So I've started a group for all those who are interested in Buddhist practice and Path according to Theravadin understanding of Buddhism.
Lately I've found myself more and more drawn to Theravada. Maybe it's my lawyerly mind, but I find myself more comfortable with the scholastic attitude of this Path. I've been reading a book titled Buddhist Teaching in India, by Johannes Bronckhorst, and he proposes that the division between the Mahayana and Theravada started between a division between of scholastically-, philosophically-oriented bhikkhus (Theravadins) and those who were more interested in meditative practices (Mahayana).
Despite this, I've found lately a lot of books by Theravadin practitioners on meditation practice. One of my new favorites is Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm. I've read a lot of titles on deepening meditation to the point of being able to enter jhana, but Ajahn Brahm's book I've found the most inviting and most clear.
So I'm curious - are there any practitioners here who consider themselves Theravadins? What made you choose Theravada over Mahayana (or vice versa)? Or are there any who, like me, consider themselves a bit of the two? I'm drawn to Theravada thought, but still adore the Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.
I am new to Buddhism but Theravada is what I've found myself drawn to. I like to have the answers instead of another question haha. Most of my favorite teachers seem to be Theravada teachers. Noah levine, Tara Brach, and I am now reading Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah it is really good so far but its more of a collection of his talks than an actual book.
I started reading "Food for the Heart," but I found it somewhat inaccessible because Ajahn Chah was often addressing monastics, who live according to the 227 precepts instead of our 5.
Two books I can recommend are "Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (I might have spelled that name incorrectly) and especially "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm, a student of Ajahn Chah.
Lately I've begun the long, slow process of working my shamatha practice up to the point of achieving jhana, and those two books have been especially helpful and inspiring. Deep concentration practice is difficult for me: I'm a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, so there is plenty of work disentangling the hindrances. But I find that I'm feeling much better after meditation than I did while trying solely mindfulness practice.
Please join the Theravada group I started! And if you're interested in Theravadin work in prisons, there is an excellent film, "Dhamma Brothers," about vipassana practice in an Alabama prison.
I would also suggest anything by Jack Kornfield, especially "A Path with Heart" or "The Wise Heart" for those who are new to the tradition and want a good foundation. He studied under Ajahn Chah, among many others and was a monk in Thailand for many years. He's also studied under teachers of other traditions and is not afraid to work a bit of that into his writing and lecturing. He's quite accessible and is a joy to read (or listen to if you want the audiobook).