Daily Buddhist News
The Three Vehicles
The Buddha taught in accordance to the capacities and potentials of his disciples, at a level they could understand and therefore, there were three main approaches, three Yanas or vehicles composing the successive cycles of the Buddhist teachings.
Traditionally, the Three Yanas are:
- the Shravakayana (vehicle of the hearers);
- the Pratyekabuddhayana (vehicle of the solitary realizers);
- the Bodhisattvayana (vehicle of the mahayana).
However, these three vehicles are today more commonly known among the Tibetan buddhists to be composed of the Hinayana or basic vehicle, Mahayana or the great vehicle, and Vajrayana or the Diamond Vehicle). Each of these cycles of teaching became popular at different periods in the history of Buddhism.
Buddhism spread out of
- The Theravada spread to the south to Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam;
- The Mahayana spread to the northern countries of
Pakistan, China, Japanand Korea;
- All of the teachings including Vajrayana spread mainly to
Tibet as well as to Japan as a minor tradition.
Specifically the mind is trained through the process of meditation. The principle practice that cuts attachment to samsara, the wheel of suffering, is meditation on the impermanent nature of the world and ourselves. When we have learned through discipline and meditation about the impermanence of all phenomena, the truth of suffering, the absence of ego and emptiness of self and phenomena we diminish suffering because the negative emotions fall away.
In the beginning we are concerned with the release of suffering for ourselves hence the teachings of the first yana. With realization, compassion develops and concern for all sentient beings develops and we proceed on the Bodhisattva path and develop the compassion necessary to cut away ego. If we are very fortunate we will find the Vajrayana path and accomplish full realization in one life time with the help of an authentic teacher who has already realized full enlightenment.