A Brief History of Buddhism

1417 Words May 25th, 2000 6 Pages
Buddhism is one of the major religions of the world. It was founded by Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) in Northeastern India. It arose as a monastic movement during a time of Brahman tradition. Buddhism rejected important views of Hinduism. It did not recognize the validity of the Vedic Scriptures, nor the sacrificial cult which arose from it. It also questioned the authority of the priesthood. Also, the Buddhist movement was open to people of all castes, denying that a person's worth could be judged by their blood.

The religion of Buddhism has 150 to 350 million followers around the world. The wide range is due to two reasons. The tendency for religious affiliation to be nonexclusive is one. The other is the difficulty in getting
…show more content…
Historians are not sure if it was held at either Kasmir or Jalanhar. Both divisions of
Buddhism are said to have participated in the council. The council tried to establish peace between them. However, neither side was willing to give in. Because of this, the religion divided into many sects, including the traditional eighteen schools.

The traditional eighteen schools of Buddhism were a result of different interpretations of Buddhist teachings. Together, these divisions were seen as too conservative and literal towards the teachings of
Buddha. Theravada was considered too individualistic and unconcerned with the needs of the laity. It caused a liberal wing of the sangha to break away from the rest of the monks during the second council. Original group of monks continued their honoring of Buddha as a perfectly enlightened human teacher. However, the liberal Mahasanghikas developed a new interpretation. They began to think of Buddha as an eternal, all powerful being. Believing the human
Buddha was an apparition sent down for human benefit, the Mahasanghikas began
Mahayana.

Not even the names of Mahayana's founders are known. Historians argue whether or not the new sect began in southern or northwestern India. However, they have narrowed the date to in between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. Beliefs in a godlike Buddha continued well past the era of Christianity and came together in the Mahayana
Open Document