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JAINISM AND BUDDHISM

  • In India, the republican institutions were strong in the 6th century B.C.This enabled rise of heterodox sects against the orthodox religion dominated by rites and rituals
  • Causes for the Rise of Jainism and Buddhism.

    • primary cause for the rise of Jainism and Buddhism was the religious unrest in India in the 6th century B.C
    • rituals and sacrifices advocated in the Later Vedic period were not acceptable to the common people
    • sacrificial ceremonies were also found to be too expensive.
    • superstitious beliefs and mantras confused the people
    • teachings of Upanishads, an alternative to the system of sacrifices, were highly philosophical in nature andtherefore not easily understood by all
    • larger interests of the people was a simple, short and intelligible way to salvation for all people.
    • language known to them
    • need was fulfilled by the teachings of Buddha and Mahavira.
    • eonomic factors also contributed to the rise of these two religions.
    • The rigid caste system prevalent in India generated tensions in the society
      • Eg: Kshatriyas had resented the domination of the priestly class.
      • Buddha and Mahavira belonged to Kshatriya origin
    • growth of trade led to the improvement in the economic conditions of the Vaisyas
      • As a result, they wanted to enhance their social status but the orthodox Varna system did not allow this.
      • Therefore, they began to extend support to Buddhism and Jainism. It was this merchant class that extended the chief support to these new religions
  • Jainism

    • Life of Vardhamana Mahavira (539- 467 B.C.)
      • Vardhamana Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara of the Jain tradition
      • born at Kundagrama near Vaisali to Kshatriya parents Siddhartha and Trisala
      • married Yasoda and gave birth to a daughter
      • At the age of thirty he became an ascetic and wandered for twelve years
      • 13th year of his penance, he attained the highest spiritual knowledge called Kevala Gnana
      • Thereafter, he was called Mahavira and Jina.
      • died at the age of 72 at Pava near Rajagriha.
    • Teachings of Mahavira

      • Triratnas (three gems), are:
        • right faith –is the belief in the teachings and wisdom of Mahavira
        • right knowledge –acceptance of the theory that there is no God and that the world has been existing without a creator and that all objects possess a soul
        • right conduct.-the observance of the five great vows
          • not to injure life –
          • not to lie
          • – not to steal –
          • not to acquire property –
          • not to lead immoral life
      • Both the clergy and laymen had to strictly follow the doctrine of ahimsa.
      • Mahavira regarded all objects, both animate and inanimate, have souls and various degrees of consciousness
        • possess life and feel pain when they are injured.
      • Mahavira rejected the authority of the Vedas and objected to the Vedic rituals.
      • advocated a very holy and ethical code of life.
      • practice of agriculture was considered sinful as it causes injury to the earth, worms and animals
      • doctrine of asceticism and renunciation was also carried to extreme lengths by the practice of starvation, nudity and other forms of self-torture.
    • Spread of Jainism

      • Mahavira organised the Sangha to spread his teachings.
        • admitted both men and women in the Sangha, which consisted of both monks and lay followers.
      • rapid spread of Jainism was due to the dedicated work of the members of the Sangha.
      • spread rapidly in Western India and Karnataka. Chandragupta Maurya, Kharavela of Kalinga and the royal dynasties of south India such as the Gangas, the Kadambas, the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas patronized Jainism
    • there was a serious famine in the Ganges valley. Many Jain monks led by Bhadrabagu and Chandragupta Maurya came to Sravana Belgola in Karnataka. Those who stayed back in north India were led by a monk named Sthulabahu who changed the code of conduct for the monks. This led to the division of Jainism into two sects Svetambaras (whiteclad) and Digambaras (Sky-clad or Naked)
    • Jain Council

      • first Jain Council was convened at Pataliputra by Sthulabahu, the leader of the Digambaras, in the beginning of the 3rd century B.C
      • second Jain Council was held at Valabhi in 5th century A.D
        • final compilation of Jain literature called Twelve Angas was completed in this council
  • Buddhism

    • Life of Gautama Buddha (567- 487 B.C.)

