Early Buddhist schools

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Early Buddhism
Pali Canon Āgamas Gandharan texts

1st Council 2nd Council 3rd Council 4th Council

First Sangha

└ Mahāsāṃghika ├ Ekavyahāraka ├ Lokottaravāda ├ Bahuśrutīya ├ Prajñaptivāda └ Caitika └ Sthaviravāda ├ Mahīśāsaka ├ Dharmaguptaka ├ Kāśyapīya ├ Sarvāstivāda └ Vibhajyavāda

according to most scholars. Contents [hide] • o o o o o o o • o o 1 Developments in history 1. these first early schools split into further divisions such as the Sarvāstivādins and the Dharmaguptakas.7 The Chinese pilgrims 2 The eighteen schools 2. In fact. about 18 or 20 schools. to support the statements made in those Abhidhammas. These ideologies became embedded in large works such as the Abhidhammas and commentaries. totalling about twice as many. the Buddhist monasticsaṅgha initially split.3 Period between the second and third councils 1. according to scholar Collett Cox "most scholars would agree that even though the roots of the earliest recognized groups predate Aśoka.└ Theravāda view · talk · edit The early Buddhist schools are those schools into which.4 Third council under Aśoka 1. due originally to differences in vinaya. though some may be alternative names. there are several overlapping lists of 18 schools preserved in the Buddhist tradition. The schools sometimes split over ideological differences concerning the "real" meaning of teachings in theSuttapiṭaka.1 The first council 1. their actual separation did not occur until after his death.6 And Mahāyāna members 1. and sometimes over disagreement concerning the proper observance of vinaya."[1] Later.2 According to Vasumitra . The original saṅgha split into the first early schools (commonly believed to be the Sthaviravādins and theMahāsaṃghikas) a significant number of years after the death of Gautama Buddha. traditionally. and later also due to doctrinal differences and geographical separation of groups of monks. It is thought likely that the number is merely conventional.1 According to the Dipavamsa 2. Comparison of existing versions of the Suttapiṭaka of various sects shows evidence that ideologies from the Abhidhammas sometimes found their way back into the Suttapiṭakas. and ended up numbering.2 The second council 1.5 Developments during and after the third council 1.

[2][3] [edit]The second council Main article: The Second Buddhist Council The second council did not cause a split in the saṅgha.5 Twenty schools according to Mahayana scriptures in Chinese 2. according to scriptures[citation needed]. that I received it in his presence. well chanted by the elders are the Dhamma and Vinaya. Venerable Purāṇa is recorded as having said: "Your reverences. . and was probably aboutmonastic discipline. [edit]Period between the second and third councils Most scholars believe that the first split occurred in the intervening period between the second and third councils.6 Hypothetical combined list 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links [edit]Developments [edit]The in history first council Main article: First Buddhist Council Three months after the passing of Buddha. who changed their behaviors after the council. Generally.3 According to Vinitadeva 2. However. in that same way will I bear it in mind. but in that way that I heard it in the Lord's presence. after this initial division." [Vinaya-pitaka: Cullavagga XI:1:11]. more were to follow.o o o o • • • • • 3 Legacy 2. the first council was held at Rajagaha by some of his disciples who had attained arahantship (enlightenment). It was strictly about the misbehavior of a group of monks. Some scholars deny that the first council actually took place. The accounts of the council in the scriptures of the schools differ as to what was actually recited there. At this point. Theravāda tradition[citation needed] maintains that no conflict about what the Buddha taught occurred. it is believed that the first split was between the Sthaviravāda and the Mahāsaṃghika. the teachings were divided into various parts and each was assigned to an elder and his pupils to commit to memory. as is sometimes claimed.4 According to the Sariputrapariprccha 2.

