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Map of the major geographical centers of major Buddhist schools in South Asia, at around the time of Xuanzang's visit in the seventh century.
* Red: non-Pudgalavāda Sarvāstivāda school
* Orange: non-Dharmaguptaka Vibhajyavāda schools (the source of Theravada).
* Yellow: Mahāsāṃghika
* Green: Pudgalavāda (Green)
* Gray: Dharmaguptaka

The early Buddhist schools are those schools into which the Buddhist monastic saṅgha split early in the history of Buddhism. The divisions were originally due to differences in Vinaya and later also due to doctrinal differences and geographical separation of groups of monks. The original saṅgha split into the first early schools (generally believed to be the Sthavira nikāya and the Mahāsāṃghika) during or after the reign of Aśoka.[1] Later, these first early schools were further divided into schools such as the Sarvāstivādins, the Dharmaguptakas, and the Vibhajyavāda, and ended up numbering 18 or 20 schools according to traditional accounts.[2]

The textual material shared by the early schools is often termed the early Buddhist texts and these are an important source for understanding their doctrinal similarities and differences.

Formation and development

The first council

Main article: First Buddhist council

According to the scriptures (Cullavagga XI.1 ff), three months after the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, a council was held at Rajagaha Rajgir) by some of his disciples who had attained arahantship, presided over by Mahākāśyapa, one of his most senior disciples, and with the support of king Ajātasattu, reciting the teachings of the Buddha. The accounts of the council in the scriptures of the schools differ as to what was actually recited there. Purāṇa is recorded as having said: "Your reverences, well chanted by the elders are the Dhamma and Vinaya, but in that way that I heard it in the Lord's presence, that I received it in his presence, in that same way will I bear it in mind." [Vinaya-pitaka: Cullavagga XI:1:11]. According to Theravāda tradition, the teachings were divided into various parts and each was assigned to an elder and his pupils to commit to memory, and there was no conflict about what the Buddha taught.

Some scholars argue that the first council actually did not take place.[3][4][5]

Divergence between the Sthaviravāda and the Mahāsāṃghika

The expansion of orally transmitted texts in early Buddhism, and the growing distances between Buddhist communities, fostered specialization and sectarian identification.[1] One or several disputes did occur during Aśoka's reign, involving both doctrinal and disciplinary (vinaya) matters, although these may have been too informal to be called a "council". The Sthavira school had, by the time of Aśoka, divided into three sub-schools, doctrinally speaking, but these did not become separate monastic orders until later.

Only two ancient sources (the Dīpavaṃsa and Bhavya's third list) place the first schism before Aśoka, and none attribute the schism to a dispute on Vinaya practice. Lamotte and Hirakawa both maintain that the first schism in the Buddhist sangha occurred during the reign of Ashoka.[6][7] According to scholar Collett Cox "most scholars would agree that even though the roots of the earliest recognized groups predate Aśoka, their actual separation did not occur until after his death."[1] According to the Theravada tradition, the split took place at the Second Buddhist council, which took place at Vaishali, approximately one hundred years after Gautama Buddha's parinirvāṇa. While the second council probably was a historical event,[8] traditions regarding the Second Council are confusing and ambiguous. According to the Theravada tradition the overall result was the first schism in the sangha, between the Sthavira nikāya and the Mahāsāṃghika, although it is not agreed upon by all what the cause of this split was.[9]

The various splits within the monastic organization went together with the introduction and emphasis on Abhidhammic literature by some schools. This literature was specific to each school, and arguments and disputes between the schools were often based on these Abhidhammic writings. However, actual splits were originally based on disagreements on vinaya (monastic discipline), though later on, by about 100 CE or earlier, they could be based on doctrinal disagreement.[10] Pre-sectarian Buddhism, however, did not have Abhidhammic scriptures, except perhaps for a basic framework, and not all of the early schools developed an Abhidhamma literature.

Third council under Aśoka

Main article: Third Buddhist council

Theravādin sources state that, in the 3rd century BCE, a third council was convened under the patronage of Aśoka.[11] Some scholars argue that there are certain implausible features of the Theravādin account which imply that the third council was ahistorical. The remainder consider it a purely Theravāda-Vibhajjavāda council.[12]

According to the Theravādin account, this council was convened primarily for the purpose of establishing an official orthodoxy. At the council, small groups raised questions about the specifics of the vinaya and the interpretation of doctrine. The chairman of the council, Moggaliputta Tissa, compiled a book, the Kathavatthu, which was meant to refute these arguments. The council sided with Moggaliputta and his version of Buddhism as orthodox; it was then adopted by Emperor Aśoka as his empire's official religion. In Pali, this school of thought was termed Vibhajjavāda, literally "thesis of [those who make] a distinction".

