Skip to main content


Prajñaptivāda (Skt., prajñapti, ‘designation’, + vāda, ‘way’). An early school of Buddhism. Having originated in the late 3rd cent. BCE as an offshoot of the Mahāsaṃghikas, the Prajñaptivāda claims a line of descent from one of the Buddha's disciples, Mahākātyāyana. No texts of the school are extant but both Paramārtha and Vasumitra claim that the Prajñaptivāda had a special Abhidharmic text which differentiated between two levels of statement in the Buddha's teachings; those acceptable for non-initiates and therefore requiring further elaboration, and those aimed at adepts. Such a distinction closely corresponds to the Mahāyānist doctrine concerning conventional (saṃvṛti) and ultimate (paramārtha) sūtra utterances; and for this reason the Prajñaptivāda is sometimes held to be a proto-Mahāyānist school.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Prajñaptivāda." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Prajñaptivāda." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (February 23, 2019).

"Prajñaptivāda." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.