Shortly after the death of the Buddha, disagreements in the doctrines of Buddhism developed. Many followers began to look to the Buddha as a savior and believed that he should be worshipped. Many others felt that they should not worship the Buddha, and looked to him only as a teacher.
Those who felt it important to worship the Buddha became known as Mahayana Buddhists. Those who did not worship the Buddha were known as Theravada Buddhists.