Buddhism

  • Founded by Gautam Buddha (Original Name Siddhartha)
  • Born in 563 BC at Lumbini in Nepal near Kapilavastu (As a kshatriya in Shakya clan)
  • Parents Suddhodhana & Mahamaya
  • Left Home at the age of 29 in search of truth & did intense penance & meditation
  • Attained Nirvana under a Pipal tree at Bodh Gaya & henceforth known as Buddha (The enlightened one)
  • Delivered his 1st sermon at Sarnath (Banaras) & died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar (U.P)

 

Noble truth by Buddha

  • World is full of sorrow
  • People suffer on account of desires
  • If desires are conquered, Nirvana can be achieved i.e. free from cycle of birth & death & which can be done by following 8 fold path (ashtangika marga):

 

Right Understanding Right Determination Right Speech Right Action
Right livelihood Right Exercise Right Mindfulness Right Medication

 

Buddhism


Tri Ratnas of Buddhism

  • Budhha (The enlightened)
  • Dhamma ( Doctrine of Buddhism)
  • Sangha (Order of Buddhism)

 

Teachings by Buddha

  • Budhha was a practical reformer & did not believe in soul or god or metaphysical world & concerned himself with the worldly problems
  • Suggested that a person should avoid excess of both, Luxury & Austerity & prescribed a middle path
  • Laid great emphasis on Karma (Varna based on action not on birth) & Ahimsa
  • Opposed varna system & laid down the principle of social equality

 


Spread of Buddhism

  • Buddhism had 2 kinds of disciples – Monks (Bhikshus) & Lay worshippers (Upasikas)
  • Monks were organised into sangha for the purpose of spread of Buddhist teachings
  • Membership was open to all, Male or female without any cast distinction, but every member had to take vow of continence, poverty & faith (Penance to achieve liberation )
  • Use of Pali language also contributed to the spread of Buddhism

 

Buddhist Text

  • Tripitakas All written in Pali Language
  • Sutta-pitaka
  • Vinaya-pitaka
  • Abhidhamma-pitaka

 


Contribution of Buddhism

  • Slaves & debtors couldn’t join sangha rule helped moneylenders & richer sections of society
  • Earliest Budhhist text “ Suttanipata” pleads for protection of cattles & helped to prevent their decimation
  • Taught people to put reason in everything & pleaded for logic instead of superstitions hence promoted rationalism in people
  • Promoted education through residential universities like Valabhi, Nalanda & Vikramshila
  • Formed Hybrid Sanskrit by mixture of Pali & Sanskrit

 


Cause of Decline

  • Revival of Brahmanism & rise of Bhagavatism
  • Use of Sanskrit instead of Pali from 4th Buddhist council (Around 100 AD)
  • After birth of Mahayana, Practice of Idol worship, Huge offerings & donations became common & led to the deterioration of moral standards
  • Attack of Hunas (Around 500 – 600 AD) & Attack of Turkish invaders (1200 AD) destroyed major Buddhist Monasteries
  • Brahamana ruler Pushyamitra have said to persecuted Buddhists
  • Shaivite Shashanka have said to cut the original Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya

Buddhist Councils

1st Council @ Rajgir

  • Was held immediately after the death of Buddha at Saptaparni cave in which the unwritten teachings of Buddha were penned down after his death.
  • Held at Rajgir under the patronage of Ajatashatru under the chairmanship of Mahakashyap
  • Ananda composed Suttapitaka (Buddha’s Teachings) & Upali composed Vinaypitaka ( Monastic code for Buddhism)

 

2nd Council @ Vaishali

  • Was held approx. 100 years after the death of Buddha under the patronage of King Kalasoka under the chairmanship of Sabakami
  • Mainly due to 10 disputed points under Vinaypitaka (Monastic codes of Buddhism)

 

3rd Council @ Patliputra

  • Held under the patronage of Ashoka under the chairmanship of Mogliputra tissa
  • Compilation of Abhidhamma pitaka took place (Philosophical exposition of Budhhism)
  • Budhhism preached & Propagated by Ashoka is known as Hinyana

 

4th Council @ Kashmir

  • Held under the patronage of Kanishka under the chairmanship of Vasumitra
  • Resulted in division of Buddhism into Hinyana & Mahayana
  • Asvaghosa participated in this council & all the deliberations were made in Sanskrit

Origin of Mahayana Buddhism

  • Monks around beginning of Christian era started to accept huge cash & donations & even started accepting non-vegetarian foreigners in Sangha
  • Monks became more lax in day to day life, started accepting gold & silver, started eating non-veg food & started wearing elaborated robes
  • Disciples even deserted religious order of Sangha & resumed their householder’s life; Started using Sanskrit instead of Pali & started worshipping statues of Buddha & started practicing rituals instead of his symbols.
  • This new kind of Buddhism was known as Mahayana (Greater vehicle) & Hinyana (Lesser vehicle); the former believed in image worship, rituals and Bodhisattvas, (incarnations of Buddha) while the latter continued the practices of the earlier Buddhism.

 

Mahayana Hinyana
Individual as center & firm to letter of Buddhist teachings Sangha as center & firm to essence of Buddhist teaching
Scriptures written in sanskrit are sutra, in Angas Scriptures written in Pali as Pitakas
Salvation by work & Believed in Karmas Salvation by faith & Believed in karma
Strives after his own salvation Concerned with the salvation of others
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2 Comments

  1. Thanks For this wonderful post on Buddhism. I love the reading.

  2. Please have look and fix bugs on the ancient history link

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