Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama[note 1] who was deemed a "Buddha" ("Awakened One"). Buddhism spread outside of Magadha starting in the Buddha's lifetime.
With the reign of the Buddhist Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the Buddhist community split into two branches: the Mahāsāṃghika and the Sthaviravāda, each of which spread throughout India and split into numerous sub-sects. In modern times, two major branches of Buddhism exist: the Theravāda in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and the Mahāyāna throughout the Himalayas and East Asia. The Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana is sometimes classified as a part of Mahāyāna Buddhism, but some scholars consider it to be a different branch altogether.
The practice of Buddhism as a distinct and organized religion lost influence after the Gupta reign (c.7th century CE), and declined from the land of its origin in around 13th century, but not without leaving a significant impact. Except for Himalayan region and south India, Buddhism almost became extinct in India after the arrival of Islam in late 12th century. Buddhism is still practiced in the Himalayan areas such as Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, the Darjeeling hills in West Bengal, and the Lahaul and Spiti areas of upper Himachal Pradesh. According to the 2011 census, Buddhists make up 0.7% of India's population, or 8.4 million individuals. Traditional Buddhists are 13% and Navayana Buddhists (Converted or Neo-Buddhists) comprise more than 87% of Indian Buddhist community according to 2011 Census of India.
|8,442,972 (0.70%) in 2011 |
|Regions with significant populations|
|Maharashtra · West Bengal · Madhya Pradesh · Uttar Pradesh · Sikkim · Arunachal Pradesh · Jammu and Kashmir · Tripura · Karnataka|
|Marathi • Hindi • Bengali • Sikkimese • Tibetan • Kannada|
Buddha was born in Lumbini, in Nepal, to a Kapilvastu head of the Shakya republic named Suddhodana. He employed sramana practices in a specific way, denouncing extreme asceticism and sole concentration-meditation, which were sramanic practices. Instead he propagated a Middle Way between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, in which self-restraint and compassion are central elements.
According to tradition, as recorded in the Pali Canon and the Agamas, Siddhārtha Gautama attained awakening sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. Gautama referred to himself as the tathagata, the "thus-gone"; the developing tradition later regarded him to be as a Samyaksambuddha, a "Perfectly Self-Awakened One." According to tradition, he found patronage in the ruler of Magadha, emperor Bimbisāra. The emperor accepted Buddhism as personal faith and allowed the establishment of many Buddhist "Vihāras." This eventually led to the renaming of the entire region as Bihar.
According to tradition, in the Deer Park in Sarnath near Vārāṇasī in northern India, Buddha set in motion the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to the group of five companions with whom he had previously sought liberation. They, together with the Buddha, formed the first Saṅgha, the company of Buddhist monks, and hence, the first formation of Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) was completed.
For the remaining years of his life, the Buddha is said to have travelled in the Gangetic Plain of Northern India and other regions.
Followers of Buddhism, called Buddhists in English, referred to themselves as Saugata. Other terms were Sakyans or Sakyabhiksu in ancient India. Sakyaputto was another term used by Buddhists, as well as Ariyasavako and Jinaputto. Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez states they also used the term Bauddha. The scholar Richard Cohen in his discussion about the 5th-century Ajanta Caves, states that Bauddha is not attested therein, and was used by outsiders to describe Buddhists, except for occasional use as an adjective.
The Buddha did not appoint any successor, and asked his followers to work toward liberation following the instructions he had left. The teachings of the Buddha existed only in oral traditions. The Sangha held a number of Buddhist councils in order to reach consensus on matters of Buddhist doctrine and practice.
The Early Buddhist Schools were the various schools in which pre-sectarian Buddhism split in the first few centuries after the passing away of the Buddha (in about the 5th century BCE). The earliest division was between the majority Mahāsāṃghika and the minority Sthaviravāda. Some existing Buddhist traditions follow the vinayas of early Buddhist schools.
The Dharmaguptakas made more efforts than any other sect to spread Buddhism outside India, to areas such as Afghanistan, Central Asia, and China, and they had great success in doing so. Therefore, most countries which adopted Buddhism from China, also adopted the Dharmaguptaka vinaya and ordination lineage for bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs.
