Posted on March 16th, 2019

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Today in the supermarket I heard an interesting conversation, a person seems likes businessman was talking to either his wife or a friend about their daughter or son about a matrimonial proposal.

It was not the nicest thing to do to listen to tele conversation, but ci could not resist. His conversation was as follows.

Mother is original Buddhist and father is normal catholic .Father observes SIL (Panchal Sheela) with mother .But whole family believes in Original Buddhism I was wondering what he meant by Original Buddhist and a Normal Catholic?

I am a normal practicing Buddhist following the technique taught by Goenka who states in his speeches that Theravada Original Buddhism from the time of Buddha was propagated to Burma .Later during Dharmasoka time Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka

Method of Vippassana meditation taught by Goenka is based in identifying sensation thru the five panchaskanda and learn to be Equanimeous and also consider them as none permanent (he always says arising and passing away)

After practicing above I felt that Original Buddhism is based on this teaching in addition to the theory of Abidhamma

There is another globetrotting priest who claim that Samadhi is not essential to achieve some state of enlightenment but learning and understanding Thripitaka is god enough. He claims that you reach Jana and achieve the enlightenment >

I am lost to understand the meaning of ORIGINAL BUDDHIST

May be he is referring to some converted Buddhist from other religions?

When I attended a 10  day Goenka’s meditation session in Anuradhapura ,I met a Catholic Father from Chilaw who spent 10 days to understand the Buddhist meditation .At the end of 10 days he was quite happy .to understand the real Buddhism ( not original)

In the same centre there was a Muslim Scholar who spent all 10 days.

In these centres you hardly see even a Buddhist statue

Can anyone enlighten me about Original Buddhism?


  1. Charles Says:

    There is only one Buddhism. There is no original Buddhism and a modern Buddhism. There are some scientists who try to argue that they see deffects in Anathma and rebirth as taught by the Buddha. But inreality there is no such default Buddhism is time less Akiliko. I give below a reply I had sent to some one who who spoke of an old fashined Buddhism. I thank you very much for your reply. It is said that to learn the teachings of the Buddha you should listen or read the discourses, reflect on what you have heard or read, and above all discuss what you have heard or read. Therefore it’s a great priviledge to be able to discuss the Dhamma with you as you look at it from a different dimension-scientifically, to which I am a stranger and traverse such paths with trepidation. We normally discuss Dhamma with people who are of equal understanding, but you offered me a chance to discuss what I know with you , and I see no reason why I should take a “kithul polla”.
    The Dhamma is timeless and it is open to any challenge. Buddha’s teaching is without contradictions, and it is by itself scientific; you see it in Abhidhamma which Buddha did not want to confuse the ordinary people by introducing it to them. Therefore, even if you see certain aspects of the Dhamma differently, the basic teachings of the Buddha remain the same and it is wrong to call it old fashioned Buddhism because you think Science is new to Buddha and his teachings become dignified by giving to it a modern scientific twist.
    I have listened to the American Scientists meeting in Dharmsalaa to discuss Buddhism with Dalai Lama and I found it interesting.
    The question about parental genes go to make a child, are physical variations. It is like planting a seed and from it a tree grows or it is like respiration or circulation of blood. They cannot be attributed to Kamma. But the conception itself is kammic which involves the kamma of the parents and that of the being conceived.
    After all what we learn from Dhamma purifies our mind to the extent of our understanding, and prepares the mind to be concentrated into the departing citta of a dying person(cuti citta), and it is the kammic force within it that makes it reach a fertile womb with similar kammic vibrations to join with a relinking citta( patisandhi citta) to create a nama-rupa- a being. That is absolute Kamma, according to paticcasamuppada.
    I do not think the Buddha had a problem with different people understanding his teaching differently provided he follows the basics correctly to enter the path of Nibbana. Afterall the Buddha did not “invent” the teachings he found a teaching that was already there. Every Buddha is born to revive that same old teachings, so it is not different if you learn the teachins of the Gautama Buddha or in future from the Metteiya Buddha.
    What is important is how much of Dhamma we have absorbed and what our reaction would be when we are faced with the vision of death( gati nimitta etc) when we are about to die. Will we have the mind concentrated, calm and aware of the impermanence to prevent attachment at that moment when the final cuti citta is about to depart ?

