Prajñāpāramitā means "the Perfection of Wisdom" in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Prajñāpāramitā refers to this perfected way of seeing the nature of reality, as well as to a particular body of sutras and to the personification of the concept in the Bodhisattva known as the "Great Mother"; the word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā "wisdom" with pāramitā "perfection". Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and is associated with the doctrine of emptiness or'lack of Svabhava' and the works of Nagarjuna, its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva path. According to Edward Conze, the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras are "a collection of about forty texts... composed somewhere around Indian subcontinent between 100 BC and AD 600." Some Prajnāpāramitā sūtras are thought to be among the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras. One of the important features of the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras is anutpada. Western scholars have traditionally considered the earliest sūtra in the Prajñāpāramitā class to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra or "Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines", put in writing in the 1st century BCE.
This chronology is based on the views of Edward Conze, who considered dates of translation into other languages. This text has a corresponding version in verse format, called the Ratnaguṇasaṃcaya Gāthā, which some believe to be older because it is not written in standard literary Sanskrit. However, these findings rely on late-dating Indian texts, in which verses and mantras are kept in more archaic forms. Additionally, a number of scholars have proposed that the Mahāyāna Prajñāpāramitā teachings were first developed by the Caitika subsect of the Mahāsāṃghikas, they believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra originated amongst the southern Mahāsāṃghika schools of the Āndhra region, along the Kṛṣṇa River. These Mahāsāṃghikas had two famous monasteries near Amarāvati and the Dhānyakataka, which gave their names to the Pūrvaśaila and Aparaśaila schools; each of these schools had a copy of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra in Prakrit. Guang Xing assesses the view of the Buddha given in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra as being that of the Mahāsāṃghikas.
Edward Conze estimates that this sūtra originated around 100 BCE. In 2012, Harry Falk and Seishi Karashima published a damaged and partial Kharoṣṭhī manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, it is radiocarbon dated making it one of the oldest Buddhist texts in existence. It is similar to the first Chinese translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā by Lokakṣema whose source text is assumed to be in the Gāndhārī language. Comparison with the standard Sanskrit text shows that it is likely to be a translation from Gāndhāri as it expands on many phrases and provides glosses for words that are not present in the Gāndhārī; this points to the text being composed in the language of Gandhara. The "Split" manuscript is evidently a copy of an earlier text, confirming that the text may date before the 1st century CE. In contrast to western scholarship, Japanese scholars have traditionally considered the Diamond Sūtra to be from a early date in the development of Prajñāpāramitā literature; the usual reason for this relative chronology which places the Vajracchedikā earlier is not its date of translation, but rather a comparison of the contents and themes.
Some western scholars believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra was adapted from the earlier Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. Examining the language and phrases used in both the Aṣṭasāhasrikā and the Vajracchedikā, Gregory Schopen sees the Vajracchedikā as being earlier than the Aṣṭasāhasrikā; this view is taken in part by examining parallels between the two works, in which the Aṣṭasāhasrikā seems to represent the or more developed position. According to Schopen, these works show a shift in emphasis from an oral tradition to a written tradition. An Indian commentary on the Mahāyānasaṃgraha, entitled Vivṛtaguhyārthapiṇḍavyākhyā, gives a classification of teachings according to the capabilities of the audience: ccording to disciples' grades, the Dharma is inferior and superior. For example, the inferior was taught to the merchants Trapuṣa and Ballika because they were ordinary men; the eightfold are the teachings of the Prajñāpāramitā as follows: the Triśatikā, Pañcaśatikā, Saptaśatikā, Sārdhadvisāhasrikā, Aṣṭasāhasrikā, Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā, Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā, Śatasāhasrikā.
