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In the very beginning of Buddhisms growth there was a split into to major groups Mahayana and Theravada The split began almost three to five hundred years after the death of the Buddha Most historians are unsure why the split occurred The major difference between the two is whom Buddhism identifies with the common man or the monk Mahayana is the form of Buddhism will help make Buddhism spread because it is more acceptable to the common man The differences of the two show how they can develop and evolve There are many major differences between Mahayana and Theravada Some differences are more important in explaining why the common man is more inclined to be a Mahayanaist Those differences through by understanding the answers will enable you to see why Mahayana is more acceptable to the common man Who is the Buddha The Theravada school believes that the Buddha is the first and foremost Siddhartha Gautama the founder of Buddhism from the sixth century bce The Mahayana school believes that the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama is just one of innumerable manifestations of the eternal Buddha who is timeless and is manifested in some throughout history The essential teachings of each emphasize different things The Theravada scriptures stress the teachings given by the historical Buddha about the Way and its practice as the essential teachings While the Mahayana regard the Theravada teachings as authentic they place greater importance on Buddhas teaching by example His efforts to alleviate the suffering of others through compassion after his enlightenment The Mahayana saw the teachings differently They differentiate from individual to individual and time to time This is the primary reason that so many people found Mahayana Buddhism accessible It can evolve because the central teachings allow it to evolve and adapt By being a school of thinking that is open to different interpretation Mahayana can expand since each individual can reach the goals of Buddhism but through reasoning applicable to
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