    His reply to me is as follows: Thank you. In reality, when we go to practice Buddhism, all we need is the eight-fold path and not all this details about what happens to Nama Roopa etc. So, even if there are differences of opinion in these philosophical matters, they become side issues only.

  2. NeelaMahaYoda Says:


    In reality, there is only one Buddhism, it is called original Buddhism and followers are called original Buddhist.

    The fundamental aim of Buddhism is to find liberation from the things that bind consciousness to illusory concepts of oneself. This goal, called Liberation or Nirvana is sometimes described as the blowing out of the sense of self or one’s ego. It is rather an untangling of our fundamental self from the many influences it is usually enmeshed in. Part of this is the illusory view we have of the world. Buddhism does not see the world itself as an illusion, but the emotions and concepts we hold which provoke our responses to the world are seen as the illusion.

    In the process of understanding these basic Buddhist philosophy, some people tend to go sideways and create different meaning to Buddhism. They are categorised as an offshoot of Buddhism

    If you listen to some of the sermons delivered in the London Buddhist Vihara, these phenomena will be very conspicuous. There is a lay preacher, a retired medical doctor, frequently challenge validity of the Abhidamma pitaka and creates doubt among members of the congregation.

    Then there are many factions Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka who promotes only listening to Damma as the sufficient requirement to achieve state of stream enterer (sothapaththi) ignoring the fundamental requirement of realisation of dhamma through yoniso manasikara.

    Then there is a prominent Buddhist sector called Secular Buddhists in London headed by Stephen Batchelor a self-proclaimed secular Buddhist who was a former Tibetan Buddhist monk.

    Secular Buddhism—sometimes also referred to as agnostic Buddhism, Buddhist agnosticism, agnostic Buddhism, atheistic Buddhism, pragmatic Buddhism, Buddhist atheism, or Buddhist secularism—is a broad term for an emerging form of Buddhism and secular spirituality that is based on humanist, sceptical, and/or agnostic values, as well as pragmatism and (often) naturalism, rather than religious .

    The principle aim of the secular Buddhist practice is not to be attainment of a final nirvana but rather the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the Eight-fold Path here on earth. They cannot understand how after physical death their continuity of any personal consciousness or self can be, propelled by the unrelenting force of acts (karma) committed in this or previous lives.
    It is Unfortunate that our 92-year-old Theravada Buddhist temple in London, the London Buddhist Vihara, has fallen into this trap too.
    There was a Buddhist priest of West Indian origin by the name of Bhante Kovinda who stayed in the London Buddhist Vihara for about two months and kept on preaching secular Buddhist principles and some peculiar Mahayana meditation practices without any objection coming from the Temple Management.

    At this moment, another series of sermons are being conducted at the London Buddhist Temple on Modern Buddhist Psychology but refuse to quote relevant Pali terminology just to facilitate expressing his own interpretation of Dhamma, this time by a Sri Lankan priest domiciled in Canada.

    Now you can see the difference between original Buddhism and the new offshoots.

  3. Charles Says:

    Thank you NMY.

  4. Randeniyage Says:

    My approach to answer this question is simple.

    Leave aside everything.
    1. All sects of Buddhism accepts Noble Eight fold path as the core of Buddhist teaching

    2. When monks asked Buddha to appoint a teacher after his parinibbaana Buddha refused and asked to consider Dhamma as the teacher. Therefore , teachers, new , old, traditional, secular or whatever sect WILL NOT TEACH ANYTHING OTHER THAN BUDDHA’S WORDS. They should not try to invent new methods.

    3. Since Buddha is not there now , how do find the new teacher – that is Dhamma ? This the problem people facing nowadays. I have to leave it to the Buddhist him/her self.

    Therefore, “Original Buddhists” should be the followers of Noble eight fold path. It was the first Sutta by Buddha.

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