The Three Vehicles: Mahayana
The Mahayana teachings became popular after the new millennium and continued to spread throughout Asia in the first century C.E. Over the following centuries, the teachings developed a very strong presence in countries throughout Asia, including Tibet. Buddhist teachings spread along trade routes such as the Silk Road
In India and the surrounding countries, great Mahayana Masters such as Nagarjuna, Bhavya, Jnanagarbha, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, Dharmakirti, Tilopa and Naropa became famous and are currently studied and practiced in Tibetan Buddhism in general, the Karma Kamtshang lineage in particular.
Buddhism reached its height in China by the fourth century, mainly true the Chan school.
The Mahayana path is the way of the Bodhisattva who attains Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.The emphasis is on compassion and following the altruistic path of attaining enlightenment for the benefit of others, as well as practicing the six paramitas of generosity, moral conduct, forbearance, diligence, meditative concentration and wisdom.
How do we develop this wisdom? Through studying, contemplating and meditating.
Again, understanding emptiness is essential to realization.
As it is explained in the do-de-gyän (Tib). - Sutralamkara (Skt.), the term Maha (Skt.) ‘Great’ in the name Mahayana (Skt.) implies that this vehicle possesses seven great qualities:
- mig pa chen po - ‘great perspective’;
- drub pa chen po - ‘great accomplishment’;
- ye shey chen po - ‘great wisdom’;
- tsön drü tsom pa chen po - ‘great composition of perseverance’;
- thab la khay pa chen po - ‘great skill in method’;
- yang dag drub pa chen po - ‘great accomplishing of the authentic’;
- thrinley chen po - ‘great enlightened activity’.