During the early period of Chinese Buddhism, the Indian Buddhist sects recognized as important, and whose texts were studied, were the Dharmaguptakas, Mahīśāsakas, Kāśyapīyas, Sarvāstivādins, and the Mahāsāṃghikas. Complete vinayas preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon include the Mahīśāsaka Vinaya (T. 1421), Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya (T. 1425), Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (T. 1428), Sarvāstivāda Vinaya (T. 1435), and the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya (T. 1442). Also preserved are a set of Āgamas (Sūtra Piṭaka), a complete Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma Piṭaka, and many other texts of the early Buddhist schools.
Early Buddhist schools in India often divided modes of Buddhist practice into several "vehicles" (yāna). For example, the Vaibhāṣika Sarvāstivādins are known to have employed the outlook of Buddhist practice as consisting of the Three Vehicles:
Several scholars have suggested that the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras, which are among the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras, developed among the Mahāsāṃghika along the Kṛṣṇa River in the Āndhra region of South India.
The earliest Mahāyāna sūtras to include the very first versions of the Prajñāpāramitā genre, along with texts concerning Akṣobhya Buddha, which were probably written down in the 1st century BCE in the south of India. Guang Xing states, "Several scholars have suggested that the Prajñāpāramitā probably developed among the Mahāsāṃghikas in southern India, in the Āndhra country, on the Kṛṣṇa River." A.K. Warder believes that "the Mahāyāna originated in the south of India and almost certainly in the Āndhra country."
Anthony Barber and Sree Padma note that "historians of Buddhist thought have been aware for quite some time that such pivotally important Mahayana Buddhist thinkers as Nāgārjuna, Dignaga, Candrakīrti, Āryadeva, and Bhavaviveka, among many others, formulated their theories while living in Buddhist communities in Āndhra." They note that the ancient Buddhist sites in the lower Kṛṣṇa Valley, including Amaravati, Nāgārjunakoṇḍā and Jaggayyapeṭa "can be traced to at least the third century BCE, if not earlier." Akira Hirakawa notes the "evidence suggests that many Early Mahayana scriptures originated in South India."
Various classes of Vajrayana literature developed as a result of royal courts sponsoring both Buddhism and Saivism. The Mañjusrimulakalpa, which later came to classified under Kriyatantra, states that mantras taught in the Shaiva, Garuda and Vaishnava tantras will be effective if applied by Buddhists since they were all taught originally by Manjushri. The Guhyasiddhi of Padmavajra, a work associated with the Guhyasamaja tradition, prescribes acting as a Shaiva guru and initiating members into Saiva Siddhanta scriptures and mandalas. The Samvara tantra texts adopted the pitha list from the Shaiva text Tantrasadbhava, introducing a copying error where a deity was mistaken for a place.
"During the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. (Before Common Era), commerce and cash became increasingly important in an economy previously dominated by self-sufficient production and bartered exchange. Merchants found Buddhist moral and ethical teachings an attractive alternative to the esoteric rituals of the traditional Brahmin priesthood, which seemed to cater exclusively to Brahmin interests while ignoring those of the new and emerging social classes." 
"Furthermore, Buddhism was prominent in communities of merchants, who found it well suited to their needs and who increasingly established commercial links throughout the Mauryan empire."
"Merchants proved to be an efficient vector of the Buddhist faith, as they established diaspora communities in the string of oasis towns-Merv, Bukhara, Samarkand, Kashgar, Khotan, Kuqa, Turpan, Dunhuang - that served as lifeline of the silk roads through central Asia."
The Maurya empire reached its peak at the time of emperor Aśoka, who converted to Buddhism after the Battle of Kaliṅga. This heralded a long period of stability under the Buddhist emperor. The power of the empire was vast—ambassadors were sent to other countries to propagate Buddhism. Greek envoy Megasthenes describes the wealth of the Mauryan capital. Stupas, pillars and edicts on stone remain at Sanchi, Sarnath and Mathura, indicating the extent of the empire.
Emperor Aśoka the Great (304 BCE–232 BCE) was the ruler of the Maurya Empire from 273 BCE to 232 BCE.
