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Japan: No small problem

"Japan: No small problem" Continued...

Issue: "Troops hunt for weapons," June 14, 2003

Another flaw was that the goal of bodhisattvas was to help people attain nirvana faster, but nirvana-the extinction of personality-was not necessarily a destination that had wide appeal. In any event, pressure from the bodhisattva enthusiasts led to a split in Buddhism. The Fourth Buddhist Council, held in Kashmir in the early second century a.d., recognized that most Buddhists had turned away from the early doctrine. The council labeled the new majority Mahayana ("greater vehicle") Buddhists and condemned over 20 sects that remained faithful to early Buddhism with the name Hinayana ("lesser vehicle").

Buddhists today who stick to the early concepts-their strongholds are in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam-call themselves Theravada (traditional elders) Buddhists. Mahayana Buddhism spread north into China and then east to Japan.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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