Story of Buddha
• About 2500 years ago, Siddhartha Gautam was born. He is known as founder of Buddhism. He was born a Kshatriya and was part of a “Sakya” Gana. He left home when he was young to learn more. After a few years of wandering, he met other thinkers and talked with them. He spent many days meditating under a peepal tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. It is where he became enlightened. After that, he became wise, so people called him Buddha or “Wise Man.” Then he went to Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he gave his first sermon [satsang]. He spent rest of his life walking from place to place to teach people, until he died in Kushinagar.
• Life is full of Suffering and Unhappiness; Desires and Cravings are root cause of all sorrows.
• Sometimes, even if we get what we want, we are not satisfied and want even more [or want other things]. Buddha described this as thirst or trishna. He taught that this constant craving could be removed by following moderation in everything. He taught people to be kind and to respect lives of others, including animals. He believed that results of our actions [called karma], whether good or bad, affect us both in this life and next.
• Buddha taught in language of ordinary people, Prakrit, so everybody could understand his message.
• Most thinkers believe that there must be eternal souls after death. This particular phenomenon is known as atman or individual soul and Brahman or universe soul. They firmly believe that Atman and Brahman are similar.
• thoughts of those thinkers are recorded in Upanishads. These are part of Vedic texts that followed.
• Upanishad means ‘approaching and sitting near’. texts contained in Upanishad were conversations between teachers and students.
(1) Most Upanishadic thinkers were men, especially Brahmins and Rajas.
(2) There is mention of women thinkers, such as Gargi, who was famous for her learning and participated in debates held in royal courts.
(3) Many of ideas of Upanishads were later developed by famous thinker Shankaracharya.
• Panini was one of most famous scholars of that time; he prepared Sanskrit grammar. He arranged vowels and consonants in a special order and then used these to create formulae like those found in Algebra. He used these to write down rules of language in short formulae [around 3000 of them].
Six Schools of Indian Philosophy
• six schools of Indian Philosophy are mentioned in given table.
|Logic & analytic philosophy||Few atomic building blocks & consciousness||Critical interpretation of Vedas||The ‘essence’ of Vedas||Consciousness & Matter||Meditation, Contemplation|
• Vardhamana Mahavira was last and 24th tirthankara of Jainas. He was a Kshatriya prince from Lichchhavis who was part of Vajji sangha. At age 30, he left his home and went to live in forest. For twelve years, he had a hard, lonely life, but at end of that time, he found enlightenment. He said that to know truth, you have to follow rules of ahinsa. He spoke in Prakrit language so people could understand what he was saying.
• Several forms of Prakrit, used in different parts of country. For example, Prakrit spoken in Magadha was called Magadhi.
• followers of Mahavira are known as Jains and they used to live a simple life. They were very honest and used to collect food by begging. It was very difficult for most men and women to follow these strict rules. Nevertheless, thousands left their homes to learn and teach this new way of life.
• Jainism was supported mainly by traders. Farmers, who had to kill insects to protect their crops, found it more difficult to follow rules.
• Over hundreds of years, Jainism spread to different parts of north India and to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Jainism teachings are presently available at a place known as Valabhi, in Gujarat.
• Sangha was an association of those people who left their homes. rules made for Buddhist sangha were written down in a book known as Vinaya Pitaka.
• Separate branches for men and women. All men could join sangha. However, children had to take permission of their parents and Women had to take their husband’s permission.
• Men and women who joined sangha were called bhikkhus and bhikkhunis [beggars] because they meditate most of time and went to cities and villages to beg for food.
• Those who joined sangha included brahmins, Kshatriyas, merchants, labourers, barbers, courtesans and slaves.
• Both Jaina and Buddhist monks went from place to place throughout year, teaching people. only time they stayed in one place was during rainy season, when it was very difficult to travel.
• monastery is place of practice for Buddhist and Jain monks and nuns. This is a permanent shelter for monks and nuns.
• Monasteries were called viharas. earliest viharas were made of wood and then brick. Some were even in caves that were dug out in hills, especially in western India.
System of Ashramas
• Around time when Jainism and Buddhism were becoming popular, brahmins developed system of ashramas.
• Four ashramas were recognised: Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Samnyasa.
(1) Brahmacharya: Brahmin, Kshatriya & Vaishya men were expected to lead simple lives and study Vedas during early years of their life.
(2) Grihastha: They had to marry and live as householders.
(3) Vanaprastha: They had to live in forest and meditate.
(4) Samnyasa: They had to give up everything and become samnyasins.