Indian historical periods are related to the Buddhists Thought in terms of social ferment and intense intellectual social and cultural beliefs. The periods of how the religious groups evolved during the authority of the Vedas and their concept of the god they believed in. These periods range from the times at which there was consequential progress in the development of the religion in India. There were in certain hereditary statuses restrictions that had cast castle mobility of the implications of the rituals associated with the efficacy of Buddhism.
The first periods of evolution of Buddhism started as early as 246 B. C in the northern parts of India. It then developed through very many empires and rulers to become a religion that is appreciated even today in all parts of the World. This paper will therefore analyze the periods of evolution of Buddhism and how it dominates the religious beliefs and minds of the ancient Indians and other people around the region. It will also look at how the religion was affected by the entry of other religious teachings including Islam and Christianity.
It will find discuss the implications of the Thought of Buddhists with regard to the teachings of the founder of Buddhism by emphasizing the negative and positive aspects of the religion in the ancient and current Indians. Philosophical relevance of Buddhism to ancient India. Some sects associated with the religion are greatly contributing to the unified philosophical system of the cultural beliefs of the Indian population both in the past and in the early and mid twentieth centuries.
Some critics both in India and other neighboring countries who had adopted the religion are pointing out several problems which prevent its acceptance by all people. They argue that Buddhists have in the past and still reject past action of deterministic behavior which keeps on changing as the technology changes . It is also considers that the soul and the body are inseparable and that it is not possible that the soul cannot survive death as claimed by some sects within Buddhism.
Such kinds of teachings are considered to be mythical in nature and not the actual ones developed by Buddha himself at the time of conceiving the ‘knowledge’. While ethics and morals had to be emphasized during the time of Buddha, it should be done through judicial procedures which is currently overtaking the power and authority that religious leaders are having in their beliefs to punish offenders to some extent. Some scholars also believe that the views as expressed by the Buddhist religion are too advanced to be adopted by all societies considering the current diversity of societies, cultures, and religion.
It evident that society has not reached a point where education needs to be universal and the society need to be developed further in the sense of prevalent superstitions and irrational beliefs. In this era where the society is limited when it comes to concepts and nature, religions are becoming increasingly controversial especially when it deals with patent issues of families, obedience, faith, God, life after death etc. the scholars also continue to analyze the impacts with which Buddhism has had on the current development of India when compared to the other cultures in other regions at the time of Buddhism in India.
History of Buddhism Prince Siddhartha Guatama founded Buddhism in the kingdom of Shakwa in Nepal at the foothills of the Himalayas in the 500A. D which is approximately 2,500 years ago. It is believed that Siddhartha Guatama left his luxurious life in the palace to look for ‘better life elsewhere’. Buddhism was then conceived after the Prince moved around and met the poor who were suffering. After seeing this, Siddhartha Guatama recognized the fact that something was wrong with the societal order and it should be addressed very urgently.
He therefore decided that he shares his wealth with the poor in the society with a view to making them equal with him. He spent most of his life doing this and God blessed him with immense knowledge that he got a revelation of life and the meaning of suffering. With this he was sure that he knew the real meaning of living. Thus the realization of Buddhism and the Buddhist Thought. The prince got the Buddhist Thought while sitting under the tree known as the papal tree and from that day, he was acknowledged by not only his admirers but also by other sympathizers of different religious beliefs.
In the final barriers, Guatama achieved knowledge and he experienced a lot of truths that is all about suffering and life. The four noble truths as revealed by prince Guatama are; • All of life is suffering • The cause of suffering is desire • Desire leads to suffering • Desire can be ended by means of mediation and path discipline. Buddhists Thought With the achievement of this knowledge, Guatama was now the awakened one-Buddha meaning the birth of Buddhism. He thus spent most of his life traveling around India spreading the gospel of Buddha and the meaning of Buddhism in the ancient life of the Indians at the moment.
More and more people continued to adopt the culture of the teachings of Buddhists while integrating the relevant principles of the religion to their daily needs. The principles of Buddhism encourage the teachings of Mahayana, Hinayana, Vayajarana teachings. These teachings encourages the upholding human life and assisting people to become equal in terms of food provision, culture, obedience, respect and punishment . Indian merchants and loyalty resulted and patronized monasteries for centuries after the introduction of the Buddhist Thought.
In this period, hemispherical stone structures were erected in remembrance of the founder of the religion after he died after eighty years. Various temples were also built to signify the importance of the teachings to the ancient Indians. This is the first development of the Buddhists Thought impacted very strongly on the lives of the ancient people not only in India but also in neighboring countries that had received the message from the missionaries of Buddhism. Buddhism is also considered an organized religion with high philosophical orders within the Indian society.
