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Schools of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism

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An image of Gautama Buddha with a Manji, traditionally a Buddhist symbol of infinity, on his chest. Ananda, the Buddha's disciple, appears in the background. This statue is from Hsi Lai Temple.

The Schools of Buddhism.

Buddhism is classified in various ways. The normal English-language usage, as given in dictionaries, divides it into Theravada (also known by the derogatory name Hinayana) and Mahayana. The commonest classification among scholars is threefold, with Mahayana split into East Asian and Tibetan traditions.

The article "Buddhism, schools of" in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion distinguishes three different types of classification:


*nikayas or monastic fraternities; three of these survive at the present day:

Theravada, in Southeast Asia
Dharmaguptaka, in China, Korea and Vietnam
Mulasarvastivada, in the Tibetan tradition

*doctrinal schools

[edit] Terminology

The terminology for the major divisions of Buddhism can be confusing, as Buddhism is variously divided by scholars and practitioners according to geographic, historical, and philosophical criteria, with different terms often being used in different contexts. The following terms may be encountered in descriptions of the major Buddhist divisions:

Early Buddhist Schools
The schools into which Buddhism became divided in its first few centuries; only one of these survives as an independent school, Theravada

East Asian Buddhism
A term used by scholars[1][page # needed] to cover the Buddhist traditions of Japan, Korea, Singapore and most of China and Vietnam

Eastern Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars[2][page # needed] for East Asian Buddhism; also sometimes used to refer to all traditional forms of Buddhism, as distinct from Western(ized) forms.

Chinese Glazed stoneware of a Buddhist monk, or Future Buddha, dated to the 20th year of the Chenghua Emperor, or 1468 AD.

Samadhi Buddha statue at Mahamevuna Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka carved in the 4th century AD.

Esoteric Buddhism
Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana.[3] Some scholars have applied the term to certain practices found within the Theravada, particularly in Cambodia.[4][page # needed]
A pejorative term used in Mahayana doctrine to denigrate its opponents.[5] It is sometimes used to refer to the early Buddhist schools, including the contemporary Theravada, although the legitimacy of this is disputed.[6] Its use in scholarly publications is controversial.[7] By the Mahayana schools and groups in China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan the term is felt to be only slightly pejorative, or not pejorative at all.[8] By some it is used with respect proper to teachings coming direct from the Buddha. The main use of the term in East Asian and Tibetan traditions is in reference to spiritual levels[9] regardless of school.
An old term, still sometimes used, synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism; widely considered derogatory.
A movement that emerged out of the early Buddhist schools, together with its later descendants, East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayana traditions are sometimes listed separately. The main use of the term in East Asian and Tibetan traditions is in reference to spiritual levels[10][page # needed] regardless of school.

Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana.[11] The Tendai school in Japan has been described as influenced by Mantrayana.[12][page # needed]
Northern Buddhism
An alternative term used by some scholars[13][page # needed] for Tibetan Buddhism. Also, an older term still sometimes used to encompass both East Asian and Tibetan traditions.
Southeast Asian Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars[14][page # needed] for Theravada.
Southern Buddhism
An alternative name used by some scholars[15][page # needed] for Theravada.
An alternative term sometimes used for the early Buddhist schools.
Tantrayana or Tantric Buddhism
Usually considered synonymous with Vajrayana.[16] However, one scholar describes the tantra divisions of some editions of the Tibetan scriptures as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts[17] (see Buddhist texts). Some scholars[18][page # needed] have used the term tantric Theravada to refer to certain practices found particularly in Cambodia.
The traditional Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and parts of Vietnam, China, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. It is the only surviving representative of the historical early Buddhist schools. The term 'Theravada' is also sometimes used to refer to all the early Buddhist schools.[19]
Tibetan Buddhism
Usually understood as including the Buddhism of Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan and parts of China, India and Russia, which follow the Tibetan tradition.
A movement that developed out of Indian Mahayana, together with its later descendants. There is some disagreement on exactly which traditions fall into this category. Tibetan Buddhism is universally recognized as falling under this heading; many also include also the Japanese Shingon school. Some scholars[20][page # needed]also apply the term to the Korean milgyo tradition, which is not a separate school. One scholar says, "Despite the efforts of generations of Buddhist thinkers, it remains exceedingly difficult to identify precisely what it is that sets the Vajrayana apart."[21]

