Questions tagged [history]

For questions about Buddhism in the past, and how it has developed since then.

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15
votes
7answers
12k views

Why isn't there a Buddhist Bible?

Why is it that Buddhism never compiled a reasonably concise set of canonical texts like the Bible? Buddhism itself has universal beliefs such as the 4 Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the notion ...
7
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5answers
422 views

Is there a better term than Hinayana?

I'm aware that using the term Hinayana isn't ideal as it has derogatory undertones - being coined by the Mahayana school to differentiate themselves from what had gone on before. The implication being ...
7
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7answers
753 views

Which suttas in the Pali canon are relatively early or late?

Do people (monks and/or scholars) have a sense of how old (or relatively old) each sutta is in the Pali canon: i.e. which suttas are considered "earlier" or "later"? If not for individual suttas, how ...
14
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3answers
4k views

Was Vipassana discovered by the Buddha (Siddhartha)?

I read somewhere that samatha (and jhana) was discovered by the Buddha, but how about vipassana? Is there any evidence either way (i.e. suttas)? The reason I'm asking is because I am more proficient ...
7
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6answers
5k views

Why is Buddhism followed mainly outside of India when it originated there?

India is the original land of Buddhism, but it is followed/practiced more outside its country of birth. Are there any reasons for this?
3
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1answer
255 views

What was the reason behind Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and Anagarika Dharmapala split

Though the two of the worked together in the early years I have heard there was a split between them later on. When did this split happen? What was the cause? What is the implication and aftermath of ...
25
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3answers
856 views

When were women first welcomed into Buddhist orders?

I know that in the early days of Buddhism, it was for men only. To practice, you had to be a monk, and to be a monk, you had to be a man. Perhaps this reflects the attitudes of the time, but today, my ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Which are considered to be the oldest suttas?

Though I've seen dating of mahayana suttas here and there in passing with some analysis, I understand the pali canon has suttas of many ages. For example, one collection I've often heard to contain ...
6
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4answers
3k views

Why did physical representations of the Buddha only start to appear a few centuries after his death?

Prior to around the 1st century CE, Buddhist art tended not to depict the Buddha himself, instead preferring to depict relics/symbols of the Buddha, such as his footprints, or the Bodhi tree. That ...
3
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2answers
213 views

What are timeframe were pali canons, included commentaries, done, especially Mahavihara-Theravada?

My conclusion from tipitaka and commentaries: Most of Tipitaka canons and commentaries, except Kathāvatthu the forth of abhidhamma, began before 1st saṅgāyanā, but catagorize at 1st saṅgāyanā (see: ...
12
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2answers
665 views

Relation to Jainism

I've read that Jainism is one of the oldest Indian traditions, that Buddhism somewhat derived from it and that at some time they rivaled (I'm not sure if this was a political thing). Can you explain ...
10
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4answers
15k views

Are the Chakras present in the original Buddha's teachings?

I know it is very common these days to associate Chakras with Buddhist meditation, but I couldn't find anything that supports that in the suttas. (I haven't read all suttas) Did the Buddha himself ...
8
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3answers
6k views

Is there evidence of a Buddhist influence on Greek Stoicism?

Stoic philosophy seems to share a lot with Buddhist wisdom. Since Zeno of Citium (generally credited as the founder of Stoicism) is said to have lived a couple hundred years after Siddhartha Gautama, ...
5
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2answers
292 views

What was the reason behind the fall of Buddhism in India? [duplicate]

Buddhism was originated from India.It spread all accross the world, many countries are called as Buddhist countries. Lord Buddha was the most scientific, serene, logical and kind person of the world,...
3
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2answers
157 views

What exactly were the parks that the Buddha spent time in?

Whe I read the Pali Canon the BUddha seems to spend a lot of his time in parks in various locations. Often in the suttas these 'parks' are mentioned in the introduction to the text. For instance the ...
2
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4answers
336 views

How do I refute the claim that the Buddha was actually preaching Vedanta?

