school which flourished in Kashmir and Gandhara. This school was also
and therefore all sorts of superhuman powers were attributed to them. Greater
importance was attached to the Bodhisattvas than to the Arhats, as they were
considered to possess paranormal powers and to have been more helpful to
the world than the latter.
According to the Kathavatthu, this school believed that the Arhats are
subject to retrogression, while the Srotapannas are not. The mahasanghika
philosophy is opposed to the fundamental three-fold division of the dharmas,
into good, evil, and indeterminate (avyakrita), made by the Sthaviravadins.
Instead, there are nine asamskrita dharmas. The dharmas in the past and the
future do not exist. There is no antarabhava, an intermediate existence
between death in this world and birth in the next.
Andhrakas was a general name given to the followers of the
Mahasanghikas who settled in the Eastern Ghats and around the region of
Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. Vasumitra mentions three groups of this
sect: the Chaitya-sailas, the Aparasailas, and the Uttara-sailas, while the
Kathavatthu commentary mentions Pubba-seliyas, Aparaseliyas, Rajagirikas,
and Siddhatthikas. According to Vasumitra, this school believed that the
Bodhisattvas are not free from evil destiny (durgati) and that by making
offerings to stupas, one cannot gain great merit.
All the above sects and subsects belong to Hinayana. Some of the sects,
however, held views which were partially Mahayanic and may be looked
upon as the precursors of Mahayana doctrines. For instance, the
Mahasanghikas and the Lokottaravadins deified the Buddha, introduced the
Bodhisattva conception, changed the ideal from Arhathood to Buddhahood,
and so forth.
The followers of Hinayan believed in the original teachings of the Buddha,
and sought individual salvation through self-discipline and meditation.
Unlike the Mahayanists, they did not believe in idol worship. However they
did worship the symbols. Though it lost its popularity in India, it got
entrenched in Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.