Buddhism and Jainism – Part 1 Buddhism – Ancient history of India

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Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism and is known as Supreme Buddha.

Symbols of 5 great events of Buddha’s Life:

• Buddha’s Birth: Lotus & Bull.
• The Great Departure (Mahabhinishkramana): Horse.
• Enlightenment (Nirvana): Bodhi Tree.
• First Sermon (Dhammachakraparivartan): Wheel.
• Death (Parinirvana): Stupa.

Four Noble Truths:

Four noble truths were taught by Buddha in Dhammachakraparivartan. They are the core teachings of Buddhism.
• Sorrow: The world is full of sorrow and everything from birth to death brings sorrows in life.
• Cause of Sorrow: The cause of sorrows is desire. It is the un-fulfillment of human desires which leads him to the vicious cycle of births and rebirths.
• Prevention of Sorrow: It is possible to prevent sorrow. Man can get rid of sorrow by triumphing over the desires.
• The path of Prevention of Sorrow: Man can avoid sorrow by avoiding extremes of life and following middle path or Madhyam Patipada. The life of moderation and self-control along with pursuance of 8 fold path is essential to prevent the sorrow.

The Eightfold Path of Buddhism:

They are also called the Middle Path and is the system of following these eight divisions of the path to achieve spiritual enlightenment and cease suffering:
• Right understanding
• Right though
• Right speech
• Right conduct
• Right means of making a living
• Right mental attitude or effort.
• Right mindfulness
• Right concentration

Buddhist Literature:

• Tripitaka: Tripitaka or Three Baskets is a buddhism explained traditional term used for various Buddhist scriptures. It is known as Pali Canon in English. The three pitakas are Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.
• Sutta Pitaka.
• Vinaya Pitaka
• Abhidhamma Pitaka
Some terminologies associated with Buddhism
• Nirvana
• Jatakas
• Buddha Charita
• Bodhi Vamsa.

Types of Buddhism

1. Hinayana:

a) Hînayâna is the orthodox, conservative schools of Buddhism
b) Don’t believe in Idol Worship and try to attain individual salvation through self-discipline and meditation.
c) Asoka Patronized Hinayana
d) Pali the language of masses was use by the Hinayana scholars.
e) It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma.

2. Mahayana:

Mahayana Buddhism, also known as the Great Vehicle, is the form of Buddhism prominent in North Asia, including China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, and Japan.

3. Vajrayana Buddhism

a) The Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism spread to China, Mongolia, and Tibet.
b) Vajrayana Buddhists recognize a large body of Buddhist Tantras, some of which are also included in Chinese and Japanese collections of Buddhist literature, and versions of a few even in the Pali Canon.

4. Zen Buddhism

a) Is a form of Buddhism that became popular in China, Korea and Japan and that lays special emphasis on meditation.
b) Zen places less emphasis on scriptures than some other forms of Buddhism and prefers to focus on direct spiritual breakthroughs to truth.
c) Zen Buddhist teaching is often full of paradox, in order to loosen the grip of the ego and to facilitate the penetration into the realm of the True Self or Formless Self, which is equated with the Buddha himself.


A Bodhisattva means one who has essence of enlightenment. Anyone who has a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all is a Bodhisattva. It’s a very popular subject in Buddhist art. A bodhisattva is bound to enlighten and refers to all who are destined to become Buddha in this life or another life. There are celestial bodhisattvas which are manifestations of Gautama Buddha.

Buddhist Shrines: Astamahasthanas: These are 8 great holy places. They are as follows:
a) Lumbini: Birth of Buddha.
b) Bodhgaya: enlightenment of Buddha.
c) Sarnath: First sermon or Dhammachakraparivartan.
d) Kushinagar: Death or Mahaparinirvana.
Along with them, Sravasti, Sankasya, Rajgir and Vaishali are known as Astamahasthanas.

Religious places:

a) Amaravati
b) Nagarjunkonda
c) Ajanta Caves
d) Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
e) Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya
f) Borobudur (Indonesia)
g) Bamyan Caves (Afghanistan)
h) Ellora Caves
Royal Patronage to Buddhism
Emperor Ashoka Maurya, Kanishka, and ruler of Magadha emperor Bimbisara from India and Countries like Laos, Cambodia, Tibet, Thailand, some parts of China, Japan and Malaysia gave royal patronage to Buddhism.

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