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"Buddhadharma" redirects here. Buddhism_sentence_0

For the magazine, see Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly. Buddhism_sentence_1

Buddhism (/ˈbʊdɪzəm/, US: /ˈbuːd-/) is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_2

Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha (born Siddhārtha Gautama in the 5th or 4th century BCE) and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism_sentence_3

It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Buddhism_sentence_4

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravāda (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahāyāna (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle"). Buddhism_sentence_5

As expressed in the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, the goal of Buddhism is to overcome suffering (duḥkha) caused by desire, attachment to a static self, and ignorance of the true nature of reality (avidya). Buddhism_sentence_6

Most Buddhist traditions emphasize transcending the individual self through the attainment of Nirvana or by following the path of Buddhahood, ending the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_7

Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, and their specific teachings and practices. Buddhism_sentence_8

Widely observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, Buddhist monasticism, Buddhist meditation, and the cultivation of the Paramitas (perfections, or virtues). Buddhism_sentence_9

Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Buddhism_sentence_10

Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon and Tiantai (Tendai), is found throughout East Asia. Buddhism_sentence_11

Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_12

Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practised in the countries of the Himalayan region, Mongolia, and Kalmykia. Buddhism_sentence_13

Life of the Buddha Buddhism_section_0

Main article: Gautama Buddha Buddhism_sentence_14

Buddhism is an Indian religion founded on the teachings of a mendicant and spiritual teacher called "the Buddha" ("the Awakened One", c. 5th to 4th century BCE). Buddhism_sentence_15

Early texts have the Buddha's family name as "Gautama" (Pali: Gotama). Buddhism_sentence_16

The details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, and his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates are uncertain. Buddhism_sentence_17

The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddharta Gautama was born in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavastu, a town in the Ganges Plain, near the modern Nepal–India border, and that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Buddhism_sentence_18

Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, and he was born in Lumbini. Buddhism_sentence_19

However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakya community, which was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead. Buddhism_sentence_20

Some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, and claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a later time into the Buddhist texts. Buddhism_sentence_21

According to early texts such as the Pali Ariyapariyesanā-sutta ("The discourse on the noble quest," MN 26) and its Chinese parallel at 204, Gautama was moved by the suffering (dukkha) of life and death, and its endless repetition due to rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_22

He thus set out on a quest to find liberation from suffering (also known as "nirvana"). Buddhism_sentence_23

Early texts and biographies state that Gautama first studied under two teachers of meditation, namely Alara Kalama (Sanskrit: Arada Kalama) and Uddaka Ramaputta (Sanskrit: Udraka Ramaputra), learning meditation and philosophy, particularly the meditative attainment of "the sphere of nothingness" from the former, and "the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception" from the latter. Buddhism_sentence_24

Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of severe asceticism, which included a strict fasting regime and various forms of breath control. Buddhism_sentence_25

This too fell short of attaining his goal, and then he turned to the meditative practice of dhyana. Buddhism_sentence_26

He famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya and attained "Awakening" (Bodhi). Buddhism_sentence_27

According to various early texts like the Mahāsaccaka-sutta, and the Samaññaphala Sutta, on awakening, the Buddha gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, as well as achieving the ending of the mental defilements (asavas), the ending of suffering, and the end of rebirth in saṃsāra. Buddhism_sentence_28

This event also brought certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering. Buddhism_sentence_29

As a fully enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha (monastic order). Buddhism_sentence_30

He spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, and then died, achieving "final nirvana," at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddhism_sentence_31

Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became various Buddhist schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha; these over time evolved into many traditions of which the more well known and widespread in the modern era are Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_32

Worldview Buddhism_section_1

Main article: Glossary of Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_33

The term "Buddhism" is an occidental neologism, commonly (and "rather roughly" according to Donald S. Lopez Jr.) used as a translation for the Dharma of the Buddha, fójiào in Chinese, bukkyō in Japanese, nang pa sangs rgyas pa'i chos in Tibetan, buddhadharma in Sanskrit, buddhaśāsana in Pali. Buddhism_sentence_34

Four Noble Truths – dukkha and its ending Buddhism_section_2

Main articles: Dukkha and Four Noble Truths Buddhism_sentence_35

The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which is dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. Buddhism_sentence_36

This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth, dukkha and dying again. Buddhism_sentence_37

But there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism_sentence_38

The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, and unsatisfactory. Buddhism_sentence_39

Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena"; or "painful." Buddhism_sentence_40

Dukkha is most commonly translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsatisfactory nature of temporary states and things, including pleasant but temporary experiences. Buddhism_sentence_41

We expect happiness from states and things which are impermanent, and therefore cannot attain real happiness. Buddhism_sentence_42

In Buddhism, dukkha is one of the three marks of existence, along with impermanence and anattā (non-self). Buddhism_sentence_43

Buddhism, like other major Indian religions, asserts that everything is impermanent (anicca), but, unlike them, also asserts that there is no permanent self or soul in living beings (anattā). Buddhism_sentence_44

The ignorance or misperception (avijjā) that anything is permanent or that there is self in any being is considered a wrong understanding, and the primary source of clinging and dukkha. Buddhism_sentence_45

Dukkha arises when we crave (Pali: taṇhā) and cling to these changing phenomena. Buddhism_sentence_46

The clinging and craving produces karma, which ties us to samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_47

Craving includes kama-tanha, craving for sense-pleasures; bhava-tanha, craving to continue the cycle of life and death, including rebirth; and vibhava-tanha, craving to not experience the world and painful feelings. Buddhism_sentence_48

Dukkha ceases, or can be confined, when craving and clinging cease or are confined. Buddhism_sentence_49

This also means that no more karma is being produced, and rebirth ends. Buddhism_sentence_50

Cessation is nirvana, "blowing out," and peace of mind. Buddhism_sentence_51

By following the Buddhist path to moksha, liberation, one starts to disengage from craving and clinging to impermanent states and things. Buddhism_sentence_52

The term "path" is usually taken to mean the Noble Eightfold Path, but other versions of "the path" can also be found in the Nikayas. Buddhism_sentence_53

The Theravada tradition regards insight into the four truths as liberating in itself. Buddhism_sentence_54

The cycle of rebirth Buddhism_section_3

Saṃsāra Buddhism_section_4

Main article: Saṃsāra (Buddhism) Buddhism_sentence_55

Saṃsāra means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change. Buddhism_sentence_56

It refers to the theory of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental assumption of Buddhism, as with all major Indian religions. Buddhism_sentence_57

Samsara in Buddhism is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma. Buddhism_sentence_58

The theory of rebirths, and realms in which these rebirths can occur, is extensively developed in Buddhism, in particular Tibetan Buddhism with its wheel of existence (Bhavacakra) doctrine. Buddhism_sentence_59

Liberation from this cycle of existence, nirvana, has been the foundation and the most important historical justification of Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_60

The later Buddhist texts assert that rebirth can occur in six realms of existence, namely three good realms (heavenly, demi-god, human) and three evil realms (animal, hungry ghosts, hellish). Buddhism_sentence_61

Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana, the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality. Buddhism_sentence_62

Rebirth Buddhism_section_5

Main article: Rebirth (Buddhism) Buddhism_sentence_63

Rebirth refers to a process whereby beings go through a succession of lifetimes as one of many possible forms of sentient life, each running from conception to death. Buddhism_sentence_64

In Buddhist thought, this rebirth does not involve any soul, because of its doctrine of anattā (Sanskrit: anātman, no-self doctrine) which rejects the concepts of a permanent self or an unchanging, eternal soul, as it is called in Hinduism and Christianity. Buddhism_sentence_65

According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a self in any being or any essence in any thing. Buddhism_sentence_66

The Buddhist traditions have traditionally disagreed on what it is in a person that is reborn, as well as how quickly the rebirth occurs after each death. Buddhism_sentence_67

Some Buddhist traditions assert that "no self" doctrine means that there is no perduring self, but there is avacya (inexpressible) self which migrates from one life to another. Buddhism_sentence_68

The majority of Buddhist traditions, in contrast, assert that vijñāna (a person's consciousness) though evolving, exists as a continuum and is the mechanistic basis of what undergoes rebirth, rebecoming and redeath. Buddhism_sentence_69

The rebirth depends on the merit or demerit gained by one's karma, as well as that accrued on one's behalf by a family member. Buddhism_sentence_70

Each rebirth takes place within one of five realms according to Theravadins, or six according to other schools – heavenly, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hellish. Buddhism_sentence_71

In East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, rebirth is not instantaneous, and there is an intermediate state (Tibetan "bardo") between one life and the next. Buddhism_sentence_72

The orthodox Theravada position rejects the wait, and asserts that rebirth of a being is immediate. Buddhism_sentence_73

However there are passages in the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon that seem to lend support to the idea that the Buddha taught about an intermediate stage between one life and the next. Buddhism_sentence_74

Karma Buddhism_section_6

Main article: Karma in Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_75

In Buddhism, karma (from Sanskrit: "action, work") drives saṃsāra – the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth for each being. Buddhism_sentence_76

Good, skilful deeds (Pāli: kusala) and bad, unskilful deeds (Pāli: akusala) produce "seeds" in the unconscious receptacle (ālaya) that mature later either in this life or in a subsequent rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_77

The existence of karma is a core belief in Buddhism, as with all major Indian religions, it implies neither fatalism nor that everything that happens to a person is caused by karma. Buddhism_sentence_78

A central aspect of Buddhist theory of karma is that intent (cetanā) matters and is essential to bring about a consequence or phala "fruit" or vipāka "result". Buddhism_sentence_79

However, good or bad karma accumulates even if there is no physical action, and just having ill or good thoughts creates karmic seeds; thus, actions of body, speech or mind all lead to karmic seeds. Buddhism_sentence_80

In the Buddhist traditions, life aspects affected by the law of karma in past and current births of a being include the form of rebirth, realm of rebirth, social class, character and major circumstances of a lifetime. Buddhism_sentence_81

It operates like the laws of physics, without external intervention, on every being in all six realms of existence including human beings and gods. Buddhism_sentence_82

A notable aspect of the karma theory in Buddhism is merit transfer. Buddhism_sentence_83

A person accumulates merit not only through intentions and ethical living, but also is able to gain merit from others by exchanging goods and services, such as through dāna (charity to monks or nuns). Buddhism_sentence_84

Further, a person can transfer one's own good karma to living family members and ancestors. Buddhism_sentence_85

Liberation Buddhism_section_7

Main articles: Moksha and Nirvana (Buddhism) Buddhism_sentence_86

The cessation of the kleshas and the attainment of nirvana (nibbāna), with which the cycle of rebirth ends, has been the primary and the soteriological goal of the Buddhist path for monastic life since the time of the Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_87

The term "path" is usually taken to mean the Noble Eightfold Path, but other versions of "the path" can also be found in the Nikayas. Buddhism_sentence_88

In some passages in the Pali Canon, a distinction is being made between right knowledge or insight (sammā-ñāṇa), and right liberation or release (sammā-vimutti), as the means to attain cessation and liberation. Buddhism_sentence_89

Nirvana literally means "blowing out, quenching, becoming extinguished". Buddhism_sentence_90

In early Buddhist texts, it is the state of restraint and self-control that leads to the "blowing out" and the ending of the cycles of sufferings associated with rebirths and redeaths. Buddhism_sentence_91

Many later Buddhist texts describe nirvana as identical with anatta with complete "emptiness, nothingness". Buddhism_sentence_92

In some texts, the state is described with greater detail, such as passing through the gate of emptiness (sunyata) – realising that there is no soul or self in any living being, then passing through the gate of signlessness (animitta) – realising that nirvana cannot be perceived, and finally passing through the gate of wishlessness (apranihita) – realising that nirvana is the state of not even wishing for nirvana. Buddhism_sentence_93

The nirvana state has been described in Buddhist texts partly in a manner similar to other Indian religions, as the state of complete liberation, enlightenment, highest happiness, bliss, fearlessness, freedom, permanence, non-dependent origination, unfathomable, and indescribable. Buddhism_sentence_94

It has also been described in part differently, as a state of spiritual release marked by "emptiness" and realisation of non-self. Buddhism_sentence_95

While Buddhism considers the liberation from saṃsāra as the ultimate spiritual goal, in traditional practice, the primary focus of a vast majority of lay Buddhists has been to seek and accumulate merit through good deeds, donations to monks and various Buddhist rituals in order to gain better rebirths rather than nirvana. Buddhism_sentence_96

Dependent arising Buddhism_section_8

Main articles: Pratītyasamutpāda and Twelve Nidānas Buddhism_sentence_97

Pratityasamutpada, also called "dependent arising, or dependent origination", is the Buddhist theory to explain the nature and relations of being, becoming, existence and ultimate reality. Buddhism_sentence_98

Buddhism asserts that there is nothing independent, except the state of nirvana. Buddhism_sentence_99

All physical and mental states depend on and arise from other pre-existing states, and in turn from them arise other dependent states while they cease. Buddhism_sentence_100

The 'dependent arisings' have a causal conditioning, and thus Pratityasamutpada is the Buddhist belief that causality is the basis of ontology, not a creator God nor the ontological Vedic concept called universal Self (Brahman) nor any other 'transcendent creative principle'. Buddhism_sentence_101

However, the Buddhist thought does not understand causality in terms of Newtonian mechanics, rather it understands it as conditioned arising. Buddhism_sentence_102

In Buddhism, dependent arising is referring to conditions created by a plurality of causes that necessarily co-originate a phenomenon within and across lifetimes, such as karma in one life creating conditions that lead to rebirth in one of the realms of existence for another lifetime. Buddhism_sentence_103

Buddhism applies the dependent arising theory to explain origination of endless cycles of dukkha and rebirth, through its Twelve Nidānas or "twelve links" doctrine. Buddhism_sentence_104

It states that because Avidyā (ignorance) exists Saṃskāras (karmic formations) exists, because Saṃskāras exists therefore Vijñāna (consciousness) exists, and in a similar manner it links Nāmarūpa (sentient body), Ṣaḍāyatana (six senses), Sparśa (sensory stimulation), Vedanā (feeling), Taṇhā (craving), Upādāna (grasping), Bhava (becoming), Jāti (birth), and Jarāmaraṇa (old age, death, sorrow, pain). Buddhism_sentence_105

By breaking the circuitous links of the Twelve Nidanas, Buddhism asserts that liberation from these endless cycles of rebirth and dukkha can be attained. Buddhism_sentence_106

Not-Self and Emptiness Buddhism_section_9

Main articles: Anātman and Śūnyatā Buddhism_sentence_107

A related doctrine in Buddhism is that of anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit). Buddhism_sentence_108

It is the view that there is no unchanging, permanent self, soul or essence in phenomena. Buddhism_sentence_109

The Buddha and Buddhist philosophers who follow him such as Vasubandhu and Buddhaghosa, generally argue for this view through by analyzing the person through the schema of the five aggregates, and then attempting to show that none of these five components of personality can be permanent or absolute. Buddhism_sentence_110

This can be seen in Buddhist discourses such as the Anattalakkhana Sutta. Buddhism_sentence_111

"Emptiness" or "voidness" (Skt: Śūnyatā, Pali: Suññatā), is a related concept with many different interpretations throughout the various Buddhisms. Buddhism_sentence_112

In early Buddhism, it was commonly stated that all five aggregates are void (rittaka), hollow (tucchaka), coreless (asāraka), for example as in the Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta (SN 22:95). Buddhism_sentence_113

