- the later of the two great schools of Buddhism, chiefly in China, Tibet, and Japan, characterized by eclecticism and a general belief in a common search for salvation, sometimes thought to be attainable through faith alone.
Origin of Mahayana
1865–70; < Sanskrit, equivalent to mahā- great + yāna vehicle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mahayana
The monks amount to several myriads, most of whom are students of the mahayana.Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms
Their volumes were to the samurai what the Mahayana was to the Buddhist.
In that sense the germs of the Mahayana existed in the life-time of Gotama.
Both schools existed but the Mahayana was the more flourishing.
These do not correspond with any Pali texts and all belong to the Mahayana.Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I. (of 3)
- a liberal Buddhist school of Tibet, China, and Japan, whose adherents aim to disseminate Buddhist doctrines, seeking enlightenment not for themselves alone, but for all sentient beings
- (as modifier)Mahayana Buddhism
from Sanskrit, from mahā great + yāna vehicle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for mahayana
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper