Buddhism Branches
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Buddhism Branches

The three main branches of Buddhism are Theravada, Mayahana and Hinayana.  They are so radically different, they really shouldn't be given the same name. 

Theravada is very old.  The story goes that Prince Gautama Siddartha went out and saw pain, poverty and death.  After thinking about these, he concluded that pain and hopelessness is our greatest burden. He learned a way called "Nirvana" to obliterate all pain and hopelessness from his mind and heart.  This is called "bliss". The ultimate end is total indifference through the monastic life until you die.  A minor modification was made in the first century called, "Mahavihara". 

Mahayana is a major overhaul of Buddhism created shortly after Jesus Christ of Nazareth came in the flesh, preached the good news of salvation, died, raised from the dead and ascended to Heaven, where his followers would go to be with Him, eternally.  The Christian followers on earth had amazing spiritual gifts and deliverance from the Holy Spirit. The Buddhists realized Theravada Buddhism was totally outclassed by Christianity.  The new teachings they came up with hark back to the gospel story so heavily, it has to be anti-Christian motivated.

Hinayana is a later compromise between the above.  It still includes the demonic magic.  It rejects the "eternal life" concept of Mahayana.

The highest nirvana becomes love for all creatures.  They "ascend" by deeds done for the good of others, to save them from suffering.  Metaphysics and magic were added to the foundation.  The ultimate goal is to become an ascended Buddha with omniscience.  Their works are to go through 10 spiritual levels through practicing 10 perfections.

There are three modes of being of the Buddha:
1. Emanation body - Buddha appears in the world to teach people the path to liberation.
2. Enjoyment body - Buddha ascends to a celestial body.
3. Unmanifested body - infinite Buddhas  share identical nature on the celestial body.
(sound familiar?)

Other texts:
1. perfection of wisdom is hidden by demigods called "nagas" living in underground palaces.
2. There is no 'self'; all things lack a real nature of their own.
3. Reality is the indefinable "thingness of things."
4. Voidness is an absolute "without signs or characteristics."
5. Yoga was adopted in the 4th or 5th century, A.D., even though the asanas are based upon the beasts of burden the Hindu gods rode.

Advertising gimmicks:
1. no rules, no religion, just love.  They mean they hope there is no God who will hold them accountable or establish traditions, so they can lie, cheat, steal, and worship anything else, such as money, sex and drugs. They can demand people to worship them.  Since they have no gifts of healings like Christianity, they fake it - and blame the victim for it not working.

Buddhist Magic

It is useful first to make a distinction between asking a deity for services and someone personally working with supernatural (demonic) powers. The first one is prayer, the second one is magic.

Since the beginning Mahayana Buddhism has the path of magic as a way to liberation. These are the four bases of power (i/rddhipada), and the resultant six superknowledges (abhinna/abhijna).

The way to attain the superknowledges through concentration (AN 5.28). The four bases of power are factors to be aware of in meditation as they help one's concentration to be stable (SN 51.20). There is a five-factored concentration - four absorptions and reflection of the body and mind - used first, then a mind-made body created, after which one performs miraculous feats (DN 2, 11, 12).

There is another teaching, specifically about using supernatural or psychic power to manipulate physical objects by using the four elements inherent in them (AN 6.41). Once a junior monk has shown his powers to a layman by conjuring a storm and later setting on fire a pile of grass without burning his robes, saying that even a novice can do these things in the Buddha's community (SN 41.4).

While there are several stories that show the magical abilities of the Buddha and the disciples, when the actual method is described it becomes clear that what is meant is a meditation technique to attain liberation. So the stories should not be considered as reports of real events, but either as a way of expressing events from the perspective of those who experienced it, or it is an educational story with colourful elements. Some modern Zen teachers also mention the point where a practitioner attains magical powers (Seung Sahn: The Compass of Zen p. 294-298. Daehaeng Sunim: No River To Cross, p. 62-63) on the path of practice, as it is the realisation of the freedom of mind. On the other hand, Zen has also been critical of believing that supernormal powers are the real thing to be a buddha. Linji says,

"You say, ‘A buddha has six supernatural powers. This is miraculous!’ All the gods, immortals, asuras, and mighty pretas also have supernatural powers—must they be considered buddhas? Followers of the Way, make no mistake! For instance, when Asura fought against Indra and was routed in battle he led his entire throng, to the number of eighty-four thousand, into the tube in a fiber of a lotus root to hide. Wasn’t he then a sage? Such supernatural powers as these I have just mentioned are all reward powers or dependent powers.
Those are not the six supernatural powers of a buddha, which are entering the world of color yet not being deluded by color; entering the world of sound yet not being deluded by sound; entering the world of odor yet not being deluded by odor; entering the world of taste yet not being deluded by taste; entering the world of touch yet not being deluded by touch; entering the world of dharmas yet not being deluded by dharmas. Therefore, when it is realized that these six—color, sound, odor, taste, touch, and dharmas— are all empty forms, they cannot bind the man of the Way, dependent upon nothing. Constituted though he is of the seepage of the five skandhas, he has the supernatural power of walking upon the earth."

(Record of Linji, XVIII, p. 19-20, tr. Sasaki)

Also, Zhiyan, the second patriarch of the Huayan school, writes in his Ten Mysterious Gates (Entry into the Inconceivable, p. 136) that while the miraculous elements in the Avatamsaka Sutra are believed by the followers of the Great Vehicle to by displays of psychic powers, according to his Unitary Vehicle it is the representation of dependent origination, the interpenetration and interdependence of phenomena.

So it seems that magic in Buddhism is about internal qualities, about taming and mastering the mind, and not shows of illusionists. But when it is misunderstood as worldly power or entertainment, one is reminded not to follow that path and to reconsider his understanding.

Christian anti-magic

The authority of God the Holy Spirit is much greater than all the demonic powers of  Buddhism - if you use them.  The Holy Spirit indwells you since you asked Jesus into your heart in your first prayer.  If you want to reach them with the gospel, protect yourself from demonic attack or back out any demonic influence, then use the power of the Holy Spirit to strip them of the demons they are using. They can come as an organization or individual. They can have people backing them up with demonic power. Get them all.

sources:
http://eubuddhist.blogspot.com/2012/09/buddhist-magic.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana_sutras

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism/The-major-systems-and-their-literature

edited: February 10, 2016             orderofsaintpatrick.org