Mahayana Buddhism is considered to be one of the two major schools of Buddhism. Also known as the Greater Vehicle, it first surfaced in the first century CE. Literally, Mahayana means Greater Ox-Cart and it serves as a more moderate and comprehensible interpretation of Buddhism. Not only the monks and ascetics, but also the common people may follow the path of Mahayana. Today, the sect is predominant in North Asia and the Far East, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia. Read on this guide Mahayana Buddhism further to know more about Mahayana Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism is based on the Pali Canon and accepts it as a holy scripture. Apart form Pali Canon, there are a number of other Sutras also in Mahayana, written later in Sanskrit. Mahayana Buddhists aim at achieving enlightenment and becoming bodhisattvas. Just like bodhisattvas, they also readily postpone their own nirvana to help the others in attaining the same. According to them, it is possible to achieve enlightenment in one life also and even a layman can realize this goal.
Mahayana Buddhism encourages the reverence of celestial beings, including Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Magical rites, religious rituals, ceremonies and the use of icons, images, etc, form a part of Mahayana Buddhism. There are a number of subdivisions within Mahayana. These include Zen, Nichiren, Dhyana and Pure Land. All these subdivisions agree on the basic belief that a single life is enough to attain nirvana, provided a person has the determination for it. However, ways of attaining this goal are different in each one of them.
This article serves as a guide to Mahayana Buddhism. Explore more on Mahayana school of Buddhism.