Questions tagged [history]

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

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5
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1answer
713 views

Do we know in what posture the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree?

I was reading yesterday this blog by a Zen nun and in this post she casually says in the third to last paragraph that we don't know in what posture the Buddha did sit under the Bodhi tree. I found ...
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2answers
179 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 ...
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1answer
198 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)...
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1answer
138 views

Lay meditation in Korean Zen

Have there been reform movements in 20th century Korean Buddhism that put more emphasis on meditation practice than traditional Korean Buddhism did, and that, in particular, also encouraged meditation ...
6
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1answer
855 views

Does Kwan Yin hold a place in Theravada Buddhism?

Kwan Yin (a.k.a. Guanyin, Avalokiteśvara) is an important figure in Mahayana Buddhism. But I recently noticed a statue of Kwan Yin on the grounds of a local Theravada monastery. I looked up Kwan Yin ...
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3answers
284 views

Was meditation not practiced for most of the history of Buddhism?

In a recent Buddhist Geeks podcast the presenter Bodhipaksa stated that by the time the Buddhagosa wrote the commentary Visuddhimagga in the 5th Century CE, meditation had been largely abandoned. He ...
3
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1answer
120 views

Was Buddhism the dominant religion of India for one thousand years?

I read in a book by Amartya Sen 'The Argumentative Indian', (link) that Buddhism was the dominant religion of India for about a 1000 years, and that foreigners referred to India as a Buddhist kingdom. ...
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7answers
4k 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 ...
7
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1answer
205 views

Are there Material Differences of Current Theravada Teachings with Pre Sectarian Buddhism?

Are some of the Suttas we have today different from the original Suttas as taught by the Buddha? Are there any surviving pre sectarian Buddhist sources and commentaries? What research has been done on ...
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1answer
72 views

What does Śāripūtrābhidharma Satipatthana sources mention about food? Does other Theravada source have such references?

According to Satipatthana Mula (By Sujato Bhikkhu edited by Piya Tan) Śāripūtrābhidharma versions of the Satipatthana contains a reference to food. What exactly does it say about food and does ...
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1answer
117 views

Dharmaskandha and Śāripūtrābhidharma Satipatthana contains a section of shortcomings. What are the shortcomings?

According to Satipatthana Mula (By Sujato Bhikkhu edited by Piya Tan) Dharmaskandha and Śāripūtrābhidharma versions of the Satipatthana contains a section of shortcomings. What are the shortcomings ...
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1answer
71 views

What are the elements (Mahābhūta) references in the Sarvastivada Satipaṭṭhāna?

According to Satipatthana Mula (By Sujato Bhikkhu edited by Piya Tan) Dharmaskandha references 6 elements that the traditional 4 elements in Theravada. They are not explicitly mentioned in the text. ...
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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?
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2answers
496 views

How old was Buddhism/Shinto before Shinto began to adopt aspects of Buddhism

Before Shinto began to adopt aspects of Buddhism i am wondering how old the 2 were as to which of the 2 was the older. by age i am referring to from when they started to become a following and not ...
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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 ...
8
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1answer
497 views

When and why did monks stop meditating?

My understanding is that meditation went through a revival in the last two centuries, in part due to the efforts of the Theosophical Society. Supposedly in the past, monks had nearly or totally ...
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2answers
359 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 ...
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1answer
301 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 ...
3
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1answer
137 views

What was the 1st attempt to have a Theravada monastery in the West?

Venerable Nyanatiloka had tried to setup a monastery in the West. Were there previous attempts? How successful were they? Do they still exist? If not, what happened? Following is the link "Plans for ...
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3answers
353 views

What are the other Theravada Councils held between the 4th and 6th

The Wikipedia entry on the 5th council says: However, there were a number of other councils held in Ceylon and Thailand between the fourth and sixth ... What are these other councils? Where where ...
6
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1answer
95 views

Does anybody know the composition of the 6th council and how the delegates were chosen?

Nyanatiloka and Nyanaponika were the only Western born monks to attend the 6th Council. I am curious to know the composition of the 6th council and how the delegates were chosen. Wikipedia says: ...
4
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1answer
148 views

Were there earlier western monks before Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya (Charles Henry Allan Bennett)

Looking at the Bio of Ven. Nyanatiloka who was regarded as one of the earliest monks. I came across that he had met Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya (Charles Henry Allan Bennett) who was also a Western monk ...
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5answers
5k views

What is the meaning of Rahula?

I am speaking of course of Siddhartha Gautama's son. I was told Rahula means obstacle. Is this true?
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3answers
166 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 ...
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3answers
200 views

Did Buddhism ever go through a period of relatively high violence?

Catholicism/Christianity had the dark ages and the inquisition in which 'heretics' were prosecuted with violence. One could claim that Islam is currently in a period of high violence. Did Buddhism ...
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6answers
6k 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?
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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 ...
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4answers
20k 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 ...
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2answers
139 views

First Buddhist text translated into a Western language

As a follow-up to another question: What was the first Buddhist text to be translated into a Western language? (That probably means French or Latin, but other options are also possible) When was it ...
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5answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
256 views

What do we know about the historic Padmasambhava?

I had heard Padmasambhava referred to as a semi-mythic figure. Some of his reputed activities would fit a mythic character. However to what extent is he also a historical figure. What do we know about ...
6
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1answer
509 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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7answers
7k 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 ...
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 ...
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3answers
7k 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, ...
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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" (...
8
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1answer
319 views

What were Nagarjuna's seminal contributions to Buddhist philosophy?

Nagarjuna's ideas are considered to represent the historical starting point of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Can his ideas be considered a clarification of the philosophy presented in the Pali canon? ...
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5answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
485 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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4answers
17k 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 ...
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2answers
409 views

Autobiographies of Buddhist masters

Can you recommend any good autobiographies of Buddhist teachers and monks? I'm currently reading Getting Off, A Portrait of an American Buddhist Monk and I find it very interesting.
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4answers
331 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 ...
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6answers
8k views

Was Buddha born of a Virgin?

I was reading a work that claims Buddha "was born of the Virgin Maya". What Buddhist works address the birth of Buddha? Do any support or conflict with a virgin birth for Buddha?
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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 ...
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5answers
469 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 ...
3
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1answer
216 views

When did Vasubandhu, the teacher of Dignāga, live?

Vasubandhu is known to be the teacher of Dignāga. When did he live? What are the sources that say so?
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2answers
499 views

What are some examples of Buddhist rulers?

I've been searching about this for a while, I have been looking for historical rulers who based their way of governing off Buddhist principles. But haven't been able to find a lot.
7
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1answer
217 views

Were robes a factor in the spread of Buddhism?

If you look at the countries where Theravada Buddhism has historically taken hold (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar/Burma) they are all in fairly close proximity to each other in the ...
12
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2answers
729 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 ...