Well Known Branches And Schools

The Traditional Buddhist View

For an overview of the main schools of Buddhism please go here.

The Secular Buddhist View

Secular Buddhism is unique and differs from all traditional forms of Buddhism in that it does not incorporate any form of  theism, reincarnation or karma beyond this life.

In practice, Secular Buddhism is least like the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions with their emphasis on ritual, religious regalia and the influence of Tibetan culture.

It is dissimilar to Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism, in that Pure Land Buddhism is based exclusively on supernatural elements.

It is dissimilar to Zen Buddhism, another branch of Mahayana Buddhism, in that Secular Buddhism assumes freedom from suffering takes time due to the requirement of the study and practice of all elements of the Eight Fold Path, which includes meditation, whereas the focus of Zen is primarily on meditation.

It is most similar to Theravada Buddhism (commonly known in the West as Vipassana) with its emphasis on both the Eight Fold Path and meditation however it differs in that Theravada Buddhism incorporates supernatural elements.

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Posted August 1, 2010 by Rick Bateman