The distinction involved was as to the existence of phenomena (dhammas) in the past, future and present. The version of the scriptures that had been established at the third council, including the Vinaya, Sutta and the Abhidhamma Pitakas (collectively known as the "Tripiṭaka"), was taken to Sri Lanka by Emperor Aśoka's son, the Venerable Mahinda. There it was eventually committed to writing in the Pali language. The Pāli Canon remains the most complete set of surviving Nikāya scriptures, although the greater part of the Sarvāstivādin canon also survives in Chinese translation, some parts exist in Tibetan translations, and some fragments exist in Sanskrit manuscripts, while parts of various canons (sometimes unidentified), exist in Chinese and fragments in other Indian dialects.

Further divisions

Around the time of Aśoka that further divisions began to occur within the Buddhist movement and a number of additional schools emerged. Etienne Lamotte divided the mainstream Buddhist schools into three main doctrinal types:[13]

  1. The “personalists”, such as the Pudgalavādin Vātsīputrīyas and Saṃmittīyas
  2. The “realists”, namely the Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda Ābhidharmikas
  3. The “nominalists”, for instance, the Mahāsāṃghika Prajñaptivādins, and possibly non-Abhidharma Sthaviravadins.

One of them was faction of the Sthavira group which called themselves Vibhajjavādins. One part of this group was transmitted to Sri Lanka and to certain areas of southern India, such as Vanavasi in the south-west and the Kañci region in the south-east. This group later ceased to refer to themselves specifically as "Vibhajjavādins", but reverted to calling themselves "Theriyas", after the earlier Theras (Sthaviras). Still later, at some point prior to the Dipavamsa (4th century), the Pali name Theravāda was adopted and has remained in use ever since for this group.

Other groups included the Sarvāstivāda, the Dharmaguptakas, the Saṃmitīya, and the Pudgalavādins. The Pudgalavādins were also known as Vatsiputrīyas after their putative founder. Later this group became known as the Sammitīya school after one of its subdivisions. It died out around the 9th or 10th century CE. Nevertheless, during most of the early medieval period, the Sammitīya school was numerically the largest Buddhist group in India, with more followers than all the other schools combined. The Sarvāstivādin school was most prominent in the north-west of India and provided some of the doctrines that would later be adopted by the Mahāyāna. Another group linked to Sarvāstivāda was the Sautrāntika school, which only recognized the authority of the sutras and rejected the abhidharma transmitted and taught by the Vaibhāṣika wing of Sarvāstivāda. Based on textual considerations, it has been suggested that the Sautrāntikas were actually adherents of Mūlasarvāstivāda. The relation between Sarvāstivāda and the Mūlasarvāstivāda, however, is unclear. All of these early schools of Nikāya Buddhism eventually came to be known collectively as "the eighteen schools" in later sources. With the exception of the Theravāda, none of these early schools survived beyond the late medieval period by which time several were already long extinct, although a considerable amount of the canonical literature of some of these schools has survived, mainly in Chinese translation. Moreover, the origins of specifically Mahāyāna doctrines may be discerned in the teachings of some of these early schools, in particular in the Mahāsānghika and the Sarvāstivāda.

The schools sometimes split over ideological differences concerning the "real" meaning of teachings in the Sutta Piṭaka, and sometimes over disagreement concerning the proper observance of vinaya. These ideologies became embedded in large works such as the Abhidhammas and commentaries. 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 to support the statements made in those Abhidhammas.[citation needed]

Some of these developments may be seen as later elaborations on the teachings. According to Gombrich, unintentional literalism was a major force for change in the early doctrinal history of Buddhism. This means that texts were interpreted paying too much attention to the precise words used and not enough to the speaker's intention, the spirit of the text. Some later doctrinal developments in the early Buddhist schools show scholastic literalism, which is a tendency to take the words and phrases of earlier texts (maybe the Buddha's own words) in such a way as to read-in distinctions which it was never intended to make.[note 1]

The eighteen schools

The Eighteen schools
The Śāriputraparipṛcchā ("Questions of Śāriputra") is a Mahāsāṃghikan history, which gives the following list:
The Samayabhedo Paracana Cakra, composed by the Sarvāstivādin monk Vasumitra (d. 124 BCE) gives the following list:
The Sri Lankan chronicles, Dipavamsa (3rd–4th century CE) and Mahavamsa (5th century CE), discern the following schools.

