From Rangjung Yeshe Wiki - Dharma Dictionary
Revision as of 21:07, 15 December 2005 by Rangjung (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mahayana (theg pa chen po). 'Greater vehicle.' When using the term 'greater and lesser vehicles,' Mahayana and Hinayana, Mahayana includes the tantric vehicles while Hinayana is comprised of the teachings for shravakas and pratyekabuddhas.

The connotation of 'greater' or 'lesser' refers to the scope of aspiration, the methods applied and the depth of insight. Central to Mahayana practice is the bodhisattva vow to liberate all sentient beings through means and knowledge, compassion and insight into emptiness.

Mahayana's two divisions are known as Mind Only and Middle Way. The sevenfold greatness of Mahayana mentioned in Maitreya's Ornament of the Sutras are explained by Jamgön Kongtrül in his All-encompassing Knowledge: "The greatness of focus on the immense collection of Mahayana teachings, the greatness of the means of accomplishing the welfare of both self and others, the greatness of wisdom that realizes the twofold egolessness, the greatness of diligent endeavor for three incalculable aeons, the greatness of skillful means such as not abandoning samsaric existence and enacting the seven unvirtuous actions of body and speech without disturbing emotions, the greatness of true accomplishment of the ten strengths, the fourfold fearlessness, and the unique qualities of the awakened ones, and the greatness of activity that is spontaneous and unceasing."