Similarly, in Theravada Buddhism, it often simply means that the five aggregates are empty of a Self. Buddhism_sentence_114

Emptiness is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism, especially in Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka school, and in the Prajñāpāramitā sutras. Buddhism_sentence_115

In Madhyamaka philosophy, emptiness is the view which holds that all phenomena (dharmas) are without any svabhava (literally "own-nature" or "self-nature"), and are thus without any underlying essence, and so are "empty" of being independent. Buddhism_sentence_116

This doctrine sought to refute the heterodox theories of svabhava circulating at the time. Buddhism_sentence_117

The Three Jewels Buddhism_section_10

Main article: Three Jewels Buddhism_sentence_118

All forms of Buddhism revere and take spiritual refuge in the "three jewels" (triratna): Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Buddhism_sentence_119

Buddha Buddhism_section_11

Main article: Buddhahood Buddhism_sentence_120

While all varieties of Buddhism revere "Buddha" and "buddhahood", they have different views on what these are. Buddhism_sentence_121

Whatever that may be, "Buddha" is still central to all forms of Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_122

In Theravada Buddhism, a Buddha is someone who has become awake through their own efforts and insight. Buddhism_sentence_123

They have put an end to their cycle of rebirths and have ended all unwholesome mental states which lead to bad action and thus are morally perfected. Buddhism_sentence_124

While subject to the limitations of the human body in certain ways (for example, in the early texts, the Buddha suffers from backaches), a Buddha is said to be "deep, immeasurable, hard-to-fathom as is the great ocean," and also has immense psychic powers (abhijñā). Buddhism_sentence_125

Theravada generally sees Gautama Buddha (the historical Buddha Sakyamuni) as the only Buddha of the current era. Buddhism_sentence_126

While he is no longer in this world, he has left us the Dharma (Teaching), the Vinaya (Discipline) and the Sangha (Community). Buddhism_sentence_127

There are also said to be two types of Buddhas, a sammasambuddha is also said to teach the Dharma to others, while a paccekabuddha (solitary buddha) does not teach. Buddhism_sentence_128

Mahāyāna Buddhism meanwhile, has a vastly expanded cosmology, with various Buddhas and other holy beings (aryas) residing in different realms. Buddhism_sentence_129

Mahāyāna texts not only revere numerous Buddhas besides Sakyamuni, such as Amitabha and Vairocana, but also see them as transcendental or supramundane (lokuttara) beings. Buddhism_sentence_130

Mahāyāna Buddhism holds that these other Buddhas in other realms can be contacted and are able to benefit beings in this world. Buddhism_sentence_131

In Mahāyāna, a Buddha is a kind of "spiritual king", a "protector of all creatures" with a lifetime that is countless of eons long, rather than just a human teacher who has transcended the world after death. Buddhism_sentence_132

Buddha Sakyamuni's life and death on earth is then usually understood as a "mere appearance" or "a manifestation skilfully projected into earthly life by a long-enlightened transcendent being, who is still available to teach the faithful through visionary experiences." Buddhism_sentence_133

Dharma Buddhism_section_12

Main article: Dharma Buddhism_sentence_134

"Dharma" (Pali: Dhamma) in Buddhism refers to the Buddha's teaching, which includes all of the main ideas outlined above. Buddhism_sentence_135

While this teaching reflects the true nature of reality, it is not a belief to be clung to, but a pragmatic teaching to be put into practice. Buddhism_sentence_136

It is likened to a raft which is "for crossing over" (to nirvana) not for holding on to. Buddhism_sentence_137

It also refers to the universal law and cosmic order which that teaching both reveals and relies upon. Buddhism_sentence_138

It is an everlasting principle which applies to all beings and worlds. Buddhism_sentence_139

In that sense it is also the ultimate truth and reality about the universe, it is thus "the way that things really are." Buddhism_sentence_140

The Dharma is the second of the three jewels which all Buddhists take refuge in. Buddhism_sentence_141

All Buddhas in all worlds, in the past, present and in the future, are believed by Buddhists to understand and teach the Dharma. Buddhism_sentence_142

Indeed, it is part of what makes them a Buddha that they do so. Buddhism_sentence_143

Sangha Buddhism_section_13

Main articles: Sangha, Bodhisattva, and Arhat Buddhism_sentence_144

The third "jewel" which Buddhists take refuge in is the "Sangha", which refers to the monastic community of monks and nuns who follow Gautama Buddha's monastic discipline which was "designed to shape the Sangha as an ideal community, with the optimum conditions for spiritual growth." Buddhism_sentence_145

The Sangha consists of those who have chosen to follow the Buddha's ideal way of life, which is one of celibate monastic renunciation with minimal material possessions (such as an alms bowl and robes). Buddhism_sentence_146

The Sangha is seen as important because they preserve and pass down Buddha Dharma. Buddhism_sentence_147

As Gethin states "the Sangha lives the teaching, preserves the teaching as Scriptures and teaches the wider community. Buddhism_sentence_148

Without the Sangha there is no Buddhism." Buddhism_sentence_149

The Sangha also acts as a "field of merit" for laypersons, allowing them to make spiritual merit or goodness by donating to the Sangha and supporting them. Buddhism_sentence_150

In return, they keep their duty to preserve and spread the Dharma everywhere for the good of the world. Buddhism_sentence_151

The Sangha is also supposed to follow the Vinaya (monastic rule) of the Buddha, thereby serving as an spiritual example for the world and future generations. Buddhism_sentence_152

The Vinaya rules also force the Sangha to live in dependence on the rest of the lay community (they must beg for food etc) and thus draw the Sangha into a relationship with the lay community. Buddhism_sentence_153

There is also a separate definition of Sangha, referring to those who have attained any stage of awakening, whether or not they are monastics. Buddhism_sentence_154

This sangha is called the āryasaṅgha "noble Sangha". Buddhism_sentence_155

All forms of Buddhism generally reveres these āryas (Pali: ariya, "noble ones" or "holy ones") who are spiritually attained beings. Buddhism_sentence_156

Aryas have attained the fruits of the Buddhist path. Buddhism_sentence_157

Becoming an arya is a goal in most forms of Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_158

The āryasaṅgha includes holy beings such as bodhisattvas, arhats and stream-enterers. Buddhism_sentence_159

In early Buddhism and in Theravada Buddhism, an arhat (literally meaning "worthy") is someone who reached the same awakening (bodhi) of a Buddha by following the teaching of a Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_160

They are seen as having ended rebirth and all the mental defilements. Buddhism_sentence_161

A bodhisattva ("a being bound for awakening") meanwhile, is simply a name for someone who is working towards awakening (bodhi) as a Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_162

According to all the early buddhist schools as well as Theravada, to be considered a bodhisattva one has to have made a vow in front of a living Buddha and also has to have received a confirmation of one's future Buddhahood. Buddhism_sentence_163

In Theravada, the future Buddha is called Metteyya (Maitreya) and he is revered as a bodhisatta currently working for future Buddhahood. Buddhism_sentence_164

Mahāyāna Buddhism generally sees the attainment of the arhat as an inferior one, since it is seen as being done only for the sake of individual liberation. Buddhism_sentence_165

It thus promotes the bodhisattva path as the highest and most worthwhile. Buddhism_sentence_166

While in Mahāyāna, anyone who has given rise to bodhicitta (the wish to become a Buddha that arises from a sense of compassion for all beings) is considered a bodhisattva, some of these holy beings (such as Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara) have reached very high levels of spiritual attainment and are seen as being very powerful supramundane beings who provide aid to countless beings through their advanced powers. Buddhism_sentence_167

Other key Mahāyāna views Buddhism_section_14

Main articles: Yogachara and Buddha-nature Buddhism_sentence_168

Mahāyāna Buddhism also differs from Theravada and the other schools of early Buddhism in promoting several unique doctrines which are contained in Mahāyāna sutras and philosophical treatises. Buddhism_sentence_169

One of these is the unique interpretation of emptiness and dependent origination found in the Madhyamaka school. Buddhism_sentence_170

Another very influential doctrine for Mahāyāna is the main philosophical view of the Yogācāra school variously, termed Vijñaptimātratā-vāda ("the doctrine that there are only ideas" or "mental impressions") or Vijñānavāda ("the doctrine of consciousness"). Buddhism_sentence_171

According to Mark Siderits, what classical Yogācāra thinkers like Vasubandhu had in mind is that we are only ever aware of mental images or impressions, which may appear as external objects, but "there is actually no such thing outside the mind." Buddhism_sentence_172

There are several interpretations of this main theory, many scholars see it as a type of Idealism, others as a kind of phenomenology. Buddhism_sentence_173

Another very influential concept unique to Mahāyāna is that of "Buddha-nature" (buddhadhātu) or "Tathagata-womb" (tathāgatagarbha). Buddhism_sentence_174

Buddha-nature is a concept found in some 1st-millennium CE Buddhist texts, such as the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras. Buddhism_sentence_175

According to Paul Williams these Sutras suggest that 'all sentient beings contain a Tathagata' as their 'essence, core inner nature, Self'. Buddhism_sentence_176

According to Karl Brunnholzl "the earliest mahayana sutras that are based on and discuss the notion of tathāgatagarbha as the buddha potential that is innate in all sentient beings began to appear in written form in the late second and early third century." Buddhism_sentence_177

For some, the doctrine seems to conflict with the Buddhist anatta doctrine (non-Self), leading scholars to posit that the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras were written to promote Buddhism to non-Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_178

This can be seen in texts like the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, which state that Buddha-nature is taught to help those who have fear when they listen to the teaching of anatta. Buddhism_sentence_179

Buddhist texts like the Ratnagotravibhāga clarify that the "Self" implied in Tathagatagarbha doctrine is actually "not-Self". Buddhism_sentence_180

Various interpretations of the concept have been advanced by Buddhist thinkers throughout the history of Buddhist thought and most attempt to avoid anything like the Hindu Atman doctrine. Buddhism_sentence_181

These Indian Buddhist ideas, in various synthetic ways, form the basis of subsequent Mahāyāna philosophy in Tibetan Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_182

Paths to liberation Buddhism_section_15

Main article: Buddhist paths to liberation Buddhism_sentence_183

While the Noble Eightfold Path is best-known in the West, a wide variety of paths and models of progress have been used and described in the different Buddhist traditions. Buddhism_sentence_184

However, they generally share basic practices such as sila (ethics), samadhi (meditation, dhyana) and prajña (wisdom), which are known as the three trainings. Buddhism_sentence_185

An important additional practice is a kind and compassionate attitude toward every living being and the world. Buddhism_sentence_186

Devotion is also important in some Buddhist traditions, and in the Tibetan traditions visualisations of deities and mandalas are important. Buddhism_sentence_187

The value of textual study is regarded differently in the various Buddhist traditions. Buddhism_sentence_188

It is central to Theravada and highly important to Tibetan Buddhism, while the Zen tradition takes an ambiguous stance. Buddhism_sentence_189

An important guiding principle of Buddhist practice is the Middle Way (madhyamapratipad). Buddhism_sentence_190

It was a part of Buddha's first sermon, where he presented the Noble Eightfold Path that was a 'middle way' between the extremes of asceticism and hedonistic sense pleasures. Buddhism_sentence_191

In Buddhism, states Harvey, the doctrine of "dependent arising" (conditioned arising, pratītyasamutpāda) to explain rebirth is viewed as the 'middle way' between the doctrines that a being has a "permanent soul" involved in rebirth (eternalism) and "death is final and there is no rebirth" (annihilationism). Buddhism_sentence_192

Paths to liberation in the early texts Buddhism_section_16

A common presentation style of the path (mārga) to liberation in the Early Buddhist Texts is the "graduated talk", in which the Buddha lays out a step by step training. Buddhism_sentence_193

In the early texts, numerous different sequences of the gradual path can be found. Buddhism_sentence_194

One of the most important and widely used presentations among the various Buddhist schools is The Noble Eightfold Path, or "Eightfold Path of the Noble Ones" (Skt. 'āryāṣṭāṅgamārga'). Buddhism_sentence_195

This can be found in various discourses, most famously in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (The discourse on the turning of the Dharma wheel). Buddhism_sentence_196

Other suttas such as the Tevijja Sutta, and the Cula-Hatthipadopama-sutta give a different outline of the path, though with many similar elements such as ethics and meditation. Buddhism_sentence_197

According to Rupert Gethin, the path to awakening is also frequently summarized by another a short formula: "abandoning the hindrances, practice of the four establishings of mindfulness, and development of the awakening factors." Buddhism_sentence_198

Noble Eightfold Path Buddhism_section_17

Main article: Noble Eightfold Path Buddhism_sentence_199

The Eightfold Path consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha. Buddhism_sentence_200

These eight factors are: Right View (or Right Understanding), Right Intention (or Right Thought), Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Buddhism_sentence_201

This Eightfold Path is the fourth of the Four Noble Truths, and asserts the path to the cessation of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness). Buddhism_sentence_202

The path teaches that the way of the enlightened ones stopped their craving, clinging and karmic accumulations, and thus ended their endless cycles of rebirth and suffering. Buddhism_sentence_203

The Noble Eightfold Path is grouped into three basic divisions, as follows: Buddhism_sentence_204


DivisionBuddhism_header_cell_0_0_0 Eightfold factorBuddhism_header_cell_0_0_1 Sanskrit, PaliBuddhism_header_cell_0_0_2 DescriptionBuddhism_header_cell_0_0_3

(Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)Buddhism_cell_0_1_0

1. Right viewBuddhism_cell_0_1_1 samyag dṛṣṭi,

sammā ditthiBuddhism_cell_0_1_2

The belief that there is an afterlife and not everything ends with death, that Buddha taught and followed a successful path to nirvana; according to Peter Harvey, the right view is held in Buddhism as a belief in the Buddhist principles of karma and rebirth, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths and the True Realities.Buddhism_cell_0_1_3
2. Right intentionBuddhism_cell_0_2_0 samyag saṃkalpa,

sammā saṅkappaBuddhism_cell_0_2_1

Giving up home and adopting the life of a religious mendicant in order to follow the path; this concept, states Harvey, aims at peaceful renunciation, into an environment of non-sensuality, non-ill-will (to lovingkindness), away from cruelty (to compassion).Buddhism_cell_0_2_2
Moral virtues

(Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)Buddhism_cell_0_3_0

3. Right speechBuddhism_cell_0_3_1 samyag vāc,

sammā vācaBuddhism_cell_0_3_2

No lying, no rude speech, no telling one person what another says about him, speaking that which leads to salvation.Buddhism_cell_0_3_3
4. Right actionBuddhism_cell_0_4_0 samyag karman,

sammā kammantaBuddhism_cell_0_4_1

No killing or injuring, no taking what is not given; no sexual acts in monastic pursuit, for lay Buddhists no sensual misconduct such as sexual involvement with someone married, or with an unmarried woman protected by her parents or relatives.Buddhism_cell_0_4_2
5. Right livelihoodBuddhism_cell_0_5_0 samyag ājīvana,

sammā ājīvaBuddhism_cell_0_5_1

For monks, beg to feed, only possessing what is essential to sustain life. For lay Buddhists, the canonical texts state right livelihood as abstaining from wrong livelihood, explained as not becoming a source or means of suffering to sentient beings by cheating them, or harming or killing them in any way.Buddhism_cell_0_5_2

(Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)Buddhism_cell_0_6_0

6. Right effortBuddhism_cell_0_6_1 samyag vyāyāma,

sammā vāyāmaBuddhism_cell_0_6_2

Guard against sensual thoughts; this concept, states Harvey, aims at preventing unwholesome states that disrupt meditation.Buddhism_cell_0_6_3
7. Right mindfulnessBuddhism_cell_0_7_0 samyag smṛti,

sammā satiBuddhism_cell_0_7_1

Never be absent minded, conscious of what one is doing; this, states Harvey, encourages mindfulness about impermanence of the body, feelings and mind, as well as to experience the five skandhas, the five hindrances, the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening.Buddhism_cell_0_7_2
8. Right concentrationBuddhism_cell_0_8_0 samyag samādhi,

sammā samādhiBuddhism_cell_0_8_1

Correct meditation or concentration (dhyana), explained as the four jhānas.Buddhism_cell_0_8_2

Theravada presentations of the path Buddhism_section_18

Theravada Buddhism is a diverse tradition and thus includes different explanations of the path to awakening. Buddhism_sentence_205

However, the teachings of the Buddha are often encapsulated by Theravadins in the basic framework of the Four Noble Truths and the Eighthfold Path. Buddhism_sentence_206

Some Theravada Buddhists also follow the presentation of the path laid out in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga. Buddhism_sentence_207

This presentation is known as the "Seven Purifications" (satta-visuddhi). Buddhism_sentence_208

This schema and its accompanying outline of "insight knowledges" (vipassanā-ñāṇa) is used by modern influential Theravadin scholars, such Mahasi Sayadaw (in his "The Progress of Insight") and Nyanatiloka Thera (in "The Buddha's Path to Deliverance"). Buddhism_sentence_209

Mahayana presentations of the path Buddhism_section_19

Mahāyāna Buddhism is based principally upon the path of a Bodhisattva. Buddhism_sentence_210

A Bodhisattva refers to one who is on the path to buddhahood. Buddhism_sentence_211

The term Mahāyāna was originally a synonym for Bodhisattvayāna or "Bodhisattva Vehicle." Buddhism_sentence_212

In the earliest texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism, the path of a bodhisattva was to awaken the bodhicitta. Buddhism_sentence_213

Between the 1st and 3rd century CE, this tradition introduced the Ten Bhumi doctrine, which means ten levels or stages of awakening. Buddhism_sentence_214

This development was followed by the acceptance that it is impossible to achieve Buddhahood in one (current) lifetime, and the best goal is not nirvana for oneself, but Buddhahood after climbing through the ten levels during multiple rebirths. Buddhism_sentence_215

Mahāyāna scholars then outlined an elaborate path, for monks and laypeople, and the path includes the vow to help teach Buddhist knowledge to other beings, so as to help them cross samsara and liberate themselves, once one reaches the Buddhahood in a future rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_216

One part of this path are the pāramitā (perfections, to cross over), derived from the Jatakas tales of Buddha's numerous rebirths. Buddhism_sentence_217

The doctrine of the bodhisattva bhūmis was also eventually merged with the Sarvāstivāda Vaibhāṣika schema of the "five paths" by the Yogacara school. Buddhism_sentence_218

This Mahāyāna "five paths" presentation can be seen in Asanga's Mahāyānasaṃgraha. Buddhism_sentence_219

The Mahāyāna texts are inconsistent in their discussion of the pāramitās, and some texts include lists of two, others four, six, ten and fifty-two. Buddhism_sentence_220

The six paramitas have been most studied, and these are: Buddhism_sentence_221


  1. Dāna pāramitā: perfection of giving; primarily to monks, nuns and the Buddhist monastic establishment dependent on the alms and gifts of the lay householders, in return for generating religious merit; some texts recommend ritually transferring the merit so accumulated for better rebirth to someone elseBuddhism_item_0_0
  2. Śīla pāramitā: perfection of morality; it outlines ethical behaviour for both the laity and the Mahayana monastic community; this list is similar to Śīla in the Eightfold Path (i.e. Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood)Buddhism_item_0_1
  3. Kṣānti pāramitā: perfection of patience, willingness to endure hardshipBuddhism_item_0_2
  4. Vīrya pāramitā: perfection of vigour; this is similar to Right Effort in the Eightfold PathBuddhism_item_0_3
  5. Dhyāna pāramitā: perfection of meditation; this is similar to Right Concentration in the Eightfold PathBuddhism_item_0_4
  6. Prajñā pāramitā: perfection of insight (wisdom), awakening to the characteristics of existence such as karma, rebirths, impermanence, no-self, dependent origination and emptiness; this is complete acceptance of the Buddha teaching, then conviction, followed by ultimate realisation that "dharmas are non-arising".Buddhism_item_0_5

In Mahāyāna Sutras that include ten pāramitā, the additional four perfections are "skillful means, vow, power and knowledge". Buddhism_sentence_222

The most discussed pāramitā and the highest rated perfection in Mahayana texts is the "Prajna-paramita", or the "perfection of insight". Buddhism_sentence_223

This insight in the Mahāyāna tradition, states Shōhei Ichimura, has been the "insight of non-duality or the absence of reality in all things". Buddhism_sentence_224

East Asian Buddhism Buddhism_section_20

East Asian Buddhism in influenced by both the classic Indian Buddhist presentations of the path such as the eighth-fold path as well as classic Indian Mahāyāna presentations such as that found in the Da zhidu lun. Buddhism_sentence_225

There many different presentations of soteriology, including numerous paths and vehicles (yanas) in the different traditions of East Asian Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_226

There is no single dominant presentation. Buddhism_sentence_227

In Zen Buddhism for example, one can find outlines of the path such as the Two Entrances and Four Practices, The Five ranks, The Ten Ox-Herding Pictures and The Three mysterious Gates of Linji. Buddhism_sentence_228

Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Buddhism_section_21

In Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, the path to liberation is outlined in the genre known as Lamrim ("Stages of the Path"). Buddhism_sentence_229

All the various Tibetan schools have their own Lamrim presentations. Buddhism_sentence_230

This genre can be traced to Atiśa's 11th-century A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathapradīpa). Buddhism_sentence_231

Common Buddhist practices Buddhism_section_22

Hearing and learning the Dharma Buddhism_section_23

In various suttas which present the graduated path taught by the Buddha, such as the Samaññaphala Sutta and the Cula-Hatthipadopama Sutta, the first step on the path is hearing the Buddha teach the Dharma. Buddhism_sentence_232

This then said to lead to the acquiring of confidence or faith in the Buddha's teachings. Buddhism_sentence_233

Mahayana Buddhist teachers such as Yin Shun also state that hearing the Dharma and study of the Buddhist discourses is necessary "if one wants to learn and practice the Buddha Dharma." Buddhism_sentence_234

Likewise, in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, the "Stages of the Path" (Lamrim) texts generally place the activity of listening to the Buddhist teachings as an important early practice. Buddhism_sentence_235

Refuge Buddhism_section_24

Main article: Refuge (Buddhism) Buddhism_sentence_236

Traditionally, the first step in most Buddhist schools requires taking of the "Three Refuges", also called the Three Jewels (Sanskrit: triratna, Pali: tiratana) as the foundation of one's religious practice. Buddhism_sentence_237

This practice may have been influenced by the Brahmanical motif of the triple refuge, found in the Rigveda 9.97.47, Rigveda 6.46.9 and Chandogya Upanishad 2.22.3–4. Buddhism_sentence_238

Tibetan Buddhism sometimes adds a fourth refuge, in the lama. Buddhism_sentence_239

The three refuges are believed by Buddhists to be protective and a form of reverence. Buddhism_sentence_240

The ancient formula which is repeated for taking refuge affirms that "I go to the Buddha as refuge, I go to the Dhamma as refuge, I go to the Sangha as refuge." Buddhism_sentence_241

Reciting the three refuges, according to Harvey, is considered not as a place to hide, rather a thought that "purifies, uplifts and strengthens the heart". Buddhism_sentence_242

Śīla – Buddhist ethics Buddhism_section_25

Main article: Buddhist ethics Buddhism_sentence_243

Śīla (Sanskrit) or sīla (Pāli) is the concept of "moral virtues", that is the second group and an integral part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism_sentence_244

It generally consists of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Buddhism_sentence_245

One of the most basic forms of ethics in Buddhism is the taking of "precepts". Buddhism_sentence_246

This includes the Five Precepts for laypeople, Eight or Ten Precepts for monastic life, as well as rules of Dhamma (Vinaya or Patimokkha) adopted by a monastery. Buddhism_sentence_247

Other important elements of Buddhist ethics include giving or charity (dāna), Mettā (Good-Will), Heedfulness (Appamada), ‘self-respect’ (Hri) and 'regard for consequences' (Apatrapya). Buddhism_sentence_248

Precepts Buddhism_section_26

Main article: Five precepts Buddhism_sentence_249

Buddhist scriptures explain the five precepts (Pali: pañcasīla; Sanskrit: pañcaśīla) as the minimal standard of Buddhist morality. Buddhism_sentence_250

It is the most important system of morality in Buddhism, together with the monastic rules. Buddhism_sentence_251

The five precepts are seen as a basic training applicable to all Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_252

They are: Buddhism_sentence_253


  1. "I undertake the training-precept (sikkha-padam) to abstain from onslaught on breathing beings." This includes ordering or causing someone else to kill. The Pali suttas also say one should not "approve of others killing" and that one should be "scrupulous, compassionate, trembling for the welfare of all living beings."Buddhism_item_1_6
  2. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from taking what is not given." According to Harvey, this also covers fraud, cheating, forgery as well as "falsely denying that one is in debt to someone."Buddhism_item_1_7
  3. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from misconduct concerning sense-pleasures." This generally refers to adultery, as well as rape and incest. It also applies to sex with those who are legally under the protection of a guardian. It is also interpreted in different ways in the varying Buddhist cultures.Buddhism_item_1_8
  4. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from false speech." According to Harvey this includes "any form of lying, deception or exaggeration...even non-verbal deception by gesture or other indication...or misleading statements." The precept is often also seen as including other forms of wrong speech such as "divisive speech, harsh, abusive, angry words, and even idle chatter."Buddhism_item_1_9
  5. "I undertake the training-precept to abstain from alcoholic drink or drugs that are an opportunity for heedlessness." According to Harvey, intoxication is seen as a way to mask rather than face the sufferings of life. It is seen as damaging to one's mental clarity, mindfulness and ability to keep the other four precepts.Buddhism_item_1_10

Undertaking and upholding the five precepts is based on the principle of non-harming (Pāli and Sanskrit: ahiṃsa). Buddhism_sentence_254

The Pali Canon recommends one to compare oneself with others, and on the basis of that, not to hurt others. Buddhism_sentence_255

Compassion and a belief in karmic retribution form the foundation of the precepts. Buddhism_sentence_256

Undertaking the five precepts is part of regular lay devotional practice, both at home and at the local temple. Buddhism_sentence_257

However, the extent to which people keep them differs per region and time. Buddhism_sentence_258

They are sometimes referred to as the śrāvakayāna precepts in the Mahāyāna tradition, contrasting them with the bodhisattva precepts. Buddhism_sentence_259

The five precepts are not commandments and transgressions do not invite religious sanctions, but their power has been based on the Buddhist belief in karmic consequences and their impact in the afterlife. Buddhism_sentence_260

Killing in Buddhist belief leads to rebirth in the hell realms, and for a longer time in more severe conditions if the murder victim was a monk. Buddhism_sentence_261

Adultery, similarly, invites a rebirth as prostitute or in hell, depending on whether the partner was unmarried or married. Buddhism_sentence_262

These moral precepts have been voluntarily self-enforced in lay Buddhist culture through the associated belief in karma and rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_263

Within the Buddhist doctrine, the precepts are meant to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment. Buddhism_sentence_264

The monastic life in Buddhism has additional precepts as part of patimokkha, and unlike lay people, transgressions by monks do invite sanctions. Buddhism_sentence_265

Full expulsion from sangha follows any instance of killing, engaging in sexual intercourse, theft or false claims about one's knowledge. Buddhism_sentence_266

Temporary expulsion follows a lesser offence. Buddhism_sentence_267

The sanctions vary per monastic fraternity (nikaya). Buddhism_sentence_268

Lay people and novices in many Buddhist fraternities also uphold eight (asta shila) or ten (das shila) from time to time. Buddhism_sentence_269

Four of these are same as for the lay devotee: no killing, no stealing, no lying, and no intoxicants. Buddhism_sentence_270

The other four precepts are: Buddhism_sentence_271


  1. No sexual activity;Buddhism_item_2_11
  2. Abstain from eating at the wrong time (e.g. only eat solid food before noon);Buddhism_item_2_12
  3. Abstain from jewellery, perfume, adornment, entertainment;Buddhism_item_2_13
  4. Abstain from sleeping on high bed i.e. to sleep on a mat on the ground.Buddhism_item_2_14

All eight precepts are sometimes observed by lay people on uposatha days: full moon, new moon, the first and last quarter following the lunar calendar. Buddhism_sentence_272

The ten precepts also include to abstain from accepting money. Buddhism_sentence_273

In addition to these precepts, Buddhist monasteries have hundreds of rules of conduct, which are a part of its patimokkha. Buddhism_sentence_274

Vinaya Buddhism_section_27

Vinaya is the specific code of conduct for a sangha of monks or nuns. Buddhism_sentence_275

It includes the Patimokkha, a set of 227 offences including 75 rules of decorum for monks, along with penalties for transgression, in the Theravadin tradition. Buddhism_sentence_276

The precise content of the Vinaya Pitaka (scriptures on the Vinaya) differs in different schools and tradition, and different monasteries set their own standards on its implementation. Buddhism_sentence_277

The list of pattimokkha is recited every fortnight in a ritual gathering of all monks. Buddhism_sentence_278

Buddhist text with vinaya rules for monasteries have been traced in all Buddhist traditions, with the oldest surviving being the ancient Chinese translations. Buddhism_sentence_279

Monastic communities in the Buddhist tradition cut normal social ties to family and community, and live as "islands unto themselves". Buddhism_sentence_280

Within a monastic fraternity, a sangha has its own rules. Buddhism_sentence_281

A monk abides by these institutionalised rules, and living life as the vinaya prescribes it is not merely a means, but very nearly the end in itself. Buddhism_sentence_282

Transgressions by a monk on Sangha vinaya rules invites enforcement, which can include temporary or permanent expulsion. Buddhism_sentence_283

Restraint and renunciation Buddhism_section_28

Another important practice taught by the Buddha is the restraint of the senses (indriyasamvara). Buddhism_sentence_284

In the various graduated paths, this is usually presented as a practice which is taught prior to formal sitting meditation, and which supports meditation by weakening sense desires that are a hindrance to meditation. Buddhism_sentence_285

According to Anālayo, sense restraint is when one "guards the sense doors in order to prevent sense impressions from leading to desires and discontent." Buddhism_sentence_286

This is not an avoidance of sense impression, but a kind of mindful attention towards the sense impressions which does not dwell on their main features or signs (nimitta). Buddhism_sentence_287

This is said to prevent harmful influences from entering the mind. Buddhism_sentence_288

This practice is said to give rise to an inner peace and happiness which forms a basis for concentration and insight. Buddhism_sentence_289

A related Buddhist virtue and practice is renunciation, or the intent for desirelessness (nekkhamma). Buddhism_sentence_290

Generally, renunciation is the giving up of actions and desires that are seen as unwholesome on the path, such as lust for sensuality and worldly things. Buddhism_sentence_291

Renunciation can be cultivated in different ways. Buddhism_sentence_292

The practice of giving for example, is one form of cultivating renunciation. Buddhism_sentence_293

