BUDDHISM | HISTORY

BUDDHISM
BUDDHISM

Buddhism stands on 3 pillars,also known as Triratna (three jewels of Buddhism)
Buddha:Its Founder
Dhamma: His teachings
Sangha: Order of the Buddhist monks and nuns.

BUDDHA’S LIFE

The founding father of Buddhism was Gautam Buddha.
He was born in 563 BC (widely accepted) in a sal groove of Lumbini garden in Kapilavastu. Mother Mahamaya (a Kosalan Princess). Father Sudhodhana (of Sakya tribe ). Buddha’s name was Siddhartha and the gotra was Gautama. His Mother died after 7 days of his birth and he was brought up by his aunt Mahaprajapati Gautami.
Devadutta was his cousin and always envious of him. Buddha’s wife was Yashodhara and gave birth to a son Rahul.
Buddha’s chariot: Channa and favourite horse was Kanthak.
The sights seen by Buddha which became the cause by which he left home were :Old aged man→a very sick man→a corpse (dead body)→an ascetic (having very happy facial expression).
There is no idolistic worship in Buddhism.
He left home at the age of 29 that incident became famous by the name of Mahabhinishkramana-great going forth.
He first became a disciple of Aalar Kalama (Vaishali).
Kalam was specialist of samakhya philosophy.After sometimes,he left Aalar and joined Rudraka. From there,he went to Uruvela and practiced that he was reduced to a mere skeleton.
His conception of religion was purely ethical.
Buddha got enlightenment under the peepal tree known as Bodhi tree at Gaya in Bihar. According to Buddha, soul is a myth.
He gave his first sermon at Sarnath (ancient name was Rishipattan ) and it became famous by the name of Dharma Chakrapravartan (or the turning of the wheel of law). He spent his last years near Vaishali. At Pava, a man named Chauda fed him pork and after eating it, Buddha died of dysentery at the age of 80 in 483 BC.His death was known as Mahaparinirvana i.e., final blowing out.In the outskirts of Kushinagar, the capital of Mallas. His favourite disciple was Ananda.

GREAT EVENTS OF BUDDHA’S LIFE

SYMBOL

Janma (Birth)
Lotus and Bull
Mahabhinishkramana (Renunciation)
Horse
Nirvana/Sambodhi (Enlightenment)
Bodhi Tree
Dharmachakra pravartana (First sermon)
Wheel
Mahaparinirvana (Death)
Stupa

THE DHAMMA

FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

The world is full of sorrow and misery.
The desire is the root cause of sorrow.
If the desire is conquered,all sorrows can be removed.
Desire can be removed by following the eight-fold path.

THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH

Right Speech, Right Livelihood,Right Thought, Right Action, Right Efforts, Right Concentration, Right Remembrance, Right Mindfulness.
Five great happenings in Buddha’s life and every happening is indicated by a particular symbol.
Lotus and Bull-Birth,Nirvana-Bodhi tree.
Horse-Great renunciation.
Dharmachakra or wheel -First sermon.
Stupa-Parinirvana (Death).

BUDDHIST COUNCILS

The First council was held in 483 BC at Sattapanni (saptaparni) cave near Rajagriha under the chairmanship of Mahakashyap. Here Vinaya Pitaka and Sutta Pitaka was compiled by Upali and Ananda respectively.
Ajatshatru was the king at that time (council held on 483 BC).
The second council (383 BC) was held at Vaishali. During the reign of Kalashoka,the king of Shishunaga dynasty and Chairman was Sarkami.
The monk of Vaishali wanted some changes in the rites.
Divided into Sthaviravadis and Mahasanghikas.
The Third Council was held at Patliputra in 250 BC during the reign of Ashoka (the Mauryan ruler). This council was held under the President-ship of Moggaliputta Tissa, to revise the Buddist texts.
The Fourth Council was held during the reign of Kanishka (the Kushana ruler) in Kashmir in AD 72 under the Presidentship of Vasumitra and Asvaghosha and at that time,Buddhism was divided into Hinayana and Mahayana.

TYPES OF BUDDHISM

HINAYANA 

The followers of Hinayana believe in the original teaching of Buddha. They believed in individual salvation. They do not believe in Idol-worship. Hinayana is very similar to Jainism,a religion without God,Karma taking the place of God. The oldest sect of the Hinayana is the Sthaviravada or Theravada in Pali language.It spread within India.

MAHAYANA

The followers of Mahayana sect believe in the heavenliness of Buddha and sought the salvation through the grace and help of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. It came into existence during the reign of Kanishka.
They believe that Nirvana is not a negative cessation of misery but a positive state of bliss. The two chief philosophical schools of Mahayana are.

  1. Madhyamika
  2. Yogachara. It spread out of India.

VAJRAYANA

The followers of Vajrayana believe that salvation can be attained by acquiring the magical powers i.e.,Vajra. The chief divinity of their sect was Taras. Vajrayana became popular in Eastern parts of India,particularly Bengal and Bihar.

BUDDHIST TEXTS

VINAYA PITAKA

It tells about the gradual development of the sangha. An account of the life and teachings of the Buddha is also given.

SUTTA PITAKA

Few discourses delivered by many Buddhist scholars like Sariputta,Ananda and others are given in it.It lays down the principles of Buddhism.

ABHIDHAMMA PITAKA

Having the philosophy of Buddha’s teachings.It investigates mind and matter to help the understanding of things as they truly are.

JATAK STORIES

It tells about 550 pre births of Buddha.

MILINDOPANHO

(a conversation among Greeco-Bacterian king Menander and a Buddhist Monk Nagasena). It is written in the form of questions and answers type.

KATHAVASTU

Hinyan granth, language Sanskrit. It is the first book written in Sanskrit language in Both religion.

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