Essay on Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism

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There are two forms of Buddhism that are still prevalent in society today, these are Theravada and Mahayana. Both these traditions have existed for many centuries and encompass important beliefs derived from the Pali Canon and other ancient Indian Buddhist literature. They revert back to the orthodox teachings presented by the historical Gautama Buddha such as The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. Both these forms of Buddhism stay devoted to the traditional beliefs that the religion was built from and they accept the same basic understandings. However, the concept of enlightenment and how it is attained is debated among these two groups and it is the only major difference between the two Buddhist forms. The Third Council …show more content…
Mahayana’s counterpart, Theravada is the other major form of Buddhism today and owes its ancestry to the Sthaviras. Therefore it appears that The Great Schism is still evident in modern day Buddhist practices, as the Mahasamghikas gave rise to Mahayana and the Sthaviras initiated Theravada. Although many divisions, belief changes and branching schools needed to occur before this distinction could arise. The Theravada form of Buddhism owes its originations to the Sthavira or Elder school, and the term Theravada even precisely translates to “The Teaching of the Elders.” It has been determined that Theravadian ideas emerged in 250 B.C.E. as the result of the Third Council. However Theravada literature determines a different assembly to be regarded as the Third Council, hence a difference of era between Theravada texts and the commonly regarded Council of Pataliputra. This council was concerned with the division of the Sthavira sect and participants agreed upon a set of teachings called the Vibhajyavada. The result of this division was three schools branching from Sthavira: Vatsiputriya, Sarvastivada, and Vibhajyavadins. The Vibhajyavadins based their beliefs on the new teachings depicted by the Vibhajavada and this sect divided even further into four other Buddhist schools: Mahisasaka, Kasyapiya, Dharmaguptaka, and Tamraparniya. Evidence can be found dating back to the 4th Century C.E. of documented references to Theravada which is suggested
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