Buddhism in Indian History

Buddhism in Indian History:

  • Buddhism originated in the 6th century BC.
  • Gautama Buddha the founder of Buddhism was born in Lumbini in Kapilavasthu on the border of Nepal in 563 BC.
  • Buddha’s mother Mahamaya died seven days after his birth. He was brought up by his aunt Mahaprajpati Gautami, hence he got the name ‘Gautama’.
  • First Buddhist nun was Gautami
  • Budha’s birth place is now known as Binla.
  • Budhas orginal name was Sidhartha
  • Buddha belonged to the Sakhya clan of Kshatriyas.
  • His father was Subhodhana.
  • Buddha’s wife was Yasodhara and his son was Rahulan.
  • Four sights changed his mind and initiated him to spiritual life they were death, old age, sadness and sufferings.
  • He left home at the age of 29 along with his charioteer Channa and favourite horse Kandaka. This incident is known as Mahanishkramana.
  • Buddha got enlightenment at Bodha Gaya, on the banks of Niranjana river in Bihar at the Age of 35.
  • After enlightenment Buddha came to be known as ‘thadhagatha’. He is also known as ‘Sakhyamuni’.
  • Buddha made his first sermon after enlightenment at a deer park at Saranath in Uttar Pradesh. This incident is known as ‘Dharmachakra pravarthana’.
  • Buddha’s first teacher was Alara Kalama and second teacher Udraka Ramaputra.
  • During his first sermon at Sarnath, Buddha described the ‘four noble truths’ and the eight fold path.
  • Buddha made his sermons in Pali language and the early Buddhist texts were also written in Pali language.
  • Buddha died at the age of 80 in 483 BC at Kushinagara in UP. This was known as Parinirvana. Buddha died by consuming poisoned meat or poisoned mushroom.
  • Last meals of Buddha was served by a blacksmith ‘Chunda’.
  • His last words were All composite things decay, strive diligently.
  • Four noble truths of Buddhism are: life is full of misery, desire is the cause of misery, killing desires would kill sorrows, Desire can be killed by following the eight-told path.
  • The eight fold path of Buddhism are: Right Belief, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Living, Right Effort, Righ Recollection, Right Meditation


1. Rishabhdev
2. Ajitnath
3. Sambhavnath
4. Abhinandan
5. Sumitnath
6. Padmaprabhu
7. Suparsavanath
8. Suridhi
9. Chandraprabh
10. Sheetal Nath
11. Shreyanshanath
12. Vasupujya
13. Vimalnath
14. Anandanath
15. Dharmanath
16. Shantinath
17. Kunthunath
18. Arnath
19. Mallinath
20. Munisuvrata nath
21. Neminath
22. Arishtanemi
23. Parshvanath
24. Mahavira

  •  Buddhism does not recognise the existence of God and Soul (Atman)
  • Buddha accepted the traditional belief in transmigration of the soul and law of Karma.
  • The ‘three jewels’of Buddhism are – Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
  • The first Buddhist council was held in 483 BC at Sattaparni (Rajagriha) under the presidentship of Mahakashyapa and under the patronage of king Ajatasatru of Magadha..
  • Vinayapitaka and Suddhapitaka were codified at the first council.
  • Second Buddhist council was held in 383 BC at Vaishali under the presidentship of Sabhakami and under the patronage of king Kalashoka.
  • At the second Buddhist council Buddhism was divided into two Staviravadins and Mahasankikas which later came to be known a Hinayana and Mahayana respectively.
  • Third council of Buddhism was held in 250 BC at Pataliputhra under the presidentship of Mogaliputta Tissa and under the patronage of Ashoka the Great.
  • Abhidhamma Pitika was codified at the third council.
  • At the third council decision was also taken to send missionaries to spread Buddhism.
  • The fourth Buddhist council was held in the first century AD at Kundalavana in Kashmir under the President-ship of Vasumithra and Ashvagosha and under the patronage of Kanishka.
  • Clear division of Buddhism into Hinayana and Mahayana tookplace at the fourth council.
  • Upagupta converted Ashoka to Buddhism.
  • Ashvagosha was the first biographer of Buddha who wrote Budhacharitam in Sanskrit.
  • Vasubandu is known as Second Buddha.
  • Ashoka is known as the Constantine of Buddhism.
  • Ashoka accepted Buddhism after the battle of Kalinga in BC 261.
  • Buddhist worshipping centre is known as Pagoda
  • Viharas are the Buddhist monastries.
  • Vajrayana was a sect of Buddhism which believed in achieving salvation through Mantras and spells.
  • ‘Jataka stories’ describe the stories related to the birth of Buddha. They are 500 in number.
  • Holy book of Buddhism is Tripitika- Vinayapitika, Suddhapitika and Abhidhamapitika are collectively known as Tripitika.
  • Bimbisara of Magadha was a contemporary of Buddha.
  • Kanishka who worked to spread Buddhism like Ashoka is known a Second Ashoka
  • Ashoka sent his son and daughter, Mahendra and Sanghamitra to SriLanka to spread Buddhism.
  • Sri Buddha is known as the ‘Light of Asia’ He was named as such by Edvin Arnold.
  • Edvin Arnold’s ‘Light of Asia’ was translated into Malayalam by Nalappad Narayanamenon.
  • Hinayanism is wide spread in Sri Lanka.
  • The Bodhi tree at Gaya was cut down by Sasanka, a Bengal ruler.
  • The chief Buddhist monastery was at Nalanda, which was under the patronage of Pala kings.
  • Previous Buddhas are known as ‘Bodhisatvas’.
  • Milandapanho a book of Nagasena describes how Greek king Menandar accepted Buddhism.