Sanchi Stupa from the Eastern gate, in Madhya Pradesh

History of Buddhism in India

History of Buddhism in India Buddhism is an ancient Indian religion, which arose in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the teachings of the Gautama Buddha who was deemed a “Buddha” (“Awakened One”). Buddhism spread outside of Magadha starting in the Buddha’s lifetime....

Representatives from the three major modern Buddhist traditions, at The World Fellowship of Buddhists, 27th General Conference, 2014.

Schools of Buddhism

Schools of Buddhism The schools of Buddhism are the various institutional and doctrinal divisions of Buddhism that have existed from ancient times up to the present. The classification and nature of various doctrinal, philosophical or cultural facets of the schools of Buddhism is vague and has been interpreted in many different ways, often...

A page from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and Bhasya commentary (c. 2nd to 4th century CE), which placed the practice of asanas as one of the eight limbs of classical yoga

Salistamba Sutra

Salistamba Sutra The Salistamba Sutra or Śālistamba Sūtra (rice stalk or rice sapling sūtra) is an early Buddhist text that shows a few unique features which indicate a turn to the early Mahayana. It thus has been considered as one of the first Mahayana sutras. According to N. Ross Reat,...

Burmese-Pali Palm-leaf manuscript.

Early Buddhist Texts

Early Buddhist Texts Early Buddhist texts (EBTs), Early Buddhist literature or Early Buddhist discourses refers to the parallel texts shared by the Early Buddhist schools. The most widely studied EBT material are the first four Pali Nikayas, as well as the corresponding Chinese Āgamas. However, some scholars have also pointed out that some Vinaya material, like the Patimokkhas of the different Buddhist schools,...

Global Vipassana Pagoda, a Burmese style pagoda in Mumbai where Vipassana meditation is taught in the tradition of Ba Khin.

Vipassana Movement

Vipassana Movement The Vipassana movement (or Vipassanā movement), also called the Insight Meditation Movement and American vipassana movement, refers to a branch of modern Burmese Theravāda Buddhism which gained widespread popularity since the 1950s, and to its western derivatives which were popularised since the 1970s, helping give rise to the mindfulness movement. The...

The bodhisattva Maitreya and disciples, a central figure in Yogacara origin myth. Gandhara, 3rd century CE.

Yogācāra

Yogachara Yogachara (Yogācāra; literally “yoga practice”; “one whose practice is yoga”) is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition, perception, and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices. It is also variously termed Vijñānavāda (the doctrine of consciousness), Vijñaptivāda (the doctrine of ideas or...

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Buddha-nature

Buddha-nature Buddha-nature refers to several related terms, most notably tathāgatagarbha and buddhadhātu. Tathāgatagarbha means “the womb” or “embryo” (garbha) of the “thus-gone” (tathagata), or “containing a tathagata”, while buddhadhātu literally means “Buddha-realm” or “Buddha-substrate”. Tathāgatagarbha has a wide range of (sometimes conflicting) meanings in Indian and later East Asian and Tibetan Buddhist literature, and the...

Meditate Relax Relaxing Calm Rest Relaxation

Samatha

Samatha Samatha or śamatha ( शमथ; 止 zhǐ) is a Buddhist term that is often translated as the “tranquility of the mind”, or “mind-calmness”. The Pali Canon describes it as one of two qualities of mind which is developed (bhāvanā) in Buddhist meditation, the other being vipassana (insight). Samatha is said to be achieved by practicing single-pointed meditation....

Gautama Buddha statue and 500 arhats at the courtyard of Shanyuan Temple (善緣寺), Fushun, Liaoning province, China.

Arhat

Arhat In Buddhism, an arhat (or arahant) is one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana. Mahayana Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood. The understanding of the concept has changed over...

An image of Bodhisattva in Plaosan temple, 9th century Central Java, Indonesia

Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood. In the Early Buddhist schools as well as modern Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva (bodhisatta) refers to anyone who has made a resolution to become a Buddha and has also received a confirmation or prediction from a living Buddha that...

