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Many Teachings, One Essence - BUDDHIST INSIGHTS
By BHANTE SUDDHĀSO * Art AARON GLASSON * When one first encounters Buddhism, it is not uncommon to be confused and overwhelmed by the bewildering array of seemingly dramatically different forms of Buddhism. This is unsurprising. On first glance, it seems impossible to find common ground between the austere aesthetic of Japanese Buddhism and the byzantine visage of Tibetan Buddhism, or to reconcile the multi-stage meditation training of Theravāda with the single-step directness of Soto Zen. However, as one digs beneath the surface one begins to discern the common threads that tie them all together: the heart-essence of the Buddha’s teachings found in the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The question then becomes: How can we see all contemplative Buddhist traditions as only superficially different manifestations of the same core essence? And perhaps more relevantly, how can we form a clear picture in our minds of a complete and valid path to liberation? The truth is that there is no easy answer to such questions. It is only through contact with experienced members of …