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From Sanskrit हीनयान (hīnayāna, lesser vehicle).

Proper noun[edit]


  1. (Buddhism) Theravada Buddhism.
    • 1913, Buddhism, article in Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson–Clairvaux,
      It was known as the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, in distinction to the other and earlier form of Buddhism contemptuously styled the Hinayana or Little Vehicle, which held its own in the South.
    • 1921, Charles Eliot, Hinduism And Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Volume II, Book IV: The Mahayana, 2005 Gutenberg Ebook edition,
      The obscurest period in the history of Buddhism is that which follows the reign of Asoka, but the enquirer cannot grope for long in these dark ages without stumbling upon the word Mahayana. [] The word[1] signifies Great Vehicle or Carriage, that is a means of conveyance to salvation, and is contrasted with Hinayana, the Little Vehicle, a name bestowed on the more conservative party though not willingly accepted by them.
    • 1979, Ward J. Fellows, Religions East and West, page 171:
      "Do it yourself" is a modern phrase which expresses the Hinayana way to salvation.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This term is applied by some Mahayana Buddhists, but is not accepted as proper by Theravada Buddhists.


See also[edit]