During the early twentieth century for example, Buddhism dramatically came back to spur a combination of philosophical interests and European antiquarian activities as practiced by the devotees available by then in the northern parts of the Indian region. This meant that all issues that were perceived to be supernatural to the normal man were enough to be adequately addressed by the Buddhists Thought and the principles as stated by Buddha. Forms of Buddhism The Himalayan communities practiced a form of Buddhism that shared same fundamental principles as those practiced by the Tibetan communities.
This form of Buddhism is considered as promoting spiritual advancement, enhancing intercession, and enlightening human beings on their role on earth. Most of the forms of Buddhism are Adopted by different countries depending on their own understanding of the teachings. The ‘Doctrine of the elders’ is the most followed form of Buddhism that traces its origin to the first principle of the Buddhists Thought. It is being adored by the Indians and it traces its origin to scriptural traditions of the Pali community of eastern India.
This doctrine stresses a more advanced human-like Buddhism that is coated with a democratic path which enables its followers to embrace unity, marriage simplicities, and abolition of marriage expenses, increased sense of identity, self-esteem, self-worth, and reducing alcoholism. Spreading the Buddhism Thought The religion from its inception in northern India spread to other parts of the country and within a short period of time it had spilled over to countries such as China, Korea and Japan.
It is also believed that within India itself, Buddhism flourished against backdrops of various rulers in India who viewed it as a threatening and extreme religion which would interfere with their ruling capacitates. It is particularly believed that it was taken to higher levels by the emperors of Ashoka, Milinda, kanishka and Bimbishara who had all found the teachings of the religious practice useful top the Indian community and the whole societies at large. Around the thirteenth century, Buddhism disappeared slowly but not after leaving a legend on the religious beliefs in India.
In fact, it is known that the prince who founded Buddhism did not even contemplate appointing a successor to continue with the teachings and the spreading of the religion. He rather advocated for each and every individual follower to maintain a personal form of salvation in which individuals regard all human beings as equal and worth in the eyes of the almighty. This meant that all followers of Buddhism had the moral responsibility of maintaining their own integrity as advocated by Buddha in his teachings in the eyes of other people.
The main reason why Buddhism thrived and flourished in ancient Indian country was the support it received from the local kings and emperors such as Kosala. Guatama was known to be an intense austerity practitioner in that he was able to deny himself lots of luxuries and even starve himself to death if need be. At one point, he decided that self torture had weakened his mind for as long time and things needed to change. By failing to advance his enlighten status; he was reduced to a certain style of renunciation through dedicational mediation.
Since Buddhism existed in the oral traditions only, it was necessary to have some kind of mechanisms to ensure that practices and doctrines of Buddhism are maintained. It was seen necessary to have a Council of Buddhists to do the job. These councils had their individual responsibilities. The first council This council arose out of Maha’s concern for the future of all Indians and the fate of the Buddha’s dependents. In this first council, the monks were required to deal with the disciplines within the Thought of Buddha.
This first council was also to make recommendations and agreements on the controversial issues as singled out by the ancient rulers and scholars in India. The role of this council; became so complicated that after a couple of years, a second council was formed. The second council The responsibilities of the second council were to iron out differences that had arisen from the disagreements between the elders of the order and the monks. The monks had wanted to get exclusive powers to apply rules and regulations with regard to the believers who did not conform to the teachings of Buddha.
This council was given the authority to iron out differences at all levels of leadership. However, most of the monks did not agree that the most attainable position would be the Arhat and that there would be other positions that can be attained by any other individual. Arhat was not measurable to Buddha and that is why it not possible to claim that Arhat is the highest point of holiness. The misunderstandings between the two groups of leaders led to the development of two Buddhist traditions. These are; the Great way and the Way of the Elders.
Despite the fact that the two groups of the traditions give ultimate respect to the teachings of Buddha, they differ on issues such as monastic disciplines, Buddha-hood and obedience to the teachings. They were designed to meet challenges of misunderstandings of leaders in the councils The third council This council was held during the empire of emperor Ashoka who led the Buddhism monarchy at the third century B. C. It was held at the palatipultra reigns where most non-Buddhists joined the religious group mainly because they felt that it offered them some kind of royal patronage.
Although most of the new members were finding it difficult to meet the expectations of their new religion, they had in some way retained their old beliefs. This third council was being formed at the height of increased membership to enable people disregard their old practices that do not conform to the teachings of Buddhism. The fourth and the fifth councils were all formed to counter moves by other religious groups to ouster Buddhism and its spread in and outside of India.