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Buddhists/Schools of Buddhism



I have long been interested in Buddhism and am looking in to attending classes.  There are classes in various schools where I live and was wondering if you could give me a brief summary of the differences between the 3 main schools of Buddhism.

Thanks for your help!

Hi Brittney,

Broadly, there are 3 schools of Buddhism.  Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.  However I would consider Vajrayana to be grouped under Mahayana.

Theravada follows the Pali text of the Tipitakka, the Buddha's discourses.  It is less ritualistic.  Mahayana follows the Sanskrit text. Mahayanas are mainly the Chinese Buddhists who follow their Buddhist text in Chinese, mainly translated from Sanskrit.  However, the Chinese have their own peculiar Chinese rites and rituals.  Vajrayana is Tibetan Buddhism which originated from Tibet, and has very distinct Tibetan rites and rituals.

Fortunately, the basic teachings of the Buddha are accepted by all the 3 schools.

Wikipedia has a detailed write-up on this topic @

Hope you can visit each school, and decide which one suits your temperament.

Justin Choo


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Justin Choo


All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.


I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ and my blog posting at

I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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