Mahayana: Sanskrit; literally, "the Great Vehicle". One of the three major schools of Buddhism which developed in the 1st century C.E., in India. It is called the Great Vehicle for its all-inclusive approach to liberation, as embodied in the bodhisattva desire to liberate all beings. The Mahayana school introduced the notion of sunyata, and places less emphasis on monasticism than the Theravada school.
Mahasthamaprapta (Shih Chih, Seishi): One of the three sages in Pure Land Buddhism. She is recognized by the jewelled pitcher adorning her crown.
Maitreya: The fifth and last of the earthly Buddhas. Expected to arrive about 30,000 years from now, and believed to reside in the Tushita heaven until then.
Marks: Characteristics, forms, physiognomy.
Meditation Sutra: One of the three core sutras of the Pure Land School. The others are the Amitabha Sutra and the Longer Amitabha Sutra.
Merit and Virtue: Merits are the blessings of the human and celestial realms. They are temporary, and subject to birth and death. Virtues transcend birth and death and lead to Buddhahood.
Mindfulness of the Buddha: See Buddha Recitation.