Buddhist beliefs and practices vary according to region. So in discussing Buddhism, it's important to recall that there are distinctions between (and, of course, within) the Buddhism practiced in various regions, including:
Differences in a religion from region to region are common among religions. In Buddhism, the differences are primarily a result of Buddhist thinking interacting with native thinking in the region. The best example of this is China, where Taoism was a popular philosophy. Once Buddhism came to China, both the Buddhists and the Taoists learned from each other and changed as a result of meeting. Buddhism originated in India, because India is relatively far from places such as Japan and Korea, intermediaries like China passed on their Buddhist knowledge. As a result of this, Japanese Buddhism contains ideas from Chinese Buddhism.
While all these areas are different, it is important to note that none are superior or inferior to others. Just because India was the birthplace and center of early Buddhism doesn't give it a higher place over another regions teachings.
See also: Greco-Buddhism
Last updated: 02-05-2005 02:10:56
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01