Mahasamghika, aka: Mahasanghika, Mahāsāṅghika, Mahāsāṃghika, Mahāsaṅghika; 8 Definition(s)


Mahasamghika 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)

Mahasamghika in Theravada glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahasanghika or Mahasangitika.—Originally they had only two divisions the Ekabboharikas and Gokulikas (Rockhill, op. cit., 182ff).

Their separation from the orthodox school was brought about by the Vajjiputta monks, and was probably due to difference of opinion on the ten points (for these see Vin.ii.294f) held by the Vajjiputta monks. According to Northern sources, however, the split occurred on the five points raised by Mahadeva:

  1. An arahant may commit a sin under unconscious temptation;
  2. one may be an arahant and unconscious of the fact;
  3. an arahant may have doubts on matters of doctrine;
  4. one cannot attain arahantship without the help of a teacher;
  5. the Noble Way may begin with some such exclamation as How sad! uttered during meditation (J.R A.S. 1910, p. 416; cf. MT 173).

These articles of faith are found in the Kathavatthu (173ff., 187ff., 194, 197), attributed to the Pubbaselas and the Aparaselas, opponents of the Mahasanghika school.

According to Hiouen Thsang (Beal.ii.164), the Mahasanghikas divided their canon into five parts: Sutra, Vinaya, Abhidhamma, Miscellaneous and Dharani. Fa Hsien took from Pataliputta to China a complete transcript of the Mahasanghika Vinaya. (Giles, p. 64, Nanjios Catalogue mentions a Mahasanghika Vinaya and a Mahasanghabhiksuni Vinaya in Chinese translations, Cola. 247, 253. Ms. No.543).

The best known work of the Mahasanghikas is the Mahavastu. Their headquarters in Ceylon were in Abhayagiri vihara, and Sena I. is said to have built the Virankurarama for their use. Cv.1.68.


Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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).

Discover the meaning of mahasamghika or mahasanghika in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

Mahasamghika in Buddhism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »
Literally means the Member of the Great Order, majority, community. During the First Council, when the Sthavira or elder disciples assembled in the cave after the Buddhas death, and the other disciples (called to be Mahasanghika) assembled outside the cave. Both compiled the Tripitaka. However, the former emphasized on the rules of disciplines in the monastic community, while the latter concerned the spread of the spirit of Buddhism in lay community. As sects, the principal division took place in the Second Council. Mahasanghika and Sthavira are known as two earliest sects in Hinayana. Mahasanghika is said to be the basis of the development of the Mahayana Buddhism, while Sthavira of the Theravada Buddhism. For the sub division of Mahasanghika, please refer to the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Mahasanghikah simply means “the Great Assembly,” that is, of monks.

Source: eBooks@Adelaide: A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms

The Mahāsāṃghika, lit. the "Great Saṃgha," was one of the early Buddhist schools in ancient India. The original center of the Mahāsāṃghika sect was in Magadha, but they also maintained important centers such as in Mathura and Karli.

The Mahāsāṃghikas held that the teachings of the Buddha were to be understood as having two principle levels of truth:

  1. a relative or conventional (Skt. saṃvṛti) truth,
  2. and the absolute or ultimate (Skt. paramārtha) truth.

For the Mahāsāṃghika branch of Buddhism, the final and ultimate meaning of the Buddha's teachings was "beyond words," and words were merely the conventional exposition of the Dharma.

etymology: The Mahāsāṃghika (Sanskrit: महासांघिक mahāsāṃghika; traditional Chinese: 大眾部; pinyin: Dàzhòng Bù)

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Mahasamghika school. One of the two schools formed by the first split in the Buddhist Order about a century after Shakyamuni's death. The other was the Sthaviravada (Pali Theravada) school. The Great Commentary on the Abhidharma attributes the cause of the schism to controversy over five new opinions set forth by a monk named Mahadeva concerning the modification of doctrine.

One opinion held that those who have attained the stage of arhat retain certain human weaknesses. Another account of the split regards it as arising from a controversy over a new interpretation of the monastic rules known as the ten unlawful revisions, set forth by the monks of the Vriji tribe in Vaishali. In either case, the Mahasamghika school accepted the new opinions or interpretations, while the more conservative Sthaviravada school opposed them. The Mahasamghika school was the more liberal of the two in its interpretation of monastic rules and doctrine. According to one view, it was the forerunner of the Mahayana movement. The Mahasamghika school divided repeatedly, and eventually gave rise to eight additional schools. See also five teachings of Mahadeva; ten unlawful revisions.

Mahasamghika; Aka: Mahasanghika.([大衆部] (Skt; Jpn Daishu-bu);

Source: Soka Gakkai International: The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism

Mahasanghika - Literally means the Member of the Great Order, majority, community

Source: SgForums: Buddhism

The Vinaya formulated in the first Buddhist council was the oldest. It was known as “Mahasanghika Vinaya”. The dispute about certain rules of Vinaya in the second Buddhist council led to a split in the Sangha. Consequently, Buddhism split into two sects, Mahasanghika and Theravada (Sthaviravada) 100 years after Buddha nirvana.

Source: The Chronological History of Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahasamghika in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahāsāṃghika (महासांघिक).—n. of a school: Mvy 9089; Mv i.2.13 (see Lokottaravādin).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit 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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