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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xi ] A term used in M ahayana B uddhism in the sense of ‘lesser’ or ‘incomplete vehicle’ to characterize Buddhist practice that is seen as geared to the goal of the enlightenment of the A rahat rather than to the complete and perfect enlightenment of a B uddha. Hinayana is thus used by Mahayana writers to refer both to those ancient Buddhist schools (traditionally reckoned as 18) that did not conform to the outlook of the Mahayana, as well as to the practice of the preliminary stages of the Buddhist path, which is understood as being motivated by the desire to gain enlightenment for oneself rather than for the sake of all sentient beings. The only non-Mahayana Buddhist tradition to survive today is the T heravada , which is sometimes misleadingly referred to in modern writings as ‘Hinayana Buddhism’. This implies an inappropriate Mahayana perspective; Theravada Buddhism would regard any suggestion that its conception of the goal of the Buddhist path is deficient in either compassion or wisdom – and hence an ‘inferior way’ – as based on misunderstanding (cf. A nukampa ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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