Over 100 years ago, 1907, D.T.Suzuki did a translation and paraphrase of Asanga's Seven Principal Features of Mahayanism from the 4th Century AD. Here it is excerpted.
Mahayana is distinguished by:
1. Its Comprehensiveness. It incorporates "the teachings [not] from one buddha alone, but wherever and whenever truth is found."
2. Universal Love for all Sentient Beings. "All the motives, efforts and actions of the Bodhisattvas pivot on the furtherance of universal welfare."
3. Its Greatness in Intellectual Comprehension. It holds the doctrine of non-Atman for sentient beings as well as things in general.
4. Its Marvelous Spiritual Energy. "Bodhisattvas never become tired of working for universal salvation, nor do they despair because of the long time required."
5. Its Greatness in the Exercise of Upaya. The sympathetic heart of the bodhisattva has inexhaustible resources at his command in order that he might lead all to enlightenment.
6. Its Higher Spiritual Attainment. Mahayana goes beyond Arhatship even to Buddhahood.
7. Its Greater Activity. The Bodhisattva is able to manifest everywhere and to minister to the spiritual needs of all.