During the First Council, when the Sthavira or elder disciples assembled in the cave after the Buddha's death, and the other disciples (called to be Mahasanghika) assembled outside the cave. Both compiled the Tripitaka. However, the former emphasized on the rules of disciplines in the monastic community, while the latter concerned the spread of the spirit of Buddhism in lay community. As sects, the principal division took place in the Second Council.
Mahasanghika and Sthavira are known as two earliest sects in Hinayana. Mahasanghika is said to be the basis of the development of the Mahayana Buddhism, while Sthavira of the Theravada Buddhism.
For the sub division of Mahasanghika, please refer to the Eighteen Sects of Hinayana.
Mahayana is described as seeking Buddhahood and transforming beings, thus self-benefiting for the benefits of the others.
See also Hinayana. For further details, please refer to Section 3 A Glimpse in the Scope of Buddhism in Vol. 1 No. 4 of Budddhist Door.
There are four kinds of Nirvana:
The last one is the ultimate wisdom, which is the wisdom of Buddha. Also see wisdom.