Questions tagged [history]

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

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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 ...
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213 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 ...
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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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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
96 views

Did the Buddha invent any words?

A person told me that the Buddha coined certain words as part of his teachings. I don't remember which words, but perhaps "samadhi" was one of them. Is there any evidence the Buddha invented ...
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2answers
163 views

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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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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1answer
90 views

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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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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449 views

Was the historical Buddha infallible?

Could he have erred, even as the enlightened one?
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2k views

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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938 views

What is known about enlightenment before the lifetime of the Buddha? Are there any claims that he was the first?

I am a non-Buddhist who is curious about Buddhism. In modern times, Eckhart Tolle reports spontaneous awakening as a result of a sudden realisation that came out of intense suffering. As far as I am ...
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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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2answers
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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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
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 ...
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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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2k views

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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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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1answer
108 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 ...
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3answers
429 views

Did Ledi Sayadaw teach that Vipassanā should be practised by observing bodily sensations with equanimity?

A very short summary of the Vipassanā technique taught by S.N. Goenka would be: "observe your bodily sensations with equanimity". The role of physical bodily sensations is the key aspect of the ...
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1answer
199 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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6answers
8k 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 ...
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6answers
194 views

The Oldest Traditional Buddhist Lineage?

In Hinduism the traditional master-disciple relationship in the transmission is very important, which means that a student can go and learn from a teacher whose initiatory lineage goes back directly ...
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3answers
215 views

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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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 ...
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4answers
641 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 ...
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479 views

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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2answers
377 views

Why are Mahayana texts in Sanskrit?

Based on the quote below, it seemed that the Buddha did not allow his teachings to be translated to the royal or priestly language of Sanskrit, that was the liturgical language of Brahmanism, the ...
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8k views

Should Buddhists in India celebrate diwali (New moon of November)?

On the occasion of diwali I've to ask, should Indian Buddhists celebrate diwali? Because recently I've read dark history behind diwali: That Tathagata Gautama Buddha had entrusted the team with 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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1answer
383 views

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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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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2answers
222 views

Scriptural evidence for the role and compatibility of polytheism within Buddhism?

First of all, I would like to clarify that I am extremely new to Buddhism, Hinduism and Indian philosophy in general. I do not particularly consider myself an adherent of any of these traditions. I am ...
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2answers
750 views

Ancient texts on Meditation Techniques?

I have read a decent amount on modern meditative practices, but I am curious to read the way in which ancient monks described their techniques. This is not suggesting that modern meditative practices ...
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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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69 views

What did the Buddha mean by the four types of reasoning in his advice to the Kalamas?

In AN 3:65, while advising the Kalamas on how to choose among a variety of contradictory belief systems, the Buddha mentions ten inadequate criteria for truth: Come, Kalamas. Do not go by oral ...
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89 views

Difference between “mythology” and historical “facts”?

In this video, a monk tried to draw a distinction between "mythology" and "history facts" ... Ajahn Sujato - Buddhist Mythology - The Sacred and the Profane - Part 3 ... saying that "Mythology" just ...
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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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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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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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2answers
77 views

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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1answer
73 views

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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2answers
177 views

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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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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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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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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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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1answer
46 views

Any reconstructions of earliest mentioned classification of canon?

Monks, there is the case where some worthless men study the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, ...
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255 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: ...