Nikaya schools
Main article: Nikaya Buddhism
See also: Early Buddhist schools
Numerous attempts have been made to tabulate these schools. Here is one.[citation needed]

Pudgalavāda ('Personalist') (c. 280 BCE)
Vibhajjavāda (prior to 240 BCE; during Aśoka)
Theravāda (c. 240 BCE)
Theravada subschools (see below)
Mahīśāsaka (after 232 BCE)
Dharmaguptaka (after 232 BCE)
Kāśyapīya (after 232 BCE)
Vatsīputrīya (under Aśoka) later name: Saṃmitīya
Mūlasarvāstivāda (third and fourth centuries)
Sautrāntika (between 50 BCE and c. 100 CE)
Mahāsaṃghika ('Majority', c. 380 BCE)
Ekavyahārikas (under Aśoka)
Golulika (during Aśoka)
Bahuśrutīya (late third century BCE)
Prajñaptivāda (late third century BCE)
Caitika (mid-first century BCE)
Apara Śaila
Uttara Śaila

[edit] Twenty sects
The following lists the twenty sects described as Hinayana in some Mahayana texts:
Sthaviravada (上座部) was split into 11 sects. These were:
說一切有部(Sarvastivadin)、雪山部(Haimavata)、犢子部(Vatsiputriya)、法上部 (Dharmottara)、賢冑部(Bhadrayaniya)、正量部(Sammitiya)、密林山部(Channagirika)、化地部 (Mahisasaka)、法藏部(Dharmaguptaka)、飲光部(Kasyapiya)、經量部(Sautrantika). Sthaviravada─┬─ Haimavata────────────────────────────────────────────
└─ Sarvastivadin─┬───────────────────────────────────
Vatsiputriya ─┬────────────────────
│ ├ Dharmottara───────
│ ├ Bhadrayaniya─────
│ ├ Sammitiya────────
│ └ Channagirika─────
│ └ Dharmaguptaka──────
Mahasanghika (大眾部) was split into 9 sects. There were:
一說部(Ekavyaharaka)、說出世部(Lokottaravadin)、雞胤部 (Kaukkutika)、多聞部(Bahussrutiya)、說假部(Prajnaptivada)、制多山部(Caitika)、西山住部 (Aparasaila)、北山住部(Uttarasaila). Mahasanghika─┬──────────────────────┬─────

[edit] Influences on East Asian schools
The following later schools used the Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka:
Chinese Vinaya School
Korean Gyeyul
Japanese Ritsu
The following involve philosophical influence:
The Japanese Jojitsu is considered by some an offshoot of Sautrantika; others consider it to be derived from Bahusrutiya
The Chinese/Japanese Kusha school is considered an offshoot of Sarvastivada, influenced by Vasubandhu.

[edit] Theravada subschools
The different schools in Theravada often emphasize different aspects (or parts) of the Pali Canon and the later commentaries, or differ in the focus on (and recommended way of) practice. There are also significant differences in strictness or interpretation of the Vinaya.
Sangharaj Nikaya
Mahasthabir Nikaya
Thudhamma Nikaya
Vipassana tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw and disciples
Shwekyin Nikaya
Dvaya Nikaya or Dvara Nikaya (see Mendelson, Sangha and State in Burma, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1975)
Sri Lanka:
Siam Nikaya
Waturawila (or Mahavihara Vamshika Shyamopali Vanavasa Nikaya)
Amarapura Nikaya
Kanduboda (or Swejin Nikaya)
Tapovana (or Kalyanavamsa)
Ramañña Nikaya
Galduwa (or Kalyana Yogashramaya Samsthava)
forest nikaya
Maha Nikaya
Vijja Dhammakaya
Thammayut Nikaya
Thai Forest Tradition
Tradition of Ajahn Chah