In addition, 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
Vinitadeva (c. 645–715), a Mūlasarvāstivādin monk, gives the following list:
Twenty schools according to Mahayana scriptures in Chinese:

During the first millennium, monks from China such as Faxian, Xuanzang, and Yijing made pilgrimages to India and wrote accounts of their travels when they returned home. These Chinese travel records constitute extremely valuable sources of information concerning the state of Buddhism in India during the early medieval period.

By the time the Chinese pilgrims Xuanzang and Yijing visited India, there were five early Buddhist schools that they mentioned far more frequently than others. They commented that the Sarvāstivāda/Mūlasarvāstivāda, Mahāsāṃghika, and Saṃmitīya were the principal early Buddhist schools still extant in India, along with the Sthavira sect.[14] The Dharmaguptakas continued to be found in Gandhāra and Central Asia, along the Silk Road.

It is commonly said that there were eighteen schools of Buddhism in this period. What this actually means is more subtle. First, although the word "school" is used, there was not yet an institutional split in the saṅgha. The Chinese traveler Xuanzang observed even when the Mahāyāna were beginning to emerge from this era that monks of different schools would live side by side in dormitories and attend the same lectures. Only the books that they read were different. Secondly, no historical sources can agree what the names of these "eighteen schools" were. The origin of this saying is therefore unclear.

A.K. Warder identified the following eighteen early Buddhist schools (in approximate chronological order): Sthaviravada, Mahasamghika, Vatsiputriya, Ekavyavaharika, Gokulika (a.k.a. Kukkutika, etc.), Sarvastivada, Lokottaravāda, Dharmottariya, Bhadrayaniya, Sammitiya, Sannagarika, Bahusrutiya, Prajnaptivada, Mahisasaka, Haimavata (a.k.a. Kasyapiya), Dharmaguptaka, Caitika, and the Apara and Uttara (Purva) Saila. Warder says that these were the early Buddhist schools as of circa 50 BCE, about the same time that the Pali Canon was first committed to writing and the presumptive origin date of the Theravada sect, though the term 'Theravada' was not used before the fourth century CE.[note 4]

A hypothetical combined list would be as follows:

Innovations of the sects

The classic sets of ten, six or four paramitas (perfections) were codified and developed by these various schools in later sources.[note 6][note 7] Though the actual ideas of these virtues (like dhyana, sila, prajña, etc) and the idea of the Buddha's past lives are drawn from early Buddhist sources (such as early jatakas), they were developed further into specific doctrines about the bodhisattva path and how exactly the Buddha undertook it.

The new schools also developed new doctrines about important Buddhist topics. The Sarvastivadins for example were known for their doctrine of temporal eternalism. Meanwhile the Mahasamghika school was known for its doctrine of "transcendentalism" (lokottaravada), the view that the Buddha was a fully transcendent being.


As the third major division of the various canons, the Abhidharma collections were a major source of dispute among the various schools. Abhidharma texts were not accepted as canonical by the Mahasanghika school[16][17] and several other schools.[note 8] Another school included most of their version of the Khuddaka Nikaya within their Abhidharma Pitaka.[16] Also, the Pali version of the Abhidhamma is a strictly Theravada collection, and has little in common with the Abhidhamma works recognized by other Buddhist schools.[18] The various Abhidhamma philosophies of the various early schools disagree on numerous key points[19] and belong to the period of sectarian debates among the schools.[19]

The earliest texts of the Pali Canon (the Sutta Nipata and parts of the Jataka), together with the first four (and early) Nikayas of the Suttapitaka, have no mention of (the texts of) the Abhidhamma Pitaka.[20] The Abhidhamma is also not mentioned at the report of the First Buddhist Council, directly after the death of the Buddha. This report of the first council does mention the existence of the Vinaya and the five Nikayas (of the Suttapitaka).[21][22]

