Śrāvakayāna is one of the three yānas known to Indian Buddhism. It translates literally as the "vehicle of listeners [i.e. disciples]". Historically it was the most common term used by Mahāyāna Buddhist texts to describe one hypothetical path to enlightenment. Śrāvakayāna is the path that meets the goals of an Arhat—an individual who achieves liberation as a result of listening to the teachings of a Samyaksaṃbuddha. A Buddha who achieved enlightenment through Śrāvakayāna is called a Śrāvakabuddha, as distinguished from a Samyaksaṃbuddha or Pratyekabuddha.
In Buddhism, an arahant or arhat is one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved Nibbana and liberated from the endless cycle of rebirth.
Mahayana Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood.
The understanding of the concept has changed over the centuries, and varies between different schools of Buddhism and different regions.
Mahāyāna is a term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, philosophies, and practices.
Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India and is considered one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism.
Mahāyāna accepts the main scriptures and teachings of early Buddhism, but also adds various new doctrines and texts such as the Mahāyāna Sūtras and its emphasis on the bodhisattva path and Prajñāpāramitā.
Vajrayāna or Mantra traditions are a subset of Mahāyāna, which .
Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school.
The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of Gautama Buddha's teaching or Buddha Dhamma in the Pāli Canon for over a millennium.
The Pāli Canon is the most complete Buddhist canon surviving in a classical Indian language, Pāli, which serves as the school's sacred language and lingua franca.
In contrast to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, Theravāda tends to be conservative in matters of .