Buddhism

Buddhism opened its doors not only to the Indians of all castes and creed but also to the foreigners who had settled in India-Indo -Greeks and Indo-Scythians. Buddhism was propagated to foreign countries too like Ceylon and Burma, Thailand and Cambodia, Central Asia and China, Nepal and Tibet and the Indonesian countries, Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Thus Buddhism occupies a unique place in the history of Indian religions. Buddha was born as prince Siddhartha in the Sakya tribe.

He was born in the Lumbini grove near the city of Kapilavastu. He was unhappy to see the sufferings of human life. He also left home and wandered as an ascetic for many years. Finally he felt that he received enlightenment i.e. he become Buddha and found the answers to the questions that arose in his mind. Buddha taught that the world is full of sufferings it is due to the desire for worldly things. He showed the path leading to the end of these sufferings and the path is called the Buddha's eight fold path.

Eight fold paths include eight kinds of action and thought which would show a man how to live a virtuous life. Eight fold include -
1. Right faith
2. Right resolve
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right living
6. Right effort
7. Right thought
8. Right concentration

Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath where his five former disciples had settled. To these five ascetics he preached his first sermon and called it Dharma Chakraparavartana. Buddha emphasised on the importance of non-violence and forbade the killing of animals as part of religious practices. He urged people to lead good life according to which the purpose of life was to purify the mind and attain Nirvana, i.e. no more rebirths. He started monasteries which were places where Buddhist monks lived and spent their lives praying and preaching Buddhism. These monasteries or viharas were used as schools also.Many people joined Buddhism and very soon it spread in many parts of India. Buddha died at the age of 80 in 483 BC at Kushinagara in the Malla republic. His last words were 'all composite things decay, strive diligently.

1. Gautama Buddha
2. Buddhist Councils
3. Buddhist Scriptures
4. Buddhist Philosophy
5. Contribution of Buddhism to Indian culture