The Mahayana Transformation.

‘Collectively, the schools of early Buddhism are often historically referred to as ‘Hinayana’ so as to distinguish them from the emergence of the Mahayana. Whereas the Mahayana becomes historically recognisable around the 1st century CE in India, the Hinayana schools are seen to decline around four centuries later – in the 5th century CE. This demonstrates that both types of Buddhism coexisted for hundreds of years (inIndia) and there are records of monasteries containing monks who adhered to either tradition – living and practicing side by side. The emergence of the Mahayana created the conditions for earlier Buddhism to be viewed as ‘narrow’ and in some way ‘incomplete’. As the Mahayana interpretation represents a substantial expansion and elaboration of the teachings contained within earlier Buddhism, this sets the agenda for the historical interpretation of history with regard to what may be described as the ‘perceived’ developmental history of Buddhism as a distinct academic entity.’