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History Of Buddhism In India

Buddhism is fourth largest religion of the world. It has it’s beginning in ancient kingdom of Magadha, which now is in Bihar.Today there are many sects in Buddhism – Mahayana, Theravada, Vajrayana etc. Though Mahayana and Theravada are more popular than the others. Mahayana is practiced mostly in Himalayas and East Asian countries. Theravada is practiced in Sri Lanka and many parts of Southeast Asia.

Buddha was born to a Shakya King Suddhodana, in Lumbini in Kapilavastu, Nepal and named as Siddhartaha Gautama. Later abandoning all worldly pleasures and committing to meditation Siddhartha Gautama transformed into Buddha, and laid the foundation of Buddhism. Buddha, the enlightened one, was the name Siddhartha Gautama adopted when he attained Bod hi (awakening) in Laurel. Inspired by the significance of this place, a town grew on that, now known as Bodega. The papal tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, became Bod hi tree.

Shankara King Arabist, ruler of Mashhad. was the first king who became patron and follower of Buddhism. Many Harass were established by Arabist in Magma, which eventually became the reason entire area was called Bihar.

Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath, Varanasi, a region in Uttar Pradesh. This was the place where first Triple Gem(Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) was formed. Buddha, started the wheel of Dharma by delivering first teachings to five companions, who along with Buddha, were called Sangha. After living and inspiring through many years and many places Buddha finally attained Mahaparinirvana in Kushinagar.

The teachings of Buddha were not written on paper, neither he left any successor, causing a huge confusion in his followers. This led to Sangha organizing Buddhist council to reach a common understanding of Buddha’s sermons and Buddhist practices. The first Buddhist council is said to have organized in Rajgraha, to recite Buddha’s teachings and reach consensus. The second Buddhist council is said to have taken place in Vaishali, and a third in Pataliputra, allegedly called by Emperor Asoka.

There is one king who will always be mentioned when there is a mention of Buddhism, and that is the Mauryan king Ashoka, who became a follower of Buddhism after seeing the agonies of war. Buddhism as a religion prospered in his rule. It was this era when Buddhism was accepted and supported by many royal circles. It was also the era when Buddhism started to branch in sects. The first branch had Mahasamghika ans Sthavirvada at it’s end.

Buddhist started to spread across neighboring region, and spread into multiple sects from the seeds of Mahasamghika ans Sthavirvada. In and around first century Mahayana was born as an adaptable alternative as an Buddhist School. From there it went on to become one of the the most followed sect of Buddhism.

Buddhism started losing popularity as its core values relayed to Hinduism. Advancement and competition from other religion were the key reason which ignited decline of Buddhism. Invasions, conquest and arrival of Turks and Islam catalyzed the decline of Buddhism and by 12th century it was reduced to a very small population, almost out of existence, but not in Himalayan regions and outside India, where it kept growing in many forms.

In the recent century Buddhism has regained it’s popularity to some extent with more than 8 million individual followers in India according to 2011 census, with Maharashtra comprising of more than third fourth of all Buddhist population. This was caused by Buddhist movements and some famous personalities like B.R Bedchamber adopting Buddhism

Though maybe not to previous glory, but Buddhism in India has surely got long awaited revival and presence of some very important Buddhist locations does not hurt one bit.



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