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.

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


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