The titles of these eight Prajñāpāramitā texts are given according to their length. The texts may have other Sanskrit titles as well, or different variations which may be more descriptive; the lengths specified by the titles are given below. Triśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 300 lines, alternatively known as the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Pañcaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 500 lines Saptaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 700 lines, the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī's exposition of Prajñāpāramitā Sārdhadvisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 2500 lines, from the questions of Suvikrāntavikrāmin Bodhisattva Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 8000 lines Aṣṭadaśasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra: 18,00
Vajrayāna, Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is known as Tángmì Hanmi 漢密 or Mìzōng, in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna, in Japan it is known as Mikkyō. Vajrayāna is translated as Diamond Vehicle or Thunderbolt Vehicle, referring to the Vajra, a mythical weapon, used as a ritual implement. Founded by medieval Indian Mahāsiddhas, Vajrayāna subscribes to the literature known as the Buddhist Tantras, it includes practices that make use of mantras, mudras and the visualization of deities and Buddhas. According to Vajrayāna scriptures, the term Vajrayāna refers to one of three vehicles or routes to enlightenment, the other two being the Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna. Tantric Buddhism can be traced back to groups of wandering yogis called Mahasiddhas. According to Reynolds, the mahasiddhas date to the medieval period in the Northern Indian Subcontinent, used methods that were radically different than those used in Buddhist monasteries including living in forests and caves and practiced meditation in charnel grounds similar to those practiced by Shaiva Kapalika ascetics.
These yogic circles came together in tantric feasts in sacred sites and places which included dancing, sex rites and the ingestion of taboo substances like alcohol, meat, etc. At least two of the Mahasiddhas given in the Buddhist literature are names for Shaiva Nath saints who practiced Hatha Yoga. According to Schumann, a movement called, it was dominated by long-haired, wandering Mahasiddhas who challenged and ridiculed the Buddhist establishment. The Mahasiddhas pursued siddhis, magical powers such as flight and extrasensory perception as well as liberation. Ronald M. Davidson states that, "Buddhist siddhas demonstrated the appropriation of an older sociological form—the independent sage/magician, who lived in a liminal zone on the borders between fields and forests, their rites involved the conjunction of sexual practices and Buddhist mandala visualization with ritual accouterments made from parts of the human body, so that control may be exercised over the forces hindering the natural abilities of the siddha to manipulate the cosmos at will.
At their most extreme, siddhas represented a defensive position within the Buddhist tradition and sustained for the purpose of aggressive engagement with the medieval culture of public violence. They reinforced their reputations for personal sanctity with rumors of the magical manipulation of various flavors of demonic females, cemetery ghouls, other things that go bump in the night. Operating on the margins of both monasteries and polite society, some adopted the behaviors associated with ghosts, not only as a religious praxis but as an extension of their implied threats." Many of the elements found in Buddhist tantric literature are not wholly new. Earlier Mahayana sutras contained some elements which are emphasized in the Tantras, such as mantras and dharani; the use of protective verses or phrases dates back to the Vedic period and can be seen in the early Buddhist texts, where they are termed paritta. Mahayana texts like the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra expound the use of mantras such as Om mani padme hum, associated with vastly powerful beings like Avalokiteshvara.
The practice of visualization of Buddhas such as Amitābha is seen in pre-tantric texts like the Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. There are other Mahayana sutras which contain "proto-tantric" material such as the Gandavyuha sutra and the Dasabhumika which might have served as a central source of visual imagery for Tantric texts. Vajrayana developed a large corpus of texts called the Buddhist Tantras, some of which can be traced to at least the 7th century CE but might be older; the dating of the tantras is "a difficult, indeed an impossible task" according to David Snellgrove. Some of the earliest of these texts, Kriya tantras such as the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa, teach the use of mantras and dharanis for worldly ends including curing illness, controlling the weather and generating wealth; the Tattvasaṃgraha Tantra, classed as a "Yoga tantra", is one of the first Buddhist tantras which focuses on liberation as opposed to worldly goals. In another early tantra, the Vajrasekhara Tantra, the influential schema of the five Buddha families is developed.
