ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hinayana and mahayana Buddhism

Updated on March 18, 2016

buddhacarita

Source

Buddhacarita Shailabimbaramaya Dodanduva

Source

The Lord Buddhacarita

Famous poet Ashvaghosha who composed Buddhacarita, a biography of the Buddha, also lived in the court of Kanishka. During this period\, books and records of Buddhism began to be written in Sanskrit.

Buddhism underwent several changes during this period. The religion was formally divided into two sects – the Hinayana and the Mahayana. Earlier, the Buddha was shown in sculpture through signs but statues of Buddha were made.

Two great schools of sculpture that developed at this time were Mathura School of arts and Gandhara school of arts.

The other major changing during this period was a belief in Bodhisattva. They were supposed to be persons who had attained enlightenment. Earlier, it was considered that once Bodhisattva attained enlightenment, they had to live in complete isolation and meditate in peace. During this period, this belief changed. Bodhisattva started to mingle with the common people. From here, the worshipping of Bodhisattva began and this spread throughout China, Central Asia and later to Korea and Japan.

lord gautma buddha

Source

Mahayana Buddhist monks in morning prayer

Source

monks believe in Hinayana teachings

Source

The Hinayana Tripitaka was first written down in Sri Lanka

Hinayana or Theravada

Both, the Theravadins and the Mahayanists believe that there were twenty – two Buddhas who preceded Gautama and that the twenty – fourth or the last one, Bodhisattva Maitreya is yet to become a Buddha. They also believe that Buddhas are very special beings. However, the Theravadins (Humanists) emphasize individual effort and meditations rather than worship of the Buddhas and Bodhisattva as the means to attain Nirvana. Further, the Theravadins did not develop any elaborate religious rituals though they do practice veneration of the Stupa as symbol of the Buddha and go on pilgrimages to places associated with important events in his life his birth, enlightenment, first sermon and death.

The Hinayana Tripitaka was first written down in Sri Lanka in the first century BC in Pali language, a variety of Prakrit spoken at that time. In the present times, Buddhists of Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia and Laos are followers of the Hinayana or Theravada school.

Mahayana

The Mahayanists have their own version of the Tripitaka which was written in Sanskrit in the first century AD only parts of it are available now.

According to the beliefs of the Mahayanists, the Buddhas, and even more so the Bodhisattvas, are kind, compassionate beings who respond to people's prayers. A Bodhisattva is a special being who is potential Buddha but has not become one as yet. Even in Pali (Hinayana) Buddhist literature, Gautama himself is said to have been born on this earth hundreds of times as a Bodhisattva to help suffering humanity before he decided to attain Buddhahood. Stories of his previous births, known as Jatakas, are a part Pali Buddhist religious literature. It is believed that the name of the twenty – fourth Buddha, who is yet to come, will be Maitreya and, thus, Maitreya is still a Bodhisattva. Avalokiteshvara, another Bodhisattva, is so compassionate that he has decided never to become a Buddha and thus continues to help the suffering humanity. The Mahayanists believe that praying to the Bodhisattvas can move them to help their devotees in their worldly problems as well as in spiritual progress.

The Mahayanists also started worshipping the representations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in human form along with the worship of the Stupas. Moreover, the special powers of the Bodhisattvas were imagined as female divinities and worshipped in the form of images. Such practices and rituals of the Mahayanists were, in part, the result of Hindu influence on that faith.

In course of time, it was the Mahayana faith which became the religion of the majority of Buddhists in China, Japan, Korea, Central Asia, Mongolia and Siberia. The Mahayana Tripitaka was translated into the languages of all these countries.

Theravada monks in Myanma

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • 10000001 profile imageAUTHOR

      madugundu krishna 

      3 years ago from Yemmiganur

      thanks for comment

    • Adrien Richards profile image

      Adrien 

      3 years ago

      nice rereading this history again, the Mahayana was brought from India to China by Bodhidharma actually very similar to Hinayana but guess it branched out again in different sects as the emphasis on Sutras like the Lotus, etc. We have here Thailand Hinayana Buddhist hour away, and Shin Japanese Buddhist Temple in Miami Beach, haven't been in that one. It all has to do with the Sutras they follow. Zen of Bodhidharma is very similar to Theravadins guess more not relying on scripture but meditation and the Diamond Sutra. Shingon of Japan is very interesting too.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)