Lotus Buddhism / Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism

Safwan Darshams

Tibetan Buddhism is a hybrid of three sources of teachings:

1- Bon tradition, a pre-Buddhist religion (gods worship, magic beliefs,… etc…).

2- Tantrism (Tantra : Hindu based doctrines aimed at self-realisation),

3- Mahayana Buddhism : (Tibetan) Heart & Diamond Sutras.

Tibetan Buddhism is regarded as a Mahayana school because of incorporating a central belief in Bodhisattva practice and attaining Enlightenment. The practice of Tibetan Buddhism includes meditation, chanting and various esoteric rituals (depending on the level of spiritual advancement of the practitioner, the highest of which is the stage of Lama).

Another name for Tibetan Buddhism is Vajrayana Teachings which practice includes also esoteric rituals originating from Tantric doctrines (hand gestures, body movements, initiation by a master…).

A form of Vajrayana Buddhism was introduced in the 9th century to Japan by Kukai, a monk who established the Shingon (True Word) school.

The Holiness of Priests: A “Master” or “Lama” in Tibetan Buddhism is always referred to by “His Holiness” - implying achievement of a “distinguished spirituality”, as compared with other lower stages of spiritual development of monks and ordinary believers. This distinction is accepted in all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism:
The Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug school.

Tibetan chant: Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum:

Tibetan Buddhism main practice is silent meditation - assisted by chanting the mantra of Om-Mani-Padme-Hum - in which Padme means the Lotus Flower as a Jewel of purity and wisdom. The meaning of this mantra is : “Praise to the jewel in the Lotus”.

Nichiren chant: Nam Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo:

Nichiren Buddhism basic practice is chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo - in which (Nam) refers to the individual’s “desire for devotion” to the Law of Life (Myoho-Renge-Kyo) as included in the teachings of the Lotus Sutra .

The meaning of this mantra is: “Devotion to the wonderful Law of the Lotus”.

Researchers attribute the Tibetan mantra to the mythological figure of Bodhisattva (Avalokitasvara), also called Bodhisattva “Perceiver of World’s Sounds” (Kanon). This Bodhisattva (being a central pillar of Tibetan Buddhism) appears also in Nichiren Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra as one of the functions operating within the workings of the Universal Law of Life (Myoho-Renge-Kyo).

Main Beliefs in Tibetan and SGI teachings

SGI Buddhism Tibetan Buddhism
Teaching or Sutra Lotus Sutra Diamond & Heart Sutras
Object of Devotion Life of Buddha (Gohonzon) Tara goddess or Various divine beings
Practice Chanting Meditation, chanting & various rituals
Community Lay Practitioners Priesthood structured
Attaining Enlightenment In this Lifetime After many lifetimes