The Prajñāpāramitā and Mahayana
The Prajñāpāramitā texts demand too much attention to deny them some form of recognition on this site. I state it now that they are NOT Theravadin texts. They were written in Sanskrit at a later date than the Pali Cannon. I include them though because of the immense effect they have had on Buddhist thought over the centuries. As I believe it, the entire Mahayana movement is based on them, that includes Tibetan Buddhism, one of the most well known traditions due to the influence of the Dalai Lama and the exodus from Tibet caused by the Chinese.
The Mahayana tradition started centuries ago around the beginning of the common era, i.e. 100 to 200 BC. The development seemed to be gradual, according to scholars. Theravada Buddhism emerged after the great schism about 100 years after the death of the Buddha, and it is believed to have occurred due to disputes regarding the Vinaya Pitaka, or the rules regarding the Sangha and the constituent monks. Continue reading