the first major division in the SAGHA is traditionally connected with the Council of Vail approximately 100 years after death of the BUDDHA (383 BC). Disagreement arose concerning degree of strictness with which monastic discipline was to be observed. The dissenting body henceforth became known as the Mahsaghikas--the Great Sagha Party--since they claimed a greater following for their more LIBERAL interpretation of the rules. The Sthaviras (Elders) were the stricter more CONSERVATIVE group which subsequently divided into eighteen different schools, among the more important of which were the THERAVDINS. The Mahsaghikas also divided into numerous separate schools, the most important being the Lokottaravdins, Prajñaptivdins and the Caitiyas. The MAHYNA developed out of the Mahsaghikas tradition although its origins are obscure. The two principal Mahyna schools in India were the MDHYAMIKA and the YOGCRAS. In China and Japan, Mahyna developed into a number of schools notably the T'ien-t'ai or TENDAI, CH'AN or ZEN, Chên-yen or SHINGON, the PURE LAND, and the NICHIREN.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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