Share this entry

Hinayana Line breaks: Hi¦na|yana
Pronunciation: /ˌhiːnəˈjɑːnə/
(also Hinayana Buddhism)

Definition of Hinayana in English:


[mass noun]
A name given by the followers of Mahayana Buddhism to the more orthodox schools of early Buddhism. The tradition died out in India, but it survived in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as the Theravada school and was taken from there to other regions of SE Asia. See Theravada.
Example sentences
  • An example can be found in Buddhism itself, where people try to discriminate between Hinayana and Mahayana.
  • The Buddhist thought of the Three Kingdoms does not seem to have gone much beyond research into the texts of Hinayana and Mahayana.
  • But even if one is practicing Hinayana or Mahayana practice, the entire goal is to actually realize the ultimate Dharmata.


From Sanskrit hīna 'lesser' + yāna 'vehicle'.

Definition of Hinayana in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈwɪpəsnapə
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...