Other early tantras include the Guhyasamāja Tantra. The Guhyasamāja is a Mahayoga class of Tantra, which features new forms of ritual practice considered "left-hand" such as the use of taboo substances like alcohol, sexual yoga, charnel ground practices which evoke wrathful deities. Indeed, Ryujun Tajima divides the tantras into those which were "a development of Mahayanist thought" and those "formed in a rather popular mould toward the end of the eighth century and declining into the esoterism of the left", this "left esoterism" refers to the Yogini tantras and works associated with wandering antinomian yogis. Monastic Vajrayana Buddhists reinterpreted and internalized these radically transgressive and taboo practices as metaphors and visualization exercises; these tantras such as the Hevajra Tantra and the Chakrasamvara are classed as "Yogini tantras" and represent the final form of development of
Avalokiteśvara or Padmapani is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is variably depicted and portrayed in different cultures as either male or female. In Tibet, he is known as Chenrezik, in Cambodia as "អវលោកិតេស្វរៈ". In Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has evolved into the somewhat different female figure Guanyin. In Japan this figure is known as Kannon. In Nepal Mandal this figure is known as Jana Baha Dyah, Seto Machindranath; the name Avalokiteśvara combines the verbal prefix ava "down", lokita, a past participle of the verb lok "to notice, observe", here used in an active sense. In accordance with sandhi, a+īśvara becomes eśvara. Combined, the parts mean "lord who gazes down"; the word loka is absent from the name. It does appear in the Cambodian form of Lokesvarak; the earliest translation of the name into Chinese by authors such as Xuanzang was as Guānzìzài, not the form used in East Asian Buddhism today, Guanyin. It was thought that this was due to a lack of fluency, as Guanzizai indicates the original Sanskrit form was Avalokitasvara, "who looks down upon sound".
It is now understood, the original form, is the origin of Guanyin "Perceiving sound, cries". This translation was favored by the tendency of some Chinese translators, notably Kumārajīva, to use the variant 觀世音 Guānshìyīn "who perceives the world's lamentations"—wherein lok was read as meaning both "to look" and "world"; the original form Avalokitasvara appears in Sanskrit fragments of the fifth century. This earlier Sanskrit name was supplanted by the form containing the ending -īśvara "lord"; the original meaning of the name fits the Buddhist understanding of the role of a bodhisattva. The reinterpretation presenting him as an īśvara shows a strong influence of Hinduism, as the term īśvara was connected to the Hindu notion of Vishnu or Śiva as the Supreme Lord and Ruler of the world; some attributes of such a god were transmitted to the bodhisattva, but the mainstream of those who venerated Avalokiteśvara upheld the Buddhist rejection of the doctrine of any creator god. In Sanskrit, Avalokiteśvara is referred to as Padmapāni or Lokeśvara.
In Tibetan, Avalokiteśvara is Chenrézik, is said to emanate as the Dalai Lama the Karmapa and other high lamas. An etymology of the Tibetan name Chenrézik is spyan "eye", ras "continuity" and gzig "to look"; this gives the meaning of one. According to the Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra, the sun and moon are said to be born from Avalokiteśvara's eyes, Shiva from his brow, Brahma from his shoulders, Narayana from his heart, Sarasvati from his teeth, the winds from his mouth, the earth from his feet, the sky from his stomach. In this text and others, such as the Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutra, Avalokiteśvara is an attendant of Amitabha; some texts which mention Avalokiteśvara include: The Lotus Sutra is accepted to be the earliest literature teaching about the doctrines of Avalokiteśvara. These are found in the Lotus Sutra chapter 25; this chapter is devoted to Avalokiteśvara, describing him as a compassionate bodhisattva who hears the cries of sentient beings, who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name.
