In the 2,500 years since the Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi Tree, Buddhism has spread over lots of countries, split into various sects, and adopted a wide range of beliefs, practices, routines and custom-mades. However, an essential unity centered around the mentors of the Buddha underlies these distinctions.
In 1966, leading monks from the Theravada and Mahayana customs satisfied in Sri Lanka with the objective of bridging the distinctions in between the 2 groups and recognizing the essential points of arrangement.
The World Buddhist Sangha Council, as they called themselves, all authorized the following “Fundamental Points Combining the Theravada and Mahayana”:
- – The Buddha is our only Master. – We take sanctuary in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. – We do not think that this world is produced and ruled by a God. – Following the example of the Buddha, who is the embodiment of Terrific Compassion (mahaa-karunaa) and Fantastic Wisdom (mahaa-prajnaa), we consider that the function of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their excellent, joy, and peace; and to develop wisdom leading to the realization of Ultimate Fact. – We accept the Four Noble Truths, nameley Dukkha, the Arising of Dukkha, the Cessation of Dukkha, and the Path causing the Cessation of Dukkha; and the universal law of domino effect as taught in the pratiitya-samutpaada (Conditioned Genesis or Dependent Origination). – We understand, according to the mentor of the Buddha, that all conditioned things (samskaara) are impermanent (anitya) and dukkha, which all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anaatma). – We accept the Thirty-seven Qualities conducive to Knowledge (bodhipaksa-dharma) as different elements of the Course taught by the Buddha causing Enlightenment. – There are three methods of achieving bodhi or Enlightenment, according to the ability and capability of each person: namely as a disciple (sraavaka), as a Pratyeka-Buddha and as a Samyak-sam-Buddha (perfectly and Totally Enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and the majority of brave to follow the career of a Bodhisattva and to end up being a Samyak-sam-Buddha in order to conserve others. – We confess that in different countries there are distinctions with regard to the life of Buddhist monks, popular Buddhist beliefs and practices, rites and events, custom-mades and practices. These external types and expressions need to not be puzzled with the vital teachings of the Buddha.