The Pāli canon remains the most complete set of surviving Nikāyascriptures. it was then adopted by Emperor Aśoka as his empire's official religion. some parts exist in Tibetan translations. small groups raised questions about the specifics of the vinaya and the interpretation of doctrine. Theravādin sources state that. All of these early schools ofNikāyan Buddhism eventually came to be known collectively as "the eighteen schools" in later sources. This school of thought was termed "Vibhajjavāda" (Pāli). but these did not become separate monastic orders until later. in the 3rd century BCE. The remainder consider it a purely Theravāda/Vibhajjavāda council. [edit]Developments during and after the third council Whatever might be the truth behind the Theravādin account. while parts of various canons (sometimes unidentified). It is generally accepted. but no mention of this council is found in other sources. involving both doctrinal and disciplinary (vinaya) matters. exist in Chinese and fragments in other Indian dialects. including the vinaya. although the greater part of the Sarvāstivādin canon also survives in Chinese translation. although a . this council was convened primarily for the purpose of establishing an official orthodoxy. the Kathavatthu. which was meant to refute these arguments. was taken to Sri Lanka by Emperor Aśoka's son. literally "thesis of [those who make] a distinction". by the time of King Aśoka. There it was eventually committed to writing in the Pāli language. although these may have been too informal to be called a "council". Moggaliputta Tissa. The version of the scriptures that had been established at the third council. divided into three sub-schools.sutta and the abhidhamma (collectively known as "tripiṭaka"). that one or several disputes did occur during Aśoka's reign. and scholars conclude that the number is merely conventional. Unfortunately. At the council. doctrinally speaking. The distinction involved was as to the existence of phenomena (dhammas) in the past. a third council was convened under the patronage of Emperor Aśoka.[4] Some scholars argue that there are certain implausible features of the Theravādin account which imply that the third council was ahistorical. The council sided with Moggaliputta and his version of Buddhism as orthodox. it was around the time of Aśoka that further divisions began to occur within the Buddhist movement and a number of additional schools emerged. According to the Theravādin account. and some fragments exist in Sanskrit manuscripts. but different sources give different lists of them. The Sthavira school had. none of these early schools survived beyond the late medieval period by which time several were already long extinct. including the Sarvāstivāda and the Sammitīya. future and present. the Venerable Mahinda. however. with the exception of the Theravāda. compiled a book.[edit]Third council under Aśoka Main article: Third Buddhist Council Tradition largely holds that Buddhism split into 18 schools. The chairman of the council.

The Pudgalavādins were also known as "Vatsiputrīyas" after their putative founder. Still later. but reverted to calling themselves "Theriyas". During and after the third council. it has been suggested that the Sautrāntikas were actually adherents of Mūlasarvāstivāda. such as Vanavasi in the south-west and the Kañci region in the south-east. It died out around the 9th or 10th century CE. this is not necessarily accurate. which only recognized the authority of the sutras and rejected the abhidharma transmitted and taught by the Vaibhāṣika wing of Sarvāstivāda.[8] . typically using the term Śrāvakayāna instead. with more followers than all the other schools combined. after the earlier Theras or "Sthaviras". at some point prior to the Dipavamsa (4th century).[6] From Chinese monks visiting India. in. This group later ceased to refer to themselves specifically as "Vibhajjavādins". The relation between Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda. [5] Paul Williams has also noted that the Mahāyāna never had nor ever attempted to have a separate vinaya or ordination lineage from the early Buddhist schools. after one of its subdivisions. the Pāli name "Theravāda" was adopted and has remained in use ever since for this group. during most of the early medieval period. Mahāyāna never referred to a separate sect of Buddhism (Skt. the terms "Mahāyāna" and "Hīnayāna" were first used in writing. is unclear.considerable amount of the canonical literature of some of these schools has survived. and therefore each bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī adhering to the Mahāyāna formally belonged to an early school. Therefore Mahāyāna was never a separate rival sect of the early schools. the Sammitīya school was numerically the largest Buddhist group in India. [edit]And Mahāyāna members Although the various early schools of Buddhism are sometimes loosely classified as "Hīnayāna" in modern times. Based on textual considerations. in particular in the Mahāsāṅghika and the Sarvāstivāda. According to Jan Nattier. but rather to the set of ideals and doctrines for bodhisattvas. and the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya in Tibetan Buddhism. This continues today with the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya in East Asia. the origins of specifically Mahāyāna doctrines may be discerned in the teachings of some of these early schools. however. Between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE. theLotus Sutra.[7] Additionally. Nevertheless. for example. Moreover. One part of this group was transmitted to Sri Lanka and to certain areas of southern India. we now know that both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna monks in India often lived in the same monasteries side by side. Another group linked to Sarvāstivāda was the Sautrāntika school. mainly in Chinese translation. elements of the Sthavira group called themselves "Vibhajjavādins". The Sarvāstivādin school was most prominent in the north-west of India and provided some of the doctrines that would later be adopted by theMahāyāna. Later this group became known as the "Sammitīya" school. nikāya). Isabella Onians notes that Mahāyāna works rarely used the term Hīnayāna.

Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa.First schism Sarvāstivāda . What follows are the lists given by each of the different sources. Xuanzang.[9] Explaining their doctrinal affiliations. there were five early Buddhist schools that they mentioned far more frequently than others.[11] along with the Theravāda. Mahāsaṃghika.The Chinese Buddhist monk and pilgrim Yijing wrote about relationship between the various "vehicles" and the early Buddhist schools in India. who had been so influential in the early spread of Buddhism to Central Asia and China. he then writes.[10] [edit]The Chinese pilgrims During the first millennium. "There exist in the West numerous subdivisions of the schools which have different origins.First schism Prajñaptivāda - . andSaṃmitīya Nikāya.  Sthaviravāda/Vibhajjavāda/Theravāda   Mahīśāsaka . The latter by then had largely emigrated to Sri Lanka but was also still prominent in Kanchi. there was no simple correspondence between a Buddhist school and whether its members learn "Hīnayāna" or "Mahāyāna" teachings. but there are only four principal schools of continuous tradition. What this actually means is more subtle. By the time the Chinese pilgrims Xuanzang and Yijing visited India. He wrote. [edit]The eighteen schools It is commonly said that there were eighteen schools of Buddhism in this period. although the word "school" is used.[12] Secondly. had almost completely disappeared. Sthavira Nikāya. monks from China such as Faxian. and Yijing made pilgrimages to India and wrote accounts of their travels when they returned home.Third schism  Mahāsaṃghika   Gokulika . and Saṃmitīya were the principal early Buddhist schools still extant in India. Mūlasarvāstivāda Nikāya." These schools are namely the Mahāsaṃghika Nikāya. [edit]According to the Dipavamsa This list was taken from the Sri Lankan chronicles. there was not yet an institutional split in the saṅgha. "Which of the four schools should be grouped with the Mahāyāna or with the Hīnayāna is not determined. These Chinese travel records constitute extremely valuable sources of information concerning the state of Buddhism in India during the early medieval period." That is to say. The Dharmaguptakas. no historical source can agree what the names of these "eighteen schools" were. They commented that the Sarvāstivāda/Mūlasarvāstivāda. Only the books that they read were different. The origin of this saying is therefore unclear. First. The Chinese traveler Xuanzang observed even when the Mahāyāna were beginning to emerge out of this era that monks of different schools would live side by side in dormitories and attend the same lectures.

  schism  Kāśyapīya . referred  Mahāsaṃghika        Ekavyahārikas .Third schism Caitika .Second schism Saṃmitīya .First schism Gokulika . but this school was only influential in the north of India.First Sixth Schism       Dharmaguptaka . Ekavyahārikas .Second schism Prajñaptivāda .Forth schism Sankrantika .First schism. but in the Mahavamsa it is said to have arisen from the Pannati and Bahussutaka) In addition.  Sthaviravāda  Haimavata .First schism Vatsīputrīya .First schism Bahuśrutīya .Third schism.First schism Lokottaravāda .Forth schism Apara Śaila .   schism  Dharmottarīya Sarvāstivāda .Second schism Bhadrayānīya .Second schism Sannāgarika .Fifth Second schism  Bahuśrutīya - Second schism Sautrāntika  schism  Caitika .Fourth schism to by Sarvāstivādins as "the original Sthavira School".Second .Second schism According to Dipavamsa.First schism Dharmottarīya . the author of which was Vasumitra a Sarvāstivādin monk. the Dipavamsa lists the following six schools without identifying the schools from which they arose:       Hemavatika (Sanskrit: Haimavata) Rajagiriya Siddhatthaka Pubbaseliya Aparaseliya (Sanskrit: Aparaśaila) Apararajagirika [edit]According to Vasumitra This list was taken from Samayabhedo Paracana Cakra.Third schism Vatsīputrīya .

