Upon the death of Gautama Buddha in 400 BC, Buddhism divided into two sects: Mahayana and Hinayana.
The Mahayana sect, which means ‘Great Vehicle’ in Sanskrit, believed in the divinity of the Buddha. The sect encouraged idol worship in Buddhism.
The Hinayana sect, meaning ‘Small Vehicle’ in Sanskrit, did not believe in the divinity of the Buddha. It stressed individual salvation through self-discipline and mediation.
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Keeping the IAS Exam in mind, this article will further discuss the difference between Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism.
Aspirants can also refer to a few important history-related difference between articles for their Mains GS 1 preparation:
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|Difference Between Vedas and Upanishads||Difference Between Nayanars and Alvars|
Differences between Mahayana and Hinayana
|Mahayana Buddhism consider Gautama Buddha to be a divine being who will help his followers to attain nirvana.||Hinayana Buddhist consider Gautama Buddha as an ordinary human being who attained Nirvana.|
|Followers of Mahayana Buddhism can be found in China, (South) Korea, Japan and Tibet.||Hinayana Buddhism is followed in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.|
|Scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism were written Sanskrit.||Scriptures of Hinayana Buddhism were written in Pali.|
|The three bodies of a Buddha are accepted in Mahayana Buddhism. They are as follows:
||Hinayana does not believe in the three bodies of a Buddha as they believe an individual must find their own path to salvation.|
|The ten-far reaching attitude in Mahayana is as follows:
||The ten-far reaching attitude in Hinayana is as follows:
|In Mahayana Buddhism, immeasurable joy is the wish that others have the joy of unending enlightenment.||In Hinayana Buddhism, immeasurable joy means rejoicing in the happiness of others without any jealousy and not expecting anything in return.|
|Mahayana Buddhism began to flourish around 500 BC.||Hinayana Buddhism started to flourish around 250 BC.|
Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism are broadly covered under Indian History as well as the Art and Culture segment of the IAS Exams. You can find the study materials for both these segments and related articles through the links given below:
- NCERT Ancient Indian History for UPSC
- NCERT Medieval Indian History for UPSC
- NCERT Modern Indian History for UPSC
- NCERT Notes about the teachings of the Buddha for UPSC
- List of Buddhist Councils and Texts
- Differences and Similarities Between Buddhism and Jainism
- NCERT Notes for Art and Culture UPSC
- Important Topics and Subtopics for UPSC Art and Culture
- How to tackle Art and Culture for UPSC IAS Prelims
Difference Between Mahayana and Hinayana – Download PDF Here
Frequently Asked Questions on Difference Between Mahayana and Hinayana
Q 1. What were the Mahayana and Hinayana ideologies of Buddhism?
Q 2. In what language were Mahayana and Hinayana Scriptures written?
Aspirants can become familiar with the general pattern of the IAS exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page. For more preparation materials, they can refer to the links given in the table below: