Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why Divide When You Can Add?

Lately, I've been focusing a lot of time on reading a variety of Buddhist literature and scriptures from different traditions. I used to think I was purely a "Zen" Buddhist, but the more I read from the other traditions and sects, I am confronted with this thought:
All of the Buddhist traditions have many lessons and valuable practices.  Why choose only one?  Why divide when you can add?

Division of Buddhist Traditions
Honestly, I cannot choose only one.  I have learned so much from studying all of them.  Some of the practices are different, sure, but I think all of them holds a piece of the pie to crossing to the other shore.
Do you think the Buddha divided his enlightenment into sects?  Of course not. 
Theravada Monks
I'm sure language and culture most likely play a role in the early development of Buddhism and the different traditions, but I think it's more important to learn everything we can from all of the different traditions.  It's the 21st century. We have access and ability.  We can order books that have been translated from other languages in other lands, ride airplanes to go on retreats to other places, visit monasteries, etc.

There is only one Dharma.  And many paths may lead the way. With so many traditions holding such an abundance of wisdom, why wouldn't you want to take advantage of all of them?  There are the similar key points of course, (Four Noble Truths, Noble Eightfold Path, etc), but the different sects and interpretations can have distinct meanings and advice which others may not possess.
Japanese Zen Monk

Tibetan Monks
It is not my desire to push beliefs upon you.  I only wanted to share my ideas on the subject. My main point is, if the knowledge is there for the taking, why not grab it?  And I appreciate all of the traditions, otherwise we wouldn't have such a vast array of teachings.

So what do I call myself?  A Buddhist, A Disciple of the Dharma.

 I guess it's the colors that make everything beautiful.  Amituofo

Shaolin Monk


d'Artagnan said...

great post! I agree!

Anonymous said...

Tibetan people and monks can't not be compared with anything Chineese.

The colours say it all. Also the faces. What a difference!
Tibetan faces are open, peaceful and noble.
Chineese faces have no identity or colour of its own.
Tibetan eyes are full of expression.
Chineese eyes are not.

As for Shaolin monks I am very disappointed they use their skills to make worldwide parades. They form anothe elite and I doubt they help citizens to defend themselves against the oppression of the rulers.

Tibet was invaded by China.
Europeans are still obsessed by Bush and Irak.
It is more easy than tell the chineese to free Tibet.

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