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08 Feb

Ancient India: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism

• Buddha belonged to a small gana known as the Sakya gana, and was a kshatriya.
• He finally decided to find his own path to realisation, and meditated for days under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he attained enlightenment. After that, he was known as the Buddha or the Wise One.
• Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he taught for the first time.
• He passed away at Kusinara.
• The Buddha taught that life is full of suffering and unhappiness. This is caused because we have cravings and desires.
• The Buddha described this as thirst or tanha. He taught that this constant craving could be removed by following moderation in everything.
• He also taught people to be kind, and to respect the lives of others, including animals.
• He believed that the results of our actions (called karma), whether good or bad, affect us both in this life and the next.
• Taught in the language of the ordinary people, Prakrit.
• He also encouraged people to think for themselves.
• After the death of Buddha, different Buddhist Councils were conveyed to discuss Buddhist doctrines.
• Same time or perhaps earlier than Buddha, other thinkers also tried to find answers to difficult questions like “life after death”, performing of “ritual sacrifices ” etc.
• There were something permanent that last even after death. They named it atman or the individual soul and the brahman or universal soul.
• They believed that ultimately, both the atman and the brahman were one.
• Many of their ideas were recorded in the Upanishads. These were part of the later Vedic texts.
• Recorded texts contain conversation between teachers and students, through simple dialogues.
• Most famous thinker of the Jainas, Vardhamana Mahavira was a contemporary of Buddha.
• He was a kshatriya prince of the Lichchhavis, a group that was part of the Vajji sangha.


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