Aśoka reigned over most of India after a series of military campaigns. Emperor Aśoka's kingdom stretched from South Asia and beyond, from present-day parts of Afghanistan in the north and Balochistan in the west, to Bengal and Assam in the east, and as far south as Mysore.
According to legend, emperor Aśoka was overwhelmed by guilt after the conquest of Kaliṅga, following which he accepted Buddhism as personal faith with the help of his Brahmin mentors Rādhāsvāmī and Mañjūśrī. Aśoka established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Śakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddhist tradition was closely involved in the preservation and transmission of Buddhism.
In 2018, excavations in Lalitgiri in Odisha by archaeological survey of India revealed four monasteries along with ancient seals and inscriptions which show cultural continuity from post-Mauryan period to 13 century CE. In Ratnagiri and Konark in Odisha, Buddhist history as discovered in Lalitagiri is also shared. Museum has been made to preserve the ancient history and was inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Menander was the most famous Bactrian king. He ruled from Taxila and later from Sagala (Sialkot). He rebuilt Taxila (Sirkap) and Puṣkalavatī. He became Buddhist and is remembered in Buddhists records due to his discussions with a great Buddhist philosopher in the book Milinda Pañha.
By 90 BC, Parthians took control of eastern Iran and around 50 BC put an end to last remnants of Greek rule in Afghanistan. By around 7 AD, an Indo-Parthian dynasty succeeded in taking control of Gandhāra. Parthians continued to support Greek artistic traditions in Gandhara. The start of the Gandhāran Greco-Buddhist art is dated to the period between 50 BC and 75 AD.
The Kushan Empire under emperor Kaniṣka ruled the strongly Buddhist region of Gandhāra as well as other parts of northern India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kushan rulers were supporters of Buddhist institutions, and built numerous stupas and monasteries. During this period, Gandharan Buddhism spread through the trade routes protected by the Kushans, out through the Khyber pass into Central Asia. Gandharan Buddhist art styles also spread outward from Gandhāra to other parts of Asia.
Under the rule of the Pāla and Sena kings, large mahāvihāras flourished in what is now Bihar and Bengal. According to Tibetan sources, five great Mahāvihāras stood out: Vikramashila, the premier university of the era; Nālanda, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapura, Odantapurā, and Jaggadala. The five monasteries formed a network; "all of them were under state supervision" and there existed "a system of co-ordination among them . . it seems from the evidence that the different seats of Buddhist learning that functioned in eastern India under the Pāla were regarded together as forming a network, an interlinked group of institutions," and it was common for great scholars to move easily from position to position among them.
According to Damien Keown, the kings of the Pala dynasty (8th to 12th century, Gangetic plains region) were a major supporter of Buddhism, various Buddhist and Hindu arts, and the flow of ideas between India, Tibet and China:
During this period [Pala dynasty] Mahayana Buddhism reached its zenith of sophistication, while tantric Buddhism flourished throughout India and surrounding lands. This was also a key period for the consolidation of the epistemological-logical (pramana) school of Buddhist philosophy. Apart from the many foreign pilgrims who came to India at this time, especially from China and Tibet, there was a smaller but important flow of Indian pandits who made their way to Tibet...— Damien Keown, 
In the Edicts of Ashoka, Ashoka mentions the Hellenistic kings of the period as a recipient of his Buddhist proselytism. The Mahavamsa describes emissaries of Ashoka, such as Dharmaraksita, as leading Greek ("Yona") Buddhist monks, active in Buddhist proselytism.
Roman Historical accounts describe an embassy sent by the "Indian king Pandion (Pandya?), also named Porus," to Caesar Augustus around the 1st century. The embassy was travelling with a diplomatic letter in Greek, and one of its members was a sramana who burned himself alive in Athens, to demonstrate his faith. The event made a sensation and was described by Nicolaus of Damascus, who met the embassy at Antioch, and related by Strabo (XV,1,73) and Dio Cassius (liv, 9). A tomb was made to the sramana, still visible in the time of Plutarch, which bore the mention:
Lokaksema is the earliest known Buddhist monk to have translated Mahayana Buddhist scriptures into the Chinese language. Gandharan monks Jnanagupta and Prajna contributed through several important translations of Sanskrit sutras into Chinese language.
