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Mahāsāṃghikas

Mahāsāṃghikas (the ‘Great Assembly’). A body which broke away from the Elder (Sthavira) tradition of Buddhism after the Council of Pāṭaliputra in 350 BCE (see COUNCILS). The Mahāsāṃghikas distinguished themselves from the Sthaviras doctrinally in their conception of the Buddha as supramundane (lokottara), and socially by their acceptance of popular religious beliefs and practices, allowing a greater role to the laity.

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