A total of 33 different manifestations of Avalokiteśvara are described, including female manifestations, all to suit the minds of various beings. The chapter consists of a verse section; this earliest source circulates separately as its own sutra, called the Avalokiteśvara Sūtra, is recited or chanted at Buddhist temples in East Asia. When the Chinese monk Faxian traveled to Mathura in India around 400 CE, he wrote about monks presenting offerings to Avalokiteśvara; when Xuanzang traveled to India in the 7th century, he provided eyewitness accounts of Avalokiteśvara statues being venerated by devotees from all walks of life: kings, to monks, to laypeople. In Chinese Buddhism and East Asia, Tangmi practices for the 18-armed form of Avalokiteśvara called Cundī are popular; these practices have their basis in the early Indian Vajrayana: her origins lie with a yakshini cult in Bengal and Orissa, her name in Sanskrit "connotes a prostitute or other woman of low caste but denotes a prominent local ogress... whose divinised form becomes the subject of an important Buddhist cult starting in the eighth century".
The popularity of Cundī is attested by the three extant translations of the Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra from Sanskrit to Chinese, made from the end of the seventh century to the beginning of the eighth century. In late imperial China, these early esoteric traditions still thrived in Buddhist communities. Robert Gimello has observed that in these communities, the esoteric practices of Cundī were popular among both the populace and the elite. In the Tiantai school, six forms of Avalokiteśvara are defined; each of the bodhisattva's six qualities are said to break the hindrances of the six realms of existence: hell-beings, animals, humans and devas. Veneration of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva has continued to the present day in Sri Lanka: In times past both Tantrayana and Mahayana have been found in some of the
Inner Mongolia or Nei Mongol the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Nei Mongol Autonomous Region, is one of the autonomous regions of the People's Republic of China, located in the north of the country. Its border includes most of the length of China's border with Mongolia; the rest of the Sino–Mongolian border coincides with part of the international border of the Xinjiang autonomous region and the entirety of the international border of Gansu province and a small section of China's border with Russia. Its capital is Hohhot; the Autonomous Region was established in 1947, incorporating the areas of the former Republic of China provinces of Suiyuan, Rehe and Xing'an, along with the northern parts of Gansu and Ningxia. Its area makes it the third largest Chinese subdivision, constituting 1,200,000 km2 and 12% of China's total land area, it recorded a population of 24,706,321 in the 2010 census, accounting for 1.84% of Mainland China's total population. Inner Mongolia is the country's 23rd most populous province-level division.
The majority of the population in the region are Han Chinese, with a sizeable titular Mongol minority. The official languages are Mandarin and Mongolian, the latter of, written in the traditional Mongolian script, as opposed to the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet, used in the state of Mongolia. In Chinese, the region is known as "Inner Mongolia", where the terms of "Inner/Outer" are derived from Manchu dorgi/tulergi. Inner Mongolia is distinct from Outer Mongolia, a term used by the Republic of China and previous governments to refer to what is now the independent state of Mongolia plus the Republic of Tuva in Russia; the term Inner 内 referred to the Nei Fan 内藩, i.e. those descendants of Genghis Khan who granted the title khan in Ming and Qing dynasties and lived in part of southern part of Mongolia. In Mongolian, the region was called Dotugadu monggol during Qing rule and was renamed into Öbür Monggol in 1947, öbür meaning the southern side of a mountain, while the Chinese term Nei Menggu was retained.
Much of what is known about the history of Greater Mongolia, including Inner Mongolia, is known through Chinese chronicles and historians. Before the rise of the Mongols in the 13th century, what is now central and western Inner Mongolia the Hetao region, alternated in control between Chinese agriculturalists in the south and Xiongnu, Khitan, Jurchen and nomadic Mongol of the north; the historical narrative of what is now Eastern Inner Mongolia consists of alternations between different Tungusic and Mongol tribes, rather than the struggle between nomads and Chinese agriculturalists. Slab Grave cultural monuments are found in northern and eastern Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, north-western China, central-eastern and southern Baikal territory. Mongolian scholars prove. During the Zhou dynasty and western Inner Mongolia were inhabited by nomadic peoples such as the Loufan, Dí, while eastern Inner Mongolia was inhabited by the Donghu. During the Warring States period, King Wuling of the state of Zhao based in what is now Hebei and Shanxi provinces pursued an expansionist policy towards the region.
