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By Le Huu Phuoc

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Thus the Vajrayana radically differs from other Buddhist schools in that it employs a highly convoluted ritualized method to achieve rapid enlightenment even in one’s lifetime. The orthodox Theravada, on the other hand, relies on a lifetime of self-discipline, as Buddha did, to attain their perfect state of Nirvana while the Mahayana emphasizes compassion and selfless sacrifice alongwith rigorous metaphysical and intellectual inquiries to attain Buddhahood. Despite their different methodologies, they all share similar traits that (a) they recognize gods, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas as medium or guidance to their enlightenment and not to be passively worshipped, (b) all living beings are capable of attaining the highest enlightened state and exalting status just like Buddhas, arhats, and bodhisattvas, and (c) Nirvana and all phenomena in the absolute sense is of a non-dual and insubstantial nature.

Who and what could be forgiven were up to the emperor’s will as his gentle message was accompanied with an implicit threat of punishment to those who disobeyed him; the edicts also openly endorsed Buddha’s Dharma but they apparently did not enforce a full conversion on his subjects. It is clear that the emperor did not completely abandon his imperial ambitions and duties even after he became a Buddhist. ” This edict in Afghanistan published in Asoka’s sixteenth regnal year (c. 253 BCE) also found similar echoes in the DelhiTopra PE V about ten years later (c.

True to the spirit of Buddhism, the development of Buddhist architecture had been an open-ended process during which it absorbed a great deal of foreign elements along its course of travel and modified its forms to acclimatize to the local conditions. Buddhist architecture, alongwith its arts, is above all an extension of its religious philosophy reflecting its numerous sects and diverse schools of thoughts; its forms are therefore a function of its flexible and expansive programs that have been translated into diverse architectural forms as observed throughout Buddhist Asia.

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