First Major Rift in Buddhism by Brian Ruhe
When the Lord Buddha died, the monks codified 84,000 lines of his dharma teachings - which were much later made into the “sutras” -- at the First Council, which was held soon after the Buddha’s death around 480 BC. Some 130 years later the sangha (i.e., monks, sometimes spelled samgha) convened the Second Council to stamp out heresies within the religion. Again they agreed upon the same 84,000 lines from the Buddha and nothing of importance has been lost to the present day. It was at this Second Council that we have evidence of the first rift known within Buddhism, the first ever major split in views. This probably occurred in southeast India below the mouth of the Ganges River.
The rift was led by Mahadeva. Mahadeva was a charismatic leader and he resonated with a cord deep in Buddhist society because many lay people objected to the god-like power and respect that enlightened arahants had within temple life. “When the cat’s away the mice will play.” The Buddha wasn’t around anymore to defend the elite position of the arahants - which they rightly deserved. Mahadeva turned against the saints, the women and men who were enlightened, by putting forth his views that the arahants were not yet fully evolved because of five shortcomings. In A Short History of Buddhism the eminent British Buddhist scholar, professor Edward Conze, listed these five as:
1. allegedly some arahants were prone to seminal emissions in their sleep
2. had nightmares
3. were still subject to doubts
4. ignorant of many things
5. and owed their salvation to the guidance of others (Conze, 1980, 28).
Also at issue was the belief that the sutras were the ultimate authority in Buddhism. Mahadeva held that it was possible for the Buddha’s revelation to come anywhere at anytime, so people shouldn’t have to cling to the sutras. This remains the big issue today.
Mahadeva won the popular debate and thousands of people followed his lead but the established Theravadins renounced their views as a heresy. Mahadeva’s sangha called themselves the Mahasanghikas -- “the great community” -- and more than 60% of all the Buddhists in recorded history can trace back their lineage to this one man.
Two or three centuries after Mahadeva, beginning gradually around 50 B.C., the thriving Mahasanghikas more clearly formulated their new doctrine. They initiated one of the greatest marketing schemes known to human history. They underwent a corporate name change and they called themselves the “Mahayana.” They called the dominant Theravada Buddhist religion of the day, the “Hinayana.” The other Mahasanghikas who didn’t agree to go along with the change were also put down as Hinayanists. The ‘Hinayana’ translates as ‘lesser wheel’ but it also translates as ‘crummy wheel’ or ‘lousy wheel,’ ‘stingy’ or ‘narrow minded’. Using the word ‘Hinayana’ is like using the word ‘nigger’. In this way the Mahayanists attempted to assert their superiority over the Theravadins. This didn’t happen overnight. It began in several of the seven schools of the Mahasanghikas - all now extinct, and even in some of the eleven quasi Theravada schools. By 400 AD the full blown idea of the Mahayana was consummated in the teachings of Asanga.” <end quote Brian Ruhe>
So essentially, all you proponents of Mahayana and their doctrines are really followers of Mahadeva, Asanga, Nagajurna, and many, many other later people, all building more delusion on the others previous delusions. You are not proponents of what the Buddha taught.
People, like jellyfish with small brains, do not always realize the difference.