In 500 BC Gautama Buddha lived and taught his message of salvation from suffering all over the northern part of India. He taught a self motivated journey towards personal freedom from and liberation from existential suffering.
450 years later, the Caste system of India (something which the Buddha aimed to dismantle and indeed which the existence of Buddhism alone threatened) had pushed back against Buddhism and had all but eliminated it from the sub-continent. Replaced by Hindu Deity Worship in India, Buddhism spread East into Asia and remained similar to its original form in places like Vietnam and Thailand - but drastically changed in places like Japan, China, and Korea.
What kind of change? The idea of saving one’s self was viewed as selfish. And a different purpose arose which was more universal. To wit - instead of attaining Nirvana in this life time, the aim was to cultivate virtue and wisdom over countless life times in order to one day in the very far off future become a fully enlightened Buddha who would liberate all beings from suffering.
This new aim was termed “the Path of the Bodhisattva”. It had some internal conflicts.
presuming that the Bodhisattva path of forgoing Nirvana to become perfected over numerous life times assumed that you had what it took to achieve Nirvana. And very few have what it takes. So the Bodhisattva vow is presumptuous right at the start.
Gautama Buddha led thousands to Saint hood. But the Bodhisattva vow made Gautama look like a minor league player. The Bodhisattva vow was meant to lead “innumerable sentient beings” to Nirvana. So the Bodhisattva vow was an insult to the Buddha.
the Buddha taught that one should seek inner freedom from suffering. The Bodhisattva vow looked down on the Buddha’s original teaching.
Whatever the case, something new had developed and spread across east Asia. Now, for the sake of argument, keep in mind as an example that there is one school of this later branch of Buddhism (which is a branch called “Mahayana” - the greater vehicle) called “Pure Land” Buddhism.
By chanting the name of a Buddha who lives in another dimension, practitioners and believers hold that they will be reborn in a certain heaven with that Buddha after death. Sound like anything we Westerners might be familiar with?
Western Christianity is knee deep in a swamp of shit which they have yet to understand is an off shoot of Buddhism which developed 50 years before the supposed birth of Christ.
The goal of the Bodhisattva is to lead all sentient beings to paradise and all you have to do to get there is believe in said Bodhisattva. Jesus was and is the only (historical? Mythical?) example of the Bodhisattva ideal. The details are a little different, but the underlying belief system is the same.
Western society has grown out of a doctrine of faith which, unbeknownst to all of the many, many untold numbers of Christians, is and was and always will be a perverted version of the real historical Buddha’s original message.
Now that you know about fake Buddhism - Mahayana Buddhism - the greater vehicle - the vehicle which transports the greater number of people to Nirvana; let’s talk about Hinayana - the lesser vehicle - Theravada Buddhism - the teaching of the elders - the original form of Buddhism which is under appreciated and not well understood in all its methodical simplicity and singleness of intent. Get your thinking cap on Cog. I’m about to school you … hard.