The spread of Buddhism

Social ScienceAncient Indian History

Introduction

Siddartha, also known as Gautama Buddha, lived simultaneously as Mahavira. Siddartha was a contemporary of Mahavira. It was 563 BC when he was born in the Lumbini jungle close to Kapplia Vastu in the Nepalese foothills. He was a Chatriya and hailed from a little community located nearby called Sabgya Ganda. In the beginning, he lived a lavish lifestyle. He even wed a princess by the name of Yeshodhra, and they had a son by the name of Rahul.

The Story of Gautam Buddha

Legend has it that Gautam first became aware of sorrow in the world after seeing an older man, a sick man, and a guy who had just passed away. He understood aesthetics, and it revealed to him that there is more than one method to end the pain. Following this event, Gautam Buddha, at the age of thirty, gave up the security and comfort of his household to look for a solution to the problem of suffering. He pondered for several years while also attending gatherings of other philosophers and participating in their conversations. He decided to discover his way to self-realization at last. He sat in meditation for an uncountable number of days under a people tree at Bodhgaya, located in the state of Bihar. It was there that he acquired enlightenment and became known as Gautam Buddha (the enlightenment one).

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He gave his first speech at Sarnath, located close to Varanasi. Because he wanted the message to be understood by everyone, he spent the remainder of his life walking about and preaching in language understandable to the average person. In the year 483 BCE, at the age of eighty, he died in Kushinagar, located in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Teachings of Gautam Buddha

Buddha taught that the deeds we do in this life, referred to as karma, have consequences for us in both this life and the next. He said that the wants of people are the root of their suffering. They will be able to obtain Nirvana, also known as liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth if they successfully overcome their desires.

Gautam Buddha instructed his pupils to choose the road of moderation to conquer desire, which entails neither abandoning all of their material things nor leading a lavish lifestyle. He instilled in individuals a sense of compassion and a reverence for the lives of others, especially those of animals. He recommended an eight-hole path known as the Tanganga Marg for his followers.

The teachings of this path are as follows:

  • Right observation

  • Right speech

  • Right action

  • Right livelihood

  • Right determination

  • Right exercise

  • Right memory

  • Right meditation

He pleased equality to all human beings and rejected the caste system and religious rituals. He forbade lying, killing, stealing, and drinking

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How Did Buddhism Spread Along the Silk Route?

Along the silk road route, Buddhism became a widely practised religion quite rapidly. It is said to have originated in the north-eastern region of India and later became associated with the religion. After the collapse of Alexander the Great's empire in the first century, the Greek colonies established in central Asia were eventually abandoned. The Greco-Roman paganism practised in the colonies was replaced by Buddhism. Buddhism was the first religion to use trade routes such as the silk route to extend beyond the region in which it originated. Because of the trade-in silk, it quickly expanded across Asia through overland and maritime channels.

As early as the first century, Buddhism had already made its way from the north-eastern part of India to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Buddhism eventually made its way to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, and other nations in Southeast Asia via its southerly migration. It quickly expanded to the north, reaching Kashmir, Afghanistan, Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, and other regions of central Asia. In the latter part of the first millennium, the propagation of Buddhism proceeded.

Along the ancient trade route that connected India and China, some Indian monks and missionaries made their way to China. They were the ones responsible for the propagation of Buddhism. Around the middle of the first century, Buddhist missionaries translated holy texts into Chinese to propagate Buddhism across China. These missionaries were also responsible for the construction of temples so that they could interpret holy texts, and the presence of these temples encouraged others to adopt the Buddhist faith. Despite being distant from their homes, merchants on the Silk Road helped spread the religion by constructing shrines and temples along the route for their purposes.

Conclusion

Preaching was an important part of the religious practice at these temples, carried out by both priests and monks. There is evidence of Buddhism everywhere along the Silk Routes and in Central Asia in the form of Buddhist cave paintings and texts and stupas, which are shrines dedicated to the religion. People along the Silk Route thought that by adhering to the Buddhist faith, they might stop the torturous cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation. This contributed to the rapid expansion of Buddhism throughout the Silk Route. Because it allowed for the interchange of cultures and new ideas, every faith was supportive of globalisation.

FAQs

Q1. Who was Gautam Buddha?

Ans. Siddhartha, afterwards Gautam Buddha, was Mahavira's contemporary 563 BC in Lumbini woodland near Kapplia Vastu in Nepal's foothills. He was Chatriya from Sabgya Ganda. He lived lavishly at first. He married Yeshodhra and had Rahul. Gautam Buddha left home at 30 to end suffering. He wandered for years, meeting other philosophers. He finally found his way. He meditated for days under a people tree in Bodhgaya, Bihar, and became Gautam Buddh (the enlightenment one).

Q2. What are the teachings of Buddha?

Ans. Buddha’s teaching were:

  • Right observation

  • Right speech

  • Right action

  • Right livelihood

  • Right determination

  • Right exercise

  • Right memory

  • Right meditation

Q3. How Buddhism spread in the Silk Route?

Ans. Along the silk road, Buddhism grew swiftly. It was transformed in northeast India. After Alexander the Great's empire fell in the first century, Greek colonies in central Asia were abandoned. Greco-Roman paganism was replaced by Buddhism. Buddhism was the first religion to spread over the silk road. Silk trade spread throughout Asia overland and the sea.

Q4. How did Buddhism spread in China?

Ans. Some Indian missionaries and monks travelled through the silk road between India and China. And they were the ones who spread Buddhism. Buddhism spread to China in the mid-first century as Buddhist missionaries began to translate the sacred scriptures into Chinese. Temples were also built for these missionaries so they could translate the sacred text and these temples encouraged others to follow Buddhism.

Q5. How did Indian missionaries spread Buddhism?

Ans. Preaching was an important part of the religious practice at these temples, which was carried out by both priests and monks. There is evidence of Buddhism everywhere along the Silk Routes and in Central Asia in the form of Buddhist cave paintings and texts, as well as stupas, which are shrines dedicated to the religion.

People along the Silk Route believed that by adhering to the Buddhist religion, they could put a stop to the torturous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. This contributed to the rapid expansion of Buddhism along the Silk Route. Because it allowed for the exchange of cultures and new ideas, every faith was supportive of globalisation.

raja
Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47

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