Another one is the giving up of lay life and becoming a monastic (bhiksu o bhiksuni). Buddhism_sentence_294

Practicing celibacy (whether for life as a monk, or temporarily) is also a form of renunciation.</ref> Many Jataka stories such as the focus on how the Buddha practiced renunciation in past lives. Buddhism_sentence_295

One way of cultivating renunciation taught by the Buddha is the contemplation (anupassana) of the "dangers" (or "negative consequences") of sensual pleasure (kāmānaṃ ādīnava). Buddhism_sentence_296

As part of the graduated discourse, this contemplation is taught after the practice of giving and morality. Buddhism_sentence_297

Another related practice to renunciation and sense restraint taught by the Buddha is "restraint in eating" or moderation with food, which for monks generally means not eating after noon. Buddhism_sentence_298

Devout laypersons also follow this rule during special days of religious observance (uposatha). Buddhism_sentence_299

Observing the Uposatha also includes other practices dealing with renunciation, mainly the eight precepts. Buddhism_sentence_300

For Buddhist monastics, renunciation can also be trained through several optional ascetic practices called dhutaṅga. Buddhism_sentence_301

In different Buddhist traditions, other related practices which focus on fasting are followed. Buddhism_sentence_302

Mindfulness and clear comprehension Buddhism_section_29

The training of the faculty called "mindfulness" (Pali: sati, Sanskrit: smṛti, literally meaning "recollection, remembering") is central in Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_303

According to Analayo, mindfulness is a full awareness of the present moment which enhances and strengthens memory. Buddhism_sentence_304

The Indian Buddhist philosopher Asanga defined mindfulness thus: "It is non-forgetting by the mind with regard to the object experienced. Buddhism_sentence_305

Its function is non-distraction." Buddhism_sentence_306

According to Rupert Gethin, sati is also "an awareness of things in relation to things, and hence an awareness of their relative value." Buddhism_sentence_307

There are different practices and exercises for training mindfulness in the early discourses, such as the four Satipaṭṭhānas (Sanskrit: smṛtyupasthāna, "establishments of mindfulness") and Ānāpānasati (Sanskrit: ānāpānasmṛti, "mindfulness of breathing"). Buddhism_sentence_308

A closely related mental faculty, which is often mentioned side by side with mindfulness, is sampajañña ("clear comprehension"). Buddhism_sentence_309

This faculty is the ability to comprehend what one is doing and is happening in the mind, and whether it is being influenced by unwholesome states or wholesome ones. Buddhism_sentence_310

Meditation – Samādhi and Dhyāna Buddhism_section_30

Main articles: Buddhist meditation, Samadhi, Samatha, and Rupajhana Buddhism_sentence_311

A wide range of meditation practices has developed in the Buddhist traditions, but "meditation" primarily refers to the attainment of samādhi and the practice of dhyāna (Pali: jhāna). Buddhism_sentence_312

Samādhi is a calm, undistracted, unified and concentrated state of consciousness. Buddhism_sentence_313

It is defined by Asanga as "one-pointedness of mind on the object to be investigated. Buddhism_sentence_314

Its function consists of giving a basis to knowledge (jñāna)." Buddhism_sentence_315

Dhyāna is "state of perfect equanimity and awareness (upekkhā-sati-parisuddhi)," reached through focused mental training. Buddhism_sentence_316

The practice of dhyāna aids in maintaining a calm mind, and avoiding disturbance of this calm mind by mindfulness of disturbing thoughts and feelings. Buddhism_sentence_317

Origins Buddhism_section_31

The earliest evidence of yogis and their meditative tradition, states Karel Werner, is found in the Keśin hymn 10.136 of the Rigveda. Buddhism_sentence_318

While evidence suggests meditation was practised in the centuries preceding the Buddha, the meditative methodologies described in the Buddhist texts are some of the earliest among texts that have survived into the modern era. Buddhism_sentence_319

These methodologies likely incorporate what existed before the Buddha as well as those first developed within Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_320

There is no scholarly agreement on the origin and source of the practice of dhyāna. Buddhism_sentence_321

Some scholars, like Bronkhorst, see the four dhyānas as a Buddhist invention. Buddhism_sentence_322

Alexander Wynne argues that the Buddha learned dhyāna from brahmanical teachers. Buddhism_sentence_323

Whatever the case, the Buddha taught meditation with a new focus and interpretation, particularly through the four dhyānas methodology, in which mindfulness is maintained. Buddhism_sentence_324

Further, the focus of meditation and the underlying theory of liberation guiding the meditation has been different in Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_325

For example, states Bronkhorst, the verse 4.4.23 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad with its "become calm, subdued, quiet, patiently enduring, concentrated, one sees soul in oneself" is most probably a meditative state. Buddhism_sentence_326

The Buddhist discussion of meditation is without the concept of soul and the discussion criticises both the ascetic meditation of Jainism and the "real self, soul" meditation of Hinduism. Buddhism_sentence_327

Four rupa-jhāna Buddhism_section_32

Buddhist texts teach various meditation schemas. Buddhism_sentence_328

One of the most prominent is that of the four rupa-jhānas (four meditations in the realm of form), which are "stages of progressively deepening concentration". Buddhism_sentence_329

According to Gethin, they are states of "perfect mindfulness, stillness and lucidity." Buddhism_sentence_330

They are described in the Pali Canon as trance-like states without desire. Buddhism_sentence_331

In the early texts, the Buddha is depicted as entering jhāna both before his awakening under the bodhi tree and also before his final nirvana (see: the Mahāsaccaka-sutta and the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta). Buddhism_sentence_332

The four rupa-jhānas are: Buddhism_sentence_333


  1. First jhāna: the first dhyana can be entered when one is secluded from sensuality and unskillful qualities, due to withdrawal and right effort. There is pīti ("rapture") and non-sensual sukha ("pleasure") as the result of seclusion, while vitarka-vicara (thought and examination) continues.Buddhism_item_3_15
  2. Second jhāna: there is pīti ("rapture") and non-sensual sukha ("pleasure") as the result of concentration (samadhi-ji, "born of samadhi"); ekaggata (unification of awareness) free from vitarka-vicara ("discursive thought"); sampasadana ("inner tranquility").Buddhism_item_3_16
  3. Third jhāna: pīti drops away, there is upekkhā (equanimous; "affective detachment"), and one is mindful, alert, and senses pleasure (sukha) with the body;Buddhism_item_3_17
  4. Fourth jhāna: a stage of "pure equanimity and mindfulness" (upekkhāsatipārisuddhi), without any pleasure or pain, happiness or sadness.Buddhism_item_3_18

There is a wide variety of scholarly opinions (both from modern scholars and from traditional Buddhists) on the interpretation of these meditative states as well as varying opinions on how to practice them. Buddhism_sentence_334

The formless attaiments Buddhism_section_33

Often grouped into the jhāna-scheme are four other meditative states, referred to in the early texts as arupa samāpattis (formless attainments). Buddhism_sentence_335

These are also referred to in commentarial literature as immaterial/formless jhānas (arūpajhānas). Buddhism_sentence_336

The first formless attainment is a place or realm of infinite space (ākāsānañcāyatana) without form or colour or shape. Buddhism_sentence_337

The second is termed the realm of infinite consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatana); the third is the realm of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana), while the fourth is the realm of "neither perception nor non-perception". Buddhism_sentence_338

The four rupa-jhānas in Buddhist practice lead to rebirth in successfully better rupa Brahma heavenly realms, while arupa-jhānas lead into arupa heavens. Buddhism_sentence_339

Meditation and insight Buddhism_section_34

See also: Meditation and insight and Yoga Buddhism_sentence_340

In the Pali canon, the Buddha outlines two meditative qualities which are mutually supportive: samatha (Pāli; Sanskrit: śamatha; "calm") and vipassanā (Sanskrit: vipaśyanā, insight). Buddhism_sentence_341

The Buddha compares these mental qualities to a "swift pair of messengers" who together help deliver the message of nibbana (SN 35.245). Buddhism_sentence_342

The various Buddhist traditions generally see Buddhist meditation as being divided into those two main types. Buddhism_sentence_343

Samatha is also called "calming meditation", and focuses on stilling and concentrating the mind i.e. developing samadhi and the four dhyānas. Buddhism_sentence_344

According to Damien Keown, vipassanā meanwhile, focuses on "the generation of penetrating and critical insight (paññā)". Buddhism_sentence_345

There are numerous doctrinal positions and disagreements within the different Buddhist traditions regarding these qualities or forms of meditation. Buddhism_sentence_346

For example, in the Pali Four Ways to Arahantship Sutta (AN 4.170), it is said that one can develop calm and then insight, or insight and then calm, or both at the same time. Buddhism_sentence_347

Meanwhile, in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā, vipaśyanā is said to be practiced once one has reached samadhi by cultivating the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthānas). Buddhism_sentence_348

Beginning with comments by La Vallee Poussin, a series of scholars have argued that these two meditation types reflect a tension between two different ancient Buddhist traditions regarding the use of dhyāna, one which focused on insight based practice and the other which focused purely on dhyāna. Buddhism_sentence_349

However, other scholars such as Analayo and Rupert Gethin have disagreed with this "two paths" thesis, instead seeing both of these practices as complementary. Buddhism_sentence_350

The Brahma-vihara Buddhism_section_35

Main article: Brahmavihara Buddhism_sentence_351

The four immeasurables or four abodes, also called Brahma-viharas, are virtues or directions for meditation in Buddhist traditions, which helps a person be reborn in the heavenly (Brahma) realm. Buddhism_sentence_352

These are traditionally believed to be a characteristic of the deity Brahma and the heavenly abode he resides in. Buddhism_sentence_353

The four Brahma-vihara are: Buddhism_sentence_354


  1. Loving-kindness (Pāli: mettā, Sanskrit: maitrī) is active good will towards all;Buddhism_item_4_19
  2. Compassion (Pāli and Sanskrit: karuṇā) results from metta; it is identifying the suffering of others as one's own;Buddhism_item_4_20
  3. Empathetic joy (Pāli and Sanskrit: muditā): is the feeling of joy because others are happy, even if one did not contribute to it; it is a form of sympathetic joy;Buddhism_item_4_21
  4. Equanimity (Pāli: upekkhā, Sanskrit: upekṣā): is even-mindedness and serenity, treating everyone impartially.Buddhism_item_4_22

According to Peter Harvey, the Buddhist scriptures acknowledge that the four Brahmavihara meditation practices "did not originate within the Buddhist tradition". Buddhism_sentence_355

The Brahmavihara (sometimes as Brahmaloka), along with the tradition of meditation and the above four immeasurables are found in pre-Buddha and post-Buddha Vedic and Sramanic literature. Buddhism_sentence_356

Aspects of the Brahmavihara practice for rebirths into the heavenly realm have been an important part of Buddhist meditation tradition. Buddhism_sentence_357

According to Gombrich, the Buddhist usage of the brahma-vihāra originally referred to an awakened state of mind, and a concrete attitude toward other beings which was equal to "living with Brahman" here and now. Buddhism_sentence_358

The later tradition took those descriptions too literally, linking them to cosmology and understanding them as "living with Brahman" by rebirth in the Brahma-world. Buddhism_sentence_359

According to Gombrich, "the Buddha taught that kindness – what Christians tend to call love – was a way to salvation." Buddhism_sentence_360

Tantra, visualization and the subtle body Buddhism_section_36

See also: Tibetan Tantric Practice and Vajrayana § Tantra_techniques Buddhism_sentence_361

Some Buddhist traditions, especially those associated with Tantric Buddhism (also known as Vajrayana and Secret Mantra) use images and symbols of deities and Buddhas in meditation. Buddhism_sentence_362

This is generally done by mentally visualizing a Buddha image (or some other mental image, like a symbol, a mandala, a syllable, etc.), and using that image to cultivate calm and insight. Buddhism_sentence_363

One may also visualize and identify oneself with the imagined deity. Buddhism_sentence_364

While visualization practices have been particularly popular in Vajrayana, they may also found in Mahayana and Theravada traditions. Buddhism_sentence_365

In Tibetan Buddhism, unique tantric techniques which include visualization (but also mantra recitation, mandalas, and other elements) are considered to be much more effective than non-tantric meditations and they are one of the most popular meditation methods. Buddhism_sentence_366

The methods of Unsurpassable Yoga Tantra, (anuttarayogatantra) are in turn seen as the highest and most advanced. Buddhism_sentence_367

Anuttarayoga practice is divided into two stages, the Generation Stage and the Completion Stage. Buddhism_sentence_368

In the Generation Stage, one meditates on emptiness and visualizes oneself as a deity as well as visualizing its mandala. Buddhism_sentence_369

The focus is on developing clear appearance and divine pride (the understanding that oneself and the deity are one). Buddhism_sentence_370

This method is also known as deity yoga (devata yoga). Buddhism_sentence_371

There are numerous meditation deities (yidam) used, each with a mandala, a circular symbolic map used in meditation. Buddhism_sentence_372

In the Completion Stage, one meditates on ultimate reality based on the image that has been generated. Buddhism_sentence_373

Completion Stage practices also include techniques such as tummo and phowa. Buddhism_sentence_374

These are said to work with subtle body elements, like the energy channels (nadi), vital essences (bindu), "vital winds" (vayu), and chakras. Buddhism_sentence_375

The subtle body energies are seen as influencing consciousness in powerful ways, and are thus used in order to generate the 'great bliss' (maha-sukha) which is used to attain the luminous nature of the mind and realization of the empty and illusory nature of all phenomena ("the illusory body"), which leads to enlightenment. Buddhism_sentence_376

Completion practices are often grouped into different systems, such as the six dharmas of Naropa, and the six yogas of Kalachakra. Buddhism_sentence_377

In Tibetan Buddhism, there are also practices and methods which are sometimes seen as being outside of the two tantric stages, mainly Mahamudra and Dzogchen (Atiyoga). Buddhism_sentence_378

Practice: monks, laity Buddhism_section_37

According to Peter Harvey, whenever Buddhism has been healthy, not only ordained but also more committed lay people have practised formal meditation. Buddhism_sentence_379

Loud devotional chanting however, adds Harvey, has been the most prevalent Buddhist practice and considered a form of meditation that produces "energy, joy, lovingkindness and calm", purifies mind and benefits the chanter. Buddhism_sentence_380

Throughout most of Buddhist history, meditation has been primarily practised in Buddhist monastic tradition, and historical evidence suggests that serious meditation by lay people has been an exception. Buddhism_sentence_381

In recent history, sustained meditation has been pursued by a minority of monks in Buddhist monasteries. Buddhism_sentence_382

Western interest in meditation has led to a revival where ancient Buddhist ideas and precepts are adapted to Western mores and interpreted liberally, presenting Buddhism as a meditation-based form of spirituality. Buddhism_sentence_383

Insight and knowledge Buddhism_section_38

Main articles: Prajñā, Bodhi, Kenshō, Satori, Subitism, and Vipassana Buddhism_sentence_384

Prajñā (Sanskrit) or paññā (Pāli) is wisdom, or knowledge of the true nature of existence. Buddhism_sentence_385

Another term which is associated with prajñā and sometimes is equivalent to it is vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit), which is often translated as "insight". Buddhism_sentence_386

In Buddhist texts, the faculty of insight is often said to be cultivated through the four establishments of mindfulness. Buddhism_sentence_387

In the early texts, Paññā is included as one of the "five faculties" (indriya) which are commonly listed as important spiritual elements to be cultivated (see for example: AN I 16). Buddhism_sentence_388

