Hinayana

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Meaning 'inferior vehicle' Hīnayāna is a derogatory term Mahayana Buddhists use for the pre-Mahāyāna schools of Buddhism. The term is to be found in the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras (aproximately 1st century CE) and is still used today by some Mahāyānists to describe Theravada Buddhism. The Mahāyāna claim that their ideal practitioner, the bodhisattva, strives to liberate all beings while the Hīnayāna ideal, the arahant, is intent on liberating himself or herself only. The Pali Tipitaka contains no term, derogatory or otherwise, for Mahāyāna Buddhism simply because it pre-dates the period when sects arose within Buddhism.

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