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An image of Gautama Buddha with a Manji, traditionally a Buddhist symbol of infinity, on his chest. Ananda, the Buddha's disciple, appears in the background. This statue is from Hsi Lai Temple.

Part of a series on
Buddhism

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Buddhism and psychology
Buddhist psychology
Buddhist philosophy
Buddhism and psychoanalysis
Buddhism and psychotherapy

Foundations
Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
The Five Precepts
Nirvāna · Three Jewels
Brahmaviharas

Key Concepts
Three marks of existence
Skandha · Cosmology · Dharma
Samsara · Rebirth · Shunyata
Pratitya-samutpada · Karma

Practices and Attainment
Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
Four Stages of Enlightenment
Paramis · Meditation

Buddhism by Region

Schools of Buddhism
Theravāda · Mahāyāna
Vajrayāna · Early schools

Texts
Pali Suttas · Mahayana Sutras
Vinaya · Abhidhamma

Comparative Studies
Culture · List of Topics

Dharma wheel 1.png

There are many divisions and subdivisions of the schools of Buddhism. An extensive list of historical schools is given below according to lineage. Surviving schools can be roughly grouped under the categories of Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna. Theravāda and Mahāyāna share common methods as sutric schools, while Vajrayāna can be seen as a tantric school.

Most of the sects encourage followers to adhere to certain practices and philosophies, some shared, some unique to the particular school.

Nikaya schools[]

Main article: Nikaya Buddhism

See also: Early Buddhist schools

  • Sthaviravāda
    • Pudgalavāda ('Personalist') (c. 280 BCE)
    • Sarvāstivāda
      • Vibhajjavāda (prior to 240 BCE; during Aśoka)
        • Theravāda (c. 240 BCE)
          • Theravada subschools (see below)
        • Mahīśāsaka (after 232 BCE)
          • Dharmaguptaka (after 232 BCE)
        • Kāśyapīya (after 232 BCE)
        • Vatsīputrīya (under Aśoka) later name: Saṃmitīya
          • Dharmottarīya
          • Bhadrayānīya
          • Sannāgarika
      • Mūlasarvāstivāda (third and fourth centuries)
      • Sautrāntika (between 50 BCE and c. 100 CE)
  • Mahāsaṃghika ('Majority', c. 380 BCE)
    • Ekavyahārikas (under Aśoka)
      • Lokottaravāda
    • Golulika (during Aśoka)
      • Bahuśrutīya (late third century BCE)
      • Prajñaptivāda (late third century BCE)
        • Cetiyavāda
    • Caitika (mid-first century BCE)
      • Apara Śaila
      • Uttara Śaila

Twenty sects[]

The following lists the twenty sects described as Hinayana in some Mahayana texts:

Sthaviravada (上座部) was split into 11 sects. These were:

説一切有部(Sarvastivadin)、雪山部(Haimavata)、犢子部(Vatsiputriya)、法上部 (Dharmottara)、賢冑部(Bhadrayaniya)、正量部(Sammitiya)、密林山部(Channagirika)、化地部 (Mahisasaka)、法蔵部(Dharmaguptaka)、飲光部(Kasyapiya)、経量部(Sautrantika).
 Sthaviravada─┬─ Haimavata────────────────────────────────────────────
              └─ Sarvastivadin─┬───────────────────────────────────
                               ├ Vatsiputriya ─┬────────────────────
                               │               ├ Dharmottara───────
                               │               ├ Bhadrayaniya─────
                               │               ├ Sammitiya──────── 
                               │               └ Channagirika─────
                               ├ Mahisasaka─┬─────────────────────
                               │            └ Dharmaguptaka──────
                               ├ Kasyapiya────────────────────────
                               └ Sautrantika──────────────────────

Mahasanghika (大衆部) was split into 9 sects. There were:

