Mahayana: The Great Vehicle

MahayanaEmerging in the early centuries CE and flourishing in East Asia, the Mahayana tradition allows for the flexibility of the scriptural canon and forms of practice and considers itself open to a broader group of people than other streams of Buddhism. It encourages its followers to become bodhisattvas, dedicated to the salvation of all sentient beings. ... Read more about Mahayana: The Great Vehicle

The Expansion of Buddhism

As Buddhism spread through Asia, it formed distinct streams of thought and practice: the Theravada ("The Way of the Elders" in South and Southeast Asia), the Mahayana (the “Great Vehicle” in East Asia), and the Vajrayana (the “Diamond Vehicle” in Tibet), a distinctive and vibrant form of Mahayana Buddhism that now has a substantial following.
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Prince Siddhartha: Renouncing the World

Prince SiddharthaLiving in luxury, the young Prince Siddhartha traveled outside his palace and encountered the Four Sights: an old person, a sick person, a dead person, and a wandering ascetic. He left his royal life to live in the forest, and he began his training in meditation and asceticism in hopes of discovering the root of human suffering. Rejecting the luxury of the palace and the self-denial of the forest-dwelling ascetics, he chose to pursue a "middle way" between the two extremes.... Read more about Prince Siddhartha: Renouncing the World

Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle

VajrayanaThe major stream of Buddhism in Tibet, the Vajrayana emerged in the 7th century out of the Mahayana tradition. This form of Buddhism, sometimes called “Tantric Buddhism,” asserts that distinctive ritual practices and objects such as mantras, mandalas, and mudras allow one to attain awakening more quickly. ... Read more about Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle

Ecumenical and Interfaith Buddhism: Coming Together in America

Ecumenical and Interfaith Buddhism

Since the 1970s, Buddhist leaders from various traditions have engaged together in ecumenical councils and organizations to address prevalent challenges for Buddhism in North America. These events have brought together Buddhist traditions that, in the past, have had limited contact with one another. In addition, these groups have become involved in interfaith partnerships, particularly with Christian and Jewish organizations.... Read more about Ecumenical and Interfaith Buddhism: Coming Together in America

Changing Patterns of Authority

Changing Patterns of Authority

American convert Buddhism and immigrant Asian Buddhism have dramatically different models of authority and institutional hierarchy. Buddhist organizations and communities in America are forced to attend to the question of how spiritual, social, financial, and organizational authorities will be dispersed among its leaders and members.... Read more about Changing Patterns of Authority