Contents: Preface. 1. Introduction/Siya Mishra Haldhar. 2. Early schools/Subodh Kumar Choudhary. 3. Cittamatra in Tibet/Shashi Kant Rai. 4. Buddhism in Bhutan/Aditya Narayan Mishra. 5. A comparative study of Bhutanese Buddhism/Deepak Kumar Rai. 6. Householder Buddhism/Sunil Kumar. 7. Monk/Sanjay Kumar. Bibliography. Index.
The early Buddhist schools are those schools into which according to most scholars the Buddhist monastic Sangha initially split, due originally to differences in vinaya and later also due to doctrinal differences and geographical separation of groups of monks. The original Sangha split into the first early schools a significant number of years after the death of Gautama Buddha: according to scholar Collett Cox most scholars would agree that even though the roots of the earliest recognized groups predate Asoka, their actual separation did not occur until after his death. Later these first early schools split into further divisions such as the Sarvastivadins and the Dharmaguptakas and ended up numbering traditionally about 18 or 20 schools. In fact there are several overlapping lists of 18 schools preserved in the Buddhist tradition, totalling about twice as many, though some may be alternative names. It is thought likely that the number is merely conventional.