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Mahayana Buddhism

Also known as the Greater Vehicle, Mahayana Buddhism is one of the two major schools of Buddhism. Mahayana, literally meaning Greater Ox-Cart was introduced in the first century CE. It is a different way of expressing the same teaching of the historical Buddha. Mahayana Buddhism is a more moderate and comprehensive version of the Buddhist religion, followed not only by monks and ascetics but also by the common people. Currently, the sect is widespread in North Asia and the Far East, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.

Based on the Pali Canon, ancient Buddhism in India, the Mahayana accepts it as a holy scripture apart from which many other Sutras were written later in Sanskrit.  It is a more popular and superstitious Buddhist sect with the worship of semi-divine figures. Mahayana Buddhism in India emphasize on the existence of the historical Buddha in some place beyond this world. They seek to achieve Enlightenment, thereby becoming bodhisattvas, who delay their own nirvana to help others to reach the same level. According to them, it is possible for anyone; even a layman to achieve Enlightenment provided there is sincerity in his efforts on the path to Enlightenment.

Mahayana Buddhism supports the worship of celestial beings, including Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Miraculous rites, religious rituals, ceremonies and the use of icons, images, etc, form a part of Mahayana Buddhism. Within the Mahayana itself, there are many subdivisions that include Zen, Nichiren, Dhyana and Pure Land. Time, culture and customs of countries adopting Buddhism only form the obvious variations in these Buddhist schools; there is no sort of enmity between them. All follow and practice the core teachings of the Buddha’s Dharma. They agree on the basic belief that a single life is enough to attain nirvana, provided a person has the will power and strong determination for it.