Mahayana Buddhism

 

 

The literal meaning of Mahayana is “Greater Vehicle”. This is one of the two prominent branches of Buddhism, another one is “Theravada”. Mahayana Buddhism seems to have developed between 1st century BCE and 1st century CE. In 2nd century CE Mahayana Buddhism came in to full existence. Nagarjuna with the theory of “Shunyata (emptiness)” propagated an advanced version of Buddhism. In this philosophy he proved that everything is void (not only the self). In a small text Madhyamika –Karika he gave his all opinions of “Shunyata”.

After the first century Mahayana had been clearly defined and this was the period when Mahayana and Hinayana terms were developed. Besides the work of Nagarjuna, Asanga and Vasubandhu compiled tremendous amount of literature on Mahayana.

These writings of Mahayana were done in Sanskrit and this literature was called Mahayana Sutras.There arose a clear division between the schools following the traditional teachings and Mahayana.

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