Gautama Buddha → Founder of Buddhism.
- Born in 563 BC in a Shakya (kshtriya) family in Lumbini near Kapilvastu (Nepal).
- Parents →Shudhodana (head of the Shakyas) & Mahamaya.
- Original name → Siddhartha Gautama (named after stepmother Gautami).
- Spouse → Yoshodhara.
- Son → Rahula.
- Left his palace at 29 (with Channa, the charioteer and his favourite horse, Kanthaka) in search of ‘Mahabhinishkramana’ (truth) & wandered for 6 years.
- 1st meditated with Alara Kama. But he was not convinced that man could obtain liberation from sorrow by mental discipline and knowledge.
- Next teacher was Udraka Ramputra.
- Attained ‘Nirvana’ or ‘Enlightenment’ at 35 at Gaya in Magadha (Bihar) under the Pipal tree.
- Delivered the first sermon at Sarnath where his five disciples had settled. His first sermon is called ‘Dharmachakrapravartan’ or ‘Turning of the Wheel of Law’.
- Attained Mahaparinirvana at Kushinagar in 483 BC at the age of 80 in the Malla republic.
Three Ratnas of Buddhism:
- Buddha: Its Founder.
- Dhamma: His Teachings.
- Sangha: Order of Buddhist monks and nuns.
Dhamma → Teachings of Buddha.
1.The Four Great Truths:
- The world is full of sorrow and misery.
- The cause of all pain and misery is desire.
- Pain and misery can be ended by killing or controlling desire.
- Desire can be controlled by following the Eight Fold Path.
2.Astanga margha (Eight-fold Path):
- Right observation,
- Right determination,
- Right speech,
- Right action,
- Right livelihood,
- Right exercise,
- Right memory and viii. Right meditation.
3.Belief in Nirvana:
- When desire ceases, rebirth ceases and nirvana is attained i.e. freedom from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is gained by following the 8-fold path.
- Buddhism does not recognise the existence of God and soul(atma).
4. Belief in Ahimsa: One should not cause injury to any living being, animal or man.
5. Law of Karma: Man reaps the fruits of his past deeds.
- Consists of monks and nuns.
- Bhikshus acted as a torch bearer of the dhamma.
- Apart from Sangha, the worshippers were called Upasakas.
Spread of Buddhism:
- Pali, the language of the people, contributed to the spread of Buddhism.
- Gautama Buddha also organised the sangha for the religious order, whose doors work Open to everybody, irrespective of caste and sex.
- Ashoka and Kaniska embraced buddhism.
- Promoted education through residential universities like Valabhi, Nalanda & Vikramshila.
Buddhist Councils: The monks gathered four times after the death of Buddha and the effect of these events had their effect on Buddhism.
First Buddhist council:
Venue: Rajgriha in 483 BC Chairmanship: Mahakassaapa King: Ajatshatru Outcome: Compostion of Suttapitaka (Buddha’s Teachings) by Ananda & Vinaypitaka ( Monastic code for Buddhism) by Upali.
Second Buddhist council:
Venue: Vaishali in 383 BC Chairmanship: Sabakami King: Kalasoka Outcome: Followers divided into Sthavirmadins and Mahasanghikas.
Third Buddhist council:
Venue: Pataliputra in 250 BC Chairmanship: Mogaliputta Tissa (Upagupta) King: Ashoka the Great Outcome: Tripitaka was coded in the Pali language.
Fourth Buddhist council:
Venue: Kundalvan (Kashmir) in 72 AD Chairmanship: Vasumitra King: Kaniska Outcome: Divided Buddhism into Mahayana and Hinayana sects.
- Language → Pali.
- Sacred books of Buddhism.
- They are 3 in number. They are Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.
- Mahavansh and Deepvansh are the other Buddhist texts. They provide information about the then SriLanka.
- Jataks are the fables about the different births of Buddha.
- They are many important Buddhist authors like Asvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Buddhaghosa, Dinnaga Asanga and Vasubandhu etc….
Division in Buddhism : Like Jainism, Buddhism also faced division. It was divided into first two sects and later three.
- Followers believed in the original teaching of Buddha.
- Don’t believe in the Idol worship.
- Believe only in Karma.
- Pali was their language.
- Ashoka Patronised Hinayanaism.
- Followers believed in the heavenliness of Buddha.
- Believes in the Idol worship.
- Sanskrit was their language.
- Kanishka patronised Mahayanism.
- Followers believed that salvation be best attained by acquiring the magical power, which they called Vajra.
- Became popular in eastern India, particularly Bengal and Bihar.
Causes for the decline of Buddhism:
- It accepted to the Brahmanic rituals and ceremonies, such as idol worship, etc, which Buddhism had earlier denounced.
- Revival of reformed Hinduism with the preaching of Shankaracharya from 9th century onwards.
- Use of Sanskrit, the language of intellectuals, in place of Pali, the language of the common people.
- Decline in the moral standards among the monks living in Buddhist monasteries.
- Entry of women into Buddhist monasteries.
- Practise of Idol worship on a large scale and received numerous offerings from devotees.
- Attacks of Huna king Mihirkula in the sixth century and the Turkish invaders in the 12th century AD.
- Pushyamitra Sunga (a Brahamana ruler) oppressed Buddhists.
- The Original Bodhi tree at Gaya was cut down by Shasanka (Saviate), a Bengal ruler.