• synonyms


  1. earlier of the two great schools of Buddhism, still prevalent in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia, emphasizing personal salvation through one's own efforts.
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Compare Mahayana.

Origin of Hinayana

1865–70; < Sanskrit, equivalent to hīna lesser, inferior + yāna vehicle
Also called Theravada.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hinayana

Historical Examples of hinayana

  • In this also there were more than four thousand monks, all students of the hinayana.

    Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms


  • There are two monasteries in it, the inmates of which are students of the hinayana.

  • The people of the country were mostly students of the hinayana.

  • Now, as of old, there is a company of monks there, most of whom are students of the hinayana.

  • The longest recension is said to contain a polemic against the Hinayana.

British Dictionary definitions for hinayana


    1. any of various early forms of Buddhism
    2. (as modifier)Hinayana Buddhism
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Derived FormsHinayanist, nounHinayanistic, adjective

Word Origin for Hinayana

from Sanskrit hīnayāna, from hīna lesser + 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