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Buddhism - Research Paper Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Buddhism Historically, Buddhism has its roots in the sixth century BCE, making it one of the most ancient religions that are still practiced in the modern world. It later developed from the religious notions of prehistoric India in the religious and social turmoil period of the first millennium’s BCE second half…
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Although its spread was initially slow, it was aided by Ashoka, who was the emperor of Maurya and the religion’s ardent supporter. He, together with his descendants, promoted the construction of religious memorials of Buddhism known as stupas, and their efforts spread the religion beyond the inflated Maurya Empire into adjacent territories. They brought Buddhism into Central Asia and Afghanistan’s regions that spoke Iranian, as well as Sri Lanka. This paper will research on the history of Buddhism and its reflection on the culture of Southern India including Arts, Epics and architecture such as temples and tombs. There is general consensus among most historians that the origins of Buddhism are in north India’s era of the fifth century BCE. Its traditions can be traced to the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, popularly known as Buddha and denoting the Enlightened or Awakened one, who was born in Nepal’s Lumbini area. Buddha observed the world’s suffering and committed himself to find its remedy. He achieved a state of enlightenment through analysis and mediation, which characterized the end of suffering caused by attachments and liberty from the sequence of rebirth upon death. Buddhism’s earliest phase, the Pre-sectarian Buddhism, had the Vinaya Pitaka as its main scriptures and Nakayas’ four principles, also known as the Agamas (Takakusu 134). The Early Buddhist Schools opine that the Buddhist council was conducted after the death of Buddha (or parinirvana), where teachings were orally transmitted. The council was primarily to recite teachings collectively so as to ensure there were no errors in the oral transmissions. The monastic code, also known as Vinaya, was recited by Upali, and Buddha’s favorite disciple and cousin Ananda recited his lessons known s the Sutras. The Early Mahayana Buddhism was formed around 100 BCE and fully established in 100 AD on the assumption that its existence was separate from the competition of the Hinayana schools. The Late Mahayana Buddhism saw the development of four key thoughts which were Madhyamaka, Tathagatagarba, Yogacara and the most recent Buddhist Logic (Takakusu 114). Hinduism greatly influenced Esoteric Buddhism. The era of Ashoka is greatly credited with the spread of the religion outside India as emissaries were deployed to other countries, especially the eastern provinces that neighbored the Seleucid Empire and further on to the Hellenistic kingdoms. That spread ensured that Buddhism interacted with other diverse ethnic groups, exposing it to various influences that came from the Greek and Persian civilization. Buddhism’s originality started fragmenting in subsequent centuries, with the most noticeable split occurring after conducting the second council which came a century after the first was held. Following debates between traditionalists and liberal groups, the liberal groups termed themselves s the Mahasangha and left, eventually evolving into North Asia’s Mahayana tradition. On their part, the traditionalists labeled themselves as Sthaviranda, which meant the way of the elders, came up with a set of complex philosophical concepts collectively known as Abhidharma, which went beyond the ones that Buddha had revealed. However, the Abhidharma soon gave rise to disagreements, encouraging more splinter groups to leave the fold, eventually developing 18 different schools that had different interpretations of ... Read More
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