9 points unifying Theravada and Mahayana

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The Basic Points Unifying the Theravada and the Mahayana is an important Buddhist Ecumenical statement created in 1967 during the First Congress of the World Buddhist Sangha Council (WBSC), where its founder Secretary-General, the late Venerable Pandita Pimbure Sorata Thera, requested the Ven. Dr. Walpola Rahula to present a concise formula for the unification of all the different buddhist traditions. This text was then unanimously approved by the Council.

The points were well written by Ven. Dr. Walpola Rahula and summarize Buddhism and provide foundational teachings which are common to all forms of Buddhism.

  1. The Buddha is our only Master (teacher and guide)
  2. We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha (the Three Jewels)
  3. We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God
  4. We consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom (panna) leading to the realization of Ultimate Truth
  5. We accept The Four Noble Truths, namely dukkha, the arising of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, and the path leading to the cessation of duḥkha; and the law of cause and effect
  6. All conditioned things (saṃskāra) are impermanent (anicca) and dukkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things are without self (anatta)
  7. We accept the 37 factors of enlightenment as different aspects of the Path taught by the Buddha leading to Enlightenment.
  8. There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment: namely as a disciple (śrāvaka), as a pratyekabuddha and as a sammasambuddha (perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisatta and to become a sammasambuddha in order to save others.
  9. We admit that in different countries there are differences regarding Buddhist beliefs and practices. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.

See also