What to call those who do not like Classical Theravāda

These days… we lump all of those who do not like Classical Theravada into various categories. It is all the same, yet it gets very complicated who is who…

  • EBT
  • Dwipitakans
  • Nyanavirans
  • Commy Haters
  • Abhidhamma Haters
  • 4 Nikayans
    The list goes on and on.

If we call them EBT, some may like only Buddhavajana…
If we call them Nyanavirans, then they might not like him, but follow similar things.
If we call EBT, but then find some who follow some commentary.
We call someone an Abhidhamma hater, and he might like 2 lines of Abhidhamma.
If we call them a commy hater he might claim he likes much of the commentaries… even Ajahn Sujato says he likes 80% of the commentaries.
The conflicts with putting categories on such people / monks goes on and on.
Suicide: Sutta versus Commentary - #35 by bksubhuti

With my own quoting myself above from the suicide post…I’m wondering what we should call these people as a group?
I thought of two names.

  • Partial Theravadans
  • Tearavadans

Due to my literary artistic nature (Puns) I’m leaning to the 2nd word because it implies breaking up something, removal and literally tearing pages out (Aj Kukrit). However I think those members of the groups mentioned above would prefer the first name. With that said, “Partial Theravadans” seems to be politically correct and lumps all the groups into one. It is purposely misspelled without the diacritical marks too. There is also a chance “Partial Tearavadans” can stick as well. :smiley:

Yes Dipitakans only reject abhidhamma pitaka, EBT rejects the abhidhamma, large chunks of the suttas and all commentaries, secular buddhists reject everything that doesnt fit thier athiestic world view etc.

Partial theravadins i guess makes the most sense if u wanted to lump them together, that or just call them non-classical theravadins but that’s less entertaining? Or maybe some kind of pun like Modernvadins or Awusovadins, so its “way of the modern” or “way of the younger (?)” rather than “way of the Elders” (Theravada)

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Those sound pejorative, but that might be the intention. :smile:

Here are some alternatives:

  1. EBT
  2. Suttavada
  3. Modern Theravada

Some others include Early Buddhism, Pre-sectarian Buddhism; but these would be controversial, because all schools of Buddhism claim a direct line back to the Buddha, including Classical Theravada, Zen, etc.

As I’ve mentioned in my other posts here, I don’t completely fit with the modernists nor Classical. My preference is for EBT, but don’t reject Abhidhamma or Commentaries and my views align more with Classical on some of the major issues (rebirth, cosmology, kamma, DO, paramitas and others).

I think except secular buddhism , abhidhamma n commentary are in the Theravada . I am not sure what is Nyanaviran . Is Dhammavada (include three baskets) okay ?

The Late Venerable Nyanavira who killed himself, wrote a book that had a cult like following and exists today. “Nyanavirus” which infects newly made “Nyanavirans” was coined by a monk at Citthurst to describe the feverish anger that it causes to the new converts. They believe that all of Theravada is corrupt and the elders (from theravada) rewrote the dhamma through the commentaries and abhidhamma which were never spoken by the Buddha. Nevertheless, his book includes what I call a “tic-tac-toe” section that makes no sense and obviously was never in the “suttas”. In reality, ironically, but not surprisingly, he himself was rewriting the dhamma to suit his belief in his own enlightenment. He eventually killed himself believing in wrong interpretations that it was okay to do so.

Because he was re-writing the dhamma himself, he thought others were doing the same. My friend once told me this:

“If you are a kleptomaniac, you will always believe others are trying to steal from you.”

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In that other great Abhidharma tradition, the Sarvāstivāda-Vaibhāṣika, there arose the Sautrāntika. The same thing is happening in Theravāda today. Monks of the same Vinaya lineage, but with different views of the Dhamma. Suttavādin might then be more apt. That said, the Sautrāntika of old didn’t fully reject the Abhidharma of their tradition. They merely rejected some of it or rejected certain interpretations of it. In comparison, many Suttavādins today tend to reject the whole of the Abhidhamma in toto (usually without ever having read it, or the Visuddhimagga for that matter).


Sadhu for your technical answer. However, I get confused about all of the traditions… Perhaps @Ceisiwr you can make a new topic with a matrix table explaining all of the differences including and related to Theravada. I think that will visually settle in better with me and others.
Try to make like a software checklist chart when they try to sell you free standard and pro and they list all of the features.


With all due respect, when reading this a Sutta in AN appeared in my mind

makkhagaru hoti na saddhammagaru,
AN ४.८४

Could you quote the sutta here.

It would be good if you quote and translate and also explain your reasons.