Mahāyāna (/ˌmɑːhəˈjɑːnə/; Sanskrit for “Great Vehicle”) is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism (the other being Theravada) and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. This movement added a further set of discourses, and although it was initially small in India, it had long-term historical significance. The Buddhist tradition of Vajrayāna is sometimes classified as a part of Mahayana Buddhism, but some scholars consider it to be a different branch altogether.

Extract taken from Wikipedia Mahāyāna article

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