History of Buddhism
The History of Buddhism spans from the fifth century BC to the present. It arose in the eastern part of ancient India in and around the ancient kingdom of Magadha, now is Bihar, India. It is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gauatama. It is one of the oldest religions practiced today. The religion evolved as it spread across the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent through Central, East and South East Asia. It is influenced most of the Asian continent.
History of Buddhism is characterized by the development of numerous movements, schisms, and schools among these the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, which contrast periods of expansion and retreat.
Siddhartha Gautama was the historical founder of Buddhism. He was born a Kshatriya warrior prince in Lumbini, Shakya Republic which is part of the Kosala realm of ancient India. The dates of his birth and death are still a point of controversy, but most scholars suggest that Buddha died within approximately a few decades on either side of 400 BC. His family of Sakya Kshatriyas were of the Brahmin lineage as indicated by the family name Gautama. 19th century scholars connect it to the Brahmin Rishi Gautama. In many Buddhist texts, Gautama is said to be a descendent of the Brahmin Sage Angirasa.
According to Buddhist tradition, after asceticism and meditation, Siddhartha Gautama discovered the Buddhist Middle Way, a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.
Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment sitting under a peepal tree, now known as the Body tree in Bodh Gaya, India. He was known from then on as The Enlightened One. Buddha found patronage in the ruler of Magadha, Emperor Bimbisara. The Emperor accepted Buddhism as his personal faith and allowed the establishment of many Buddhist Viharas. This led to the renaming of the entire region as Bihar.
At the Deer Park near Varanas in northern India, Buddhist set in motion Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to a group of five companions with whom he previously sought enlightenment. Together with Buddha they form the first Sangha, a monastic community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. According to the Scriptures, later after an initial reluctance, Buddha also established an order of nuns. Fully ordained Buddhist nuns are called bhikkhunis. Mahapajapati Gotami, the aunt and foster mother of Buddha, was the first bhikkhuni, she was ordained in the six century BCE.
For the remaining years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in northeastern India and other regions. Buddha attained parinirvana in the abandoned jungles of Kusinara. Just before he died, he reportedly told his followers that thereafter the Dharma, doctrine or teaching would be their leader. The early Arhants considered Gautamas words the primary source of Dharma and Vinaya or rules of discipline and community living. They took great pains to formulate and transmit his teachings accurately. Nevertheless, no unvarnished collection of his sayings has survived. The versions of the Canon preserved in Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan are sectarian variance of a corpus that grew and crystallized during three centuries of oral transmission.