|Picture of Lord Buddha After Attaining Enlightenment (Created in 3D Max software by Manash Kundu (Me))|
Early life and marriage of Lord Buddha
When he reached the age of 16, his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yaśodharā (Pāli: Yasodharā). According to the traditional account,she gave birth to a son, named Rāhula. Siddhartha is then said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life's ultimate goal.
|Picture of Lord Buddha After Attaining Enlightenment (Created in 3D Max software by Manash Kundu (Me))|
Departure and ascetic life:
This scene depicts the "Great Departure" of Siddhartha Gautama, a predestined being. He appears here surrounded by a halo, and accompanied by numerous guards, mithuna loving couples, and devata, come to pay homage. Gandhara art, Kushan period(1st-3rd century CE)
Prince Siddhartha shaves his hair and become an ascetic. Borobudur, 8th century.
|Prince Siddhartha shaves his hair and become an ascetic. Borobudur, 8th century|
At the age of 29, the popular biography continues, Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father's efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man. When his charioteer Channa explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome ageing, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.
Accompanied by Channa and aboard his horse Kanthaka, Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant. It's said that, "the horse's hooves were muffled by the gods"to prevent guards from knowing of his departure.
Gautama initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. After King Bimbisara's men recognised Siddhartha and the king learned of his quest, Bimisara offered Siddhartha the throne. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment.
He left Rajagaha and practised under two hermit teachers. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama (Skr. Ārāḍa Kālāma), he was asked by Kalama to succeed him. However, Gautama felt unsatisfied by the practise, and moved on to become a student of Udaka Ramaputta (Skr. Udraka Rāmaputra). With him he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness, and was again asked to succeed his teacher. But, once more, he was not satisfied, and again moved on.
Siddhartha and a group of five companions led by Kaundinya are then said to have set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practising self-mortification. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path. Then, he remembered a moment in childhood in which he had been watching his father start the season's plowing. He attained a concentrated and focused state that was blissful and refreshing, the jhāna.
According to the early Buddhist texts, after realizing that meditative jhana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism didn't work, Gautama discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. In a famous incident, after
becoming starved and weakened, he is said to have accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata.Such was his emaciated appearance that she wrongly believed him to be a spirit that had granted her a wish.
|The Buddha sitting in meditation, surrounded by demons of Māra. Sanskrit manuscript. Nālandā, Bihar, India. Pāla period.|
|Lord Buddha spread his teaching among the Buddhist Monks|
According to Buddhism, at the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the "Four Noble Truths", which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for any being. The Buddha described Nirvāna as the perfect peace of a mind that's free from ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states, or "defilements" (kilesas). Nirvana is also regarded as the "end of the world", in that no personal identity or boundaries of the mind remain. In such a state, a being is said to possess the Ten Characteristics, belonging to every Buddha.
According to a story in the Āyācana Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya VI.1) — a scripture found in the Pāli and other canons — immediately after his awakening, the Buddha debated whether or not he should teach the Dharma to others. He was concerned that humans were so overpowered by ignorance, greed and hatred that they could never recognise the path, which is subtle, deep and hard to grasp. However, in the story, Brahmā Sahampati convinced him, arguing that at least some will understand it. The Buddha relented, and agreed to teach.
Early Mahayana Buddhism:
The origins of Mahāyāna, which formed between 100 BCE and 100 AD,are still not completely understood.The earliest views of Mahāyāna Buddhism in the West assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "Hīnayāna" schools. The split was on the order of the European Protestant Reformation, which divided Christians into Catholic and Protestant. Due to the veneration of buddhas and bodhisattvas, Mahāyāna was often interpreted as a more devotional, lay-inspired form of Buddhism, with supposed origins in stūpa veneration.The old views of Mahāyāna as a lay-inspired sect are now largely considered misguided and wrong.
There is no evidence that Mahāyāna ever referred to a separate formal school or sect of Buddhism, but rather that it existed as a certain set of ideals, and later doctrines, for bodhisattvas. Initially it was known as Bodhisattvayāna (the "Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas").Paul Williams has also noted that the Mahāyāna never had nor ever attempted to have a separate Vinaya or ordination lineage from the early schools of Buddhism, and therefore each bhikhuī adhering to the Mahāyāna formally belonged to an early school. This continues today with the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage in East Asia, and the Mūlasarvāstivāda ordination lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore Mahāyāna was never a separate rival sect of the early schools. From Chinese monks visiting India, we now know that both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna monks in India often lived in the same monasteries side by side.
