Buddhist Comparison Chart

I made this chart for my groups on Death Row. I hope you find it useful. Please contact me with any edits. Thanks!

 

School Vehicle View of the Buddha Sects Elements of Practice Objective of Practice
Theravadin 250.BCE

Aka The Way of the Elders)

Some disagreement whether Theravada and Hinayana are synonymous Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism

and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha.

Vipassana Schools, Insight Meditaion, Many American traditions emerge from the Theravadin schools

 

Study of the Four Noble Truth, Eight-Fold Path, Dependent Origination,

Wisdom, Virtue, Concentration, Impermanence, Suffering, No-self, Meditation, study

Emphasis on self-liberation, to become an Arhat: The life of the Arhat is the ideal of the followers of this school, a life where all (future) birth is at an end, where the holy life is fully achieved, where all that has to be done has been done, and there is no more returning to the worldly life’.
Chan

(pre-Zen)

5-6th cent.

 

Mahayana Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. Rinzai, Soto Study of the Four Noble Truths, Eight-Fold Path, Dependent Origination, Wisdom, Virtue, Concentration, Impermanence, Suffering, No-self, Zazen (sitting meditation) use of Koans, Lankavatara Sutra, study of Emptiness

 

Main goal is training the mind through working with the mind, self-realization (kensho, satori, with direct and sudden enlightenment a goal
Zen

650 CE

Mahayana Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. Rinzai, Soto, Obakushu Study of the Four Noble Truths, Eight-Fold Path, Dependent Origination, Wisdom, Virtue, Concentration,Impermanence, Suffering, No-self, Meditation, chanting, koans, spiritual disciplines and rituals

 

Main goal is training the mind through working with the mind, with direct and sudden enlightenment a goal
 

Tibetan

(7-8 Cent)

Mahayana/

Vajrayana/

Tantrayana

 

Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. The Tibetan pantheon includes many more buddhas and manifestions of the Buddha depending on the focus of one’s practice

 

Geluk, Sakya, Kagyu Nyima

Dzogchen

Bon

 

Study of the Four Noble Truth, Eight-Fold Path, Dependent Origination, Wisdom, Virtue, Concentration,Impermanence, Suffering, No-self, Meditation, rituals, initiations, mantras, deity yoga, recognizing Buddhanature and Cultivating Bodhicitta To become a bodhisattva for the sake of all sentient beings, to cultivate bodhicitta… Once enlightened, one vows to take continual rebirths until all sentient beings are liberated. Main goal is training the mind through working with the mind
 

Pure Land

“Jodushu” or

Jodo Shinshu

1133-onward

 

Mahayana

 

Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. The main Buddha of Pure Land is Amitabha aka, Amitayus, Amita, “Boundless Light”

 

n/a

 

Study of the Four Noble Truths, Eight-Fold Path, Wisdom, Virtue, Concentration, Impermanence, Suffering, No-self, Dependent Origination, Meditation, Chanting, meditation, Chanting the name of Amitabha aka Amitayus, Amita, “Boundless Light”to enter the Pure Land

 

 

Main goal is training the mind through working with the mind and being reborn in the Pure Land of Amitabha

Nicherin

(1222-1282)

Mahayana Sakyamuni is the historical founder of Buddhism and representative of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. Nicherin Shoshu, Soka Gakkai Study of the Four Noble Truth, Eight-Fold Path, Dependent Origination, Meditation, chanting, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” (title of Lotus Sutra in Japanese)

 

Bringing the Dharma to Light in this Dark Age, Enlightenment, stresses socio-political responsibilities of religion

 

 

School Important Scriptures Regions of Origin Death Practices Spiritual Leaders

Current and Past

Theravadin aka

“The Elder Tradition” based on the Buddha’s original teachings

250 BCE

“Tripitika” or Three Baskets

of the vinaya pitaka, Dhammapada,

Southern transmission: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and parts of Southeast Asia.

 

Death is part of the cycle of life, meditations on impermanence and the emptiness of self. Do not adhere to the Bardo teachings. the link between death and rebirth is direct without intermediate state.

The living participate in acts that transfer merit to the individual for a good rebirth.

Cremation, often after 3 days.

Sakyamuni Buddha, Buddhaghosha, Dhammapala, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Amaro, Jack Kornfield, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ajahn Chah, Goenka, Mahasi Sayadaw, Gil Fronsdal, Sharon Salzberg
Chan

(pre-Zen)

5-6th century CE (introduced to Korea end of 7th Cent., Japan in the late 12th Century

Heart Sutra,

Diamond Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, Platform Sutra

China Numerous instructive and merit-transferring ceremonies and practices are held. Cremation. Mahakasyapa, The Six Patriarchs: Bodhidharma, Huike, Sengcan, Daoxin, Hongren, Huineng. Ven. Jing Hui
Zen

650 CE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Sutra,

Diamond Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, Platform Sutra Vimalakirti Sutra,

China, Japan, practiced in Korea, Thailand, USA now The deceased is given a Buddhist name, sutras chanted (Heart Sutra) Numerous instructive and merit-transferring ceremonies are held. If monks/nuns are present offerings are made. Bodhidharma, Dogen, Shen-hui, Hui-neng, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Nan-ch’uan P;u-yuan, Kodo Sawaki, Robert Aitken, Richard Baker, Joan Halifax, Thich Nhat Hanh
Tibetan

(7-8 cent.)

2 Main collections, the Kangyur, or “Words of the Buddha” (sutras as revered in the Hinayana traditions)   Tengyur, or “translated treatises” Prajnaparamita teachings (Heart Sutra) Noble Truth, Six Perfections, Bodhicaryavatara, Words of My Perfect Teacher, 60 Stanzas of Nagarjuna

 

Northern transmission: India, Tibet, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and parts of Southeast Asia. The Tibetan school has produced many teachings on death including prayers for the actual time of death as well as prayers for the 49 days it takes for consciousness to cycle through the bardo periods.

Cremation, often after 3 days.

Dalai Lama, H.H. Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Shantideva, Atisha, Nagarjuna, Pabonka Rinpoche,

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Milarepa, Chogyam Trungpa, Robert Thurman, Tsultrim Allione, Pema Chodron, Lama Yeshe, Lama Sopa, Chagdud Tulku, Sogyal Rinpoche

Pure Land

“Jodushu” or

Jodo Shinshu

1133-onward

Three Pure Land Sutras: The Larger and Smaller Sukhavatvyuhasutra, “Vision of the Realm of Happiness” and the   Amitabhasutra, “Meditation on the Buddha of Boundless Light”

 

India, Asia, China, though practiced in Japan too Rebirth in the pure land is possible through continuous repetition of the Amitabha mantra. Bathing the body before death and reciting the Amitabha mantra. After death, prayers for good luck on the journey Honen, Nagarjuna, Vasubandu, Tanluan, Daochuo, Shandao, Shinran,
Nicherin

1222-82

Lotus Sutra Japan Chanting the Lotus Sutra,

Praying for the purification of the deceased person’s mindstream. Cremation.

Nicheren, Daisoku Ikeda

This Buddhist School Comparison Chart compiled by Susan Shannon M. Div. for use of chaplaincy and dharma students. Any and all mistakes or omissions claimed by author. Please contact with any further additions: sshannon108@earthlink.net. March, 2016

[powr-hit-counter id=9e72a70c_1483375360902]

Home is Where the Heart is