Paññā along with samadhi, is also listed as one of the "trainings in the higher states of mind" (adhicittasikkha). Buddhism_sentence_389

The Buddhist tradition regards ignorance (avidyā), a fundamental ignorance, misunderstanding or mis-perception of the nature of reality, as one of the basic causes of dukkha and samsara. Buddhism_sentence_390

Overcoming this ignorance is part of the path to awakening. Buddhism_sentence_391

This overcoming includes the contemplation of impermanence and the non-self nature of reality, and this develops dispassion for the objects of clinging, and liberates a being from dukkha and saṃsāra.</ref> Buddhism_sentence_392

Prajñā is important in all Buddhist traditions. Buddhism_sentence_393

It is variously described as wisdom regarding the impermanent and not-self nature of dharmas (phenomena), the functioning of karma and rebirth, and knowledge of dependent origination. Buddhism_sentence_394

Likewise, vipaśyanā is described in a similar way, such as in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, where it is said to be the contemplation of things as impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. Buddhism_sentence_395

Some scholars such as Bronkhorst and Vetter have argued that the idea that insight leads to liberation was a later development in Buddhism and that there are inconsistencies with the early Buddhist presentation of samadhi and insight. Buddhism_sentence_396

However, others such as Collett Cox and Damien Keown have argued that insight is a key aspect of the early Buddhist process of liberation, which cooperates with samadhi to remove the obstacles to enlightenment (i.e., the āsavas). Buddhism_sentence_397

In Theravāda Buddhism, the focus of vipassanā meditation is to continuously and thoroughly know how phenomena (dhammas) are impermanent (annica), not-Self (anatta) and dukkha. Buddhism_sentence_398

The most widely used method in modern Theravāda for the practice of vipassanā is that found in the Satipatthana Sutta. Buddhism_sentence_399

There is some disagreement in contemporary Theravāda regarding samatha and vipassanā. Buddhism_sentence_400

Some in the Vipassana Movement strongly emphasize the practice of insight over samatha, and other Theravadins disagree with this. Buddhism_sentence_401

In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the development of insight (vipaśyanā) and tranquility (śamatha) are also taught and practiced. Buddhism_sentence_402

The many different schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism have a large repertoire of meditation techniques to cultivate these qualities. Buddhism_sentence_403

These include visualization of various Buddhas, recitation of a Buddha's name, the use of tantric Buddhist mantras and dharanis. Buddhism_sentence_404

Insight in Mahāyāna Buddhism also includes gaining a direct understanding of certain Mahāyāna philosophical views, such as the emptiness view and the consciousness-only view. Buddhism_sentence_405

This can be seen in meditation texts such as Kamalaśīla's Bhāvanākrama ( "Stages of Meditation", 9th century), which teaches insight (vipaśyanā) from the Yogācāra-Madhyamaka perspective. Buddhism_sentence_406

Devotion Buddhism_section_39

Main article: Buddhist devotion Buddhism_sentence_407

According to Harvey, most forms of Buddhism "consider saddhā (Skt śraddhā), ‘trustful confidence’ or ‘faith’, as a quality which must be balanced by wisdom, and as a preparation for, or accompaniment of, meditation." Buddhism_sentence_408

Because of this devotion (Skt. bhakti; Pali: bhatti) is an important part of the practice of most Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_409

Devotional practices include ritual prayer, prostration, offerings, pilgrimage, and chanting. Buddhism_sentence_410

Buddhist devotion is usually focused on some object, image or location that is seen as holy or spiritually influential. Buddhism_sentence_411

Examples of objects of devotion include paintings or statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, stupas, and bodhi trees. Buddhism_sentence_412

Public group chanting for devotional and ceremonial is common to all Buddhist traditions and goes back to ancient India where chanting aided in the memorization of the orally transmitted teachings. Buddhism_sentence_413

Rosaries called malas are used in all Buddhist traditions to count repeated chanting of common formulas or mantras. Buddhism_sentence_414

Chanting is thus a type of devotional group meditation which leads to tranquility and communicates the Buddhist teachings. Buddhism_sentence_415

In East Asian Pure Land Buddhism, devotion to the Buddha Amitabha is the main practice. Buddhism_sentence_416

In Nichiren Buddhism, devotion to the Lotus Sutra is the main practice. Buddhism_sentence_417

Devotional practices such as pujas have been a common practice in Theravada Buddhism, where offerings and group prayers are made to deities and particularly images of Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_418

According to Karel Werner and other scholars, devotional worship has been a significant practice in Theravada Buddhism, and deep devotion is part of Buddhist traditions starting from the earliest days. Buddhism_sentence_419

Guru devotion is a central practice of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_420

The guru is considered essential and to the Buddhist devotee, the guru is the "enlightened teacher and ritual master" in Vajrayana spiritual pursuits. Buddhism_sentence_421

For someone seeking Buddhahood, the guru is the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, wrote the 12th-century Buddhist scholar Sadhanamala. Buddhism_sentence_422

The veneration of and obedience to teachers is also important in Theravada and Zen Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_423

Vegetarianism and animal ethics Buddhism_section_40

Main article: Buddhist vegetarianism Buddhism_sentence_424

Based on the Indian principle of ahimsa (non-harming), the Buddha's ethics strongly condemn the harming of all sentient beings, including all animals. Buddhism_sentence_425

He thus condemned the animal sacrifice of the brahmins as well hunting, and killing animals for food. Buddhism_sentence_426

This led to various policies by Buddhist kings such as Asoka meant to protect animals, such as the establishing of 'no slaughter days' and the banning of hunting on certain circumstances. Buddhism_sentence_427

However, early Buddhist texts depict the Buddha as allowing monastics to eat meat. Buddhism_sentence_428

This seems to be because monastics begged for their food and thus were supposed to accept whatever food was offered to them. Buddhism_sentence_429

This was tempered by the rule that meat had to be "three times clean" which meant that "they had not seen, had not heard, and had no reason to suspect that the animal had been killed so that the meat could be given to them". Buddhism_sentence_430

Also, while the Buddha did not explicitly promote vegetarianism in his discourses, he did state that gaining one's livelihood from the meat trade was unethical. Buddhism_sentence_431

However, this rule was not a promotion of a specific diet, but a rule against the actual killing of animals for food. Buddhism_sentence_432

There was also a famed schism which occurred in the Buddhist community when Devadatta attempted to make vegetarianism compulsory and the Buddha disagreed. Buddhism_sentence_433

In contrast to this, various Mahayana sutras and texts like the Mahaparinirvana sutra, Surangama sutra and the Lankavatara sutra state that the Buddha promoted vegetarianism out of compassion. Buddhism_sentence_434

Indian Mahayana thinkers like Shantideva promoted the avoidance of meat. Buddhism_sentence_435

Throughout history, the issue of whether Buddhists should be vegetarian has remained a much debated topic and there is a variety of opinions on this issue among modern Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_436

In the East Asian Buddhism, most monastics are expected to be vegetarian, and the practice is seen as very virtuous and it is taken up by some devout laypersons. Buddhism_sentence_437

Most Theravadins in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia do not practice vegetarianism and eat whatever is offered by the lay community, who are mostly also not vegetarians. Buddhism_sentence_438

But there are exceptions, some monks choose to be vegetarian and some abbots like Ajahn Sumedho have encouraged the lay community to donate vegetarian food to the monks. Buddhism_sentence_439

Mahasi Sayadaw meanwhile, has recommended vegetarianism as the best way to make sure one's meal is pure in three ways. Buddhism_sentence_440

Also, the new religious movement Santi Asoke, promotes vegetarianism. Buddhism_sentence_441

According to Peter Harvey, in the Theravada world, vegetarianism is "universally admired, but little practiced." Buddhism_sentence_442

Because of the rule against killing, in many Buddhist countries, most butchers and others who work in the meat trade are non-Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_443

Likewise, most Tibetan Buddhists have historically tended not to be vegetarian, however, there have been some strong debates and pro-vegetarian arguments by some pro-vegetarian Tibetans. Buddhism_sentence_444

Some influential figures have spoken and written in favor of vegetarianism throughout history, including well known figures like Shabkar and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who has mandated vegetarianism in all his monasteries. Buddhism_sentence_445

Buddhist texts Buddhism_section_41

Main article: Buddhist texts Buddhism_sentence_446

Buddhism, like all Indian religions, was initially an oral tradition in ancient times. Buddhism_sentence_447

The Buddha's words, the early doctrines, concepts, and their traditional interpretations were orally transmitted from one generation to the next. Buddhism_sentence_448

The earliest oral texts were transmitted in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, such as Pali, through the use of communal recitation and other mnemonic techniques. Buddhism_sentence_449

The first Buddhist canonical texts were likely written down in Sri Lanka, about 400 years after the Buddha died. Buddhism_sentence_450

The texts were part of the Tripitakas, and many versions appeared thereafter claiming to be the words of the Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_451

Scholarly Buddhist commentary texts, with named authors, appeared in India, around the 2nd century CE. Buddhism_sentence_452

These texts were written in Pali or Sanskrit, sometimes regional languages, as palm-leaf manuscripts, birch bark, painted scrolls, carved into temple walls, and later on paper. Buddhism_sentence_453

Unlike what the Bible is to Christianity and the Quran is to Islam, but like all major ancient Indian religions, there is no consensus among the different Buddhist traditions as to what constitutes the scriptures or a common canon in Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_454

The general belief among Buddhists is that the canonical corpus is vast. Buddhism_sentence_455

This corpus includes the ancient Sutras organised into Nikayas or Agamas, itself the part of three basket of texts called the Tripitakas. Buddhism_sentence_456

Each Buddhist tradition has its own collection of texts, much of which is translation of ancient Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts of India. Buddhism_sentence_457

The Chinese Buddhist canon, for example, includes 2184 texts in 55 volumes, while the Tibetan canon comprises 1108 texts – all claimed to have been spoken by the Buddha – and another 3461 texts composed by Indian scholars revered in the Tibetan tradition. Buddhism_sentence_458

The Buddhist textual history is vast; over 40,000 manuscripts – mostly Buddhist, some non-Buddhist – were discovered in 1900 in the Dunhuang Chinese cave alone. Buddhism_sentence_459

Early Buddhist texts Buddhism_section_42

Main article: Early Buddhist Texts Buddhism_sentence_460

The Early Buddhist Texts refers to the literature which is considered by modern scholars to be the earliest Buddhist material. Buddhism_sentence_461

The first four Pali Nikayas, and the corresponding Chinese Āgamas are generally considered to be among the earliest material. Buddhism_sentence_462

Apart from these, there are also fragmentary collections of EBT materials in other languages such as Sanskrit, Khotanese, Tibetan and Gāndhārī. Buddhism_sentence_463

The modern study of early Buddhism often relies on comparative scholarship using these various early Buddhist sources to identify parallel texts and common doctrinal content. Buddhism_sentence_464

One feature of these early texts are literary structures which reflect oral transmission, such as widespread repetition. Buddhism_sentence_465

The Tripitakas Buddhism_section_43

Main article: Tripiṭaka Buddhism_sentence_466

After the development of the different early Buddhist schools, these schools began to develop their own textual collections, which were termed Tripiṭakas (Triple Baskets). Buddhism_sentence_467

Many early Tripiṭakas, like the Pāli Tipitaka, were divided into three sections: Vinaya Pitaka (focuses on monastic rule), Sutta Pitaka (Buddhist discourses) and Abhidhamma Pitaka, which contain expositions and commentaries on the doctrine. Buddhism_sentence_468

The Pāli Tipitaka (also known as the Pali Canon) of the Theravada School constitutes the only complete collection of Buddhist texts in an Indic language which has survived until today. Buddhism_sentence_469

However, many Sutras, Vinayas and Abhidharma works from other schools survive in Chinese translation, as part of the Chinese Buddhist Canon. Buddhism_sentence_470

According to some sources, some early schools of Buddhism had five or seven pitakas. Buddhism_sentence_471

Much of the material in the Pali Canon is not specifically "Theravadin", but is instead the collection of teachings that this school preserved from the early, non-sectarian body of teachings. Buddhism_sentence_472

According to Peter Harvey, it contains material at odds with later Theravadin orthodoxy. Buddhism_sentence_473

He states: "The Theravadins, then, may have added texts to the Canon for some time, but they do not appear to have tampered with what they already had from an earlier period." Buddhism_sentence_474

Abhidharma and the commentaries Buddhism_section_44

A distinctive feature of many Tripitaka collections is the inclusion of a genre called Abhidharma, which dates from the 3rd century BCE and later. Buddhism_sentence_475

According to Collett Cox, the genre began as explanations and elaborations of the teachings in the suttas but over time evolved into an independent system of doctrinal exposition. Buddhism_sentence_476

Over time, the various Abhidharma traditions developed various disagreements which each other on points of doctrine, which were discussed in the different Abhidharma texts of these schools. Buddhism_sentence_477

The major Abhidharma collections which modern scholars have the most information about are those of the Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda schools. Buddhism_sentence_478

In Sri Lanka and South India, the Theravāda Abhidhamma system was the most influential. Buddhism_sentence_479

In addition to the Abhidharma project, some of the schools also began accumulating a literary tradition of scriptural commentary on their respective Tripitakas. Buddhism_sentence_480

These commentaries were particularly important in the Theravāda school, and the Pali commentaries (Aṭṭhakathā) remain influential today. Buddhism_sentence_481

Both Abhidhamma and the Pali commentaries influenced the Visuddhimagga, an important 5th-century text by the Theravada scholar Buddhaghosa, who also translated and compiled many of the Aṭṭhakathās from older Sinhalese sources. Buddhism_sentence_482

The Sarvāstivāda school was one of the most influential Abhidharma traditions in North India. Buddhism_sentence_483

The magnum opus of this tradition was the massive Abhidharma commentary called the Mahāvibhaṣa ('Great Commentary'), compiled at a great synod in Kashmir during the reign of Kanishka II (c. 158–176). Buddhism_sentence_484

The Abhidharmakosha of Vasubandhu is another very influential Abhidharma work from the northern tradition, which continues to be studied in East Asian Buddhism and in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_485

Mahāyāna texts Buddhism_section_45

Main article: Mahayana sutras Buddhism_sentence_486

The Mahāyāna sūtras are a very broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that the Mahāyāna Buddhist tradition holds are original teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_487

Modern historians generally hold that the first of these texts were composed probably around the 1st century BCE or 1st century CE. Buddhism_sentence_488

In Mahāyāna, these texts are generally given greater authority than the early Āgamas and Abhidharma literature, which are called "Śrāvakayāna" or "Hinayana" to distinguish them from Mahāyāna sūtras. Buddhism_sentence_489

Mahāyāna traditions mainly see these different classes of texts as being designed for different types of persons, with different levels of spiritual understanding. Buddhism_sentence_490

The Mahāyāna sūtras are mainly seen as being for those of "greater" capacity. Buddhism_sentence_491

The Mahāyāna sūtras often claim to articulate the Buddha's deeper, more advanced doctrines, reserved for those who follow the bodhisattva path. Buddhism_sentence_492

That path is explained as being built upon the motivation to liberate all living beings from unhappiness. Buddhism_sentence_493

Hence the name Mahāyāna (lit., the Great Vehicle). Buddhism_sentence_494

Besides the teaching of the bodhisattva, Mahāyāna texts also contain expanded cosmologies and mythologies, with many more Buddhas and powerful bodhisattvas, as well as new spiritual practices and ideas. Buddhism_sentence_495

The modern Theravada school does not treat the Mahāyāna sūtras as authoritative or authentic teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism_sentence_496