Although the literature of the various Abhidharma Pitakas began as a kind of commentarial supplement upon the earlier teachings in the Suttapitaka, it soon led to new doctrinal and textual developments and became the focus of a new form of scholarly monastic life.[note 9][23] The various Abhidharma works were starting to be composed from about 200 years after the passing away of the Buddha.[note 10]

Traditionally, it is believed (in Theravadin culture) that the Abhidhamma was taught by Buddha to his late mother who was living in Tavatimsa heaven. However, this is rejected by scholars, who believe that only small parts of the Abhidhamma literature may have been existent in a very early form.[note 11] The Sarvastivadins also rejected this idea, and instead held that the Abhidharma was collected, edited, and compiled by the elders (sthaviras) after the Buddha's death (though they relied on the Buddha's words for this compilation).

Some schools of Buddhism had important disagreements on subjects of Abhidhamma, while having a largely similar Sutta-pitaka and Vinaya-pitaka. The arguments and conflicts between them were thus often on matters of philosophical Abhidhammic origin, not on matters concerning the actual words and teachings of Buddha.

One impetus for composing new scriptures like the Adhidhammas of the various schools, according to some scholars[who?], was that Buddha left no clear statement about the ontological status of the world – about what really exists.[note 12] Subsequently, later Buddhists have themselves defined what exists and what not (in the Abhidhammic scriptures), leading to disagreements.

Late texts in the Theravada Khuddaka Nikaya

Oliver Abeynayake has the following to say on the dating of the various books in the Khuddaka Nikaya:

‘The Khuddaka Nikaya can easily be divided into two strata, one being early and the other late. The texts Sutta Nipata, Itivuttaka, Dhammapada, Therigatha (Theragatha), Udana, and Jataka tales belong to the early stratum. The texts Khuddakapatha, Vimanavatthu, Petavatthu, Niddesa, Patisambhidamagga, Apadana, Buddhavamsa and Cariyapitaka can be categorized in the later stratum.’[24]

The texts in the early stratum date from before the second council (earlier than 100 years after Buddha’s parinibbana), while the later stratum is from after the second council, which means they are definitely later additions to the Sutta Pitaka, and that they might not have been the original teachings by the Buddha, but later compositions by disciples.

The following books of the Khuddaka Nikaya can thus be regarded as later additions:

And the following three which are included in the Burmese Canon:

The original verses of the Jatakas are recognized as being amongst the earliest part of the Canon,[20] but the accompanying (and more famous) Jataka Stories are commentaries likely composed at later dates.


The Parivara, the last book of the Vinaya Pitaka, is a later addition to the Vinaya Pitaka.[25]

Other later writings

Hinayana and Mahāyāna

Early Mahayana came directly from "early Buddhist schools" and was a successor to them.[27][28]

Between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE, the terms "Mahāyāna" and "Hīnayāna" were first used in writing, in, for example, the Lotus Sutra. The later Mahayana schools may have preserved ideas which were abandoned by the "orthodox" Theravada, such as the Three Bodies doctrine, the idea of consciousness (vijnana) as a continuum, and devotional elements such as the worship of saints. [29][30][note 13]

Although the various early schools of Buddhism are sometimes loosely classified as "Hīnayāna" in modern times, this is not necessarily accurate. According to Jan Nattier, Mahāyāna never referred to a separate sect of Buddhism (Skt. nikāya), but rather to the set of ideals and doctrines for bodhisattvas.[31] 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, and therefore each bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī adhering to the Mahāyāna formally belonged to an early school.

Membership in these nikāyas, or monastic sects, continues today with the Dharmaguptaka nikāya in East Asia, and the Mūlasarvāstivāda nikāya in Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore, Mahāyāna was never a separate rival sect of the early schools.[32] Paul Harrison clarifies that while Mahāyāna monastics belonged to a nikāya, not all members of a nikāya were Mahāyānists.[33] From Chinese monks visiting India, we now know that both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna monks in India often lived in the same monasteries side by side.[34] Additionally, Isabella Onians notes that Mahāyāna works rarely used the term Hīnayāna, typically using the term Śrāvakayāna instead.[35]