After destroying the Dí state of Zhongshan in what is now Hebei province, he defeated the Linhu and Loufan and created the commandery of Yunzhong near modern Hohhot. King Wuling of Zhao built a long wall stretching through the Hetao region. After Qin Shi Huang created the first unified Chinese empire in 221 BC, he sent the general Meng Tian to drive the Xiongnu from the region, incorporated the old Zhao wall into the Qin dynasty Great Wall of China, he maintained two commanderies in the region: Jiuyuan and Yunzhong, moved 30,000 households there to solidify the region. After the Qin dynasty collapsed in 206 BC, these efforts were abandoned. During the Western Han dynasty, Emperor Wu sent the general Wei Qing to reconquer the Hetao region from the Xiongnu in 127 BC. After the conquest, Emperor Wu continued the policy of building settlements in Hetao to defend against the Xiong-Nu. In that same year he established the commanderies of Wuyuan in Hetao. At the same time, what is now eastern Inner Mongolia was controlled by the Xianbei, who would on eclipse the Xiongnu in power and influence.
During the Eastern Han dynasty, Xiongnu who surrendered to the Han dynasty began to be settled in Hetao, intermingled with the Han immigrants in the area. On during the Western Jin dynasty, it was a Xiongnu noble from Hetao, Liu Yuan, who established the Han Zhao kingdom in the region, thereby beginning the Sixteen Kingdoms period that saw the disintegration of northern China under a variety of Han and non-Han regimes; the Sui dynasty and Tang dynasty re-established a unified Chinese empire, like their predecessors, they conquered and settled people into Hetao, though once again these efforts were aborted when the Tang empire began to collapse. Hetao was taken over by the Khitan Empire, founded by the Khitans, a nomadic people from what is no
Mañjuśrī is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā in Mahayana Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is a yidam, his name means "Gentle Glory"（Chinese：妙吉祥, 妙乐） in Sanskrit. Mañjuśrī is known by the fuller name of Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta "Mañjuśrī, Still a Youth" or, less "Prince Mañjuśrī". Other deity name of Mañjuśrī is Manjughosha. Scholars have identified Mañjuśrī as the oldest and most significant bodhisattva in Mahāyāna literature. Mañjuśrī is first referred to in early Mahayana sutras such as the Prajnaparamita sutras and through this association early in the tradition he came to symbolize the embodiment of prajñā; the Lotus Sutra assigns him a pure land called Vimala, which according to the Avatamsaka Sutra is located in the East. His pure land is predicted to be one of the two best pure lands in all of existence in all the past and future; when he attains buddhahood his name will be Universal Sight. In the Lotus Sūtra, Mañjuśrī leads the Nagaraja's daughter to enlightenment, he figures in the Vimalakirti Sutra in a debate with Vimalakirti where he is presented as an Arhat who represents the wisdom of the Hinayana.
An example of a wisdom teaching of Mañjuśrī can be found in the Saptaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. This sūtra contains the Buddha on the One Samadhi. Sheng-yen renders the following teaching of Mañjuśrī, for entering samādhi through transcendent wisdom: Contemplate the five skandhas as empty and quiescent, non-arising, non-perishing, without differentiation, thus practicing, day or night, whether sitting, standing or lying down one reaches an inconceivable state without any obstruction or form. This is the Samadhi of One Act. Within Vajrayana Buddhism, Mañjuśrī is a meditational deity and considered a enlightened Buddha. In Shingon Buddhism, he is one of the Thirteen Buddhas, he figures extensively in many esoteric texts such as the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa and the Mañjuśrīnāmasamgīti. His consort in some traditions is Saraswati; the Mañjusrimulakalpa, which came to classified under Kriyatantra, states that mantras taught in the Saiva and Vaisnava tantras will be effective if applied by Buddhists since they were all taught by Manjushri.
