Questions tagged [history]

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

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1answer
1k views

Which is a good book to read about history of Buddhism?

I'd like to read about the history of Buddhism. Which book or books would you recommend?
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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: ...
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In what timeframe was Jataka tales added to Kuddaka Nikaya?

I am trying to see whether the presence of certain characters and stories in the Jataka tales can be taken as a proof for them (stories and characters) being known in that form in the time of the ...
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4answers
516 views

How to memorize suttas?

I was watching a video about the oral tradition in relation to how the suttas was first communicated and conveyed to monastics and lay people. I was wondering what techniques buddhist monastics and ...
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315 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,...
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808 views

Did the Buddha really have snails on his head? [duplicate]

For a long time I was told that when the Buddha touched the ground and became enlightened that his hair went up and formed a ball on his head and that that is what we see on the statues. But recently ...
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165 views

Historical writings on the importance and efficacy of burning joss paper?

I was walking through a Taipei grocery/department store a few years ago and saw shelves with packs of "paper money" or joss paper to be used for burning. For the bank-note varieties were three choices;...
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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 ...
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448 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: ...
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639 views

Who is the adi buddha?

In many web sites they are saying that there is another buddha and he is the incarnation of lord vishnu and he existed before lord buddha existed.My Question Were there two buddhas ? Was he an ...
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Is there any historical evidence or sayings that Buddha went to America and Africa continent for some discourses or teachings

Is there any historical evidence or sayings that Buddha went to America and Africa continent for some discourses or teachings? In their writings, local languages or any painting, drawing?
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How to survive Buddhism ? Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

I'm observing around me, family and in society. I want to know while Dr. B.R Ambedkar gave the way to peace to Dalit(Backward people) . I could see still my family into ritual other than Buddhism. And ...
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449 views

Was the historical Buddha infallible?

Could he have erred, even as the enlightened one?
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117 views

Who was the buddhist figure who forbade writing what he said, and whose disciples instead wore paper robes?

There's an enlightened buddhist figure I remember reading about a year or two ago, but I am failing completely to search him up. I would like to find his name and story again, could you help me ...
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1answer
126 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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245 views

Has there ever been a systematic persecution of Buddhist heretics?

I was reading about the Cathars, and was really struck by the scale of persecution by Christians of Christian heretics. Obviously there are reasons for that besides not meditating well enough. But in ...
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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 ...
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358 views

In which language or languages were most of the sutras compiled?

In general, which language or languages were the sutras compiled and was this the same language tha Shakyamuni spoke?
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111 views

Earliest occurrences of meditation?

What are the earliest records of people meditating? The Wiki page for History of meditation mentions "prehistory" but provides no details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_meditation The ...
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2answers
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Did Japanese Buddhists once use sky burial?

In the Chinese Wikipedia article on sky burial, there's a section saying that sky burial is illegal in Japan: 棄屍嫌疑 在某些地方,天葬的行為,可能觸犯遺棄屍體的罪行。 日本 刑法第190條(死体損壊罪) Google translation: ...
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1answer
161 views

What's the role/relevance of drugs when Arada taught Buddha?

I quote Andrei from here: Apparently, Buddha's first teacher, Arada Kalama, taught Shukla Dhyana through visualizing oneself in the center of progressively empty context (village --> empty field -->...
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2answers
611 views

Soul that splits in seven parts

I clearly remember reading somewhere about (some branch of) Buddhism believing that there is a soul and that it splits in seven parts when dying. The article mentioned that four of these parts are ...
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296 views

What Changes have Happened to the Pali Canon?

In the 6th council changes have been made to the Disclosure in Establishing Mindfulness in the Middle Length Discourses according to Ven Sujato and Ven Analayo where the section on the 4 Noble Truths ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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What is the Origin and History of Milindapanha?

What is the Origin and History of Milindapanha? When was it 1st written? How did evolve over time? What are the notable changes to it if any? Since when was it in the current form?
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How and when did the name “Buddhism” appear?