Sixth schism Sautrāntika .Fourth schism to Vinitadeva Vinitadeva (c. 645-715) was a Mūlasarvāstivādin monk.  Sthaviravāda    Jetavaniya Abhayagirivasin Mahaviharavasin  Mahāsaṃghika      Purvasaila Aparasaila Haimavata Lottaravadin Prajñaptivāda  Sammatiya    Kaurukullaka Avantaka Vatsīputrīya  Sarvastivadin        Mūlasarvāstivādin Kasyapiya Mahisasaka Dharmaguptaka Bahuśrutīya Tamrasatiya Vibhajyavadin [edit]According to the Sariputrapariprccha .Seventh Mahīśāsaka.Forth schism Dharmaguptaka Sannāgarika Saṃmitīya Bhadrayānīya  Uttara Śaila .Third schism  Third schism  Third schism  Third schism   Fifth schism   Schism [edit]According Kāśyapīya .

 Sthaviravāda. later Haimavata           [edit]Hypothetical  Sthaviravāda Sarvāstivādin Vatsīputrīya Dharmottara Bhadrayānīya Sammitīya Channagirika Mahisasaka Dharmaguptaka Kāśyapīya Sautrāntika combined list  Mahāsaṃghika . Dharmaguptaka (法 蔵 ). Kāśyapīya (飲光部). These were:Sarvāstivādin (説 一切有部 ). Haimavata (雪山部).The Sariputrapariprccha is a Mahāsaṃghikan history. Vatsīputrīya (犢子部 部).  Sthaviravāda             Sarvāstivāda Mahisasaka Dharmaguptaka Suvarsa Vatsīputrīya Dharmottarika Bhadrayaniya Sammatiya Sannagarika Kāśyapīya Sutravadin Samkrantika  Mahāsaṃghika         Vyavahara Lokottaravāda Gokulika Bahuśrutīya Prajñaptivāda Mahadeva Caitika Uttarashaila [edit]Twenty schools according to Mahayana scriptures in Chinese Sthaviravāda (上座部) was split into 11 sects. Sautrāntika (経 部 量部 ).

 BCE)  Pudgalavāda ('Personalist') (c. 100 CE)  centuries)  [edit]Legacy The Theravāda School of Sri Lanka. but there is no indication that this referred to any change in doctrine or scripture.  century BCE)  Prajñaptivāda (late third century BCE) Caitika (mid-first century during Aśoka)    232 BCE)    Sarvāstivāda (c. and Thailand is descended from the Sthaviravādin and (more specifically) the VibhajjavādaSchool. The Theravāda school is the only remaining school which is exclusively aligned with the philosophic outlook of the early schools. Burma. and the variation between current Theravāda groups is mainly a reflection of accent or Mūlasarvāstivāda (3rd and 4th Vaibhāṣika . At some point prior to the Dipavamsa (4th century) the name was changed to "Theravāda". which is the Sanskrit version of the Pāli term "Theravāda". while it is very obvious that it refers to geographical location. 240 BCE) Mahīśāsaka (after 232 BCE) Dharmaguptaka (after BCE)   Apara Śaila Uttara Śaila and c. usually concerning the strictness of practice of vinaya and the attitude one has towards abhidhamma. however. In the Indian accounts it is sometimes called the "Tāmraparnīya" (translation: Sri Lankan lineage). significant variation is found between the various Theravādin communities. 280   Ekavyahārikas (during Aśoka) Lokottaravāda Gokulika (during Aśoka)  Bahuśrutīya (late third Vatsīputrīya (during Aśoka)  later name: Saṃmitīya     Dharmottarīya Bhadrayānīya Sannāgarika Vibhajjavāda (prior to 240 BCE. 237 BCE) Kāśyapīya (after 232 BCE) Sautrāntika (between 50 BCE Theravāda (c. Both these. It underwent two more changes of name. are aspects of the Vibhajjavādin recension of the Tipiṭaka. probably to reemphasize the relationship to the original "Sthaviravāda". However.

