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Buddhism in India

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Before 2200 BCE:

Indus Valley Civilization Refers to people living in the Indus River Valley in India in the third millenium BCE (c. 2500 BCE) Significant evidence for the worship of goddesses in conjunction with bull or ram figures Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the principle cities of the region, c. 2500-1250 BCE The region was well-organized with evidence of well-developed societies, scholarship, etc. 2200-1500 BCE:

Indus Valley civilization disappears (due to possible invasion by Aryans arriving c.1500 BCE?) Religious oral traditions and hymns began to be collected 1000-500 BCE:

The Vedas and the religious diversity of Hinduism is rooted in the Indus Valley civilization Collection of Expositions, which include Brahmanas and Upanisads, which are also included in the scriptures of Hinduism The upanisads are a written composite and philosophical exploration on works orally composed. They intend to present the meaning of religious practice and thought up against or in response to the Vedas. A few centuries before the life of Buddha, a tradition of Wanderers wanted liberation, and were the early roots of Buddhism. Two kinds of Wanderers: Orthodox: Brahmanas Heterodox: Samanas 563-483 BCE:

Life of The Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, "The Buddha" Buddha is the great teacher from the Buddhist tradition His teachings are based in the Vedic tradition Referred to as the "enlightened one" or "one who has awakened" Brief chronology of Siddhartha's life: Born into the ksatriya varna as son and heir of a local ruler Accidentally attained a meditational experience in youth Sneaks out of the palace and finds and old man, a sick man, a corpse, and an ascetic; IE: the Four Passing Sights Wants to overcome the sickness, suffering, and death in the world that he witnessed in those 4 people Age 29, Siddhartha renounces the world and begins the path to enlightenment When enlightened, Siddhartha, now "The Buddha," experiences the cornerstone of the 4 Noble Truths and the 4 dhyanas Buddha dies around 483 BCE Note: Siddhartha's birth and death dates are controversial. It is widely held in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia that Siddhartha's life spanned from 624-544 BCE, and in Europe, America, and India from c.566-486 BCE, and further in Japan from 448-368 BCE. 500-250 BCE: Period of the 4 Councils of Buddhism

First Council (after Buddha's death c. 483 BCE) Location: Rajagrha 500 monks gathered to compile Siddhartha's teachings (into a sort of canon), establishing a direction for Buddhism after Siddhartha's death Second Council (c.383 or 373 BCE) Location: Vaisali Questioning of the 10 points Possible time of the Great Schism according to some sources "Second" Second Council, or 2/3 Council (around 346 BCE) Location: Pataliputra First true Great Schism of Buddhism, where the Samgha, or Buddhist order/group split into two separate schools, called Mahasamghikas and Sthaviras Third Council (c.250 BCE) Location: Pataliputra Schism again occurs to separate a third school called sarastivadins Asoka(c. 270-230 BCE) was overseer 269-232 BCE:

Asoka is the third monarch of the Mauryan Dynasty in India c.258, Asoka leads a bloody military campaign in the village/region of Kalinga The witness of such carnage inspired his conversion to Buddhism As a king, he brought India together Referred to as the pious ruler, establishing a sense of social justice in the region (ie. social service, medical care, humane treatment of the masses) Became a lay disciple Ruled over the third council Sent out missionary efforts to spread Buddhism to other places, i.g: Indian sub-continent, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc. Dharma-conquest -- reigned with good moral principles Nagarjuna (c.150-250 CE):

Associated with the Madhyamika school of Mahayana Buddhism Advocate of the Middle Way between asceticism and hedonism in Buddhist practice Remembered for his teachings on emptiness or sunyata Confusion about the biography of Nagarjuna persists, as texts are attributed to him over a five hundred year period His principle work is Mulamadhyamikakariakas, in which he critically examines other schools of Buddhism of his time period Asanga (c.315-390 CE):

Founder of the yogacara school of Mahayana Buddhism Emphasized the practice of Yoga or meditation (hence, Yogacara) The elder brother of the prominent Buddhist philosopher, Vasubandhu Known for his treatise on The Seventeen Stages of yoga, as instructed by bodhisattva Maitreya Also, Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya attempts to exlicate the elements of phenomenal existence from the perspective of the Yogacara school Vasubandhu (forth or fifth century CE):

Converted from Abhidharma Buddhism to Mahayana Followed his brother Asanga in converting from Abhidhgarma Buddhism to Mahayan Buddhism, in particular, the Yogacara school (eventually the Vijnanavada school for Vasubandhu) He is connected historically to three distinct persons, and thus his biography is not clear Later in life he moves from a concentration on Yoga practice to Buddhist theory He was the author of Abhidharmakosa, an encyclopedic work on Buddhist doctrines and philosophy Author of Vimsatika (20 verses) and Trimsika (30 verses) Dignaga (c.480-540 CE):

The ascribed founder of Buddhist logic Early on, affiliated with the vatsiputriya school of Abhidhgarma Buddhism, later the Nayaya school Studied under the great buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (Vijnana-vada phiosophy) Thought to have written more than a hundred treatises on logic Was the first Buddhist thinker to consider seriously the "validity or invalidity" of knowledge Paramartha (c.498-569 CE):

Anotable biographer, missionary and translater of the Buddhist tradition Studied at the famous Universtity of Nalanda Spent a considerable amount of time "on mission" in china While in China he sitinguished himself as a translator of Sanskrit scriptures into chinese (translating the equivalent of 275 volumes in Chinese) He was largely responsible for the introduction of Vasubandhu's philosophy to China Dharmapala (c.530-561 CE):

Associated with the yogacara school of Mahayana Buddhism His most influential work is the Parmattha-dipani Principally responded to the work of an earlier thinker, that of Buddhagosha Studied at the famous University of Nalanda, later becoming its abbot Made significant contributions to the Buddhist discussion of "self" and consciousness from a Yogacara school perspective A Chinese pilgrim-monk who travelled to India in search of the roots of the Mahayana buddhist tradition (late Sui and early T'ang dynasties) Great Buddhist scholar and advisor to the emperor of China Studied extensively both the Abhidhgarma and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, as well as the contemporary, standard Vedic curriculum He contributed significanly to the Chinese Buddhist canon as a translator of Indian texts into chinese (this was well funded bye the Chinese government, as he had excellent connections) His work in its more pure form lives on in the Hosso school of Japanese Buddhism Dharmakirti (c.600-660 CE):

In early life Dharmakirti studied extensively the scholarship of the Vedas and other buddhist phiosophy He eventually pursued the study of logic, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Dignaga Was the student of a direct pupil's of Dignaga Widely considered a genius of his time, Dharmakirti's theory of knowledge forced numerous revisions within the works of other thinkers and other traditions Significantly, he challenged the divine infallibility of the Vedas



History of Buddhism in India



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