One of the Buddhist schools that separated from the Theravādins at the Second Council. The members rejected the Parivāra, the six sections of the Abhidhamma, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Niddesa and some portions of the Jātaka (KvuA. p.4; Dpv.v.32 ﬀ).
The school was so called owing to the great number of its followers, which made a great assembly or “Mahāsaṅgitī.” They were counted among the Anātmavādins, and later gave rise to the following schools: Mahāsaṅghika, Pubbasela, Aparasela, Rājagiriyā, Hemavata, Cetiyavādin, Saṅkantivādin, and Gokulika. Originally they had only two divisions — the Ekabbohārikas and Gokulikas (Rockhill, op.cit., 182 ﬀ).
Their separation from the orthodox school was brought about by the Vajjiputtakā monks, and was probably due to difference of opinion on the ten points (for these see Vin.ii.294 f) held by the Vajjiputtakā monks. According to Northern sources, however, the split occurred on the five points raised by Mahādeva:
According to Hiouen Thsang (Beal.ii.164), the Mahāsaṅghikas divided their Canon into five parts: Sūtra, Vinaya, Abhidhamma, Miscellaneous and Dhāraṇī. Fa Hsien took from Pāṭaliputta to China a complete transcript of the Mahāsaṅghika Vinaya.¹ The best known work of the Mahāsaṅghikas is the Mahāvastu. Their headquarters in Sri Lanka were in Abhayagiri-