The Indian dhyana master Buddhabhadra was the founding abbot and patriarch of the Shaolin Temple. Buddhist monk and esoteric master from South India (6th century), Kanchipuram is regarded as the patriarch of the Ti-Lun school. Bodhidharma (c. 6th century) was the Buddhist Bhikkhu traditionally credited as the founder of Zen Buddhism in China.
In 580, Indian monk Vinītaruci travelled to Vietnam. This, then, would be the first appearance of Vietnamese Zen, or Thien Buddhism.
Padmasambhava, in Sanskrit meaning "lotus-born", is said to have brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. In Bhutan and Tibet he is better known as "Guru Rinpoche" ("Precious Master") where followers of the Nyingma school regard him as the second Buddha. Śāntarakṣita, abbot of Nālanda and founder of the Yogacara-Madhyamaka is said to have helped Padmasambhava establish Buddhism in Tibet.
Indian monk Atiśa, holder of the mind training (Tib. lojong) teachings, is considered an indirect founder of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. Indian monks, such as Vajrabodhi, also travelled to Indonesia to propagate Buddhism.
The decline of Buddhism has been attributed to various factors. Regardless of the religious beliefs of their kings, states usually treated all the important sects relatively even-handedly. This consisted of building monasteries and religious monuments, donating property such as the income of villages for the support of monks, and exempting donated property from taxation. Donations were most often made by private persons such as wealthy merchants and female relatives of the royal family, but there were periods when the state also gave its support and protection. In the case of Buddhism, this support was particularly important because of its high level of organization and the reliance of monks on donations from the laity. State patronage of Buddhism took the form of land grant foundations.
Numerous copper plate inscriptions from India as well as Tibetan and Chinese texts suggest that the patronage of Buddhism and Buddhist monasteries in medieval India was interrupted in periods of war and political change, but broadly continued in Hindu kingdoms from the start of the common era through early 2nd millennium CE. Modern scholarship and recent translations of Tibetan and Sanskrit Buddhist text archives, preserved in Tibetan monasteries, suggest that through much of 1st millennium CE in medieval India (and Tibet as well as other parts of China), Buddhist monks owned property and were actively involved in trade and other economic activity, after joining a Buddhist monastery.
With the Gupta dynasty (~4th to 6th century), the growth in ritualistic Mahayana Buddhism, mutual influence between Hinduism and Buddhism, the differences between Buddhism and Hinduism blurred, and Vaishnavism, Shaivism and other Hindu traditions became increasingly popular, and Brahmins developed a new relationship with the state. As the system grew, Buddhist monasteries gradually lost control of land revenue. In parallel, the Gupta kings built Buddhist temples such as the one at Kushinagara, and monastic universities such as those at Nalanda, as evidenced by records left by three Chinese visitors to India.
According to Hazra, Buddhism declined in part because of the rise of the Brahmins and their influence in socio-political process. According to Randall Collins, Richard Gombrich and other scholars, Buddhism's rise or decline is not linked to Brahmins or the caste system, since Buddhism was "not a reaction to the caste system", but aimed at the salvation of those who joined its monastic order.
The 11th century Persian traveller Al-Biruni writes that there was 'cordial hatred' between the Brahmins and Sramana Buddhists. Buddhism was also weakened by rival Hindu philosophies such as Advaita Vedanta, growth in temples and an innovation of the bhakti movement. Advaita Vedanta proponent Adi Shankara is believed to have "defeated Buddhism" and established Hindu supremacy. This rivalry undercut Buddhist patronage and popular support. The period between 400 CE and 1000 CE thus saw gains by the Vedanta school of Hinduism over Buddhism and Buddhism had vanished from Afghanistan and north India by early 11th century. India was now Brahmanic, not Buddhistic; Al-Biruni could never find a Buddhistic book or a Buddhist person in India from whom he could learn.
According to some scholars such as Lars Fogelin, the decline of Buddhism may be related to economic reasons, wherein the Buddhist monasteries with large land grants focussed on non-material pursuits, self-isolation of the monasteries, loss in internal discipline in the sangha, and a failure to efficiently operate the land they owned.
