Hinayana, aka: Hīnayāna, Hina-yana; 5 Definition(s)


Hinayana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[Hinayana in Theravada glossaries]
"Inferior Vehicle," originally a pejorative term - coined by a group who called themselves followers of the Mahayana, the "Great Vehicle" - to denote the path of practice of those who adhered only to the earliest discourses as the word of the Buddha. Hinayanists refused to recognize the later discourses, composed by the Mahayanists, that claimed to contain teachings that the Buddha felt were too deep for his first generation of disciples, and which he thus secretly entrusted to underground serpents. The Theravada school of today is a descendent of the Hinayana.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

M (Bad (hina) ; vehicle (yana).) "The vehicle of the bads", Sect of bad monks whom diverged from sangha by their loosening, laxity. (So, the monks of hinayana are against the ones of theravada)

See also: What is the difference between "hinayana" and "mahayana"?

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[Hinayana in Buddhism glossaries]
Also called Small Vehicle or Liberated Vehicle, which refers to Sravaka and Praetyka Buddha. It is a school of Buddhism, popular in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, hence also known as Southern Buddhism, in contrast with Northern Buddhism or Mahayana, the form mainly prevalent from Nepal to Japan. Hinayana is sometimes described as self benefiting, and Mahayana as self benefiting for the benefit of others. Another difference is that Pali is the general literary language in Hinayana while Sanskrit of Mahayana. See also Theravada. Hinayana is nearer to the original teaching of the Buddha. For further details, please refer to Section 3-A A Glimpse in the Scope of Buddhism in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Buddhist Door.(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

Hīnayāna Skt., “Small Vehicle”; originally a derogatory designation used by representatives of the Mahāyāna (“Great Vehicle”) for early Buddhism. The followers of Hīnayāna themselves usually refer to their teaching as the Theravāda (Teaching of the Elders), although strictly speaking, Theravāda was one of the schools within the Hīnayāna; it is, however, the only one still existing today. Hīnayāna is also referred to as Southern Bud­dhism, since it is prevalent chiefly in countries of southern Asia (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Kampuchea, Laos).

The Hīnayāna enumerates the traditions of eighteen schools that developed out of the origi­nal community; however, the texts make refer­ence to many more.

The Hīnayāna school developed between the death of the Buddha and the end of the first century BCE. According to its adherents it repre­sents the original, pure teaching as it was taught by the Buddha. Its doctrines are essentially based on the sūtras, which are said to have been spoken by the Buddha himself.

The Hīnayāna presents primarily the path to liberation. Philosophical speculations have no role in this; on the contrary, they are considered a hindrance on the path. The Hīnayāna teaching provides an analysis of the human situation, the nature of existence, and the structure of individ­uality, and shows methods for the resolution of suffering (duhkha). The ideal figure of Hīnayāna corre­sponding to these principles is the arhat, who through his or her own effort has attained release.

Hīnayāna avoids affirming anything about the ultimate goal of spiritual striving, nirvāna, beyond the experiential fact of enlightenment and the concomitant extinction of the illusion of an ego and its cravings.

The Buddha is regarded by these schools as a historical person, an earthly man and teacher, not as a transcendent being.

The essence of the teaching is expressed in the four noble truths, the doctrine of dependent arising (pratītya-samutpāda), the teaching of anātman, and the law of karma. The basic practice of the Hīnayāna is described in the teaching of the eightfold path.

(Source): Shambala Publications: General

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Hinayana in Sanskrit glossaries]

Hīnayāna (हीनयान).—Name of the earliest systems of Buddhist doctrine.

Derivable forms: hīnayānam (हीनयानम्).

Hīnayāna is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms hīna and yāna (यान).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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