一説部(Ekavyaharaka)、説出世部(Lokottaravadin)、鶏胤部 (Kaukkutika)、多聞部(Bahussrutiya)、説仮部(Prajnaptivada)、制多山部(Caitika)、西山住部 (Aparasaila)、北山住部(Uttarasaila).
Mahasanghika─┬──────────────────────┬─────
             ├ EkavyaharakaCaitikaLokottaravadinAparasailaKaukkutikaUttarasailaBahussrutiyaPrajnaptivada

Influences on East Asian schools[]

The following later schools used the Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka:

  • Chinese Vinaya School
  • Korean Gyeyul
  • Japanese Ritsu
  • The Japanese Jojitsu is considered an offshoot of Sautrantika
  • The Chinese/Japanese Kusha school is considered an offshoot of Sarvastivada, influenced by Vasubandhu.

Theravada subschools[]

The different schools in Theravada often emphasize different aspects (or parts) of the Pali Canon and the later commentaries, or differ in the focus on (and recommended way of) practice. There are also significant differences in strictness or interpretation of the Vinaya.

  • Bangladesh:
    • Sangharaj Nikaya
    • Mahasthabir Nikaya
  • Burma:
    • Thudhamma Nikaya
      • Vipassana tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw and disciples
    • Shwekyin Nikaya
  • Sri Lanka:
    • Siam Nikaya
      • Waturawila (or Mahavihara Vamshika Shyamopali Vanavasa Nikaya)
    • Amarapura Nikaya
      • Kanduboda (or Swejin Nikaya)
      • Tapovana (or Kalyanavamsa)
    • Ramañña Nikaya
      • Galduwa (or Kalyana Yogashramaya Samsthava)
      • Delduwa
  • Thailand
    • Maha Nikaya
      • Dhammakaya
    • Thammayut Nikaya
      • Thai Forest Tradition
        • Tradition of Ajahn Chah

Mahāyāna schools[]

  • Madhyamaka
  • Yogācāra
  • Tathagatagarbha
      • Wei-Shi (Consciousness-only school) or Faxiang (Dharma-character school)
        • Beopsang
        • Hossō
    • Sanlun (Three Treatise school)
      • Sanron
  • Daśabhūmikā (absorbed in to Huayan)
  • Huayan (Avataṃsaka)
    • Hwaeom
    • Kegon
  • Chan / Zen / Seon /Thien
    • Caodong
      • Soto
    • Linji
      • Rinzai
      • Ōbaku
      • Fuke
      • Won Buddhism: Korean Reformed Buddhism
  • Pure Land (Amidism)
    • Jodo
    • Jodo Shin
  • Tiantai (Lotus Sutra School)
    • Cheontae
    • Tendai (also contained Vajrayana elements)
  • Nichiren
    • Nichiren Shū
    • Nichiren Shōshū
    • Nipponzan Myōhōji
    • Soka Gakkai
  • Vijñānavāda

Tantric schools[]

see also: Vajrayāna Subcategorised according to predecessors

  • Tibetan Buddhism
    • Nyingmapa
    • New Bön (synthesis of Yungdrung Bön and Nyingmapa)
    • Kadampa
    • Sakyapa
      • Jonangpa
    • Gelukpa
    • Kagyupa
      • Shangpa Kagyu
      • Rechung Kagyu
      • Dagpo Kagyu
        • Karma Kagyu (or Kamtshang Kagyu)
        • Tsalpa Kagyu
        • Baram Kagyu
        • Pagtru Kagyu (or Phagmo Drugpa Kagyu)
          • Taglung Kagyu
          • Trophu Kagyu
          • Drukpa Kagyu
          • Martsang Kagyu
          • Yerpa Kagyu
          • Yazang Kagyu
          • Shugseb Kagyu
          • Drikung Kagyu
    • Rime movement (ecumenical movement)
  • Japanese Mikkyo
    • Shingon
    • Tendai (derived from Tiantai but added tantric practices)

Navayāna Buddhism[]

See also[]

References[]

Coleman, Graham, ed. (1993). A Handbook of Tibetan Culture. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.. ISBN 1-57062-002-4.

Warder, A.K. (1970). Indian Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

External links[]

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