Definition of Hinayana in English:


(also Hinayana Buddhism)


mass noun
  • A name given by the followers of Mahayana Buddhism to the more orthodox schools of early Buddhism. The tradition died out in India, but it survived in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as the Theravada school and was taken from there to other regions of SE Asia.

    • ‘That's why we train in the Hinayana and the Mahayana.’
    • ‘Dhammapada (Path of Virtue) is the most famous text of Hinayana Buddhism, perhaps with the exception of Sutta Pitaka.’
    • ‘An example can be found in Buddhism itself, where people try to discriminate between Hinayana and Mahayana.’
    • ‘The former were known as the followers of Hinayana or the Lesser Vehicle and latter of Mahayana or the Greater Vehicle.’
    • ‘The Buddhist thought of the Three Kingdoms does not seem to have gone much beyond research into the texts of Hinayana and Mahayana.’
    • ‘To refrain from hurting others and to abandon the basis for harm is the main precept of the Hinayana teachings.’
    • ‘It depends upon the level of teachings that one is able to relate to, such as Mahayana or Hinayana.’
    • ‘The Hinayana view of body focuses on the relative existence of one's own body as a product of karma.’
    • ‘The opposite term, Hinayana, means ‘Lesser Vehicle’ - not terribly flattering to those Thai Buddhists and the like who fall under it.’
    • ‘In both the Hinayana and the Mahayana, it is accepted that direct realization of the emptiness of the mind is the realization of the egolessness of the individual.’
    • ‘Ninety percent of Burmese follow the Theravada form of Buddhism, also know as Hinayana Buddhism.’
    • ‘The Mahayana sutras often poke fun at the earlier schools - which it dubbed derogatively the Hinayana or ‘Inferior vehicle’.’
    • ‘But even if one is practicing Hinayana or Mahayana practice, the entire goal is to actually realize the ultimate Dharmata.’
    • ‘Buddhists include followers of the Mahayana and Hinayana schools, and there are both Catholic and Protestant Christians.’
    • ‘In terms of time, there is some difference in motivation between the Hinayana and the Mahayana.’


From Sanskrit hīna ‘lesser’ + yāna ‘vehicle’.