Rather than the texts of a distinct form of Buddhism, it is better to regard them as a controversial class of text that spread within pre-existing Buddhist institutional structures.

Some have argued that early sūtras show an orientation toward asceticm and meditation, but the texts rarely mention these practices. They mainly advocate practices oriented toward the supernatural and the afterlife, especially textual practices focused on Mahāyāna sūtras themselves.

A quick debunking of some old theories about the early Mahāyāna.