The Chinese monk Yijing who visited India in the 7th century CE, distinguishes Mahāyāna from Hīnayāna as follows
Both adopt one and the same Vinaya, and they have in common the prohibitions of the five offences, and also the practice of the Four Noble Truths. Those who venerate the bodhisattvas and read the Mahāyāna sūtras are called the Mahāyānists, while those who do not perform these are called the Hīnayānists.
Much of the early extant evidence for the origins of Mahāyāna comes from early Chinese translations of Mahāyāna texts. These Mahāyāna teachings were first propagated into China by Lokakṣema, the first translator of Mahāyāna sūtras into Chinese during the 2nd century CE. Some scholars have traditionally considered the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras to include the very first versions of the Prajñāpāramitā series, along with texts concerning Akṣobhya Buddha, which were probably composed in the 1st century BCE in the south of India.
Late Mahayana Buddhism
During the period of Late Mahayana Buddhism, four major types of thought developed: Madhyamaka, Yogacara, Tathagatagarbha, and Buddhist Logic as the last and most recent. In India, the two main philosophical schools of the Mahayana were the Madhyamaka and the later Yogacara. According to Dan Lusthaus, Madhyamaka and Yogacara have a great deal in common, and the commonality stems from early Buddhism. There were no great Indian teachers associated with tathagatagarbha thought.
Vajrayana (Esoteric Buddhism)
Scholarly research concerning Esoteric Buddhism is still in its early stages and has a number of problems which make research difficult:
Vajrayana Buddhism was influenced by Hinduism, and therefore the research has to include research on Hinduism as well.
The scriptures of Vajrayana have not yet been put in any kind of order.
Ritual has to be examined as well, not just doctrine.
BASIC TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA
THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS
One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"
During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.
1. Nothing is lost in the universe
The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.
We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.
2. Everything Changes
The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.
Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.
3. Law of Cause and Effect
The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.
The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future.
The Buddha said,
"The kind of seed sown
will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed,
You will joyfully gather good fruit."
The Four Noble Truths
1. There is Suffering Suffering is common to all.
2. Cause of Suffering We are the cause of our suffering.
3. End of Suffering Stop doing what causes suffering.
4. Path to end Suffering Everyone can be enlightened.
1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
Birth- When we are born, we cry.
Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable.
Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.
Other things we suffer from are:
Being with those we dislike,
Being apart from those we love,
Not getting what we want,
All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.
The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:
"There is happiness in life,
happiness in friendship,
happiness of a family,
happiness in a healthy body and mind,
...but when one loses them, there is suffering."
2. The cause of suffering
The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.
For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.
3. The end of suffering
To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.
4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.
THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH
When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel, the only point which is fixed, Nirvana. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.
1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.
2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.
3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.
4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.
5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."
6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.
7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.
Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds. Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds. Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The harvest is real and lasting happiness.
History of Buddhism in India:
According to the ancient hindu tradition Lord Buddha was considered as the 9th Reincarnation of Lord Vishnu ( Preserver God of Creation).In modern days Buddism is the most popular religion after Christinity and Hinduism.
Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around ancient kingdom of Magadha, (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (born as a prince of the ancient Kapilavastu kingdom now in Lumbini of Nepal),who has the indian Sanskrit name "Siddhārtha Gautama" and the indian pali name Siddhattha Gotama Buddha (literally the Enlightened One or Awakened One). It spread outside of Magadha starting in the Buddha's lifetime, and with the reign of the Buddhist Mauryan Emperor Asoka, spread across Nepal straight down to china and all the way to japan and became One of the dominant religions in these parts of Asia. Followers of Buddhism, called Buddhists in English, referred to themselves as Sakyans or Sakyabhiksu in ancient India. Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez asserts they also used the term Bauddha,although scholar Richard Cohen asserts that that term was used only by outsiders to describe Buddhists.