Chinese scholars travelling through the region between the 5th and 8th centuries, such as Faxian, Xuanzang, I-ching, Hui-sheng, and Sung-Yun, began to speak of a decline of the Buddhist Sangha, especially in the wake of the Hun invasion from central Asia. Xuanzang, the most famous of Chinese travellers, found “millions of monasteries” in north-western India reduced to ruins by the Huns.
The Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent was the first great iconoclastic invasion into South Asia. By the end of twelfth century, Buddhism had mostly disappeared, with the destruction of monasteries and stupas in medieval northwest and western India (now Pakistan and north India).
In the north-western parts of medieval India, the Himalayan regions, as well regions bordering central Asia, Buddhism once facilitated trade relations, states Lars Fogelin. With the Islamic invasion and expansion, and central Asians adopting Islam, the trade route-derived financial support sources and the economic foundations of Buddhist monasteries declined, on which the survival and growth of Buddhism was based. The arrival of Islam removed the royal patronage to the monastic tradition of Buddhism, and the replacement of Buddhists in long-distance trade by the Muslims eroded the related sources of patronage.
In the Gangetic plains, Orissa, northeast and the southern regions of India, Buddhism survived through the early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE. The Islamic invasion plundered wealth and destroyed Buddhist images, and consequent take over of land holdings of Buddhist monasteries removed one source of necessary support for the Buddhists, while the economic upheaval and new taxes on laity sapped the laity support of Buddhist monks.
Monasteries and institutions such as Nalanda were abandoned by Buddhist monks around 1200 CE, who flee to escape the invading Muslim army, after which the site decayed over the Islamic rule in India that followed.
The last empire to support Buddhism, the Pala dynasty, fell in the 12th century, and Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a general of the early Delhi Sultanate, destroyed monasteries and monuments and spread Islam in Bengal. According to Randall Collins, Buddhism was already declining in India before the 12th century, but with the pillage by Muslim invaders it nearly became extinct in India in the 1200s. In the 13th century, states Craig Lockard, Buddhist monks in India escaped to Tibet to escape Islamic persecution; while the monks in western India, states Peter Harvey, escaped persecution by moving to south Indian Hindu kingdoms that were able to resist the Muslim power.
Many Indian Buddhists fled south. It is known that Buddhists continued to exist in India even after the 14th century from texts such as the Chaitanya Charitamrita. This text outlines an episode in the life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1533), a Vaisnava saint, who was said to have entered into a debate with Buddhists in Tamil Nadu.
The Tibetan Taranatha (1575–1634) wrote a history of Indian Buddhism, which mentions Buddhism as having survived in some pockets of India during his time. He mentions the Buddhist sangh as having survived in Konkana, Kalinga, Mewad, Chittor, Abu, Saurastra, Vindhya mountains, Ratnagiri, Karnataka etc. A Jain author Gunakirti (1450-1470) wrote a Marathi text, Dhamramrita, where he gives the names of 16 Buddhist orders. Dr. Johrapurkar noted that among them, the names Sataghare, Dongare, Navaghare, Kavishvar, Vasanik and Ichchhabhojanik still survive in Maharashtra as family names.
Abul Fazl, the courtier of Mughal emperor Akbar, states, "For a long time past scarce any trace of them (the Buddhists) has existed in Hindustan." When he visited Kashmir in 1597, he met with a few old men professing Buddhism, however he 'saw none among the learned'. This is can also be seen from the fact that Buddhist priests were not present amidst learned divines that came to the Ibadat Khana of Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri.
Some scholars suggest that a part of the decline of Buddhist monasteries was because it was detached from everyday life in India and did not participate in the ritual social aspects such as the rites of passage (marriage, funeral, birth of child) like other religions.
The modern revival of Buddhism in India began in the late nineteenth century, led by Buddhist modernist institutions such as the Maha Bodhi Society (1891), the Bengal Buddhist Association (1892) and the Young Men's Buddhist Association (1898). These institutions were influenced by modernist South Asian Buddhist currents such as Sri Lankan Buddhist modernism as well as Western Oriental scholarship and spiritual movements like Theosophy. A central figure of this movement was Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala, who founded the Maha Bodhi Society in 1891. An important focus of the Maha Bodhi Society's activities in India became the recovery, conservation and restoration of important Buddhist sites, such as Bodh Gaya and its Mahabodhi temple. Dharmapāla and the society promoted the building of Buddhist vihāras and temples in India, including the one at Sarnath, the place of Buddha's first sermon. He died in 1933, the same year he was ordained a bhikkhu.