The Chinese Buddhist monk and pilgrim Yijing wrote about relationship between the various "vehicles" and the early Buddhist schools in India. He wrote, "There exist in the West numerous subdivisions of the schools which have different origins, but there are only four principal schools of continuous tradition." These schools are namely the Mahāsāṃghika nikāya, Sthavira, Mūlasarvāstivāda and Saṃmitīya nikāyas.[36] Explaining their doctrinal affiliations, he then writes, "Which of the four schools should be grouped with the Mahāyāna or with the Hīnayāna is not determined." That is to say, there was no simple correspondence between a Buddhist monastic sect, and whether its members learn "Hīnayāna" or "Mahāyāna" teachings.[37]


Timeline: Development and propagation of Buddhist traditions (c. 450 BCE – c. 1300 CE)

  450 BCE[note 14] 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE[note 15]







Early Buddhist schools Mahāyāna Vajrayāna






Sri Lanka &
Southeast Asia










Tibetan Buddhism








East Asia


Early Buddhist schools
and Mahāyāna
(via the silk road
to China, and ocean
contact from India to Vietnam)


Nara (Rokushū)




Thiền, Seon
Tiantai / Jìngtǔ









Central Asia & Tarim Basin





Silk Road Buddhism


  450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE
  Legend:   = Theravada   = Mahayana   = Vajrayana   = Various / syncretic

See also


  1. ^ "I would also argue that unintentional literalism has been a major force for change in the early doctrinal history of Buddhism. Texts have been interpreted with too much attention to the precise words used and not enough to the speaker's intention, the spirit of the text. In particular I see in some doctrinal developments what I call scholastic literalism, which is a tendency to take the words and phrases of earlier texts (maybe the Buddha's own words) in such a way as to read in distinctions which it was never intended to make." How Buddhism Began, Richard F. Gombrich, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1997, pp. 21–22
  2. ^ Sarvāstivādin (説一切有部), Haimavata (雪山部), Vatsīputrīya (犢子部), Dharmottara (法上部), Bhadrayānīya (賢冑部), Sammitīya (正量部), Channagirika (密林山部), Mahisasaka (化地部), Dharmaguptaka (法蔵部), Kāśyapīya (飲光部), Sautrāntika (経量部).
  3. ^ Mahāsāṃghika (大衆部) was split into 9 sects. There were: Ekavyahārika (一説部), Lokottaravāda (説出世部), Gokulika (鶏胤部), Bahuśrutīya (多聞部), Prajñaptivāda (説仮部), Caitika (制多山部), Aparaśaila (西山住部), and Uttaraśaila (北山住部).
  4. ^ See Ajahn Sucitto, "What Is Theravada" (2012); see also A.K. Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd rev. ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000), chapters 8 and 9).
  5. ^ a b c d e f According to Buswell and Lopez, the Kāśyapīya and Mahīśāsaka were offshoots of the Sarvastivadins, but are grouped under the Vibhajjavāda as "non-sarvastivada" groups.[15]
  6. ^ "Theravada Buddhism, in texts such as Cariyapitaka, Buddhavamsa, and Dhammapadatthakatha, postulates the following ten perfections", Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, p. 632
  7. ^ "It is evident that the Hinayanists, either to popularize their religion or to interest the laity more in it, incorporated in their doctrines the conception of Bodhisattva and the practice of paramitas. This was effected by the production of new literature: the Jatakas and Avadanas.' Buddhist Sects in India, Nalinaksha Dutt, Motilal Banararsidass Publishers (Delhi), 2nd Edition, 1978, p. 251. The term 'Semi-Mahayana' occurs here as a subtitle.
  8. ^ "several schools rejected the authority of abhidharma and claimed that abhidharma treatises were composed by fallible, human teachers." in: Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2004), p. 2. (A similar statement can be found on pp. 112 and 756.)
  9. ^ "Although begun as a pragmatic method of elaborating the received teachings, this scholastic enterprise soon led to new doctrinal and textual developments and became the focus of a new form of scholarly monastic life."
  10. ^ "Independent abhidharma treatises were composed over a period of at least seven hundred years (ca. third or second centuries B.C.E. to fifth century C.E.).", MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, p. 2
  11. ^ "These similarities (between the Abhidhammas of the various schools) suggest either contact among the groups who composed and transmitted these texts, or a common ground of doctrinal exegesis and even textual material predating the emergence of the separate schools.", MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, p. 2
  12. ^ "If I am right in thinking that the Buddha left no clear statement about the ontological status of the world – about what 'really' exists – this would explain how later Buddhists could disagree about this question." How Buddhism Began, Richard F. Gombrich, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1997, p. 34
  13. ^ See also Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga
  14. ^ Cousins, L.S. (1996); Buswell (2003), Vol. I, p. 82; and, Keown & Prebish (2004), p. 107. See also, Gombrich (1988/2002), p. 32: “…[T]he best we can say is that [the Buddha] was probably Enlightened between 550 and 450, more likely later rather than earlier."
  15. ^ Williams (2000, pp. 6-7) writes: "As a matter of fact Buddhism in mainland India itself had all but ceased to exist by the thirteenth century CE, although by that time it had spread to Tibet, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia." [38] (Originally 1958), "Chronology," p. xxix: "c. 1000-1200: Buddhism disappears as [an] organized religious force in India." See also, Robinson & Johnson (1970/1982), pp. 100-1, 108 Fig. 1; and, Harvey (1990/2007), pp. 139-40.