Likewise, these texts were not recognized as authoritative by many early Buddhist schools and in some cases, communities such as the Mahāsāṃghika school split up due to this disagreement. Buddhism_sentence_497

Recent scholarship has discovered many early Mahāyāna texts which shed light into the development of Mahāyāna. Buddhism_sentence_498

Among these is the Śālistamba Sutra which survives in Tibetan and Chinese translation. Buddhism_sentence_499

This text contains numerous sections which are remarkably similar to Pali suttas. Buddhism_sentence_500

The Śālistamba Sutra was cited by Mahāyāna scholars such as the 8th-century Yasomitra to be authoritative. Buddhism_sentence_501

This suggests that Buddhist literature of different traditions shared a common core of Buddhist texts in the early centuries of its history, until Mahāyāna literature diverged about and after the 1st century CE. Buddhism_sentence_502

Mahāyāna also has a very large literature of philosophical and exegetical texts. Buddhism_sentence_503

These are often called śāstra (treatises) or vrittis (commentaries). Buddhism_sentence_504

Some of this literature was also written in verse form (karikās), the most famous of which is the Mūlamadhyamika-karikā (Root Verses on the Middle Way) by Nagarjuna, the foundational text of the Madhyamika school. Buddhism_sentence_505

Tantric texts Buddhism_section_46

Main article: Tantras (Buddhism) Buddhism_sentence_506

During the Gupta Empire, a new class of Buddhist sacred literature began to develop, which are called the Tantras. Buddhism_sentence_507

By the 8th century, the tantric tradition was very influential in India and beyond. Buddhism_sentence_508

Besides drawing on a Mahāyāna Buddhist framework, these texts also borrowed deities and material from other Indian religious traditions, such as the Śaiva and Pancharatra traditions, local god/goddess cults, and local spirit worship (such as yaksha or nāga spirits). Buddhism_sentence_509

Some features of these texts include the widespread use of mantras, meditation on the subtle body, worship of fierce deities, and antinomian and practices such as ingesting alcohol and performing sexual rituals. Buddhism_sentence_510

History Buddhism_section_47

Main article: History of Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_511

Historical roots Buddhism_section_48

Historically, the roots of Buddhism lie in the religious thought of Iron Age India around the middle of the first millennium BCE. Buddhism_sentence_512

This was a period of great intellectual ferment and socio-cultural change known as the "Second urbanisation", marked by the growth of towns and trade, the composition of the Upanishads and the historical emergence of the Śramaṇa traditions. Buddhism_sentence_513

New ideas developed both in the Vedic tradition in the form of the Upanishads, and outside of the Vedic tradition through the Śramaṇa movements. Buddhism_sentence_514

The term Śramaṇa refers to several Indian religious movements parallel to but separate from the historical Vedic religion, including Buddhism, Jainism and others such as Ājīvika. Buddhism_sentence_515

Several Śramaṇa movements are known to have existed in India before the 6th century BCE (pre-Buddha, pre-Mahavira), and these influenced both the āstika and nāstika traditions of Indian philosophy. Buddhism_sentence_516

According to Martin Wilshire, the Śramaṇa tradition evolved in India over two phases, namely Paccekabuddha and Savaka phases, the former being the tradition of individual ascetic and the latter of disciples, and that Buddhism and Jainism ultimately emerged from these. Buddhism_sentence_517

Brahmanical and non-Brahmanical ascetic groups shared and used several similar ideas, but the Śramaṇa traditions also drew upon already established Brahmanical concepts and philosophical roots, states Wiltshire, to formulate their own doctrines. Buddhism_sentence_518

Brahmanical motifs can be found in the oldest Buddhist texts, using them to introduce and explain Buddhist ideas. Buddhism_sentence_519

For example, prior to Buddhist developments, the Brahmanical tradition internalised and variously reinterpreted the three Vedic sacrificial fires as concepts such as Truth, Rite, Tranquility or Restraint. Buddhism_sentence_520

Buddhist texts also refer to the three Vedic sacrificial fires, reinterpreting and explaining them as ethical conduct. Buddhism_sentence_521

The Śramaṇa religions challenged and broke with the Brahmanic tradition on core assumptions such as Atman (soul, self), Brahman, the nature of afterlife, and they rejected the authority of the Vedas and Upanishads. Buddhism_sentence_522

Buddhism was one among several Indian religions that did so. Buddhism_sentence_523

Indian Buddhism Buddhism_section_49

Main article: History of Buddhism in India Buddhism_sentence_524

The history of Indian Buddhism may be divided into five periods: Early Buddhism (occasionally called pre-sectarian Buddhism), Nikaya Buddhism or Sectarian Buddhism: The period of the early Buddhist schools, Early Mahayana Buddhism, Late Mahayana, and the era of Vajrayana or the "Tantric Age". Buddhism_sentence_525

Pre-sectarian Buddhism Buddhism_section_50

Main article: Pre-sectarian Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_526

According to Lambert Schmithausen Pre-sectarian Buddhism is "the canonical period prior to the development of different schools with their different positions." Buddhism_sentence_527

The early Buddhist Texts include the four principal Pali Nikāyas (and their parallel Agamas found in the Chinese canon) together with the main body of monastic rules, which survive in the various versions of the patimokkha. Buddhism_sentence_528

However, these texts were revised over time, and it is unclear what constitutes the earliest layer of Buddhist teachings. Buddhism_sentence_529

One method to obtain information on the oldest core of Buddhism is to compare the oldest extant versions of the Theravadin Pāli Canon and other texts. Buddhism_sentence_530

The reliability of the early sources, and the possibility to draw out a core of oldest teachings, is a matter of dispute. Buddhism_sentence_531

According to Vetter, inconsistencies remain, and other methods must be applied to resolve those inconsistencies. Buddhism_sentence_532

According to Schmithausen, three positions held by scholars of Buddhism can be distinguished: Buddhism_sentence_533


  1. "Stress on the fundamental homogeneity and substantial authenticity of at least a considerable part of the Nikayic materials;"Buddhism_item_5_23
  2. "Scepticism with regard to the possibility of retrieving the doctrine of earliest Buddhism;"Buddhism_item_5_24
  3. "Cautious optimism in this respect."Buddhism_item_5_25
The Core teachings Buddhism_section_51

According to Mitchell, certain basic teachings appear in many places throughout the early texts, which has led most scholars to conclude that Gautama Buddha must have taught something similar to the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Nirvana, the three marks of existence, the five aggregates, dependent origination, karma and rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_534

According to N. Ross Reat, all of these doctrines are shared by the Theravada Pali texts and the Mahasamghika school's Śālistamba Sūtra. Buddhism_sentence_535

A recent study by Bhikkhu Analayo concludes that the Theravada Majjhima Nikaya and Sarvastivada Madhyama Agama contain mostly the same major doctrines. Buddhism_sentence_536

Richard Salomon, in his study of the Gandharan texts (which are the earliest manuscripts containing early discourses), has confirmed that their teachings are "consistent with non-Mahayana Buddhism, which survives today in the Theravada school of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, but which in ancient times was represented by eighteen separate schools." Buddhism_sentence_537

However, some scholars argue that critical analysis reveals discrepancies among the various doctrines found in these early texts, which point to alternative possibilities for early Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_538

The authenticity of certain teachings and doctrines have been questioned. Buddhism_sentence_539

For example, some scholars think that karma was not central to the teaching of the historical Buddha, while other disagree with this position. Buddhism_sentence_540

Likewise, there is scholarly disagreement on whether insight was seen as liberating in early Buddhism or whether it was a later addition to the practice of the four jhānas. Buddhism_sentence_541

Scholars such as Bronkhorst also think that the four noble truths may not have been formulated in earliest Buddhism, and did not serve in earliest Buddhism as a description of "liberating insight". Buddhism_sentence_542

According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may initially have been as simple as the term "the middle way". Buddhism_sentence_543

In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path. Buddhism_sentence_544

Ashokan Era and the early schools Buddhism_section_52

Main articles: Early Buddhist schools, Buddhist councils, and Theravada Buddhism_sentence_545

According to numerous Buddhist scriptures, soon after the parinirvāṇa (from Sanskrit: "highest extinguishment") of Gautama Buddha, the first Buddhist council was held to collectively recite the teachings to ensure that no errors occurred in oral transmission. Buddhism_sentence_546

Many modern scholars question the historicity of this event. Buddhism_sentence_547

However, Richard Gombrich states that the monastic assembly recitations of the Buddha's teaching likely began during Buddha's lifetime, and they served a similar role of codifying the teachings. Buddhism_sentence_548

The so called Second Buddhist council resulted in the first schism in the Sangha. Buddhism_sentence_549

Modern scholars believe that this was probably caused when a group of reformists called Sthaviras ("elders") sought to modify the Vinaya (monastic rule), and this caused a split with the conservatives who rejected this change, they were called Mahāsāṃghikas. Buddhism_sentence_550

While most scholars accept that this happened at some point, there is no agreement on the dating, especially if it dates to before or after the reign of Ashoka. Buddhism_sentence_551

Buddhism may have spread only slowly throughout India until the time of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (304–232 BCE), who was a public supporter of the religion. Buddhism_sentence_552

The support of Aśoka and his descendants led to the construction of more stūpas (such as at Sanchi and Bharhut), temples (such as the Mahabodhi Temple) and to its spread throughout the Maurya Empire and into neighbouring lands such as Central Asia and to the island of Sri Lanka. Buddhism_sentence_553

During and after the Mauryan period (322–180 BCE), the Sthavira community gave rise to several schools, one of which was the Theravada school which tended to congregate in the south and another which was the Sarvāstivāda school, which was mainly in north India. Buddhism_sentence_554

Likewise, the Mahāsāṃghika groups also eventually split into different Sanghas. Buddhism_sentence_555

Originally, these schisms were caused by disputes over monastic disciplinary codes of various fraternities, but eventually, by about 100 CE if not earlier, schisms were being caused by doctrinal disagreements too. Buddhism_sentence_556

Following (or leading up to) the schisms, each Saṅgha started to accumulate their own version of Tripiṭaka (triple basket of texts). Buddhism_sentence_557

In their Tripiṭaka, each school included the Suttas of the Buddha, a Vinaya basket (disciplinary code) and some schools also added an Abhidharma basket which were texts on detailed scholastic classification, summary and interpretation of the Suttas. Buddhism_sentence_558

The doctrine details in the Abhidharmas of various Buddhist schools differ significantly, and these were composed starting about the third century BCE and through the 1st millennium CE. Buddhism_sentence_559

Post-Ashokan expansion Buddhism_section_53

Main article: Silk Road transmission of Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_560

According to the edicts of Aśoka, the Mauryan emperor sent emissaries to various countries west of India to spread "Dharma", particularly in eastern provinces of the neighbouring Seleucid Empire, and even farther to Hellenistic kingdoms of the Mediterranean. Buddhism_sentence_561

It is a matter of disagreement among scholars whether or not these emissaries were accompanied by Buddhist missionaries. Buddhism_sentence_562

In central and west Asia, Buddhist influence grew, through Greek-speaking Buddhist monarchs and ancient Asian trade routes, a phenomenon known as Greco-Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_563

An example of this is evidenced in Chinese and Pali Buddhist records, such as Milindapanha and the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhāra. Buddhism_sentence_564

The Milindapanha describes a conversation between a Buddhist monk and the 2nd-century BCE Greek king Menander, after which Menander abdicates and himself goes into monastic life in the pursuit of nirvana. Buddhism_sentence_565

Some scholars have questioned the Milindapanha version, expressing doubts whether Menander was Buddhist or just favourably disposed to Buddhist monks. Buddhism_sentence_566

The Kushan empire (30–375 CE) came to control the Silk Road trade through Central and South Asia, which brought them to interact with Gandharan Buddhism and the Buddhist institutions of these regions. Buddhism_sentence_567

The Kushans patronised Buddhism throughout their lands, and many Buddhist centers were built or renovated (the Sarvastivada school was particularly favored), especially by Emperor Kanishka (128–151 CE). Buddhism_sentence_568

Kushan support helped Buddhism to expand into a world religion through their trade routes. Buddhism_sentence_569

Buddhism spread to Khotan, the Tarim Basin, and China, eventually to other parts of the far east. Buddhism_sentence_570

Some of the earliest written documents of the Buddhist faith are the Gandharan Buddhist texts, dating from about the 1st century CE, and connected to the Dharmaguptaka school. Buddhism_sentence_571

The Islamic conquest of the Iranian Plateau in the 7th-century, followed by the Muslim conquests of Afghanistan and the later establishment of the Ghaznavid kingdom with Islam as the state religion in Central Asia between the 10th- and 12th-century led to the decline and disappearance of Buddhism from most of these regions. Buddhism_sentence_572

Mahāyāna Buddhism Buddhism_section_54

Main article: Mahāyāna Buddhism_sentence_573

The origins of Mahāyāna ("Great Vehicle") Buddhism are not well understood and there are various competing theories about how and where this movement arose. Buddhism_sentence_574

Theories include the idea that it began as various groups venerating certain texts or that it arose as a strict forest ascetic movement. Buddhism_sentence_575

The first Mahāyāna works were written sometime between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Buddhism_sentence_576

Much of the early extant evidence for the origins of Mahāyāna comes from early Chinese translations of Mahāyāna texts, mainly those of Lokakṣema. Buddhism_sentence_577

(2nd century CE). Buddhism_sentence_578

Some scholars have traditionally considered the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras to include the first versions of the Prajnaparamita series, along with texts concerning Akṣobhya, which were probably composed in the 1st century BCE in the south of India. Buddhism_sentence_579

There is no evidence that Mahāyāna ever referred to a separate formal school or sect of Buddhism, with a separate monastic code (Vinaya), but rather that it existed as a certain set of ideals, and later doctrines, for bodhisattvas. Buddhism_sentence_580

Records written by Chinese monks visiting India indicate that both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna monks could be found in the same monasteries, with the difference that Mahāyāna monks worshipped figures of Bodhisattvas, while non-Mahayana monks did not. Buddhism_sentence_581

Mahāyāna initially seems to have remained a small minority movement that was in tension with other Buddhist groups, struggling for wider acceptance. Buddhism_sentence_582

However, during the fifth and sixth centuries CE, there seems to have been a rapid growth of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which is shown by a large increase in epigraphic and manuscript evidence in this period. Buddhism_sentence_583

However, it still remained a minority in comparison to other Buddhist schools. Buddhism_sentence_584

Mahāyāna Buddhist institutions continued to grow in influence during the following centuries, with large monastic university complexes such as Nalanda (established by the 5th-century CE Gupta emperor, Kumaragupta I) and Vikramashila (established under Dharmapala c. 783 to 820) becoming quite powerful and influential. Buddhism_sentence_585

During this period of Late Mahāyāna, four major types of thought developed: Mādhyamaka, Yogācāra, Buddha-nature (Tathāgatagarbha), and the epistemological tradition of Dignaga and Dharmakirti. Buddhism_sentence_586

According to Dan Lusthaus, Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra have a great deal in common, and the commonality stems from early Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_587

Late Indian Buddhism and Tantra Buddhism_section_55

Main article: Vajrayana Buddhism_sentence_588

During the Gupta period (4th–6th centuries) and the empire of Harṣavardana (c. 590–647 CE), Buddhism continued to be influential in India, and large Buddhist learning institutions such as Nalanda and Valabahi Universities were at their peak. Buddhism_sentence_589

Buddhism also flourished under the support of the Pāla Empire (8th–12th centuries). Buddhism_sentence_590

