Indian History - Religious Movements, Buddhism
Religious Movements (600 BC – 400 BC)
Various religious movements like Buddhism, Jainism etc. were born and grew up in the Post-Vedic Period known as the Period of Second Urbanisation or the age of Buddha.
Causes of Religious Movements
(i) The followers of Hinyana believed in the original teachings of Buddha.
(ii) They sought individual salvation through self-disciplined meditation.
(iii) They did not believe in idol-worship
(iv) Hinayana, like Jainism, is a religion without God, Karma taking the place of God.
(v) Nirvana is regarded as the annihilation of all.
(vi) The oldest school of Hinayana Buddhism is the Sthaviravada (Theravada in Pali) or the ‘doctrine of the Elders’.
(vii) There were two subsects of Hinayana -Sarvastivada or Vaibhasika and Sautantrika.
(i) The followers of Mahayana believed in the heavenliness of Budha and sought the salvation of all through the grace and help of Buddha and Bodhisattavas.
(ii) Believes in idol-worship.
(iii) Believes that Nirvana is not a negative cessation of misery but a positive state of bliss.
(iv) Mahanaya had two subsects: the Madhyamika and the Yogachara.
(i) The followers of vajrayana believed that salvation could be best attained by achieving the magical power, which they called Vajra.
(ii) The chief divinites of this new sect were the Taras.
(iii) It became popular in Eastern India, particularly Bengal and Bihar
The Buddha was a practical reformer. His primary aim was to secure deliverance from the grim reality of sorrow and suffering. So he enunciated the ‘Four Noble Truths’ (Arya Satya)
(i) There is suffering
(ii) This suffering must have a cause which is desire
(iii) Suffering must be got ride of;
(iv) in order to get rid of suffering one must know the right way.
Suffering is caused by desire; therefor, the extinction of desire would lead to the cessation of suffering. Desire could be extinguished if one follow the ‘Noble Eightfold Path’ (Astangika Marga)
(i) Right View
(ii) Right Intention
(iii) Right Speech
(iv) Right Conduct
(v) Right Livelihood
(vi) Right Effort
(vii) Right Mindfulness
(viii) Right Concentration
Following these 8 Noble Eightfold Path, one can cultivate their wisdom and thus leading to the path to attain “nirvana”.