Difference between Chinese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism is a way of life and a religious tradition for millions. It turns our sights to our inner world and through vehicles such as meditation, teaches followers how to develop themselves spiritually. Achieving an ultimate state of awareness is necessary in order to become kind and acquire wisdom. Buddhism does not believe in worshipping a creator god but it is pretty practical and straightforward. It is a bit like a chain-reaction, where every single action has a consequence. If one follows the teachings of Gautama Buddha, one can enter into the state of Buddha themselves. Buddha was born in India, in the area now known as Nepal and he traveled in his lifetime teaching to those in the Ganges plains – along the edge of the Himalayas.
Introduction to Buddhism
Buddhism is a guide to behave, be responsible, be honest and doing this all with a mind of peace, harmony, compassion, and sharing. Buddhism is the opposite of conservatism and does not wish to force other people into believing and relies on oneself to obtain a higher state of awareness and the capacity to truly understand the nature of things. People are the focus point instead of the traditional belief that we worship and give our lives over to a creator.
Buddhism was translated into Chinese centuries ago. Fact is, the Chinese began suppressing it as early as 213B.C. The original translations were performed by Indian wise men who understood the terminology of the Taoists and translated teachings in terms understood by the Chinese. Mahayana teachings were quite popular but eventually gave way to Theravada schools. Ultimately in 845A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, suppression of Buddhism came down hard because Chinese rulers viewed Buddhists as withdrawn from society, lacking in Confucius inspired family influenced values, as tax evaders, and far too powerful in their reach into the minds of its citizenry. Buddhism never fully recovered. Today Theraveda Buddhism is practiced by ethnic minorities in Northern China.
Tibetan Buddhism is also based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha but became very popular during the 7th century under the rulership of King Gampo. Indian sage Guru Rinpoche is credited with translating many important texts for the Tibetans and for creating numerous tertons – or texts to be found in the future when the time is right to know certain truths. Two notable characteristics of Tibetan Buddhism are critical skepticism and devotion to the Guru. Due to the open skeptical aspect of Buddhism, Mao’s socialist idealism was determined to destroy followers of Buddhist teachings in China. Tibetans also are credited with altering Buddhist practices in several ways including the establishment of several schools of thought, detailing Mahayana practices and the establishing the practice of reincarnating lamas.
The Four Noble Truths
The fundamentals of Buddhism in China relies on the 4 noble truths; First Truth, sickness, aging, injuries, anger, frustration, anxiety, loneliness and death are just one of the many aspects of life when suffering physically and mentally; Second Truth, craving causes these sufferings and people who are selfish and greedy will eventually be unhappy and cause sickness; Third Truth, the truth relies on avoiding all of these sufferings if one gives up the greediness and prepares to endure life without it and eventually happiness will eventually be obtained; Fourth Truth, the eightfold path is the way to overcome these sicknesses and involves, Perfect Concentration, Perfect Mindfulness, Perfect Effort, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Action, Perfect Speech, Perfect Though, and Perfect Understanding.
China and Tibet
The Buddhism practiced in northern China is known as Theravada Buddhism and is based on the original teachings of the Gautama Buddha. It focuses on the personal enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism is known as Mahayana Buddhism and focuses on bringing enlightenment to all sentient beings on the Earth. It recognizes that all humans are one family and enlightenment is the ultimate goal for our race.
- There are over 400 million people who follow Buddhism world wide
- Buddhism relies on the 4 Noble Truths
- Buddhism is a path to self-awareness and enlightenment
- Buddhism ultimately releases the pain and suffering by following the 8 fold path
- Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism are not the same