Similarities Between Buddhism And Buddhism

1936 Words Feb 6th, 2015 8 Pages
Buddhism, like other world religions, is not one homogeneous grouping of like-minded devotees adhering to one school of thought. Just as Christianity has its Catholics and Protestants, and Islam its Sunnis and Shiites, Buddhism is also comprised of various schools and sects. Some scholars separate Buddhist schools into geographical groupings, such as Southern, Eastern and Northern traditions, whereas some prefer to focus on a more tradition-specific delineation, such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism (Cousins 1998, p. 370; ‘Buddhism 2015’). All traditions accept the fundamental Buddhist doctines of Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, anatta (absence of soul) and karma (causation), but differ on other significant aspects. This essay will compare and contrast two Buddhist traditions, the Therevada Buddhism of Sri Lanka, and Mahayana Buddhism of China. Theravada Buddhism can also be characterised as representative of the Southern tradition of Buddhism, whereas Mahayana is of the Eastern tradition. This essay will also address how these particular types of Buddhism developed in their respective countries.

Prior to the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in 247 BCE, the cultural environment was characterised by a mix of indigenous (veddha) and Aryan beliefs, influenced by elements of mainland Indian culture (Perera 2013). It was the Indian Emperor Asoka who sent his son, Mahinda, to introduce Buddhism to the Sri Lankan king (Robinson, Johnson & Bhikku 2005, p.…
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