Category:Working Within the Buddhist Tradition

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A Shingon Buddhist altar in Japan, decorated in the Vajrayana style
A Shingon Buddhist altar in Japan, decorated in the Vajrayana style

Buddhism is a religious and philosophical tradition encompassing a variety of beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, which means "the awakened one." The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end ignorance (avidyā), thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.


Buddhist Denominations or Yanas

Yuantnong Buddhist Temple in China
Yuantnong Buddhist Temple in China

The major denominations of Buddhism are called Yanas or Vehicles.

Theravada Buddhism

Theraveda means "The School of the Elders." As a form of Buddhism, it has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia

Mahayana Buddhism

Mahayana means "The Great Vehicle." Its greatest sphere of influence is in Central Asia and East Asia. Mahayana Buddhism includes the traditions or schools of

  • Pure Land Buddhism ("Amidhism" or "Amitabha Buddhism")
  • Zen or Chan Buddhism ("Meditative State Buddhism")
  • Nichiren-kei sho shūha Buddhism ("Nichiren Buddhism," named after its founder, Nichiren)
  • Tiantai or Tendai Buddhism ("Lotus Sutra Buddhism")
  • Shinnyo-en Buddhism ("Borderless Garden of Truth Buddhism")
  • Shingon Buddhism ("True Words Buddhism" or "Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism")
  • Donmi Buddhism ("Chinese Esoteric Buddhism" or "Eastern Secret Buddhism")
  • Vajrayana Buddhism ("Diamond Vehicle Buddhism," also known as "Tibetan Buddhism," "Tantric Buddhism," or "Secret Esoteric Buddhism").

Vajrayana Buddhism

In some classification systems, the last three schools named in the Mahayana list --

  • Vajrayana Buddhism, which is practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia
  • Shingon Buddhism of Japan
  • Donmi Buddhism of China

-- are recognized as a third major branch or Yana of Buddhism, alongside Theraveda and Mahayana. This branch is generally referred to as Vajrayana Buddhism and developed in Central, North, and East Asia. Others classify all of these denominations under the generic name "Tibetan Buddhism," as a part of Mahayana Buddhism.

Buddhism as a Global Religion

While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, representatives of most, if not all, of the many Buddhist denominations are now found throughout the world.

Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Lower estimates are between 350 million and 500 million adherents of some form of Buddhism, worldwide.

Buddhism and Hoodoo

A California rootworker's altar, where Hotei the Laughing Buddha and trunk-up elephants preside, and lights are set for clients who play at the casinos
A California rootworker's altar, where Hotei the Laughing Buddha and trunk-up elephants preside, and lights are set for clients who play at the casinos

Buddhism forms a minor current in hoodoo folk magic which originated mostly on the West Coast, in New York City, and in Chicago.

The greatest overlap between Buddhism and conjure, a form of magic primarily practiced by Protestant Christians, is centered in California. This is the result of the late 19th and early 20th century cultural intermingling of African Americans with Cantonese Chinese immigrants who were adherents of Taoist-influenced Cantonese Buddhism and indigenous Chinese religious traditions.

Among the Chinese Taoist and Buddhist images and goods which became part of hoodoo iconography were such items as Chinese Wash, Hotei the Lucky or Laughing Buddha, and Ling Nuts, the latter known colloquially in the USA as Bat Nuts or Devil Pods.

Additionally, after the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, which featured the Lama Temple, housing an exhibit of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist statuary and religious furnishings, a Jewish family pharmacy in Chicago created a nationally distributed conjure goods brand known as the Lama Temple products line.

National distribution of products such as these, while not part of a true cultural integration of Buddhism into African American society, nevertheless brought a great many hoodoo practitioners into contact with Buddhist concepts and imagery.

The Bodhisattvas

For more information, see Bodhisattvas (Buddhist Saints)

See Also


AIRR Readers & Rootworkers Who Perform This Work for Clients

The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (AIRR) is here to help you find gifted, sincere, and honest spiritual guidance, successful counseling, and professional magical spell casting and ritual conjuration. Every independent member of AIRR has been certified for psychic ability, magical skill, and ethical reliability. Every AIRR psychic, reader, seer, diviner, scryer, root doctor, and spiritual practitioner has completed a year-long program of training in conjure, hoodoo, witchcraft, rootwork, making mojo hands, and casting powerful magick spells. All of our psychics have served the public professionally for a minimum of two years -- and in many cases, significantly longer. Certified AIRR Readers & Rootworkers who will perform this type of work to help you find love, money, protection, and luck are listed below.
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