Following Indian independence, India's ancient Buddhist heritage became an important element for nation building, and prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru looked to the Mauryan empire for symbols of pan-Indian unity which were neither Hindu nor Muslim, such as the Dharmacakra. Indian Buddhist sites also received Indian government support in preparation for the 2,500th Buddha Jayanti held in 1956, as well as providing rent free land in several pilgrimage centers for Asian Buddhist groups to build temples and rest houses.
Important Indian Buddhist intellectuals of the modern period include Rahul Sankrityayan (1893-1963), Dharmanand Kosambi (1876-1941) and Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan. The Bengal Buddhist Kripasaran Mahasthavir (1865-1926) founded the Bengal Buddhist Association in 1892. In Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Iyothee Thass (1845-1914) was a major figure who promoted Buddhism and called the Paraiyars to convert.
The Indian government and the states have continued to promote the development of Buddhist pilgrimage sites ("the Buddhist Circuit"), both as a source of tourism and as a promotion of India's Buddhist heritage which is an important cultural resource for India's foreign diplomatic ties. Another recent development is the establishment of the new Nalanda University in Bihar (2010).
In the 1950s, the Dalit political leader B. R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) influenced by his reading of Pali sources and Indian Buddhists like Dharmanand Kosambi and Lakshmi Narasu, began promoting conversion to Buddhism for Indian low caste Dalits. His Dalit Buddhist Movement was most successful in the Indian states of Maharashtra, which saw large scale conversions. Ambedkar's "Neo Buddhism" included a strong element of social and political protest against Hinduism and the Indian caste system. His magnum opus, The Buddha and His Dhamma, incorporated Marxist ideas of class struggle into Buddhist views of dukkha and argued that Buddhist morality could be used to "reconstruct society and to build up a modern, progressive society of justice, equality, and freedom".
The conversion movement has generally been limited to certain social demographics, such as the Mahar caste of Maharashtra and the Jatavs. Although they have renounced Hinduism in practice, a community survey showed adherence to many practices of the old faith including endogamy, worshipping the traditional family deity etc.
A major organization of this movement is the Triratna Bauddha Mahasangha.
Tibetan Buddhism has also grown in India during the modern era, mainly due to the growth of the Tibetan Diaspora. The arrival of the 14th Dalai Lama with over 85,000 Tibetan refugees 1959 had a significant impact on the revival of Buddhism in India. Large numbers of Tibetans settled in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, which became the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Another large Tibetan refugee settlement is in Bylakuppe, Karnataka. Tibetan refugees also contributed to the revitalization of the Buddhist traditions in Himalayan regions such as Lahaul and Spiti district, Ladakh, Tawang and Bomdila. Tibetan Buddhists have also contributed to the building of temples and institutions in the Buddhist sites and ruins of India.
The Dalai Lama's brother, Gyalo Thondup, himself lives in Kalimpong and his wife established the Tibetan Refugee Centre in Darjeeling . The 17th Karmapa also arrived in India in 2000 and continues education and has taken traditional role to head Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and every year leads the Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya attended by thousands of monks and followers. Palpung Sherabling monastery seat of the 12th Tai Situpa located in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh is the largest Kagyu monastery in India and has become an important centre of Tibetan Buddhism. Penor Rinpoche, the head of Nyingma, the ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism re-established a Nyingma monastery in Bylakuppe, Mysore. This is the largest Nyingma monastery today. Monks from Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan and from Tibet join this monastery for their higher education. Penor Rinpoche also founded Thubten Lekshey Ling, a dharma center for lay practitioners in Bangalore. Vajrayana Buddhism and Dzogchen (maha-sandhi) meditation again became accessible to aspirants in India after that.