Mañjuśrī is depicted as a male bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, representing the realization of transcendent wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality. The scripture supported by the padma held in his left hand is a Prajñāpāramitā sūtra, representing his attainment of ultimate realization from the blossoming of wisdom. Mañjuśrī is depicted as riding on a blue lion or sitting on the skin of a lion; this represents the use of wisdom to tame the mind, compared to riding or subduing a ferocious lion. In Chinese and Japanese Buddhist art, Mañjuśrī's sword is sometimes replaced with a ruyi scepter in representations of his Vimalakirti Sutra discussion with the layman Vimalakirti. According to Berthold Laufer, the first Chinese representation of a ruyi was in an 8th-century Mañjuśrī painting by Wu Daozi, showing it held in his right hand taking the place of the usual sword. In subsequent Chinese and Japanese paintings of Buddhas, a ruyi was represented as a Padma with a long stem curved like a ruyi.
He is one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas of Chinese Buddhism, the other three being Kṣitigarbha, Avalokiteśvara, Samantabhadra. In China, he is paired with Samantabhadra. In Tibetan Buddhism, Mañjuśrī is sometimes depicted in a trinity with Vajrapāṇi. A mantra associated with Mañjuśrī is the following: oṃ arapacana dhīḥThe Arapacana is a syllabary consisting of forty-two letters, is named after the first five letters: a, ra, pa, ca, na; this syllabary was most used for the Gāndhārī language with the Kharoṣṭhī script but appears in some Sanskrit texts. The syllabary features in Mahāyāna texts such as the longer Prajñāpāramitā texts, the Gaṇḍavyūha Sūtra, the Lalitavistara Sūtra, the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya, the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. In some of these texts, the Arapacana syllabary serves as a mnemonic for important Mahāyāna concepts. Due to its association with him, Arapacana may serve as an alternate name for Mañjuśrī; the Sutra on Perfect Wisdom defines the significance of each syllable thus: A is a door to the insight that all dharmas are unproduced from the beginning.
RA is a door to the insight. PA is a door to the insight. CA is a door to the insight that the decrease or rebirth of any dharma cannot be apprehended, because all dharmas do not decrease, nor are they reborn. NA is a door to the insight. Tibetan pronunciation is different and so the Tibetan characters read: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ. In Tibetan tradition, this mantra is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one's skills in debating, memory and other literary abilities. "Dhīḥ" is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis and repeated a number of times as a decrescendo. Mañjuśrī is known in China as Wenshu. Mount Wutai in Shanxi, one of the four Sacred Mountains of China, is considered by Chinese Buddhists to be his bodhimaṇḍa, he was said to bestow spectacular visionary experiences to those on selected mountain peaks and caves
Buddhism in the United States
Buddhism, once thought of as a mysterious religion from the East, has now become popular in the West, is one of the largest religions in the United States. As Buddhism does not require any formal "conversion", American Buddhists can incorporate dharma practice into their normal routines and traditions; the result is that American Buddhists come from every ethnicity and religious tradition. In 2012, U-T San Diego estimated U. S. practitioners at 1.2 million people, of whom 40% are living in Southern California. In terms of percentage, Hawaii has the most Buddhists at 8% of the population due to its large Asian American community; the term American Buddhism can be used to describe Buddhist groups within the U. S, which are made up of converts; this contrasts with many Buddhist groups in Asia, which are made up of people who were born into the faith. Hawaii has the largest Buddhist population, amounting to 8% of the total Buddhist population of the United States. California follows Hawaii with 2%. Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming have 1% buddhist population.
