Doctrinal and Systematic Buddhism

The term Hīnayāna refers to the group of Buddhist schools or sects that appeared before the beginning of the common era and those directly derived from them. The word Hīnayāna, which means "small vehicle," that is, "lesser means of progress" toward liberation, is pejorative. It was applied disdainfully to these early forms of Buddhism by the followers of the great reformist movement that arose just at the beginning of the common era, which referred to itself as the Mahāyāna, or "large vehicle," that is, "greater means of progress" toward liberation.

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