The Vipassana movement is a modern tradition of Buddhist meditation practice. In India, the most influential Vipassana organization is the Vipassana Research Institute founded by S.N. Goenka (1924-2013) who promoted Buddhist Vipassana meditation in a modern and non-sectarian manner. Goenka's network of meditation centers who offered 10 day retreats. Many institutions—both government and private sector—now offer courses for their employees. This form is mainly practiced by elite and middle class Indians. This movement has spread to many other countries in Europe, America and Asia. In November 2008, the construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda was completed on the outskirts of Mumbai.
According to the 2011 Census of India there are 8.4 million Buddhists in India but Buddhist leaders claim there are about 50 to 60 million Buddhists in India. Maharashtra has the highest number of Buddhists in India, with 5.81 % of the total population. Almost 90 per cent of Navayana or Neo-Buddhists live in the state.
In the 1951 census of India, 1.81 lakh (0.05%) respondents said they were Buddhist. The 1961 census, taken after B. R. Ambedkar adopted Navayana Buddhism with his millions of followers in 1956, showed an increased to 3.2 million (0.74%).
|State||Buddhist Population (approximate)||Buddhist Population (%)||% of total Buddhists|
|Jammu and Kashmir||112,584||0.90%||1.33%|
The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.
The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.Buddhism in Venezuela
Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.
Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.
However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.
There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.Buddhist temple
A Buddhist temple is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called vihara, chaitya stupa, wat and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. Its structure and architecture varies from region to region. Usually, the temple consists not only of its buildings, but also the surrounding environment. The Buddhist temples are designed to symbolize 5 elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Water, and Wisdom.Decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent
The decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent refers to a gradual process of dwindling and replacement of Buddhism in India, which ended around the 12th century. According to Lars Fogelin, this was "not a singular event, with a singular cause; it was a centuries-long process."The decline of Buddhism has been attributed to various factors, especially the regionalisation of India after the end of the Gupta Empire (320–650 CE), which led to the loss of patronage and donations as Indian dynasties turned to the services of Hindu Brahmins. Another factor was invasions of north India by various groups such as Huns, Turco-mongols and Persians and subsequent destruction of Buddhist institutions such as Nalanda and religious persecutions. Religious competition with Hinduism and later Islam were also important factors. Islamization of Bengal
and demolitions of Nalanda, Vikramasila and Odantapuri by Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a general of the Delhi Sultanate are thought to have severely weakened the practice of Buddhism in East India.The total Buddhist population in 2010 in the Indian subcontinent – excluding that of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan – was about 10 million, of which about 7.2% lived in Bangladesh, 92.5% in India and 0.2% in Pakistan.History of Buddhism in India and Tibet
History of Buddhism in India and Tibet (Tibetan: བུ་སྟོན་ཆོས་འབྱུང, Wylie: bu ston chos 'byung) was a pseudo-historical work written by Buton Rinchen Drub, a famous Sakya master in 1322.It was translated into English by Eugene Obermiller in 1931.Lachen Monastery
Lachen Monastery (also called Ngodrub Choling Gonpa, "Launching Gompa"), built in 1858, is a Nyingma Buddhist monastery near Lachen, Sikkim, northeastern India.It is home to Lachen Monastic School.List of Buddhas
This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:
Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism
Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)
Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya
Yeshe TsogyalList of suttas
Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.
List of Digha Nikaya suttas
List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas
List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas
List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas
List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttasOdantapuri
Odantapuri (also called Odantapura or Uddandapura) was a Buddhist Mahavihara in what is now Bihar, India. It was established by the Pala Emperor Gopala I in the 8th century. It is considered the second oldest of India's Mahaviharas after Nalanda University and was situated in Magadha.
Acharya Sri Ganga of Vikramashila was a student at this Mahavihara. According to the Tibetan records there were about 12,000 students at Odantapuri which was situated at a mountain called Hiranya Prabhat Parvat and by the bank of the river Panchanan.
In the modern era, it is situated in Bihar Sharif, headquarters of Nalanda district.Punna
Pūrṇa Maitrāyanīputra (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa Mantānīputta, Chinese: 富楼那弥多罗尼子; pinyin: fùlóunàmíduōluónízǐ), also simply known as Pūrṇa (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa), was an arhat and one of the ten principal disciples of Gautama Buddha.Ratnākaraśānti
Ratnākaraśānti (also known as Śāntipa) (c. 1000 CE) was one of the eighty-four Buddhist Mahāsiddhas and the chief debate-master at the monastic university of Vikramashila. At Vikramashila he was instructed by Nāropa, and taught both Atiśa and Maitrīpa. His texts include several influential commentaries to Buddhist tantras, as well as works of philosophy and logic.
