There are two kinds of travellers: One knows where to go and one doesn’t.
The one who knows his destination and knows the path to reach there will sooner or later get there.
The one who knows little about his destination and the path to get there might just go nowhere.
By the same token, there are two kinds of followers of Buddhist practice.
Only after you’re enlightened, you’re really practicing towards masterdom of your world and your fate and anything you do will help advance your progress.
Otherwise, you’re just building some loose associations with the enlightenment program no matter how many times you recite mantras, how many rites you have performed and how long you sit in meditation.
But when someone can immediately tell the differences between the paths and instantly identify the most suitable one for himself, clearly he knows where he is going.
Just like when someone can elaborately describe the different views before and after enlightenment using an analogy of walls with many holes, surely he’s already halfway to the other shore.
Historically, there are eight major Buddhist sects in China, below is a brief introduction:
1, The Most Powerful Path – Chan (Zen)
It is the shortest and the most straightforward path that is like a chick liberated from confinement by breaking its shell. The greatest Chan masters include Monk Xuyuan (虚云 1840 – 1959).
2, The Most Popular Path – Pureland
It is the longest yet the easiest path that helps you to get into a Buddhist school in another world and from there, you have unlimited time to learn how to free yourself. The great Pureland masters include Monk Yinguang (印光 1862 – 1940).
3, Huayan Flower Path
It is the most philosophical path that helps you gain your full consciousness through a thorough comprehension of the illusive world by understanding the holographic nature of the universe and observing how each occurrence rises from nonexistence and then disappears into nothingness.
4, Mt. Tiantai Path
It is the first established Chinese Buddhist school that helps you understand the external world by observing your internal thought as the entire universe is just an expression of your own inner state.
COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS
Eric Horrobin: An interesting route to take; seems a lot of book work. But, it most likely is just a step on the path.
All Things Chinese: They are learning how to read the world from within.
5, Self-discipline Path
It is the most action-packed and practice-oriented path that helps you to empty the junk from your subconsciousness by altering your default undesirable way of thinking and acting. Once your whole consciousness is clean and transparent, you are free of any obstruction.
6, Weishi Consciousness Only path
It is the path with more different names and explanations than any other Chinese Buddhist school. It helps you to identify and clean all layers of your consciousness, from the front consciousness managed by your mind, subconsciousness controlled by your heart (the achieved files and the default programs) to the innermost core of your untempted and unaware vast sea of consciousness.
The other two paths have more or less faded into history.
7, Esoteric Path
Its heyday was during the Tang Dynasty by then it was introduced to Japan where it became East Esoteric School. Its practice relies more heavily on reciting Mantras than studying sutras.
Esoteric Buddhism in China disappeared after Tang Dynasty more than a thousand years ago, survived by a very small lineage. Its late teacher Yuanyin (元音 1905-2000) from Shanghai was a truly great master though.
But the Esoteric (Tantric) Buddhism known by the world today is actually Lamanism, a mixture of Buddhism, Saktaṃ from Hinduism and the native shamanic religion Benjiao from Xizang (also known as Tibet).
The theory and practice of Tibetan Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism) are just opposite to genuine Buddhism. Instead of helping you reclaim your own will and be your own master, it turns you into a spiritual slave to one or a group of human masters and the dark beings behind them.
Lamanism was introduced to China by the Mongols and fanatically promoted in China by Manchus while the native Daoism and Chinese schools of Buddhism, especially Zen (chan) Buddhism, were suppressed.
Over the centuries, the three (the Mongols, Manchus and Xizang lamas) jointly ruled China and collectively ruined Chinese civilization with the negative impact still being felt today.
Currently, Chinese Buddhism is seriously compromised by Lamanism that requires an unconditional submission to human “guru” masters, worships numerous demonic deities, performs black magics, with high-ranking lamas engaged in group sex with female followers (in fact group sex is the integral part of the authentic Lamaism).
Its biggest centre is set in a valley in Sichuan province, which functions like a pyramid scheme business entity and exhibits all signs of an extreme religious cult organization with a strong political slant and ambition. The recent step-down of the chairman of the Chinese Buddhist Association over the sexual harassment allegation is a telling case in point.
8, Sanlun path
It focuses more on research than practice.
Throughout history, there was no social turmoil or war caused by conflicts between religions, because inclusiveness is at the heart of Taoism while Taoism is the foundation of Chinese culture.
Any imported spiritual movement that shares the same inclusive outlook and is based on reason, not blind faith, such as Buddhism, would be quickly absorbed and localized by Chinese society. In fact, for nearly 2,000 years, Buddhism has been one of the three major pillars of Chinese culture, along with Taoism and Confucianism.