      • Gautama or Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in 567 B.C. in Lumbini Garden near Kapilavastu. His father was Suddodhana of the Sakya clan and mother Mayadevi. As his mother died at child birth, he was brought up by his aunt Prajapati Gautami.
      • Yasodhara and gave birth to a son, Rahula
      • The sight of an old man, a diseased man, a corpse and an ascetic turned him away from worldly life.
      • bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya and did intense penance, after which he got Enlightenment (Nirvana) at the age of thirty five.
        • became known as the Buddha or ‘the Enlightened One’.
        • He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath near Benares
      • He died at the age of eighty at Kusinagara.
      • most important disciples of Buddha were Sariputta, Moggallanna, Ananda, Kassapa and Upali. Kings like Prasenajit of Kosala and Bimbisara and Ajatasatru of Magadha accepted his doctrines and became his disciples. Buddha in his lifetime spread his message far and wide in north India and visited places like Benares, Rajagriha, Sravasti, Vaisali, Nalanda and Pataligrama
    • should be noted that he did not involve himself in fruitless controversies regarding metaphysical questions like god, soul, karma, rebirth, etc., and concerned himself with the practical problems confronting man.
    • Teachings of Buddha

      • The Four Noble Truths of Buddha are: –
        • The world is full of suffering. –
        • The cause of suffering is desire. –
        • If desires are get rid off, suffering can be removed. –
        • This can be done by following the Eightfold Path.
      • The Eightfold Path consists of
        • right view,
        • right resolve,
        • right speech,
        • right conduct, 
        • right livelihood, 
        • right effort,
        • right mindfulness
        • and right concentration
      • He laid great emphasis on the law of karma
        • However, he emphasized Ahimsa.
        • Though he did not make a direct attack on the caste system, he was against any social distinctions and threw open his order to all.
        • , Buddhism was more a social than religious revolution.
    • Spread of Buddhism

      • Buddha had two kinds of disciples – monks (bhikshus) and lay worshippers (upasikas)
      • monks were organized into the Sangha for the purpose of spreading his teachings
      • The membership was open to all persons, male or female and without any caste restrictions.
        • special code for nuns restricting their residence and movement.
      • sangha was governed on democratic lines and was empowered to enforce discipline among its members.
      • Magadha, Kosala, Kausambi and several republican states of North India embraced this religion
        • his missionary effort Asoka spread Buddhism into West Asia and Ceylon.
    • Buddhist Councils

      • first Buddhist Council was held at Rajagraha under the chairmanship of Mahakasapa immediately after the death of Buddha
        • purpose was to maintain the purity of the teachings of the Buddha.
      • second Buddhist Council was convened at Vaisali
      • third Buddhist Council was held at Pataliputra under the patronage of Asoka. Moggaliputta Tissa presided over i
        • The final version of Tripitakas was completed in this council
      • fourth Buddhist Council was convened in Kashmir by Kanishka under the chairmanship of Vasumitra. Asvagosha participated in this council.
      • new school of Buddhism called Mahayana Buddhism came into existence during this council.
      • Buddhism preached by the Buddha and propagated by Asoka was known as Hinayana.
    • Buddhist texts

      • Tripitakas, namely the
      • Sutta,
      • the Vinaya and
      • the Abhidhamma Pitakas.
      • They are written in the Pali language.
    • Reasons for the decline of the Budhism

      • Pali, the language of the masses as the language of Buddhism was given up from the 1st century A.D
      • After the birth of Mahayana Buddhism, the practice of idol worship and making offerings led to the deterioration of moral standards
      • attack of the Huns in 5th and 6th centuries and the Turkish invaders in 12th century destroyed the monasteries.
    • Contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture

      • The concept of ahimsa
        • became one of the cherished values of our nation
      • contribution to the art and architecture of India was notable.
        • stupas at Sanchi, Bharhut and Gaya are wonderful pieces of architecture
      • promoted education through residential universities like those at Taxila, Nalanda and Vikramasila
      • language of Pali and other local languages developed through the teachings of Buddhism.