Mahayana Buddhism

Server Costs Fundraiser 2024

Help our mission to provide free history education to the world! Please donate and contribute to covering our server costs in 2024. With your support, millions of people learn about history entirely for free every month.
$2320 / $18000


Mahayana Buddhism is the largest Buddhist sect in the world, and its beliefs and practices are what most non-adherents recognize as "Buddhism" in the modern era. It developed as a school of thought sometime after 383 BCE, possibly from the earlier school known as Mahasanghika, though that claim has been challenged.

More about: Mahayana Buddhism


  • c. 563 BCE - c. 483 BCE
    The life of Siddhartha Gautama according to modern scholarly consensus.
  • 383 BCE
    Second Council of Buddhism where different schools break away and form their own traditions.
  • 283 BCE
    Mahayana Buddhism already developed and operating alongside other schools, including Mahasanghika.
  • c. 268 BCE - 232 BCE
    Reign of Ashoka the Great who spreads Buddhism throughout India and sends Buddhist missionaries to other nations.
  • c. 50 BCE - c. 600 CE
    The sutras of The Perfection of Wisdom are written.
  • c. 200 CE
    The Buddhist Lotus Sutra is written down in Pali language.
  • 7 Feb 573 CE - 8 Apr 622 CE
    Prince Shotoku was the founder of Japanese Buddhism and of the Japanese nation. He is famous for his 17-article constitution, the first Buddhist constitution ever to be created.