[edit] Mahāyāna schools
Sanlun (Three Treatise school)
Maha-Madhyamaka (Jonangpa)
Yogācāra (known in Tibet as Cittamatra)
Wei-Shi (Consciousness-only school) or Faxiang (Dharma-character school)
Daśabhūmikā (absorbed in to Huayan)
Huayan (Avataṃsaka)
Chan / Zen / Seon / Thien
Won Buddhism: Korean Reformed Buddhism
Pure Land (Amidism)
Jodo Shin
Tiantai (Lotus Sutra School)
Tendai (also contained Vajrayana elements)
Nichiren Shū
Nichiren Shōshū
Nipponzan Myōhōji
Soka Gakkai

[edit] Tantric schools
see also: Vajrayāna Subcategorised according to predecessors
Tibetan Buddhism
New Bön (synthesis of Yungdrung Bön and Nyingmapa)
Shangpa Kagyu
Rechung Kagyu
Dagpo Kagyu
Karma Kagyu (or Kamtshang Kagyu)
Tsalpa Kagyu
Baram Kagyu
Pagtru Kagyu (or Phagmo Drugpa Kagyu)
Taglung Kagyu
Trophu Kagyu
Drukpa Kagyu
Martsang Kagyu
Yerpa Kagyu
Yazang Kagyu
Shugseb Kagyu
Drikung Kagyu
Rime movement (ecumenical movement)
Japanese Mikkyo
Tendai (derived from Tiantai but added tantric practices)

[edit] See also
Buddhism by region
Humanistic Buddhism
Northern and Southern Buddhism
Early Buddhist Schools

[edit] References
^ B & G, Gethin, R & J, P & K
^ Penguin, Harvey
^ Encyclopedia of Religion, Macmillan, New York, volume 2, page 440
^ Indian Insights, Luzac, London, 1997
^ Hinayana (literally, “inferior way”) is a polemical term, which self-described Mahayana (literally, “great way”) Buddhist literature uses to denigrate its opponents. - p. 840, MacMillan Library Reference Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004
^ Hinayana is a designation that has no clearly identifiable external referent - p. 840, MacMillan Library Reference Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004
^ The supposed Mahayana-Hinayana dichotomy is so prevalent in Buddhist literature that it has yet fully to loosen its hold over scholarly representations of the religion. - p. 840, MacMillan Library Reference Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004
^ It is also certain that Buddhist groups and individuals in China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan have in the past, as in the very recent present, identified themselves as Mahayana Buddhists, even if the polemical or value claim embedded in that term was only dimly felt, if at all., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 492
^ Penguin Handbook, pages 378f
^ Penguin Handbook
^ Harvey, pages 153ff
^ Penguin Handbook
^ Penguin, Harvey
^ R & J, P & K
^ Penguin, Harvey
^ Harvey, pages 153ff
^ Skilling, Mahasutras, volume II, Parts I & II, 1997, Pali Text Society, Lancaster, page 78
^ Indian Insights, loc. cit.
^ Encyclopedia of Religion, volume 2, Macmillan, New York, 1987, pages 440f; Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, sv Buddhism
^ Harvey
^ Lopez, Buddhism in Practice, Princeton University Press, 1995, page 6
Coleman, Graham, ed. (1993). A Handbook of Tibetan Culture. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.. ISBN 1-57062-002-4.
Warder, A.K. (1970). Indian Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

[edit] External links
Mahayana vs. Theravada: a Multiform Comparison
The Sects of the Buddhists by T.W. Rhys Davids, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1891. pp.409-422
Sects & Sectarianism - The origins of Buddhist Schools
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schools_of_Buddhism"
Categories: All pages needing cleanup All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements since June 2007 Branches of Buddhism

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