
This type of Buddhism earns its name from the use of a symbol of indestructible diamond, thunder and lightning. It is mostly practiced in Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan and Nepal. There are several strains of Vajrayana that have developed over the years. Nyingma-pa is a uniquely Tibetan type that emphasizes advanced stages of enlightenment through special hand gestures, mystical diagrams and chanting of magic spells. Another famous type of Vajrayana is Gelug-pa founded by Tsong-kha-pa. Followers believe that the third teacher is an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara which inaugurates the Dalai Lama line the latest of whom was born in 1935.
There are many types of Buddhism practices all over the world not only by Asians but people who believe in the Buddha’s teachings. It is a religion centered on finding inner peace, taking suffering as a step closer to enlightenment. Monks and other people who choose to live by the precepts of Buddhism must be ready to place more value on other people’s well-being rather than their own. Their lives shouldn’t be a quest for money or self-improvement but one for true enlightenment. It is not a thing for the weak or a past time but a practice entrenched in many cultures and people’s way of life. If you decide to follow Buddhism it is important to learn everything about it so you can make a clear choice on which type most satisfies your soul.
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