Buddhism stands on 3 pillars, also known as Triratna which means three jewels of Buddhism. These three jewels are:
- Buddha (Founder of Buddhism)
- Dhamma (His teachings)
- Sangha (Order of the Buddhist monks and nuns)
- The founder of Buddhism was Gautam Buddha also known as Sidhartha or Shakya Muni, born in 563 BC at Lumbini in Kapilavastu (now situated in the foothills of Nepal) in the Sakya Kshatriya Clan.
- His father Sudhodhna (of Sakya Tribe) was the king of Kapilavastu and mother Mahamaya was a princess of Kosala Dynasty (कौशल राजवंश).
- He lost his mother when he was only 7 years old. His father married him in an early age to Yasodhara (Princess of Kolli Dynasty) and had a son named Rahul.
- Buddha’s chariot was Channa and favorite horse was Kanthak.
- The four sights which made Buddha leave his home were: an old man, a very sick man, a dead body and a very happy expression (an ascetic).
- He learnt the technique of meditation from his first teacher Aalar Kalama (Sankhya Philosopher). His next teacher was Udraka Ramputra.
- Buddha got enlightenment (Nirvana) under the Bodhi tree also known as peepal tree on the bank of River Niranjana at Gaya in Bihar.
- Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath to his 5 disciples, and it became the famous by the name of Dharma Chakraparivartan (turning of the wheels of law).
- He died in 483 BC at Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh) at the age of 80. His death was known as Mahaparinirvana (final blowing out).
The four Noble Truths (Dhamma) of Buddhism are:
- The world is full of sorrow.
- The desire is the root cause of sorrow.
- If the desire is conquered, all sorrow can be removed or stopped.
- Desire can be conquered by eight-fold path. Right speech, Right Thought, Right Action, Right Effort, Right Concentration, Right Remembrance and Right Mindfulness.
Types of Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana
Buddhist Sacred Literature Texts:
These are written in Pali text – (3 Pitakas: - Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka), Jatak Stories, Kathavastu, Milindopanho, Mahavibhashashtra, Deepvansh and Mahavansh.
- The first Buddhist council was held in 483 BC at Sattapanni cave, Rajgriha under the chairman of Mahakassapa. Ajatshatru was the king of Harayanaka Dynasty at that time. In this council, Vinay Pitaka and Sutta Pitaka were compiled by Upali and Ananda respectively.
- The second Buddhist council was held in 383 BC at Vailshali during the reign of Kalashoka (Shishunaag Dynasty) and under the chairman of Sabbakami.
- The third Buddhist council was held in 250 BC at Patliputra during the reign of Ashoka (the Mauryan ruler) and under the chairmanship of Mogliputta Tissa, to revise the Buddhist texts.
- The fourth Buddhist council was held in AD 72 at Kashmir during the reign of Kanishka (Kushana ruler) under the chairmanship of Vasumitra. Buddhism was divided into Mahayana and Hinayana at that time.
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Read more: Literature of Vedic Tradition