Some people are obsessed with making a great personality and revolutionary like the Buddha a follower of their own faith by making baseless, historically inaccurate and factually incorrect claims. One ...
9
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1answer
884 views

Why did Mahayana leave out the Pali Canon?

I'm quite familiar with Theravada and Zen but I can't understand the historical reasons for not keeping the original Buddha's teaching as a core. The schools do not contradict each other, so why ...
12
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4answers
2k views

What is the oldest text/sutra of the Mahayana tradition?

I'm often interested in the history of Buddhist texts and, being a Theravadan, I'm not very familiar with the Mahayana texts. Please help to educate me in this manner.
11
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2answers
1k views

When were the earliest Buddhist writings created

Buddha was born (according to Wikipedia) somewhere around 563 BCE to 480 BCE, and lived 80 years. From what I have understood, no teachings that made it to this day, have been written down when he ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Did Buddhists ever actively participate in a major violent conflict?

The great "religions of peace" like Christianity and Islam had some quite turbulent events that seem in major conflict with their primary commandments, but still in the name of faith - even "within" (...
9
votes
1answer
880 views

Historically, where do the concepts of Karma, Nirvana, Dharma and Samsara come from?

From a historical perspective where do the concepts of Karma, Nirvana, Dharma and Samsara come from? I'm aware that they predated Buddhism but do they come from the Vedas, Shramanic tradition or ...
6
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1answer
479 views

When was the Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism marked as separate religions?

Historically Buddhism, Jainism were just the one of the sects of many sects or philosophical schools in ancient times. When was this separation of religions happened and all other vedic and non-vedic ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Did Ledi Sayadaw invent a vipassana technique?

According to the currently available historical sources, did Ledi Sayadaw invent his technique of meditation, or did he learn it in the caves of the Sagaing Hills? Is there enough information to tell ...
5
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3answers
175 views

Iconography in Buddhism - from the Greeks? And why isn't the Buddha bald?

When you read or hear about Gotama leaving his home and family, the story is usually something like "he shaved his face and head and went out to be a wandering monk". But very few depictions of the ...
4
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1answer
116 views

History of refuge in the 3 jewels

When was taking refuge in the 3 jewels of Buddha, Dharma & Sangha started? Was it started by the Buddha in his time or was it after him? When I mean taking refuge, I mean for a lay Buddhist and ...
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5answers
595 views

Evidence of Pali Canon's Origin

Are the Buddha's words the source of the Pali Canon? What evidence is there of the Pali Canon's origin? What do scholars say?
11
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7answers
6k views

Did Buddhism oppose Vedic religion?

At the time of Tathagat Buddha, Hindu religion in its current form did not exist. However, there were Vedic teachings. These teachings were based on blind belief in the authority of the Vedas. There ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

What's the origin of 108 being a sacred number?

The number 108 is a sacred number in Buddhism, but in other religions as well (Hinduism, Jainism). What exactly is the origin of 108 being a sacred number in Buddhism? Is there anything about it in ...
9
votes
2answers
626 views

Buddhism in the Middle East

It is said, Buddhist missionaries made it to Alexandria Egypt and else where in the Mediterranean circa 200 BCE. Have any scholars and/or archeologists found any evidence of Buddhism being practiced ...
9
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4answers
16k views

What language did the Buddha speak?

Do we know, or have a good idea, what language the historical Buddha (Siddhārtha Gautama) spoke. I've just assumed it is Pali but a moment's thought tells me this is probably wrong since the Pali ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Why do Buddhist Stupas have various shapes?

I came across a gallery of Stupas from around the world and it made me wonder why some of them differ in shape considerably. Do they express different aspects of Buddhism or is the source of ...
8
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4answers
311 views

Is there a tradition or practice involving fasting in Buddhism or Buddhist countries?