What is called "Buddhism" is a whole range of different schools, sects, practices etc. that has in common that they are based on the teachings of Siddharta Gautama/the Buddha. But is the name "...
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What are good resources to study the historic evolution and comparative studies of Abhidhamma

What are good resources and references (ideally online) to learn historic evolution of Abhidhamma. Also comparative studies on different Abhidhamma schools. NB: I am aware of BPU BPhil 3rd Year ...
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1answer
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For what reason did the Dali Lama's traditional daily schedule have washing before meditation?

I often hear that meditation is best at the first part of the day, and it is usually recommended to meditate before eating. Yet it seems odd to me that for the Dali Lama, washing would come first and ...
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Who were the first followers of the Buddha?

I've read that the Buddha's mother Maya became the first Buddhist. Who were the first followers of the Buddha other than his mother?
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1answer
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Did the Buddha visit modern day Assam?

During his time, did the Buddha visit the northeast state of India known today as Assam? If so, did he give any discourses there? Thanks
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Was there a period when “Consensus Buddhism”/“Buddhist Romanticism” dominated Buddhism in the West?

Consensus Buddhism is a term invented by David Chapman. To me it seems to be another name for what Thanissaro Bhikkhu calls Buddhist Romanticism. Here are some characteristics of the supposed ...
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727 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?
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Buddhism in ancient Arabic regions

In the age of king "Asoka", the expansion of Buddhism reached Arabic countries. Does anybody know what those countries are called now? Can anyone provide details about what happened to those places / ...
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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 ...
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154 views

Did the Buddha form a monastery?

According to Wikipedia's Buddhist monasticism article, the Buddha formed the first monastery. There is no source, 'though. To quote: Buddhist Monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of ...
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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 ...
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What is the historical origin of Vajrapani?

I've always found the imagery of Vajrapani (a wrathful Bodhisattva) very evocative. I'm reading a little bit about him and how his form is to do with energy and power in service of the Dharma so he is ...
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1answer
143 views

Was the kamikaze against the Mongol empire considered a supernatural event in Buddhism?

The English language edition's article on the original kamikaze (divine wind) against the Mongol empire (not WWII) refers to Buddhism, though it also mentions Japanese "gods". ...1274 and again in ...
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Significance of Bhikkhus uncovering their right shoulder

Often in the suttas one finds Bhikkhus who approach the Buddha reverentially uncover their right shoulder as a mark of respect. What is the significance of this practice? Is it cultural or is there a ...
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Why did the Buddha suffer before he died?

I understand that the Buddha became severely ill prior to his death as a result of eating bad food. I also was under the impression that perfectly enlightened beings have obliterated, or rendered ...
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2answers
203 views

Is ritual described in the Pali canon?

There are a great many Buddhist rituals which vary across Buddhist schools and traditions. Did the Buddha describe any rituals which were to be done as part of practice in the Pali canon? Or are the ...
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1answer
94 views

Where are the references of Vesak in the Pali canon?

It is traditionally believed that the Buddha was born, enlightened and passed away on the date(tithi) of Vesak. Now it does not seem to be very probable that all three major incidents of one's life ...
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1answer
478 views

Social context of Buddhist rituals

I have a couple of questions about Buddhism rituals. Were Buddhism's rituals performed by a certain social class, or for a particular political end? Also what else was happening in the culture at the ...
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Did the Buddha work with teachers from other spiritual traditions?

Within the Pali canon the Buddha often vigorously debates with Brahmin priests. However in the Buddha's time there were a lot of other spiritual traditions too. Did the Buddha have more cordial ...
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Halo on the Buddha

Do the suttas make any mention of a halo around the Buddha's head, or was it a later addition through the cultural influence of other religions? I recall mentions of a golden aura around the Buddha ...
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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 ...
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Looking for a book that covers the biography of the Buddha's life

Which biography of the Buddha is written in (or translated into) English, and is the most widely read (from a Theravada perspective)?
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What was the 1st Buddhist Council about?

I'm interested in the 1st Buddhist Council, i.e. why was it held, where was it held, who attended it and what were the outcome? I'm not looking for an in-depth and detailed answer. More like an ...
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Did nuns participate in the councils?

Are there any records of this? Though I'm more curious about the first council, I'm generally curious about their participation in any of them.
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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 ...