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the self-designation of one of the two largest schools of Buddhism (the other major school is Hinayana Buddhism).

Mahayana Buddhism can be traced through literary sources to the first century B.C. However, the ultimate origin of Mahayana Buddhism may be found in the first Buddhist councils of the fifth through third centuries B.C.; at these councils there was considerable support for broad missionary activity, admission of secular persons to the Buddhist sangha (community), and the relaxation of the rules of religious obedience.

The formation of Mahayana Buddhism is associated with the names of Nagarjuna, Asanga, Ashvaghosha, and Aryadeva—the major exponents of Buddhist religiophilosophical thought in the first through fifth centuries. In Mahayana, the highest religious ideal is the Bodhisattva, the universal but incarnate cosmic principle of the interrelationship—through compassion and mutual aid—of all beings who strive to liberate themselves from the coils of earthly existence. In contrast to the arhat, the ideal saint of Hinayana, who strives for personal liberation through strict observance of canonical and ritual prescriptions, the Bodhisattva is seen as a model for others: he himself will not be liberated until every last being who seeks liberation succeeds in emulating his example and achieving Nirvana. More concretely, the concept of Bodhisattva involves the individual’s acquisition of a certain set of ultimate qualities (paramitas): supergenerosity, supermorality, superpatience, supervigor, superconcentration, and super-wisdom. The symbolism of the Three Bodies of Buddha (Trikaya) occupies a central place in the Mahayana cult: the “body of the Law” (Dharmakaya), the image of the universal spiritual being of Buddha; the “body of Enjoyment” (Sambhogakaya), the ideal image of Buddha sent down to disciples who are in a yogic trance; and the “body of the Illusory” (Nirmanakaya), the material human image of Buddha as a model of religious behavior.

The religious symbolism of Mayahana Buddhism consists of a complex pantheon of divinities embodying personalized values in the achievement of ultimate liberation. The most important of these include the Amitabha Buddha, or the spirit of Buddhism incarnate in the world; the Avalokiteshvara Buddha, or compassion for the world; and the Maitreya Buddha, or the hope of the world. Mahayana canonical literature is based on nine chief sutras, the Vaipulya Sutras. The principal Mahayana philosophical schools are the Yogachara, or Vijnanavada (founded by Asanga), and the Madhyamika, or Shunyavada (founded by Nagarjuna). The development of the Tantrist teachings of Buddhist yoga is associated with Mahayana Buddhism.

In the first centuries A.D., Mahayana spread to China, Tibet, Korea, Japan, and later to Mongolia and other countries. Most of the Mahayana canonical texts in India were written in Sanskrit, and in countries to which Mahayana spread were written in the local languages as well. Magnificent religious rituals are characteristic of Mahayana.


Ashvagosha. ZhiznBuddy. Moscow, 1913.
Arnold, E. Svet Azii, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Schure, E. Sakiia-Muni drevnii mudrets. Odessa, 1897.
Suzuki, D. T. Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism. London [1907].
Sogen, J. Systems of Buddhistic Thought. Calcutta, 1912.


References in periodicals archive ?
Interlaced nagas are draped around stupas as the guardians of the Buddha's relics (figure 5), much as they are said to have guarded the Mahayana sutras until the 2nd-century patriarch Nagarjuna came for them.
15010/15, point to Gandhari dialectal features in particular, and a Gandhari background for early Mahayana literature is confirmed by the seven Mahayana sutras (including the Pratyutpanna) now known in this language.
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Instructors can thus utilize the opportunity to have students identify and name important Mahayana concepts and schools, such as Buddha-nature and Yogacara.
In contrast to Buddhist "essentialism," "deconstruction" would build upon Madhyamaka philosophy and a series of hermeneutical techniques employed within Mahayana Buddhism to explain apparent doctrinal change in order to promote an "ascent of the dharma" paradigm that accommodates diverse approaches to doctrine as skillful means to benefit the maximum number of sentient beings.
No interior do budismo, a antitese da escola Theravada chama-se Mahayana.
but became particularly prominent near the beginning of the Common Era, when a new religious movement, the Mahayana ("Great Vehicle"), began to appear, spreading northwest from India into Central Asia and eastward into China.
Chapter Nine expands the scope of the book beyond the Newar community to look at other Buddhist Revival Movements among the so called Tibetan Mahayana community and compares this to what has happened in the Newar community.
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Furthermore, while Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 8 all focus on indigenous Lahu traditions, Chapters 6, 7 and 9 highlight the influence of Mahayana Buddhism.
But who nowadays believes that folk who practice other religions like Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, or one of the tribal religions indigenous to Africa or the Americas are doing something morally wrong?