  1. ^ a b c Cox (1995), p. 23.
  2. ^ Hanh 1999, p. 16.
  3. ^ Prebish, Charles S. Buddhism
  4. ^ Hoiberg & Ramchandani 2000, p. 264.
  5. ^ Williams 1989, p. 6.
  6. ^ Lamotte, Étienne (1988) History of Indian Buddhism: From the Origins to the Śaka Era, translated from the French by Sara Boin-Webb, Louvain: Peeters Press
  7. ^ Hirakawa, Akira (1990), A History of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Early Mahāyāna, tr. Paul Groner, University of Hawaii Press
  8. ^ Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica 1998.
  9. ^ Skilton 2004, p. 47.
  10. ^ Harvey,Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge University Press, 1990, p. 74
  11. ^ Berkwitz 2009, p. 45.
  12. ^ Dube, S. N. (1972). "The Date of Kathāvatthu". East and West. 22 (1/2): 79–86. ISSN 0012-8376. JSTOR 29755746.
  13. ^ Huifeng 2013, pp. 175–228.
  14. ^ Encyclopedia of Buddhism. edited by Edward Irons. Facts on File: 2008. ISBN 978-0-8160-5459-6 p. 419
  15. ^ Buswell & Lopez 2013, p. 859.
  16. ^ a b "Abhidhamma Pitaka." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.
  17. ^ Buddhist Sects in India, Nalinaksha Dutt, 1978, p. 58
  18. ^ "Buddhism." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.
  19. ^ a b Kanai Lal Hazra, Pali Language and Literature – A Systematic Survey and Historical Survey, 1994, Vol. 1, p. 415
  20. ^ a b Kanai Lal Hazra, Pali Language and Literature – A Systematic Survey and Historical Survey, 1994, Vol. 1, p. 412
  21. ^ I.B. Horner, Book of the Discipline, Volume 5, p. 398
  22. ^ The Mahisasaka Account of the First Council mentions the four agamas here. see[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, p. 1.
  24. ^ A textual and Historical Analysis of the Khuddaka Nikaya – Oliver Abeynayake Ph.D. , Colombo, First Edition – 1984, p. 113.
  25. ^ This work (the Parivara) is in fact a very much later composition, and probably the work of a Ceylonese Thera. from: Book of the Discipline, vol. VI, p. ix (translators' introduction)
  26. ^ would throw the earliest phase of this literature (the Mahayana Sutras) back to about the beginning of the common era., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, p. 493
  27. ^ Oliver, Joan Duncan (April 2019). Buddhism: An Introduction to the Buddha's Life, Teachings, and Practices (1st ed.). New York: St. Martin's Essentials. pp. xi. ISBN 978-1-250-31368-3.
  28. ^ Acri, Andrea (20 December 2018). "Maritime Buddhism". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.638. ISBN 978-0-19-934037-8. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  29. ^ Lindtner 1997.
  30. ^ Lindtner 1999.
  31. ^ Nattier 2003, p. 193–194.
  32. ^ Williams 1989, p. 4–5.
  33. ^ Xing 2004, p. 115.
  34. ^ Williams, Paul (2000) Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition: p. 97
  35. ^ Isabelle Onians, "Tantric Buddhist Apologetics, or Antinomianism as a Norm," D.Phil. dissertation, Oxford, Trinity Term 2001 p. 72
  36. ^ Walser, Joseph (2005) Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture: p. 41
  37. ^ Walser, Joseph (2005) Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture: pp. 41–42
  38. ^ Embree 1988.


Further reading