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Four principal schools of continuous tradition

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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four principal schools of continuous tradition ; Mahāsāṃghika Nikāya, Sthavira Nikāya, Mūlasarvāstivāda Nikāya, and Saṃmitīya Nikāya'. Yijing wrote about relationship between the various "vehicles" and the early Buddhist schools in India. He wrote, "There exist in the West numerous subdivisions of the schools which have different origins, but there are only four principal schools of continuous tradition." These schools are namely the Mahāsāṃghika Nikāya, Sthavira Nikāya, Mūlasarvāstivāda Nikāya, and Saṃmitīya Nikāya. Explaining their doctrinal affiliations, he then writes, "Which of the four schools should be grouped with the Mahāyāna or with the Hīnayāna is not determined." That is to say, there was no simple correspondence between a monastic sect and whether its members learned "Hīnayāna" or "Mahāyāna" teachings.

Source

medlibrary.org