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I have just recently decided to convert from Christianity to Buddhism. I haven't really yet because I'm still learning but I know it's definitely what I want to do. I figured you might know what is the difference between Vipassana and Theravada? I have tried to read a couple articles on it but I just don't understand.


There are three schools or traditions of Buddhism: Theravada, Mahayana (Zen), & Vajrayana (Tibetan).

This is a gross over-simplification. Theravada is the oldest of the three schools using the oldest known texts. It’s referred to as the “lesser vehicle.” It generally emphasizes the sutras and insight (vipassana) as the path. Mahayana is known as the “great vehicle.” Zen is an offshoot of this tradition. It emphasizes bodhichitta, practice for the benefit of all beings. Vajrayana is known as the “diamond vehicle,” Tibetan Buddhism is a part of this tradition. It emphasizes tantra, working with the body. 

Vipassana is insight. The practice of insight and concentration is found in every school or tradition. Typically, Theravada place more emphasis on it, or really less emphasis on the other aspects of other traditions, so sometimes people refer to it as vipassana as a type of Buddhism. In recent years as Buddhism moved West there are many practitioners of Theravada meditation minus the sutras and religious traditions of the school. So this type of non-sectarian practice in the West is often referred to as Vipassana. So Vipassana is both a part of meditation practice and sometimes a term for a type of Buddhist practice. 

Hope that’s not too confusing and points you in the right direction.

Be careful not to reject any part of your life and try to substitute another part in it’s place. There is no perfect religion or spiritual practice, because no matter where we go, there we are. In fact Buddhism brings us into a head on collision with ourselves, and we may have to deal with things we have hereto avoided. The test of all true religion, no matter the tradition, is that it should lead us to be our most authentic selves. That kind of liberated life can be found within Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, or no tradition at all. Be your own light. I wish you well _/|\_


  1. black5swan said: mmmm study the islam if you want .. and then decide :))
  2. estyler5 said: I just finished, literally this morning a book (vipassana) titled “Mindfulness in Plain English” Very good introductory book with some greeat guidance. I plan on continuing to refer to it for reflection, and review.
  3. mzvamp replied:
  4. klinci replied:
  5. inhabitude posted this

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