Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism

Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism PDFOutlines of Mahayana Buddhism, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, published in 1907, is a historical description of Buddhism, and how the religion has organized itself into many branches. It is said that just a few hundred years after the demise of the Buddha, there were more than twenty different schools. However, two main schools seem to have been dominant: Mahayana and Hinayana (since 1950 the World Fellowship of Buddhists declared “Theravada” should be used instead of Hinayana). Mahayana is the liberal and progressive, but also the speculative and in many respects very metaphysical. Theravada on the other hand is somewhat conservative and may be considered in many points to be a rationalistic ethical system. Mahayana literarily means “The Great Vehicle” while Hinayana refers to “the small or inferior vehicle.” The two major branches are also known as respectively the northern and southern Buddhism because of their geographical distribution. The Mahayana school of Buddhism found its supporters in Nepal, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan while the more conservative Hinayana school established itself in Ceylon, Siam, and Burma.

Download Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism here as a free PDF e-book (461 pages/16.5MB):

 Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism


1 thought on “Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism”

  1. First, this book does not belong under the heading of “Theravada”; Mahayana is the antithesis of Theravada.

    Second, one of the numerous ironies of the perjorative term “hinayana” – a term not used by the wise – is that people who call themselves Buddhists use it to demean and dismiss as irrelevant the actual teachings of the Buddha, themselves choosing instead to follow teachings thought up centuries after the Enlightened One’s passage out of this life…including “discourses of the Buddha” such as the Lotus and Diamond sutras, which were likewise composed centuries after the Buddha lived and are therefore in no way discourses of the Buddha, but are used instead to uphold the ideas not of the Buddha, but of the people who composed those works.

    The Buddha taught a path to seeing things as they truly are, while many leaders and practitioners of Mahayana schools feel it’s a much better plan to teach and follow lies and misguidance. Such people may be considered Buddhists much like deceitful and opportunistic televangelists may be considered Christians: in name only.


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