Under the Guptas and Palas, Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana developed and rose to prominence. Buddhism_sentence_591

It promoted new practices such as the use of mantras, dharanis, mudras, mandalas and the visualization of deities and Buddhas and developed a new class of literature, the Buddhist Tantras. Buddhism_sentence_592

This new esoteric form of Buddhism can be traced back to groups of wandering yogi magicians called mahasiddhas. Buddhism_sentence_593

The question of the origins of early Vajrayana has been taken up by various scholars. Buddhism_sentence_594

David Seyfort Ruegg has suggested that Buddhist tantra employed various elements of a "pan-Indian religious substrate" which is not specifically Buddhist, Shaiva or Vaishnava. Buddhism_sentence_595

According to Indologist Alexis Sanderson, various classes of Vajrayana literature developed as a result of royal courts sponsoring both Buddhism and Saivism. Buddhism_sentence_596

Sanderson has argued that Buddhist tantras can be shown to have borrowed practices, terms, rituals and more form Shaiva tantras. Buddhism_sentence_597

He argues that Buddhist texts even directly copied various Shaiva tantras, especially the Bhairava Vidyapitha tantras. Buddhism_sentence_598

Ronald M. Davidson meanwhile, argues that Sanderson's claims for direct influence from Shaiva Vidyapitha texts are problematic because "the chronology of the Vidyapitha tantras is by no means so well established" and that the Shaiva tradition also appropriated non-Hindu deities, texts and traditions. Buddhism_sentence_599

Thus while "there can be no question that the Buddhist tantras were heavily influenced by Kapalika and other Saiva movements" argues Davidson, "the influence was apparently mutual." Buddhism_sentence_600

Already during this later era, Buddhism was losing state support in other regions of India, including the lands of the Karkotas, the Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas, the Pandyas and the Pallavas. Buddhism_sentence_601

This loss of support in favor of Hindu faiths like Vaishnavism and Shaivism, is the beginning of the long and complex period of the Decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent. Buddhism_sentence_602

The Islamic invasions and conquest of India (10th to 12th century), further damaged and destroyed many Buddhist institutions, leading to its eventual near disappearance from India by the 1200s. Buddhism_sentence_603

Spread to East and Southeast Asia Buddhism_section_56

The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to China is most commonly thought to have started in the late 2nd or the 1st century CE, though the literary sources are all open to question. Buddhism_sentence_604

The first documented translation efforts by foreign Buddhist monks in China were in the 2nd century CE, probably as a consequence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin. Buddhism_sentence_605

The first documented Buddhist texts translated into Chinese are those of the Parthian An Shigao (148–180 CE). Buddhism_sentence_606

The first known Mahāyāna scriptural texts are translations into Chinese by the Kushan monk Lokakṣema in Luoyang, between 178 and 189 CE. Buddhism_sentence_607

From China, Buddhism was introduced into its neighbours Korea (4th century), Japan (6th–7th centuries), and Vietnam (c. 1st–2nd centuries). Buddhism_sentence_608

During the Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907), Chinese Esoteric Buddhism was introduced from India and Chan Buddhism (Zen) became a major religion. Buddhism_sentence_609

Chan continued to grow in the Song dynasty (960–1279) and it was during this era that it strongly influenced Korean Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_610

Pure Land Buddhism also became popular during this period and was often practised together with Chan. Buddhism_sentence_611

It was also during the Song that the entire Chinese canon was printed using over 130,000 wooden printing blocks. Buddhism_sentence_612

During the Indian period of Esoteric Buddhism (from the 8th century onwards), Buddhism spread from India to Tibet and Mongolia. Buddhism_sentence_613

Johannes Bronkhorst states that the esoteric form was attractive because it allowed both a secluded monastic community as well as the social rites and rituals important to laypersons and to kings for the maintenance of a political state during succession and wars to resist invasion. Buddhism_sentence_614

During the Middle Ages, Buddhism slowly declined in India, while it vanished from Persia and Central Asia as Islam became the state religion. Buddhism_sentence_615

The Theravada school arrived in Sri Lanka sometime in the 3rd century BCE. Buddhism_sentence_616

Sri Lanka became a base for its later spread to southeast Asia after the 5th century CE (Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and coastal Vietnam). Buddhism_sentence_617

Theravada Buddhism was the dominant religion in Burma during the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom (1287–1552). Buddhism_sentence_618

It also became dominant in the Khmer Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries and in the Thai Sukhothai Kingdom during the reign of Ram Khamhaeng (1237/1247–1298). Buddhism_sentence_619

Schools and traditions Buddhism_section_57

Main articles: Schools of Buddhism and Timeline of Buddhism § Common Era Buddhism_sentence_620

Buddhists generally classify themselves as either Theravāda or Mahāyāna. Buddhism_sentence_621

This classification is also used by some scholars and is the one ordinarily used in the English language. Buddhism_sentence_622

An alternative scheme used by some scholars divides Buddhism into the following three traditions or geographical or cultural areas: Theravāda (or "Southern Buddhism", "South Asian Buddhism"), East Asian Buddhism (or just "Eastern Buddhism") and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (or "Northern Buddhism"). Buddhism_sentence_623

Some scholars use other schemes. Buddhism_sentence_624

Buddhists themselves have a variety of other schemes. Buddhism_sentence_625

Hinayana (literally "lesser or inferior vehicle") is sometimes used by Mahāyāna followers to name the family of early philosophical schools and traditions from which contemporary Theravāda emerged, but as the Hinayana term is considered derogatory, a variety of other terms are used instead, including: Śrāvakayāna, Nikaya Buddhism, early Buddhist schools, sectarian Buddhism and conservative Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_626

Not all traditions of Buddhism share the same philosophical outlook, or treat the same concepts as central. Buddhism_sentence_627

Each tradition, however, does have its own core concepts, and some comparisons can be drawn between them: Buddhism_sentence_628


  • Both Theravāda and Mahāyāna accept and revere the Buddha Sakyamuni as the founder, Mahāyāna also reveres numerous other Buddhas, such as Amitabha or Vairocana as well as many other bodhisattvas not revered in Theravāda.Buddhism_item_6_26
  • Both accept the Middle Way, Dependent origination, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Jewels, the Three marks of existence and the Bodhipakṣadharmas (aids to awakening).Buddhism_item_6_27
  • Mahāyāna focuses mainly on the bodhisattva path to Buddhahood which it sees as universal and to be practiced by all persons, while Theravāda does not focus on teaching this path and teaches the attainment of arhatship as a worthy goal to strive towards. The bodhisattva path is not denied in Theravāda, it is generally seen as a long and difficult path suitable for only a few. Thus the Bodhisattva path is normative in Mahāyāna, while it is an optional path for a heroic few in Theravāda.Buddhism_item_6_28
  • Mahāyāna sees the arhat's nirvana as being imperfect and inferior or preliminary to full Buddhahood. It sees arhatship as selfish, since bodhisattvas vow to save all beings while arhats save only themselves. Theravāda meanwhile does not accept that the arhat's nirvana is an inferior or preliminary attainment, nor that it is a selfish deed to attain arhatship since not only are arhats described as compassionate but they have destroyed the root of greed, the sense of "I am".Buddhism_item_6_29
  • Mahāyāna accepts the authority of the many Mahāyāna sutras along with the other Nikaya texts like the Agamas and the Pali canon (though it sees Mahāyāna texts as primary), while Theravāda does not accept that the Mahāyāna sutras are buddhavacana (word of the Buddha) at all.Buddhism_item_6_30

Theravāda school Buddhism_section_58

Main article: Theravāda Buddhism_sentence_629

The Theravāda tradition bases itself on the Pāli Canon, considers itself to be the more orthodox form of Buddhism and tends to be more conservative in doctrine and monastic discipline. Buddhism_sentence_630

The Pāli Canon is the only complete Buddhist canon surviving in an ancient Indian language. Buddhism_sentence_631

This language, Pāli, serves as the school's sacred language and lingua franca. Buddhism_sentence_632

Besides the Pāli Canon, Theravāda scholastics also often rely on a post-canonical Pāli literature which comments on and interprets the Pāli Canon. Buddhism_sentence_633

These later works such as the Visuddhimagga, a doctrinal summa written in the fifth century by the exegete Buddhaghosa also remain influential today. Buddhism_sentence_634

Theravāda derives from the Mahāvihāra (Tāmraparṇīya) sect, a Sri Lankan branch of the Vibhajyavāda Sthaviras, which began to establish itself on the island from the 3rd century BCE onwards. Buddhism_sentence_635

Theravāda flourished in south India and Sri Lanka in ancient times; from there it spread for the first time into mainland southeast Asia about the 11th century into its elite urban centres. Buddhism_sentence_636

By the 13th century, Theravāda had spread widely into the rural areas of mainland southeast Asia, displacing Mahayana Buddhism and some traditions of Hinduism. Buddhism_sentence_637

In the modern era, Buddhist figures such as Anagarika Dhammapala and King Mongkut sought to re-focus the tradition on the Pāli Canon, as well as emphasize the rational and "scientific" nature of Theravāda while also opposing "superstition". Buddhism_sentence_638

This movement, often termed Buddhist modernism, has influenced most forms of modern Theravāda. Buddhism_sentence_639

Another influential modern turn in Theravāda is the Vipassana Movement, which led to the widespread adoption of meditation by laypersons. Buddhism_sentence_640

Theravāda is primarily practised today in Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia as well as small portions of China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Buddhism_sentence_641

It has a growing presence in the west, especially as part of the Vipassana Movement. Buddhism_sentence_642

Mahāyāna traditions Buddhism_section_59

Main article: Mahāyāna Buddhism_sentence_643

Mahāyāna ("Great Vehicle") refers to all forms of Buddhism which consider the Mahāyāna Sutras as authoritative scriptures and accurate rendering of Buddha's words. Buddhism_sentence_644

These traditions have been the more liberal form of Buddhism allowing different and new interpretations that emerged over time. Buddhism_sentence_645

The focus of Mahāyāna is the path of the bodhisattva (bodhisattvayāna), though what this path means is interpreted in many different ways. Buddhism_sentence_646

The first Mahāyāna texts date to sometime between the 1st century BCE and the 2st century CE. Buddhism_sentence_647

It remained a minority movement until the time of the Guptas and Palas, when great Mahāyāna monastic centres of learning such as Nālandā University were established as evidenced by records left by three Chinese visitors to India. Buddhism_sentence_648

These universities supported Buddhist scholarship, as well as studies into non-Buddhist traditions and secular subjects such as medicine. Buddhism_sentence_649

They hosted visiting students who then spread Buddhism to East and Central Asia. Buddhism_sentence_650

Native Mahāyāna Buddhism is practised today in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, parts of Russia and most of Vietnam (also commonly referred to as "Eastern Buddhism"). Buddhism_sentence_651

The Buddhism practised in Tibet, the Himalayan regions, and Mongolia is also a form of Mahāyāna, but is also different in many ways due to its adoption of tantric practices and is discussed below under the heading of "Vajrayāna" (also commonly referred to as "Northern Buddhism"). Buddhism_sentence_652

There are a variety of strands in Eastern Buddhism, of which "the Pure Land school of Mahāyāna is the most widely practised today." Buddhism_sentence_653

In most of China, these different strands and traditions are generally fused together. Buddhism_sentence_654

Vietnamese Mahāyāna is similarly very eclectic. Buddhism_sentence_655

In Japan in particular, they form separate denominations with the five major ones being: Nichiren, peculiar to Japan; Pure Land; Shingon, a form of Vajrayana; Tendai, and Zen. Buddhism_sentence_656

In Korea, nearly all Buddhists belong to the Chogye school, which is officially Son (Zen), but with substantial elements from other traditions. Buddhism_sentence_657

Vajrayāna traditions Buddhism_section_60

Main article: Vajrayana Buddhism_sentence_658

The goal and philosophy of the Vajrayāna remains Mahāyānist, but its methods are seen by its followers as far more powerful, so as to lead to Buddhahood in just one lifetime. Buddhism_sentence_659

The practice of using mantras was adopted from Hinduism, where they were first used in the Vedas. Buddhism_sentence_660

Tibetan Buddhism preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India. Buddhism_sentence_661

Tantric Buddhism is largely concerned with ritual and meditative practices. Buddhism_sentence_662

A central feature of Buddhist Tantra is deity yoga which includes visualisation and identification with an enlightened yidam or meditation deity and its associated mandala. Buddhism_sentence_663

Another element of Tantra is the need for ritual initiation or empowerment (abhiṣeka) by a Guru or Lama. Buddhism_sentence_664

Some Tantras like the Guhyasamāja Tantra features new forms of antinomian ritual practice such as the use taboo substances like alcohol, sexual yoga, and charnel ground practices which evoke wrathful deities. Buddhism_sentence_665

Monasteries and temples Buddhism_section_61

Buddhist institutions are often housed and centered around monasteries (Sanskrit:viharas) and temples. Buddhism_sentence_666

Buddhist monastics originally followed a life of wandering, never staying in one place for long. Buddhism_sentence_667

During the three month rainy season (vassa) they would gather together in one place for a period of intense practice and then depart again. Buddhism_sentence_668

Some of the earliest Buddhist monasteries were at groves (vanas) or woods (araññas), such as Jetavana and Sarnath's Deer Park. Buddhism_sentence_669

There originally seems to have been two main types of monasteries, monastic settlements (sangharamas) were built and supported by donors, and woodland camps (avasas) were set up by monks. Buddhism_sentence_670

Whatever structures were built in these locales were made out of wood and were sometimes temporary structures built for the rainy season. Buddhism_sentence_671

Over time, the wandering community slowly adopted more settled cenobitic forms of monasticism. Buddhism_sentence_672

Also, these monasteries slowly evolved from the simpler collections of rustic dwellings of early Buddhism into larger more permanent structures meant to house the entire community, who now lived in a more collective fashion. Buddhism_sentence_673

During the Gupta era, even larger monastic university complexes (like Nalanda) arose, with larger and more artistically ornate structures, as well as large land grants and accumulated wealth. Buddhism_sentence_674

There are many different forms of Buddhist structures. Buddhism_sentence_675

Classic Indian Buddhist institutions mainly made use of the following structures: monasteries, rock-hewn cave complexes (such as the Ajanta Caves), stupas (funerary mounds which contained relics), and temples such as the Mahabodhi Temple. Buddhism_sentence_676

In Southeast Asia, the most widespread institutions are centered on wats, which refers to an establishment with various buildings such as an ordination hall, a library, monks' quarters and stupas. Buddhism_sentence_677

East Asian Buddhist institutions also use various structures including monastic halls, temples, lecture halls, bell towers and pagodas. Buddhism_sentence_678

In Japanese Buddhist temples, these different structures are usually grouped together in an area termed the garan. Buddhism_sentence_679

In Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist institutions are generally housed in gompas. Buddhism_sentence_680

They include monastic quarters, stupas and prayer halls with Buddha images. Buddhism_sentence_681

The complexity of Buddhist institutions varies, ranging from minimalist and rustic forest monasteries to large monastic centers like Tawang Monastery. Buddhism_sentence_682

The core of traditional Buddhist institutions is the monastic community (Sangha) who manage and lead religious services. Buddhism_sentence_683

They are supported by the lay community who visit temples and monasteries for religious services and holidays. Buddhism_sentence_684

In the modern era, the Buddhist "meditation centre", which is mostly used by laypersons and often also staffed by them, has also become widespread. Buddhism_sentence_685

