Questions tagged [history]

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

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9
votes
2answers
682 views

What was the chronology of events in the Buddha's life?

This is the sort of question I'd find really useful to get an answer on; I'm looking for a rough chronology of the 45 years of the Buddha's (not the Bodhisatta's) life, year by year. I know there is ...
9
votes
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 ...
5
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3answers
216 views

Were the oldest Buddhists evangelical?

Between the time of the historical Buddha and state support by emperor Ashoka, were Buddhist monks evangelical? In other words, did Buddhism spread through enthusiastic recruitment by the sangha, or ...
8
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3answers
730 views

Did the Buddha ever talk about his family?

When Siddhārtha Gautama left his home to become an ascetic, he left a wife, son, father and step mother. His achievement of enlightenment and subsequent teachings of the 4 Noble Truths and 8 Fold ...
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.
9
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2answers
713 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 ...
8
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3answers
449 views

How did Buddha's teachings about samsara differ from earlier Indian tradition?

Even before the Buddha, the wheel of birth and death was a common teaching in India, with the six stages or realms. This is something that has passed down into Buddhism (even today). What did the ...
8
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4answers
409 views

Is there a historical connection between Buddhism and martial arts?

Are kung fu monks and all related Hollywood stereotypes based on any actual historical connection between Buddhism and martial arts? Or is it just a fun movie concept? :)
9
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8answers
16k views

What was the historical Buddha's ethnicity?

Gautama Buddha is traditionally regarded as having a noble body with 32 signs of a Great Man and one of those signs are deep blue eyes. I came across many online discussions about Buddha's ethnicity ...
6
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2answers
323 views

What is the overall Buddhist taxonomy?

Building from this question, I'd be really interested in seeing an overall view of the Buddhist taxonomical system. I don't mean the actual names "Therevada", "Mahayana" and so on, or "Soto", "Rinzai" ...
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 ...
10
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2answers
938 views

What is the role of relics in Buddhism?

I recently learned about an episode of Chinese history when relics associated to the Buddha were relocated to China and Han Yu writes to the Chinese Emperor in a text titled "Memorial Discussing the ...
26
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4answers
961 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 ...

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