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Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada, Zen

Syllabus of the Sub-subject: Buddhist Schools (Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada, Zen).

  1. Buddhist Schools
  2. Mahayana Buddhism
  3. Theravada Buddhism
  4. Vajrayana Buddhism (Lamaist/Tibetan)
  5. ZEN Buddhism
  6. Pure Land Buddhism
The Sub-subject “Buddhist Schools: Mahayana, Theravada” is part of the following programs:
  1. Doctorates: Religion and Business, Asia
  2. Masters (e-learning): International Business, Asia

Learning materials in English or Spanish Mahayana Theravada French Bouddhisme

Sample of the Sub-subject: Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada, Zen (Buddhist Schools)
Mahayana Theravada Buddhism

Description of the Sub-Subject: Buddhist Schools.

As almost all the religions, Buddhism is not a monolithic block. Throughout its millenarian history different schools have been emerged.

Unlike Christianity, there is not the figure of the Papal, being the main religious authority the sacred texts (Buddha's sermons or sutras). After the Buddha's death emerged the first Buddhist schism.

The three largest Buddhist Schools are (figures according to

1- Mahayana Buddhism (the great way).

  1. About 185 millions of followers, 56% of all Buddhists
  2. Central figure: Bodhisattva
  3. Mahayana Buddhism currently, has a strong presence in China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan
  4. One of the largest Mahayana schools is the “Pure Land Buddhism.”

“May I be a balm to the ill, their healer and servitor, until sickness comes never again;
My being and my pleasures, all my righteousness in the past, present, and future I surrender indifferently, that all creatures may win to their end.” Shantideva

Zen Buddhism

  1. If anything characterises the Zen Buddhism (Ch'an) is the Taoist influence
  2. Zen belongs to the Mahayana School, and the translation would be “meditation.”
  3. Zen Buddhism is perhaps the most influential in the West
  4. His vision is based on the so-called “Sermon of the flower of Buddha.”

2- Theravada Buddhism (or Hinayana, the “minor way”).

  1. About 124 million (38% of all Buddhists)
  2. Central figure: Arhat
  3. Main Theravada countries are Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia (Southeast Asia)
  4. Influence of the Buddhism Theravada is very latent on these countries

3- Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle Buddhism).

  1. 20 million followers (6%)
  2. Present in Tibet, Bhutan, northern India, Nepal, southwestern China and Mongolia


The concept of Arhant/Bodhisattva varies in each Buddhist School, and perhaps is one of the main causes that justify the division between the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.

  1. For Theravada Buddhists, this salvation is exclusive to the person; it is an individual spiritual goal, and is reserved for Arhants
  2. Mahayana Buddhists criticise this narrow vision focused on an individual, for them, the salvation must benefit mankind. The Bodhisattva who being about to attain enlightenment, renouncing it, staying in the infinite cycle of rebirths to save humanity

For a Mahayana Buddhist:

Buddha is the Saviour of the World and the spiritual guide of humanity.

Religions and business - Buddhist ethics, Buddhism in the World, Buddhist Economics

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