buddhism jainism
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The story of the Buddha

  • Name: Siddhartha/ Gautam
  • Birth: Around 2500 years ago
  • Founder of Buddhism.
  • He belonged to the Sakya gana and was a Kshatriya.
  • He left home at a young age in search of knowledge.
  • He wandered for several years, meeting and holding discussions with other thinkers.
  • He attained enlightenment under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. And came to be known as Buddha or the Wise One.
  • For the first time he taught at Sarnath near Varanasi. The Stupa at Sarnath was built to mark the place where he first taught his message.
  • He taught in Prakrit, the language of the ordinary people.
  • He passed away at Kusinara.

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 Teaching of Buddha
  • Life is full of suffering and unhappiness which is caused due to unfulfilled desires.
  • Even if we get what we want, we are never satisfied. This he described as thirst or tanha.
  • This constant craving could be removed by following moderation in everything.
  • He taught people to be kind and to respect the lives of others, including animals.
  • The results of our actions (karma) affect us both in this life and the next.

Upanishads (2500 years ago)

  • Upanishads literally mean ‘approaching and sitting near’ and the texts contain conversations between teachers and students.
  • These were part of the Later Vedic texts.
  • Most Upanishadic thinkers were men, especially brahmins and rajas.
  • Gargi was a female thinker, famous for her learning, and participated in debates held in royal courts.
  • Satyakama Jabala had a deep desire to learn about reality, was accepted as a student by a brahmin teacher named Gautama, and became one of the best known thinkers of the time.
  • The upanishadic thinkers believed that atma and brahman were one.
  • Many of the ideas of the Upanishads were later developed by the famous thinker Shankaracharya.

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Panini
  • He prepared a grammar for Sanskrit.

Jainism (2500 years ago)

  • Mahavira was a Kshatriya prince of the Lichchhavis, a group that was part of the Vajji sangha.
  • He left home at the age of thirty and attained enlightenment after 12 years.
  • His followers came to be known as Jainas, derived from the term jina, meaning conqueror.

Teachings of Mahavira

  • He taught in Prakrit.
  • Men and women who wished to know the truth must leave their homes.
  • Ahimsa should be followed strictly.
  • Jainas had to lead very simple lives and had to beg for food.
  • They had to be honest and were especially asked not to steal.
  • They had to observe celibacy.
  • Men had to give up everything including their clothes.
  • The teachings of Mahavira and his followers were transmitted orally for several centuries.
  • They were written down in the form in which they are presently available at a place called Valabhi in Gujarat about 1500 years ago.

Sangha

  • Mahavira and Buddha felt that only those who left their homes could gain true knowledge. They formed Sangha, an association of those who left their homes.
  • Vinaya Pitaka was a book that contained the rules made for the buddhist sangha.
  • There were separate branches for men and women.
  • All men could join the sangha.
  • Children had to take the permission of their parents, slaves that of their masters. Women had to take their husband’s permission, debtors that of creditors.
  • Those who joined sangha had to lead simple lives meditating most of the times.
  • They went to cities and villages begging for food and were known as bhikkus and bhikkunis.

Monasteries

  • Jain and Buddhists monks went from place to place throughout the year to teach people, resting only during the rainy season.
  • Their supporters built temporary shelters for them in gardens, or they lived in natural caves in hilly areas.
  • Later, permanent shelters in the form of monasteries, were built. These were known as viharas.

The Ashrama system

  • At this time, brahmins came up with the ashrama system.
  • These are stages of life.
  • Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa were the four recognized ashramas.
  1. Brahmacharya: Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya men were expected to lead simple lives and study the Vedas during the early years of their lives.
  2. Grihastha : They had to marry and live as householders.
  3. Vanaprastha: They had to live in the forest and meditate.
  4. Sanyasa: They had to give up everything and become sanyasis.
  • Women were not allowed to study the Vedas and had to follow the ashramas chosen by their husbands.

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