I was just having an interesting discussion with a fellow Buddhist on how it seems to be so that every western Buddhist tends to have their own unique Buddhism. It’s rare to find a pure adherent of one school. While you could argue that western Buddhism owes much to theosophy and H.P. Blavatsky, there have been subsequent waves in the Sixties with Shunryu Suzuki, Chogyam Trungpa and Alan Watts, and again recently with Thich Nhat Hanh, Stephen Batchelor and so on.
So I was examining my Buddhism, and I came to the conclusion that such as it is, is a mixture of Tibetan Gelugpa teachings, books of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Zen, and the Theravada of Ajahn Chah. These are different sources that I got interested in, and they seem to have left the deepest impressions. I have also drawn upon other sources but they have mainly become a kind of supporting body. Some of it was older, such as the anthologies of Edward Conze, and some of it modern, like the writings of Stephen Batchelor.
What it comes down to is when you are discussing Buddhism with another Buddhist you spend a lot of time defining terms, and its often not as simple as saying “I am a Theravadan”. That kind of convenient shorthand has fallen by the wayside in the west, but it is also not feasible to give another Buddhist a complete reading list of where your intellectual curiosity has taken you.