450 BCE – ca. Timeline: Development and propagation of Buddhist traditions (ca. not content of the Tipiṭaka or the commentaries. 1300 CE) 450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE Mahayana India Early Sangha Vajrayana Early Buddhist schools Sri Lanka & Southeast Asia Theravada Buddhism Greco-Buddhism Central Asia Silk Road Buddhism Tibetan Buddhism East Asia Chán. Nichiren Shingon 450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE Legend: = Theravada tradition = Mahayana traditions = Vajrayana traditions .emphasis. The Tipiṭakaof the Theravāda and the main body of its commentaries are believed to come from (or be heavily influenced by) the Sthaviravādins and especially the subsequent Vibhajjavādins. Zen. Pure Land. Tiantai.

Joseph (2005) Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture: pp. Indu Ramchandani. dissertation. 4-5 ^ Williams. Mahayana Buddhism. ISBN 4-906267-36-X pg 23 ^ Hoiberg. ^ Isabelle Onians. Jan (2003). Dale. 2. Paul (2000) Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition: 8. 1989. p. Oxford. 5. 3. page 6 ^ Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism ^ Nattier. Routledge. by Collett Cox. 9. Trinity Term 2001 pg 72 ^ Walser. All of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism use aMūlasarvāstivāda vinaya and study the Sarvāstivādin abhidharma.The legacies of other early schools are preserved in various Mahāyāna traditions. [edit]See        also Schools of Buddhism Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga Buddhist Councils History of Buddhism Nikaya Buddhism Rhinoceros Sutra Timeline of Buddhism [edit]References 1. 4. Fragments of the canon of texts from these schools also survive such as the Mahāvastu of the Mahāsānghika School. 41 ^ Walser.Phil. Paul (2008) Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations: p. Chinese schools use the vinaya from the Dharmagupta school. 6. "Early Buddhist schools" entry in Students' Britannica India. or Antinomianism as a Norm." D. ISBN 0-85229-760-2. 10. supplemented with Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna texts. Joseph (2005) Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture: pp. 97 ^ Disputed Dharmas: Early Buddhist Theories on Existence. 264. A few good men: the Bodhisattva path according to the Inquiry of Ugra: p. 41-42 . 2000. "Tantric Buddhist Apologetics. 7. 193-194 ^ Williams. Tokyo: 1995. p. and have versions of those of other schools also. ^ Williams. The Institute for Buddhist Studies. Popular Prakashan.

edited by Edward Irons..  Yin Shun.  Thurman. ISBN 978-0- 8160-5459-6 pg 419 ^ Elizabeth Cook.  Dhammananda. (translator) (1976). What the Buddha Taught. Light of Liberation: A History of Buddhism in India. 299 [edit]Further  reading Coogan. (ed. 12. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: Mahayana Scripture.) (2003). Tom (1996). The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.  Gunaratana. Foundations of Buddhism. Mindfulness in Plain English. Wisdom Publications. The Illustrated Guide to World Religions. Yeung H. Tony Page. [edit]External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Buddhism  The Sects of the Buddhists. 1992. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-86171-321-4.  Thich Nhat Hanh (1974). The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra. Wing (translator) (1998).11. K.  Gethin. 409–422  Sects & Sectarianism . The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. pp. Bhante Henepola (2002). W.  Lowenstein. Dharma Publishing. Sri (1964). ISBN 983-40071-2-7. Grove Press ISBN 0-8021-3031-3. 1891. What the Buddhist Believe. The Way to Buddhahood: Instructions from a Modern Chinese Master.   Walpola Rahula (1974). Buddhist Mission Society of Malaysia. Robert A.The origins of Buddhist Schools . (Nirvana Publications 1999-2000). F. T. ISBN 1- 903296-91-9. ISBN 0-19- 289223-1. Yamamoto. Wisdom PublicationsISBN 0-86171-133-5. The vision of the Buddha. Kosho (translation). revised and edited by Dr.ISBN 0-271-00601-3. p. Rupert (1998). Facts on File: 2008. Rhys Davids. Pennsylvania State University Press. Oxford University Press. Broadway Books ISBN 0-7679- 0369-2. Michael D. ^ Encyclopedia of Buddhism. ISBN 1-84483-125-6. Duncan Baird Publishers.