Friday, February 3, 2023

History of Buddhism


Buddhism, founded in the late 6th century B.C.E. by Siddhartha Gautama (the “Buddha”), is an important religion in most countries of Asia. Buddhism has assumed many different forms, but in each case, there has been an attempt to draw from the life experiences of the Buddha, his teachings, and the “spirit” or “essence” of his teachings (called dhamma or dharma) as models for the religious life. However, not until the writing of the Buddha Charita (life of the Buddha) by Ashvaghosa in the 1st or 2nd century C.E. do we have a comprehensive account of his life. The Buddha was born (ca. 563 B.C.E.) in a place called Lumbini near the Himalayan foothills, and he began teaching around Benares (at Sarnath). His brain general was one of spiritual, intellectual, and social ferment. This was the age when the Hindu ideal of renunciation of family and social life by holy persons seeking Truth first became widespread, and when the Upanishads were written. Both can be seen as moves away from the centrality of the Vedic fire sacrifice. we are telling you about history of Buddhism

Life of Buddha

According to the Buddhist tradition, the historical Buddha Siddharta Gautama was born to the Shakya clan, at the beginning of the Magadha period (546–324 BCE), in the plains of Lumbini, Southern Nepal. He is also known as the Shakyamuni (literally “The sage of the Shakya clan”).

After an early life of luxury under the protection of his father, Śuddhodana, the ruler of Kapilavastu (later to be incorporated into the state of Magadha), Siddharta entered into contact with the realities of the world and concluded that real life was about inescapable suffering and sorrow. Siddharta renounced his meaningless life of luxury to become an ascetic. He ultimately decided that asceticism was also meaningless, and instead chose a middle way, a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. Under a fig tree, now known as the Bodhi tree, he vowed never to leave the position until he found Truth. At the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment. He was then known as Gautama Buddha, or simply “The Buddha”, which means “the enlightened one”. For the remaining 45 years of his life, he traveled the Gangetic Plain of central India (region of the Ganges/Ganga river and its tributaries), teaching his doctrine and discipline to an extremely diverse range of people. The Buddha’s reluctance to name a successor or to formalize his doctrine led to the emergence of many movements during the next 400 years: first the schools of Nikaya Buddhism, of which only Theravada remains today, and then the formation of Mahayana, a pan-Buddhist movement based on the acceptance of new scriptures.

Early Buddhism 

Before the royal sponsorship of Ashoka the Great withinside the third century BCE, Buddhism appears to have remained an exceptionally minor phenomenon, and the historicity of its formative activities is poorly established. Two formative councils are imagined to have taken place, despite the fact that our know-how of them is primarily based totally on a lot of later accounts. The councils generally tend to provide an explanation for the formalization of the Buddhist doctrine and the various subsequent schisms in the Buddhist movement.

1st Buddhist Council (5th C.BCE)

The first Buddhist council became held quickly after the demise of the Buddha under the patronage of king Ajatasatru of the Magadha empire and presided via way of means of a monk named Mahakasyapa, at Rajagriha (cutting-edge Rajgir). The goal of the council became to report the Buddha’s sayings ( sutra) and codify monastic policies (Vinaya): Ananda, one of the Buddha’s main disciples and his cousin, became known as upon to recite the discourses of the Buddha, and Upali, every other disciple, recited the policies of the Vinaya. These have become the idea of the Pali Canon, which has been the orthodox textual content of reference throughout the records of Buddhism.

2nd Buddhist Council (383 BCE) 

The 2d Buddhist council became convened with the aid of using King Kalasoka and held at Vaisali, following conflicts among the conventional colleges of Buddhism and a greater liberal interpretational motion referred to as the Mahasanghikas. The conventional colleges took into consideration the Buddha as a person who reached enlightenment, which can be maximum without problems attained with the aid of using monks following the monastic policies and practicing the coaching for the sake of overcoming struggling and achieving Arahantship. The secessionist Mahasangikas, however, tended to recall this technique too individualistic and selfish. They took into consideration the goal of becoming an arhat insufficient, and as a substitute proposed that the best actual aim became to attain complete Buddhahood, in a feel commencing the manner to destiny Mahāyāna thought. They became proponents of greater comfortable monastic policies, that may attraction to a massive majority of monastic and lay people (therefore they are called the “great” or “majority” assembly).

The council ended with the rejection of the Mahasanghikas. They left the council and maintained themselves for numerous centuries in northwestern India and Central Asia in step with Kharoshti inscriptions determined close to the Oxus and dated c. 1st century CE.

Ashoka Proselytism

The Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great (273–232 BCE) transformed to Buddhism after his bloody conquest of the territory of Kalinga (present-day Orissa) in jap India. Regretful of the horrors introduced with the aid of using the conflict, the king determined to give up violence, and propagate the religion with the aid of using constructing stupas and pillars urging for the honor of all animal life, and enjoining human beings to observe the Dharma. He additionally constructed roads, hospitals, resthouses, universities, and irrigation structures across the country. He handled his topics as equals regardless of religion, politics, or caste.

This duration marks the primary unfolding of Buddhism beyond India. According to the plates and pillars left with the aid of using Ashoka (the Edicts of Ashoka), emissaries had been despatched to diverse nations so one can unfold Buddhism, at some distance because of the Greek kingdoms withinside the West, especially the neighboring Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, and in all likelihood even farther to the Mediterranean.

Expansion of Buddhism to the West

After the Classical encounters between Buddhism and the West recorded in Greco-Buddhist art, information and legends about Buddhism seem to have reached the West sporadically. During the 8th century, Buddhist Jataka stories were translated into Syriac and Arabic as Kalilag and Damage. An account of Buddha’s life was translated into Greek by John of Damascus and widely circulated to Christians as the story of Barlaam and Josaphat. By the 1300s this story of Josaphat had become so popular that he was made a Catholic saint.

The next direct encounter between Europeans and Buddhism happened in Medieval times when the Franciscan friar William of Rubruck was sent on an embassy to the Mongol court of Mongke by the French king Saint Louis in 1253. The contact happened in Cailac (today’s Qayaliq in Kazakhstan), and William originally thought they were wayward Christians (Foltz, “Religions of the Silk Road”).  The major interest in Buddhism emerged during colonial times when Western powers were in a position to witness the faith and its artistic manifestations in detail. European philosophy was strongly influenced by the study of oriental religions during that period.

The opening of Japan in 1853 also created considerable interest in the arts and culture of Japan and provided access to one of the most thriving Buddhist cultures in the world. Buddhism started to enjoy a strong interest from the general population in the West during the 20th century, following the perceived failure of social utopias, from Fascism to Marxism. After the Second World War, the focus of progress tended to shift to personal self-realization, on the material as well as spiritual plane.  In this context, Buddhism has been displaying a strong power of attraction, due to its tolerance, its lack of deist authority and determinism, and its focus on understanding reality through self-inquiry. According to the latest census, it is now the fastest-growing religion in Britain.

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