Buddhism in the modern era Buddhism_section_62

Main articles: Buddhism by country, Western Buddhism, and Buddhist modernism Buddhism_sentence_686

Colonial era Buddhism_section_63

Buddhism has faced various challenges and changes during the colonisation of Buddhist states by Christian countries and its persecution under modern states. Buddhism_sentence_687

Like other religions, the findings of modern science has challenged its basic premises. Buddhism_sentence_688

One response to some of these challenges has come to be called Buddhist modernism. Buddhism_sentence_689

Early Buddhist modernist figures such as the American convert Henry Olcott (1832–1907) and Anagarika Dharmapala (1864–1933) reinterpreted and promoted Buddhism as a scientific and rational religion which they saw as compatible with modern science. Buddhism_sentence_690

East Asian Buddhism meanwhile suffered under various wars which ravaged China during the modern era, such as the Taiping rebellion and World War II (which also affected Korean Buddhism). Buddhism_sentence_691

During the Republican period (1912–49), a new movement called Humanistic Buddhism was developed by figures such as Taixu (1899–1947), and though Buddhist institutions were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), there has been a revival of the religion in China after 1977. Buddhism_sentence_692

Japanese Buddhism also went through a period of modernisation during the Meiji period. Buddhism_sentence_693

In Central Asia meanwhile, the arrival of Communist repression to Tibet (1966–1980) and Mongolia (between 1924–1990) had a strong negative impact on Buddhist institutions, though the situation has improved somewhat since the 80s and 90s. Buddhism_sentence_694

Buddhism in the West Buddhism_section_64

While there were some encounters of Western travellers or missionaries such as St. Francis Xavier and Ippolito Desideri with Buddhist cultures, it was not until the 19th century that Buddhism began to be studied by Western scholars. Buddhism_sentence_695

It was the work of pioneering scholars such as Eugène Burnouf, Max Müller, Hermann Oldenberg and Thomas William Rhys Davids that paved the way for modern Buddhist studies in the West. Buddhism_sentence_696

The English words such as Buddhism, "Boudhist", "Bauddhist" and Buddhist were coined in the early 19th-century in the West, while in 1881, Rhys Davids founded the Pali Text Society – an influential Western resource of Buddhist literature in the Pali language and one of the earliest publisher of a journal on Buddhist studies. Buddhism_sentence_697

It was also during the 19th century that Asian Buddhist immigrants (mainly from China and Japan) began to arrive in Western countries such as the United States and Canada, bringing with them their Buddhist religion. Buddhism_sentence_698

This period also saw the first Westerners to formally convert to Buddhism, such as Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott. Buddhism_sentence_699

An important event in the introduction of Buddhism to the West was the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, which for the first time saw well-publicized speeches by major Buddhist leaders alongside other religious leaders. Buddhism_sentence_700

The 20th century saw a prolific growth of new Buddhist institutions in Western countries, including the Buddhist Society, London (1924), Das Buddhistische Haus (1924) and Datsan Gunzechoinei in St Petersburg. Buddhism_sentence_701

The publication and translations of Buddhist literature in Western languages thereafter accelerated. Buddhism_sentence_702

After the second world war, further immigration from Asia, globalisation, the secularisation on Western culture as well a renewed interest in Buddhism among the 60s counterculture led to further growth in Buddhist institutions. Buddhism_sentence_703

Influential figures on post-war Western Buddhism include Shunryu Suzuki, Jack Kerouac, Alan Watts, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and the 14th Dalai Lama. Buddhism_sentence_704

While Buddhist institutions have grown, some of the central premises of Buddhism such as the cycles of rebirth and Four Noble Truths have been problematic in the West. Buddhism_sentence_705

In contrast, states Christopher Gowans, for "most ordinary [Asian] Buddhists, today as well as in the past, their basic moral orientation is governed by belief in karma and rebirth". Buddhism_sentence_706

Most Asian Buddhist laypersons, states Kevin Trainor, have historically pursued Buddhist rituals and practices seeking better rebirth, not nirvana or freedom from rebirth. Buddhism_sentence_707

Buddhism has spread across the world, and Buddhist texts are increasingly translated into local languages. Buddhism_sentence_708

While Buddhism in the West is often seen as exotic and progressive, in the East it is regarded as familiar and traditional. Buddhism_sentence_709

In countries such as Cambodia and Bhutan, it is recognised as the state religion and receives government support. Buddhism_sentence_710

In certain regions such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, militants have targeted violence and destruction of historic Buddhist monuments. Buddhism_sentence_711

Neo-Buddhism movements Buddhism_section_65

A number of modern movements in Buddhism emerged during the second half of the 20th century. Buddhism_sentence_712

These new forms of Buddhism are diverse and significantly depart from traditional beliefs and practices. Buddhism_sentence_713

In India, B.R. Buddhism_sentence_714 Ambedkar launched the Navayana tradition – literally, "new vehicle". Buddhism_sentence_715

Ambedkar's Buddhism rejects the foundational doctrines and historic practices of traditional Theravada and Mahayana traditions, such as monk lifestyle after renunciation, karma, rebirth, samsara, meditation, nirvana, Four Noble Truths and others. Buddhism_sentence_716

Ambedkar's Navayana Buddhism considers these as superstitions and re-interprets the original Buddha as someone who taught about class struggle and social equality. Buddhism_sentence_717

Ambedkar urged low caste Indian Dalits to convert to his Marxism-inspired reinterpretation called the Navayana Buddhism, also known as Bhimayana Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_718

Ambedkar's effort led to the expansion of Navayana Buddhism in India. Buddhism_sentence_719

The Thai King Mongkut (r. 1851–68), and his son King Chulalongkorn (r. 1868–1910), were responsible for modern reforms of Thai Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_720

Modern Buddhist movements include Secular Buddhism in many countries, Won Buddhism in Korea, the Dhammakaya movement in Thailand and several Japanese organisations, such as Shinnyo-en, Risshō Kōsei Kai or Soka Gakkai. Buddhism_sentence_721

Some of these movements have brought internal disputes and strife within regional Buddhist communities. Buddhism_sentence_722

For example, the Dhammakaya movement in Thailand teaches a "true self" doctrine, which traditional Theravada monks consider as heretically denying the fundamental anatta (not-self) doctrine of Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_723

Sexual abuse and misconduct Buddhism_section_66

Buddhism has not been immune from sexual abuse and misconduct scandals, with victims coming forward in various buddhist schools such as Zen and Tibetan. Buddhism_sentence_724

“There are huge cover ups in the Catholic church, but what has happened within Tibetan Buddhism is totally along the same lines,” says Mary Finnigan, an author and journalist who has been chronicling such alleged abuses since the mid-80s. Buddhism_sentence_725

One notably covered case in media of various Western country was that of Sogyal Rinpoche which began in 1994, and end up by his retirement from his position as Rigpa's spiritual director in 2017. Buddhism_sentence_726

Cultural influence Buddhism_section_67

Main article: Culture of Buddhism Buddhism_sentence_727

Buddhism has had a profound influence on various cultures, especially in Asia. Buddhism_sentence_728

Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist art, Buddhist architecture, Buddhist cuisine and Buddhist festivals continue to be influential elements of the modern Culture of Asia, especially in East Asia and the Sinosphere as well as in Southeast Asia and the Indosphere. Buddhism_sentence_729

According to Litian Fang, Buddhism has "permeated a wide range of fields, such as politics, ethics, philosophy, literature, art and customs," in these Asian regions. Buddhism_sentence_730

Buddhist teachings influenced the development of modern Hinduism as well as other Asian religions like Taoism and Confucianism. Buddhism_sentence_731

For example, various scholars have argued that key Hindu thinkers such as Adi Shankara and Patanjali, author of the Yoga sutras, were influenced by Buddhist ideas. Buddhism_sentence_732

Likewise, Buddhist practices were influential in the early development of Indian Yoga. Buddhism_sentence_733

Buddhist philosophers like Dignaga were very influential in the development of Indian logic and epistemology. Buddhism_sentence_734

Buddhist educational institutions like Nalanda and Vikramashila preserved various disciplines of classical Indian knowledge such as Grammar and Medicine and taught foreign students from China. Buddhism_sentence_735

In an effort to preserve their sacred scriptures, Buddhist institutions such as temples and monasteries housed schools which educated the populace and promoted writing and literacy. Buddhism_sentence_736

This led to high levels of literacy among some traditional Buddhist societies such as Burma. Buddhism_sentence_737

According to David Steinberg, "Early British observers claimed that Burma was the most literate state between Suez and Japan, and one British traveler in the early nineteenth century believed that Burmese women had a higher percentage of literacy than British women." Buddhism_sentence_738

Buddhist institutions were also at the forefront of the adoption of Chinese technologies related to bookmaking, including paper, and block printing which Buddhists sometimes deployed on a large scale. Buddhism_sentence_739

The first surviving example of a printed text is a Buddhist charm, the first full printed book is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra (c. 868) and the first hand colored print is an illustration of Guanyin dated to 947. Buddhism_sentence_740

Buddhists were also influential in the study and practice of traditional forms of Indian medicine. Buddhism_sentence_741

Buddhists spread these traditional approaches to health, sometimes called "Buddhist medicine", throughout East and Southeast Asia, where they remain influential today in regions like Sri Lanka, Burma, Tibet and Thailand. Buddhism_sentence_742

In the Western world, Buddhism has had a strong influence on modern New Age spirituality and other alternative spiritualities. Buddhism_sentence_743

This began with its influence on 20th century Theosophists such as Helena Blavatsky, which were some of the first Westerners to take Buddhism seriously as a spiritual tradition. Buddhism_sentence_744

More recently, Buddhist meditation practices have influenced the development of modern psychology, particularly the practice of Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and other similar mindfulness based modalities. Buddhism_sentence_745

The influence of Buddhism on psychology can also be seen in certain forms of modern psychoanalysis. Buddhism_sentence_746

Buddhism also influenced the modern avant-garde movements during the 1950s and 60s through people like D. Buddhism_sentence_747 T. Suzuki and his influence on figures like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Buddhism_sentence_748

Relationships with other Religious Traditions Buddhism_section_68

Shamanism Buddhism_section_69

Shamanism is a widespread practice in Buddhist societies. Buddhism_sentence_749

Buddhist monasteries have long existed alongside local shamanic traditions. Buddhism_sentence_750

Lacking an institutional orthodoxy, Buddhists adapted to the local cultures, blending their own traditions with pre-existing shamanic culture. Buddhism_sentence_751

There was very little conflict between the sects, mostly limited to the shamanic practice of animal sacrifice, which Buddhists see as equivalent to killing one's parents. Buddhism_sentence_752

However, Buddhism requires acceptance of Buddha as the greatest being in the cosmos, and local shamanic traditions were bestowed an inferior status. Buddhism_sentence_753

Research into Himalayan religion has shown that Buddhist and shamanic traditions overlap in many respects: the worship of localized deities, healing rituals and exorcisms. Buddhism_sentence_754

The shamanic Gurung people have adopted some of the Buddhist beliefs such and rebirth but maintain the shamanic rites of "guiding the soul" after death. Buddhism_sentence_755

Geoffrey Samuel describes Shamanic Buddhism: "Vajrayana Buddhism as practiced in Tibet may be described as shamanic, in that it is centered around communication with an alternative mode of reality via the alternative states of consciousness of Tantric Yoga". Buddhism_sentence_756

Demographics Buddhism_section_70

See also: Buddhism by country Buddhism_sentence_757

Buddhism is practised by an estimated 488 million, 495 million, or 535 million people as of the 2010s, representing 7% to 8% of the world's total population. Buddhism_sentence_758

China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists, approximately 244 million or 18% of its total population. Buddhism_sentence_759

They are mostly followers of Chinese schools of Mahayana, making this the largest body of Buddhist traditions. Buddhism_sentence_760

Mahayana, also practised in broader East Asia, is followed by over half of world Buddhists. Buddhism_sentence_761

According to a demographic analysis reported by Peter Harvey: Mahayana has 360 million adherents; Theravada has 150 million adherents; and Vajrayana has 18 million adherents. Buddhism_sentence_762

According to , Buddhism has grown from a total of 138 million adherents in 1910, of which 137 million were in Asia, to 495 million in 2010, of which 487 million are in Asia. Buddhism_sentence_763

Over 98% of all Buddhists live in the Asia-Pacific and South Asia region. Buddhism_sentence_764

North America had about 3.9 million Buddhists, Europe 1.3 million, while South America, Africa and the Middle East had an estimated combined total of about 1 million Buddhists in 2010. Buddhism_sentence_765

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Tibet, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Buddhism_sentence_766

Large Buddhist populations live in China (18%), Japan (36%), Taiwan (35%), Macau (17%), North Korea (14%), Nepal (11%), Vietnam (10%), Singapore (33%), Hong Kong (15%) and South Korea (23%). Buddhism_sentence_767

In Russia, Buddhists form majority in Tuva (52%) and Kalmykia (53%). Buddhism_sentence_768

Buryatia (20%) and Zabaykalsky Krai (15%) also have significant Buddhist populations. Buddhism_sentence_769

Buddhism is also growing by conversion. Buddhism_sentence_770

In United States, only about a third (32%) of Buddhists in the United States are Asian; a majority (53%) are white. Buddhism_sentence_771

Buddhism in the America is primarily made up of native-born adherents, whites and converts. Buddhism_sentence_772

In New Zealand, about 25–35% of the total Buddhists are converts to Buddhism. Buddhism_sentence_773

The 10 countries with the largest Buddhist population densities are: Buddhism_sentence_774


Buddhism by percentage as of 2010Buddhism_table_caption_1
CountryBuddhism_header_cell_1_0_0 Estimated Buddhist populationBuddhism_header_cell_1_0_1 Buddhists as % of total populationBuddhism_header_cell_1_0_2
CambodiaBuddhism_cell_1_1_0 13,690,000Buddhism_cell_1_1_1 97%Buddhism_cell_1_1_2
ThailandBuddhism_cell_1_2_0 64,420,000Buddhism_cell_1_2_1 93%Buddhism_cell_1_2_2
BurmaBuddhism_cell_1_3_0 38,410,000Buddhism_cell_1_3_1 80%Buddhism_cell_1_3_2
BhutanBuddhism_cell_1_4_0 563,000Buddhism_cell_1_4_1 75%Buddhism_cell_1_4_2
Sri LankaBuddhism_cell_1_5_0 14,450,000Buddhism_cell_1_5_1 70%Buddhism_cell_1_5_2
LaosBuddhism_cell_1_6_0 4,092,000Buddhism_cell_1_6_1 66%Buddhism_cell_1_6_2
MongoliaBuddhism_cell_1_7_0 1,521,000Buddhism_cell_1_7_1 55%Buddhism_cell_1_7_2
JapanBuddhism_cell_1_8_0 45,820,000

or 84,653,000Buddhism_cell_1_8_1

36% or 67%Buddhism_cell_1_8_2
SingaporeBuddhism_cell_1_9_0 1,726,000Buddhism_cell_1_9_1 33%Buddhism_cell_1_9_2
TaiwanBuddhism_cell_1_10_0 4,946,000

or 8,000,000Buddhism_cell_1_10_1

21% or 35%Buddhism_cell_1_10_2
ChinaBuddhism_cell_1_11_0 244,130,000Buddhism_cell_1_11_1 18%Buddhism_cell_1_11_2
IndiaBuddhism_cell_1_12_0 7,955,207Buddhism_cell_1_12_1 0.8%Buddhism_cell_1_12_2

See also Buddhism_section_71

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism.