Demarous wrote:Can you help to really sum up the main differences for me between the various schools of Buddhism???
As I understand it, the primary difference is that Mahayana takes the sutta teachings of the Buddha to be provisional and point only to the lesser goal of arahantship. Mahayana rather, decides to aim for Buddhahood (the gap between Arahantship and Buddhahood is perceived to be bigger to Mahayanists) with the view of liberating all beings from suffering... hence the bodhisattva path. It is the bodhisattva path of the Mahayana Sutras vs the arahant path of the Sutta Pitaka, which is the cornerstone difference.
Once you understand that fundamental difference, you can then attempt to understand the different Mahayana and Theravada schools, and the Vajrayana traditions which evolved from the earlier Mahayana schools.