Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha. We know that in ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE the Buddha lived, became enlightened and taught for a good number of years, forming a doctrine and disciple that had a massive influence on our world. Two major branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: “The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana (Sanskrit: “The Great Vehicle”).  There are many sects that have developed over the years within the two distinctions. Buyer beware!

I don’t find the term Buddhism particularly helpful in conveying anything other than lumping all the groups together. Whos Buddhism is the right one? It just sounds to me like another big, messy, human clusterfuck like Christianity or Islam. As a word, it’s not inspiring to me. But I am grateful for Buddhism. We don’t need a religion to be spiritual but we do need other humans to learn from, interact with, share with support and challenge. So we look for peers, role models, teachers, examples and we need them to grow. Add some chanting and incense and that looks like a religion! It can be messy but if something looks good and wholesome, we should try it. Buddha taught a direct but arduous path to liberation. Here at Zen Panda we want to be a part of making your journey fun and light while sharing accurate and digestible content.