I receive many questions about the various forms/systems/beliefs of Buddhism. Though there are 100’s of “forms or practices,” most fall under the two traditions.

There are hundreds of different types of Buddhism! But most of these different sects fall into one of two categories:

Theravada Buddhism – This is considered the older or more “orthodox” type of Buddhism.Found primarily in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, and surrounding countries), it is based on rituals passed down through generations of monks in ancient monasteries. The monks study ancient scriptures from the time of the Buddha and seek to preserve their wisdom. This school of Buddhism tends to be polytheistic, worshipping many gods.Typically, these gods are either traditional local deities or major figures borrowed from Hinduism.

Mahayana Buddhism – A later form of Buddhism found in China and throughout the Himalayas. This “newer perspective” does not emphasize scriptures or the worship of gods as much as Theravada Buddhism. Instead, Mahayana Buddhists emphasize daily meditation and mindfulness practices. Mahayana Buddhism has many well-known subtypes, including Tibetan Buddhism (the religion of the Dalai Lama) and Zen Buddhism (a form of peaceful meditation that has become increasingly popular in the West).

Beyond these classifications the emphasis on sufferings, the four noble truths and other teachings are generally agreeable and put the emphasis on us, our mindsets and our actions in this journey of life.

Peace and Love, Jim

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