Buddhism: Mahāyāna

Considerations

Primary Author
Chara Scroope,
  • In some East Asian countries, Buddhism is deeply intertwined with the local culture. This means that some Buddhists may be more active in practising their faith, while others may be nominally Buddhist.
  • Ancient Buddhist scripture and doctrine were initially developed in the classical Indian languages of Sanskrit and Pāli. As such, many Buddhist terms and chants used in contemporary societies are in Sanskrit or Pāli. Some texts and chants may be translated into the vernacular of a follower’s country. Generally, in Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions, concepts are often referred to in their local vernacular or in Sanskrit. In Theravāda Buddhism, concepts are usually referred to in Pāli.
  • Buddhism is often , meaning it may incorporate different religions or cultures into its tradition. This means that some practices which appear to be Buddhist may actually originate from a different religion or from cultural traditions. This also means that Buddhism is quite distinctive depending on the culture and local religious beliefs of the country.
  • Mahāyāna Buddhism, as with other Buddhist traditions, has been gaining popularity over the decades in Western countries and other non-Asian cultures through the practice and teachings of both ordained and lay Buddhists within those countries.
  • The official position held by a branch or tradition is not necessarily indicative of the attitudes and beliefs of all lay followers. Individuals may have personal interpretations and applications of the teachings of their respective tradition.

Get a downloadable PDF that you can share, print and read.

Guaranteed secure stripe badge

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world's cultures and religions

Sign up for free