The following is the percentage of Buddhists in the U. S. territories as of 2010: Buddhist American scholar Charles Prebish states there are three broad types of American Buddhism: The oldest and largest of these is "immigrant" or "ethnic Buddhism", those Buddhist traditions that arrived in America along with immigrants who were practitioners and that remained with those immigrants and their descendants. The next oldest and arguably the most visible group Prebish refers to as "import Buddhists", because they came to America in response to interested American converts who sought them out, either by going abroad or by supporting foreign teachers. A trend in Buddhism is "export" or "evangelical Buddhist" groups based in another country who recruit members in the US from various backgrounds. Modern Buddhism is not just an American phenomenon. Soka Gakkai International is the most successful of Japan's new religious movements that grew around the world after the end of World War II. Soka Gakkai, which means "Value Creation Society," is one of three sects of Nichiren Buddhism that came to the United States during the 20th century.
The SGI expanded in the US, attracting non-Asian minority converts, chiefly African Americans and Latino, as well as the support of celebrities, such as Tina Turner, Herbie Hancock, Orlando Bloom. Because of a rift with Nichiren Shōshū in 1991, the SGI has no priests of its own, its main religious practice is chanting the mantra Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō and sections of the Lotus Sutra. Unlike trends such as Zen, Vipassanā, Tibetan Buddhism, Soka Gakkai Buddhists do not practice meditative techniques other than chanting. An SGI YouTube series called "Buddhist in America" has over a quarter million views in total as of 2015. Buddhism was introduced into the USA by Asian immigrants in the 19th century, when significant numbers of immigrants from East Asia began to arrive in the New World. In the United States, immigrants from China entered around 1820, but began to arrive in large numbers following the 1849 California Gold Rush. Immigrant Buddhist congregations in North America are as diverse as the different peoples of Asian Buddhist extraction who settled there.
The US is home to Chinese Buddhists, Japanese Buddhists, Korean Buddhists, Sri Lankan Buddhists, Cambodian Buddhists, Vietnamese Buddhists, Thai Buddhists, Buddhists with family backgrounds in most Buddhist countries and regions. The Immigration Act of 1965 increased the number of immigrants arriving from China and the Theravada-practicing countries of Southeast Asia. Fanciful accounts of a visit to North America at the end of the 5th century written by a Chinese monk named Huishen or Hushen can be found in the Wenxian Tongkao by Ma Tuan-Lin; this account is challenged but it is "at least plausible" in the words of James Ishmael Ford. The first Buddhist temple in America was built in 1853 in San Francisco by the Sze Yap Company, a Chinese American fraternal society. Another society, the Ning Yeong Company, built a second in 1854. A casualty of racism, these temples were the subject of suspicion and ignorance by the rest of the population, were dismissively called joss houses; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 curtailed growth of the Chinese American population, but large-scale immigration from Japan began in the late 1880s and from Korea around 1903.
In both cases, immigration was at first to Hawaii. Populations from other Asian Buddhist countries followed, in each case, the new communities established Buddhist temples and organizations. For instance, the first Japanese temple in Hawaii was built in 1896 near Paauhau by the Honpa Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shinshu. In 1898, Japanese missionaries and immigrants established a Young Men's Buddhist Association, the Rev. Sōryū Kagahi was dispatched from Japan to be the first Buddhist missionary in Hawaii; the first Japanese Buddhist temple in the continental U. S. was built in San Francisco in 1899, the first in Canada was built at the Ishikawa Hotel in Vancouver in 1905. The first Buddhist clergy to take up residence in the continental U. S. were Shuye Sonoda and Kakuryo Nishimjima, missionaries from Japan who arrived in 1899. The Buddhist Churches of
The Mahayana sutras are a broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that various traditions of Mahayana Buddhism accept as canonical. They are preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, in extant Sanskrit manuscripts. Around one hundred Mahayana sutras survive in Chinese and Tibetan translations. Mahayana sutras are passed down as the legacy of Gautama Buddha: early versions were not written documents but orally preserved teachings said to be verses that were committed to memory and recited by his disciples, in particular Ananda, which were viewed as a substitute for the actual speech of the Buddha following his parinirvana; the origins of the Mahayana are not understood. The earliest views of Mahayana Buddhism in the West assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the Theravada schools. Due to the veneration of buddhas and bodhisattvas, Mahayana was interpreted as a more devotional, lay-inspired form of Buddhism, with supposed origins in stūpa veneration or by making parallels with the Reformation.
