Posted by David on December 01, 1998 at 10:23:57:
In Reply to: Types of Buddhism posted by Cindy on November 28, 1998 at 10:29:43:
There are very many schools of Buddhism. If they are truly Buddhism, their teachings encompass and are encompassed by the Four Noble Truths (suffering, the cause of suffering, the extinction of suffering, and the way to the extinction of suffering) and the Three Dharma Seals (unsatisfactoriness, impermanence, and not-self).
The two major schools in Buddhism are Hinayana and Mahayana. Tibetan Buddhism is a Mahayana school. Some people in Mahayana may say that Hinayana Buddhism is selfish. And some Hinayanists say Mahayana is not even Buddhism. Actually, both are Buddhism; both are founded on the Four Noble Truths and the Three Dharma Seals and both schools encompass the practice of one's own Wisdom as well as Compassionately aiding the liberation of others.
In Mahayana there are many sub-schools and I suspect it is the same in Hinayana.
As for what all those schools are, I could only do justice to a very few of the Mahayana schools and maybe a little justice to the Thai Forest Tradition of the Hinayana school. I have taken my refuges and precepts under a Ch'an Master (Ch'an is Chinese for Zen, or Dhyana in the original Sanskrit). There must be some academic book that gives a comprehensive overview of Buddhist schools.
Depending on where you live, there may not be that many to chose from. Since it's important to study with a qualified teacher whom you feel comfortable with, that may be more important in choosing "which way" you take to get to the same place.
Hope I understood you're situation at least a little bit.
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