Antique Palm Leaf MANUSCRIPT Sutra Pali Canon Ramayana Story

Āgama in Buddhism

Āgama in Buddhism In Buddhism, an āgama (आगम Sanskrit and Pāli for “sacred work” or “scripture”) is a collection of Early Buddhist Texts. The five āgamas together comprise the Suttapiṭaka of the early Buddhist schools, which had different recensions of each āgama. In the Pali Canon of the Theravada, the term nikāya is used. The word āgama does not occur in this collection. Meaning In Buddhism, the term āgama is used...

A Navayana Buddhist shrine with B. R. Ambedkar portrait and The Buddha and His Dhamma book. The photograph is event of 50th Dhammachakra Pravartan Day.

Navayana

Navayana Navayana (नवयान, Navayāna) means “new vehicle” and refers to the re-interpretation of Buddhism by B. R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar was born in a Dalit (untouchable) family during the colonial era of India, studied abroad, became a Dalit leader, and announced in 1935 his intent to convert from Hinduism to Buddhism. Thereafter Ambedkar studied...

Gandhara birchbark scroll fragments (c. 1st century)

Pre-sectarian Buddhism

Pre-sectarian Buddhism Pre-sectarian Buddhism, also called early Buddhism, the earliest Buddhism, and original Buddhism, is Buddhism as theorized to have existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being. The contents and teachings of this pre-sectarian Buddhism must be deduced or re-constructed from the earliest Buddhist texts, which by themselves are already sectarian....

Theravada Buddhism Himalaya Retreat Annapurna Range monk

Early Buddhism

Early Buddhism The term Early Buddhism can refer to two distinct periods, both of which are covered in a separate article: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha. Lambert Schmithausen (1987): “the canonical period prior to the development of different schools with their different positions.”...

Chöd ritual, note the use of Damaru drum and hand-bell, as well as the Kangling (thighbone trumpet).

Vajrayana

Vajrayana Vajrayāna, Vajrayana, Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and “Secret Mantra“, which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is generally known as Tángmì Hanmi (“Chinese Esotericism”) or Mìzōng (“Esoteric Sect”), in Pali it is...

Left: 19th century roundel of four-headed Brahma as a red-complexioned aged man, holding manuscript (Vedas), a ladle and a lotus; Right: 6th century Brahma in Badami cave temples holding a writing equipment, ladle, and mala.

Brahma in Buddhism

Brahma in Buddhism Brahmā or Brahma is a leading god (deva) and heavenly king in Buddhism. He was adopted from other Indian religions such as Hinduism that considered him a protector of teachings (dharmapala), and he is never depicted in early Buddhist texts as a creator god. In Buddhist tradition, it was the deity...

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Brahmavihara

Brahmavihara The brahmavihāras or Brahmavihara (sublime attitudes, lit. “abodes of brahma“) are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (apramāṇa, appamaññā). The Brahma-viharas are: loving-kindness or benevolence (metta) compassion (karuna) empathetic joy (mudita) equanimity (upekkha) According to the Metta Sutta, cultivation of the four...

Gautama Buddha delivering his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath, Varanasi with his right hand turning the Dharmachakra, resting on the Triratna symbol flanked on either side by a deer. Statue on display at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai.

Refuge in Buddhism

Refuge in Buddhism Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem (also known as the “Three Refuges”). The Three Jewels are: the Buddha, the fully enlightened one the Dharma, the teachings expounded by the Buddha the Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice the Dharma Refuge is common to all major...

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Vipassanā

Vipassanā Vipassanā or vipaśyanā (विपश्यना), “insight,” in the Buddhist tradition is insight into the true nature of reality, defined as dukkha (suffering or unsatisfactoriness), anatta (non-self), and anicca (impermanence), the three marks of existence in the Theravada tradition, and as sunyata and Buddha-nature in the Mahayana traditions. Meditation practice in the Theravada tradition ended in the 10th century, but was re-introduced...

Avalanche Liberation Disaster Snow Cold Winter

Buddhist Paths to Liberation

Buddhist Paths to Liberation The Buddhist tradition gives a wide variety of descriptions of the Buddhist path liberation. The classical description is the Noble Eightfold Path, described in the Sutta Pitaka. This description is preceded by even older descriptions in the Sutta Pitaka, and elaborated in the various Buddhist traditions. A number...

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