Little else is known about his life; in the Biography of the Eighty-Four Siddhas, Abhayadhatta records that "King Kapina" invited Ratnākaraśānti to Śrī Laṇka during the reign of the Pāla king Devapāla (c. 810-850 CE). However, according to Keith Dowman, "As history of Śrī Laṇkā the legend is incomprehensible. There is no King Kapina in the lists of Siṇghala kings… [and] there is no evidence of a Śāntipa contemporary with the Pāla Emperor Devapāla." Tāranātha provides a more realistic date, placing him during the reign of King Canaka (955-83 CE).Ratnākaraśānti composed three commentaries to the Guhyasamāja Tantra, as well as commentaries to the Hevajra Tantra and the Mahāmāyā Tantra. His exoteric works, generally written from a Yogācāra perspective, include several commentaries to the Perfection of Wisdom literature, such as his Sāratamā and Pith Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitābhāvanopadeśa). He is also the author of two commentaries to Śāntarakṣita's Madhyamākalaṃkāra, and a technical treatise on the formal logic of pramāṇa theory (the Antarvyāptisamarthana).
Ratnākaraśānti was a Yogacara philosopher who defended the Alikākāravāda view of Yogacara as well as the compatibility of Madhyamaka with this Yogacara view.Rhenock Monastery
Rhenock Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.Rinpoche
Rinpoche, also spelled Rimboche and Rinboku (Tibetan: རིན་པོ་ཆེ་, Wylie: rin po che, THL: Rinpoché, ZYPY: Rinboqê), is an honorific term used in the Tibetan language. It literally means "precious one", and may be used to refer to a person, place, or thing--like the words "gem" or "jewel" (Sanskrit Ratna).
The word consists of rin(value) and po(nominative suffix) and chen(big).
The word is used in the context of Tibetan Buddhism as a way of showing respect when addressing those recognized as reincarnated, older, respected, notable, learned and/or an accomplished Lamas or teachers of the Dharma. It is also used as an honorific for abbots of monasteries.Sang Monastery
Sang Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.Simik Monastery
Simik Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.Sinon Monastery
Sinon Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.Taranatha
Tāranātha (1575–1634) was a Lama of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is widely considered its most remarkable scholar and exponent.
Taranatha was born in Tibet, supposedly on the birthday of Padmasambhava. His original name was Kun-dga'-snying-po, the Sanskrit equivalent of which is Anandagarbha. However, he adopted Taranatha, the Sanskrit name by which he was generally known, as an indication of the value he placed on his Sanskrit scholarship in an era when mastery of the language had become much less common in Tibet than it had once been. He was also paying homage to his Indian teacher, Buddhaguptanatha.His exceptional qualities are said to have been recognized by others at a young age, as is often the case with great masters. He studied under such masters as Je Draktopa, Yeshe Wangpo, Kunga Tashi and Jampa Lhundrup, although his primary teacher was Buddhaguptanatha.
Taranatha was recognized by Khenchen Lungrik Gyatso as the rebirth of Krishnacarya and the Khenchen's own teacher, Jetsun Kunga Drolchok.Vinītaruci
Vinītaruci (?-594) was an Indian Buddhist monk who preached in China and Vietnam.
He came to Changan in 573 and spent 7 years in China. In 580 he came to support preaching of Buddhism in Vietnam, being notable as one of the first direct influences on Vietnam in the History of Buddhism in India and in the development of Vietnamese Thiền or Chinese Chán Zen Buddhism in Vietnam. He is known in Vietnam as Tì-ni-đa-lưu-chi (from the Sino-Vietnamese transcription of the Sanskrit 毘尼多流支) and also by the Chinese Sino-Vietnamese name Diệt Hỉ (滅喜) in Chinese-language texts of Vietnamese Buddhism. He was from Oḍḍiyāna, traditionally identified as a place in the Swat valley.
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