These views have been dismissed in modern times in light of a much broader range of early texts that are now available. These earliest Mahayana texts depict strict adherence to the path of a bodhisattva, engagement in the ascetic ideal of a monastic life in the wilderness, akin to the ideas expressed in the Rhinoceros Sutra; the old views of Mahayana as a separate lay-inspired and devotional sect are now dismissed as misguided and wrong on all counts. The early versions of Mahayana sutras orally preserved teachings; the verses which were committed to memory and recited by monks were viewed as the substitute for the actual speaking presence of the Buddha. The earliest textual evidence of the Mahayana comes from sutras originating around the beginning of the common era. Jan Nattier has noted that in some of the earliest Mahayana texts such as the Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra use the term "Mahayana", yet there is no doctrinal difference between Mahayana in this context and the early schools, that "Mahayana" referred rather to the rigorous emulation of Gautama Buddha in the path of a bodhisattva seeking to become a enlightened buddha.
There is no evidence that Mahayana referred to a separate formal school or sect of Buddhism, but rather that it existed as a certain set of ideals, doctrines, for bodhisattvas. Paul Williams has noted that the Mahayana never had nor attempted to have a separate Vinaya or ordination lineage from the early Buddhist schools and therefore each bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī adhering to the Mahayana formally belonged to an early school; this continues today with the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage in East Asia and the Mūlasarvāstivāda ordination lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore, Mahayana was never a separate rival sect of the early schools; the Chinese monk Yijing who visited India in the seventh century, distinguishes Mahayana from Hinayana as follows: Both adopt one and the same Vinaya, they have in common the prohibitions of the five offences, the practice of the Four Noble Truths. Those who venerate the bodhisattvas and read the Mahayana sutras are called the Mahayanists, while those who do not perform these are called the Hīnayānists.
Much of the early extant evidence for the origins of Mahayana comes from early Chinese translations of Mahayana texts. These Mahayana teachings were first propagated into China by Lokakṣema, the first translator of Mahayana sutras into Chinese during the second century; some scholars take an agnostic view and consider the Mahayana sutras as an anonymous literature, since it can not be determined by whom they were written, only can be dated to the date when they were translated into another language. Others such as A. K. Warder have argued. Andrew Skilton summarizes a common prevailing view of the Mahayana sutras: These texts are considered by Mahayana tradition to be buddhavacana, therefore the legitimate word of the historical Buddha; the śrāvaka tradition, according to some Mahayana sutras themselves, rejected these texts as authentic buddhavacana, saying that they were inventions, the product of the religious imagination of the Mahayanist monks who were their fellows. Western scholarship does not go so far as to impugn the religious authority of Mahayana sutras, but it tends to assume that they are not the literal word of the historical Śākyamuni Buddha.
Unlike the śrāvaka critics just cited, we have no possibility of knowing just who composed and compiled these texts, for us, removed from the time of their authors by up to two millenia, they are an anonymous literature. It is accepted that Mahayana sutras constitute a body of literature that began to appear from as early as the 1st century BCE, although the evidence for this date is circumstantial; the concrete evidence for dating any part of this literature is to be found in dated Chinese translations, amongst which we find a body of ten Mahayana sutras translated by Lokaksema before 186 C. E. – and these constitute our earliest objectively dated Mahayana texts. This picture may be qualified by the analysis of early manuscripts coming out of Afghanistan, but for the meantime this is speculation. In effect we have a vast body of anonymous but coherent literature, of which individual items can only be dated when they were translated into another language at a known date. John W. Pettit, while stating, "Mahayana has not got a strong historical claim for representing the explicit teachings of the historical Buddha" argues that the basic concepts of Mahayana do occur in the Pāli Canon and that this suggests that Mahayana is "not an accretion of fabricated doctrines" but "