BUDDHISM BASICS page 20
Buddhism Religions: 31 Flavors of Buddha?
I’m the not the best person to ask for information about the variations and national flavors of Buddhism.
Although I’ve studied as much as possible from all the Buddhist sects, I’m not an expert in defining their differences or beliefs. My expertise is in studying the Original Buddhism of Siddhartha Gautama, the Mahayana Buddhism of China, and the Shaolin Zen Buddhism of China. I have read a lot of the Japanese Buddhism and found most of it inspiring that did not involve chanting, pain or sitting in silence.
For now, I’ll give you a brief story of how even something as simple and scientific as Buddhism gets all messed up when people try to control it.
The First Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was a human, a man, a rich kid who gave it all to discover the meaning of life.
He discovered that no religion could show him his path, answer his questions, or make him a better person.
Buddha decided that by deciding to live a balanced, humble, nothing to excess life, that each person could decide what their life was about.
He said use books, movies (oh yeah, they didn’t have movies), poetry, music, or just your neighbors mistakes, to learn the lessons of life.
Life he decided was an opportunity.
People should take advantage of their opportunity to be alive, by living a ‘good’ life.
Like all religions he had to decide that a good life can have money, a good life can have sex, a good life can have tasty foods, and a good life can have fun, just don’t overdo it or sacrifice something else good to get it.
Sounds simple? It is.
Then he got followers who shared his wisdoms and quoted his lectures.
Then he got Disciples who pledged themselves to spreading his message and supporting his image.
Then some Disciples and followers got in trouble.
Too much sex. Too much food. To much whatever.
So they made rules.
Don’t do this… don’t do that…
This was the end of Buddhism.
Yep. The moment we tried to regulate spiritual behavior we betrayed the Buddhist ideal of not needing rules, because we’re smart enough to know what’s right.
But that’s okay. I teach we need some rules to live in harmony.
Buddhism realizes the need for rules, because people are not all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
So Buddhism became a religion, with monks, who had to live by rules, like children living with their parents.
Since Buddhism is about freedom, independence, self-awareness, the rules probably helped more than they hurt, but rules are used for selfish reasons as much as they are used for altruistic purposes and harmony.
Ah. Life on earth.
Buddhism preaches about Hells, but that’s because everybody already believed in Hell, and removing that fear, probably wouldn’t help too many people.
Then Buddha died.
Who’s the next Buddha King. Who is our leader?
Every body needs a head. A group of people need a leader.
Okay the new Buddhist King is:
They didn’t all agree.
Hmmm. Lack of harmony in the first generation of Buddhists?
Some chose his Buddha’s son. That’s traditional. Oh yeah. Tradition isn’t really Buddhist if it causes problems.
Some chose who Buddha chose. In a quirky manner, the next Buddha was chosen for his silence, or rather, a smile?
Then Buddhism went to Tibet, combined with the natives there…
Then Buddhism went to China, combined with the Daoists there…
Then Buddhism went to Japan, combined with the government religion there…
Then Buddhism came to American, combined all the Buddhisms together…
So, what is Buddhism?
Buddhism is studying the words of the original Buddha.
Buddhism is studying the words of enlightened Buddhas that followed Buddha.
Buddhism is figuring out how to live a better life with what you studied.