Many religions have period or specific practice including fasting. I'm aware of the eating prescriptions of monks, but are there traditions or practices involving fasting for Lay-people? If not in ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Was Buddhism a rebellion against the Aryans?

I read and learned many areas in Buddhism, for example the Seven Arya Dhana (Saptharyadhana - The Sevenfold Noble Wealth), the Four Noble Truths (Chathurarya Sathya) and the Eightfold Path (arya ...
7
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5answers
1k views

Were psychedelics used in the past by Buddhists?

I know it's discouraged for Buddhists to intoxicate their body, but were there any known cases of monks using psychedelic drugs intentionally in the past?
5
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5answers
967 views

Did the Buddha discourage antropomorphic representations of himself?

The first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha appeared centuries after his death (see this related question). Buddhist art then was "aniconic", insofar as the Buddha was only represented ...
4
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1answer
97 views

What is/was the role of agamas in Chinese and Japanese history?

Recently I read/heard someone saying that the agamas are/were dismissed and downplayed in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism throughout history. I understand that Mahayana texts received much attention in ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

What are the famous debates in canonical Buddhist texts?

Debate plays an important part of Buddhism. What are famous debate encounters by the Buddha and also by other Buddhist masters like Dharmakīrti, especially with Hindus(exponents of Brahmavāda-Ātmavāda)...
3
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7answers
3k views

Did the Buddha ever mention or encounter Jews?

I understand that Siddhartha Gautama Buddha lived at the same time as the ancient Israelites (Jews) and that India knew of Israel and that ancient Israel knew of India and that the two nations traded ...
3
votes
5answers
979 views

What was the first Buddhist text to be translated into English?

What was the first Buddhist text to be translated into English? When was it translated and by whom? Was it reasonably available to those interested and did it have much of an impact within academic ...
2
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1answer
137 views

When were Buddhist suttas written?

When were Buddhist suttas written? Does anybody know any source with a compiled list of suttas and their approximate date of writing?
2
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6answers
6k views

Is it true that Lord Buddha was born in Sri Lanka?

I've heard there's a rumor saying that lord Buddha was born in Sri Lanka and ancient "Dambadiwa" is not India but Sri Lanka. There's a "sal" tree in Sri Lanka which matches to the exact tree that we ...
2
votes
2answers
354 views

How many Tibetan monks practiced meditation in “old Tibet”?

One aspect of the notion of "Buddhist Modernism" is that in modern history (ancient times aside) even the Theravada monkhood, let alone the laity, did not generally meditate, until the Burmese/Thai ...
2
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2answers
121 views

How did Buddhism and Hinduism differ in their approaches to sex work

I'm writing a paper on religion and the different attitudes and approaches to prostitution and I can't quite find anything that indicates the major differences in how Buddhism and Hinduism regards sex ...
2
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3answers
160 views

Was the London Buddhist Society the first Western Sangha?

Christmas Humphreys founded the London Buddhist society in 1924. Would this have been the first sangha in the West? Wikipedia says of it The Buddhist Society of London is one of the oldest Buddhist ...
1
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1answer
402 views

Can Pranayama Be Derived from Anapana?

Pranayama seam to have some similarities with Anapana. What is the relationship between the two. Was this derived from Anapana? What is it's historic development?
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6answers
417 views

Downfall of the Buddhist religion?

I feel that Buddhism is not what it used to be (the original teachings of Lord Buddha). It has got corrupted and what is left mostly relates terminology and worldly-matter and excuses. For-example: ...
1
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6answers
175 views

Why are all the Buddhas born in Indian subcontinent only?

From this list of previous Buddhas it looks like all were Indians.( I mean from their names). Ancient Greece or Egypt were also developed enough to have understood the Dhamma. We can consider ...
0
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3answers
122 views

Which (semi)secret societies influence Buddhism? [closed]

What are the names of the (semi)secret societies — any and/or all of them — that have influenced, are influencing (and, via common consent, may influence in the future) Buddhism?