BUDDHISM IN INDIA FOR UPSC/PSC EXAMS (Quest Education)

BUDDHISM IN INDIA FOR UPSC/PSC EXAMS (Quest Education)

LIKE us on Facebook to receive regular updates about various UGC NET JRF Exams / Government Jobs.

HISTORY OF BUDDHISM IN INDIA ARTICLE (Quest Education)

LIKE us on Facebook to receive regular updates about various UGC NET JRF Exams / Government Jobs.

About the Buddha
  • Born in Lumbini (Kapilavastu) in 563 BC
  • Belonged to a Shakya Kshatriya clan
  • Father: Suddhodhana, Mother: Mahamaya (a princess from Kosala). He was brought up by his aunt Goutami
  • Married to Yasodhara, had a son Rahul
  • Left home when 29 years old
  • Performed Mahabiniskaramana to become a wandering ascetic
  • He joined five ascetics Kondana, Vappa, Bhadiya, Mahanama and Assagi and became their leader
  • Achieved enlightenment at 35 at Uruvela (bodh Gaya) on the banks of Niranjana (528 BCE)
  • His first sermon is called Dharmachakra-pravartana
  • Died (Parinirvana) at Kusinagar in 483 BC at age 80

THE COUNCILS OF BUDDHISM

  • First Buddhist Council (400 BCE)
    • Held soon after the death of the Buddha
    • Presided by monk Mahakasyapa
    • Held by Magadha king Ajatasatru in Rajagriha
    • Objective was to preserve the Buddha’s sayings (suttas) and monastic rules (Vinaya)
  • Second Buddhist Council (4th century BCE)
    • Held about 100 years after the Buddha’s demise
    • Held at Vaisali under the presidentship of Sabakami, convened by King Kalasoka
    • Objective was to settle a debate on certain practices of Buddhist monks, esp. in western India
  • Third Buddhist Council (250 BCE)
    • Held at Pataliputra under the patronage of Asoka
    • Chief monk was Mogaliputta Tissa
    • Sent Buddhist missionaries to other countries
    • Objective was to purify the Buddhist movement from opportunistic factions
    • Origin of Theravada school
  • Fourth Buddhist Councils (1st century BCE or CE)
    • Possibly held under Theravada school in Tambapanni (Sri Lanka) in the 1st century BCE
    • Committed the Pali Canon to writing
    • Another possibly held under Saravastivada tradition, convened by Kanishka around 100 CE in Kashmir under the leadership of monk Vasumitra
    • Kanishka’s council translated Abhidharna texts from Prakrit to Sanskrit

THE SCHOOLS OF BUDDHISM

  1. Theravada Buddhism
    1. Oldest surviving school of Buddhism
    2. Considered closest to early Buddhism
    3. Emerged from the Third Buddhist Council held under Asoka at Pataliputra (c. 250 BCE)
    4. Introduced to Sri Lanka by Mahinda, the son of Asoka, during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa
    5. Based on the Pali Canon
    6. Practiced today in Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand
  2. Mahayana Buddhism
    1. Flourished from the 5th century CE onwards
    2. Patronized by the Gupta dynasty
    3. Nalanda University was a centre of Mahayana learning
    4. Practiced today in Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam
  3. Vajrayana Buddhism
    1. Involves tantric practices
    2. Became prominent after the fall of the Gupta dynasty
    3. Tibetan Buddhism belongs to this tradition

THE TEXTS OF BUDDHISM

  1. Pali Tipitaka (Pali Canon)
    1. Refers to three main books
      1. Vinaya Pitaka: contains disciplinary rules for Buddhist monks
      2. Sutta Pitaka: contains disclosures ascribed to the Buddha
      3. Abhidhamma Pitaka: systematic explanations of the Buddha’s teachings
    2. The Pali Tipitaka is the only one to survive in its original language
    3. Originated from the First Buddhist Council (c 400 BCE) under the leadership of monk Mahakasyapa
    4. Used primarily by the Theravada tradition
  2. Mahayana Sutras
    1. Composed from the 1st century CE onwards
    2. Claim to articulate the Buddha’s more advanced doctrines for followers of the bodhisattva path
    3. Used by the Mahayana tradition

IMPORTANT BUDDHIST SITES IN INDIA

Buddhism’s four holiest sites are Lumbini(Buddha’s birth), Bodh Gaya (enlightenment), Sarnath (first sermon) and Kusinagara (death)
  1. Lumbini (Nepal)
    1. Site of the Buddha’s birth
    2. In the present-day region of Terai (southern Nepal)
    3. Houses the Mayadevi Temple and Pusakarini or Holy Pond (where the Buddha had his first bath)
    4. Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1997)
  2. Bodh Gaya (Bihar)
    1. Site of the Buddha’s enlightenment
    2. Home of the Mahabodhi Temple (constructed 6th century CE by the Guptas)
    3. Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2002)
  3. Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh)
    1. Site of the Buddha’s first sermon
    2. Place where the first Sangha came into existence
    3. Home of Asoka’s famous Sarnath Pillar
    4. Contains the Dhamek Stupa, Chaukhandi Stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa, Mulagandhakuti Vihara
    5. Presently on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List
  4. Kusinagara (Uttar Pradesh)
    1. Site of the Buddha’s death
    2. Contains the Mahipariniravana Stupa
    3. Houses the Makutabandhana, cremation site of the Buddha
    4. Current plans: Maitreya Project to build a 500 ft statue of the Buddha
  5. Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh)
    1. Houses several Buddhist monuments from 3rd century BCE to 12th century CE
    2. The Great Stupa at Sanchi was commissioned by Asoka in the 3rd century BCE
    3. Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1989)

IMPORTANT BUDDHIST MONASTERIES IN INDIA

Monastery
Location
Notes
Dhankar Gompa
Himachal Pradesh
In the Spiti Valley
Gandhola Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
Chenab river
Kardang Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
Key Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
Largest monastery in Spiti Valley
Lhalung Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
One of the earliest in Spiti Valley
Tabo Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
Listed by the ASI as a national historic treasure
Oldest monastery in India
Tangyud Monastery
Himachal Pradesh
Dharmasala
Himachal Pradesh
Seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile
Namdroling Monastery
Karnataka (near Mysore)
Largest centre of Nyingmapa sect
Established by Penor Rinpoche in 1963
Rumtek Monastery
Sikkim
Seat of the Tibetan Karmapa in exile
Tawang Monastery
Arunachal Pradesh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


+ 7 = fourteen

HTML tags are not allowed.