Forms of Buddhism
by Jamie Cahill
(Worcester, VT, USA)
I would like to know if all forms of Buddhism follow the same teachings. For example, is Japanese Buddhism similar to Zen Buddhism, and so forth?
Thank you Jamie for your question.
You seem to confuse several concepts. First, there are 2 main forms of Buddhism: the Theravada form and the Mahayana form. The Mahayana form is often divided as it is the biggest and one these divisions is the Vajrayana form. Japanese Buddhism is mostly of the Mahayana form of Buddhism.
Then, there are the different schools. Schools are basically different traditions or different teachings focusing on different texts or sutras. Each form of Buddhism has different schools. In Japanese Buddhism, there are 4 main Mahayana branches and 1 Vajravana school branch.
All schools of Mahayana have basically the same core principles of Buddhism but they each believe in different ways to attain Buddhahood.
To go back to your question, Zen Buddhism is one of the schools included in Japanese Buddhism and it’s in the Mahayana form of Buddhism.
So, to answer your question in a short form, I’ll have to say that yes all forms of Buddhism follow the same principles but different schools follow their own beliefs.
I hope this answers your question clearly. Please follow the links in the text for more details and if you have further questions, please write it in the comments section below.