Buddhism has spread outside of India through two main traditions; Theravada which extended south and east and now has widespread following in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, and Mahayana, which diffused first west, then north and later east throughout East Asia. Both traditions have since spread throughout the world, mainly in North America and Europe. The practice of Buddhism as a distinct and organized religion declined from the land of its origin in around 13th century, but not without leaving a significant impact. Hindus continued to absorb Buddhist practices and teachings, such as Ahimsa and the renunciation of the material world. Buddhist practice is most common in Himalayan areas like Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Buddhism has been reemerging in India since the past century, due to its adoption by many Indian intellectuals, the migration of Buddhist Tibetan exiles, and the mass conversion of hundreds of thousands of Hindu Dalits.
After asceticism and meditation which was a Vedic practice, he discovered the Buddhist Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.
Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. Gautama, from then on, was known as "The Perfectly Self-Awakened One," the Samyaksambuddha.
Buddha found patronage in the ruler of Magadha, emperor Bimbisara. The emperor accepted Buddhism as personal faith and allowed the establishment of many Buddhist "Viharas." This eventually led to the renaming of the entire region as Bihar.
At the Deer Park Water Reservation near Vārānasī 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 enlightenment. They, together with the Buddha, formed the first Sagha, 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 traveled in the Gangetic Plain of Northeastern India and other regions.
Buddha attained Parinirvana in the abandoned jungles of Kuśināra.
The Buddha did not appoint any successor, and asked his followers to work for personal salvation. The teachings of the Buddha existed only in oral traditions. The Sangha held a number of Buddhist councils in order to reach consenseus on matters of Buddhist doctrine and practice.
According to the scriptures, a Brahmin monk by the name of Mahakasyapa presided over the first Buddhist council held at Rajgir. Its purpose was to recite and agree on the Buddha's actual teachings and on monastic discipline. Some scholars consider this council fictitious.
The Second Buddhist Council is said to have taken place at Vaishāli. Its purpose was to deal with questionable monastic practices like the use of money, the drinking of palm wine, and other irregularities; the council declared these practices unlawful.
The Sattapanni caves of Rajgir served as the location for the First Buddhist Council.
What is commonly called the Third Buddhist Council was held at Pātaliputra, and was allegedly called by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. Organized by the monk Moggaliputta Tissa, it was held in order to rid the sangha of the large number of monks who had joined the order because of its royal patronage. Most scholars now believe this council was exclusively Theravada, and that the dispatch of missionaries to various countries at about this time was nothing to do with it.
What is often called the Fourth Buddhist council is generally believed to have been held under the patronage of emperor Kanishka at Jālandhar, though the late Monseigneur Professor Lamotte considered it fictitious. It is generally believed to have been a council of the Sarvastivada school.
Following the Buddha's passing, many philosophical movements emerged within Buddhism. The first of these were the various Early Buddhist Schools (including Theravada). Later Mahayana Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism arose.
The Brahmins of Buddhism worked very hard to spread the dharma. The Buddha's disciples were mostly Brahmins, including the 2 chief disciples. For example, Asoka was converted to Buddhism by his Brahmin gurus Radhaswami and Manjushri.
Buddhism & Hinduism
"Buddhism, in its origin at least is an offshoot of Hinduism."
Guatam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism was born and brought up and lived and left this materialistic world as a Hindu. And this particular evidence is enough to explain that the concept of Hinduism predates to that of Buddhism. Hinduism, better known as the 'Sanatan Dharma' to the Hindus, is believed to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilisation. Practiced majorly in the secular India, the origin of Hinduism is still a mystery!
According to the historians, the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5000 or more years, whereas, the origin of Buddhism came into existence in a much later period, that is in & around 563 BC. After Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment, He preached whatever He learnt from His experiences and His teachings came to be known as Buddhism and were well received by the people.
It was during the later part of the Vedic Era, when Hinduism was on the verge of decline owing to the orthodoxy, superstitions and staunch practices, prevailing in the religion, when Buddhism with lesser complexities and rituals was accepted by the common people of India.
This was the time when Buddhism arose out of the atheistic strands of Hinduism.
It is a fact that Buddhism evolved and developed because of the complex nature evolving in Hinduism, but still despite some differences, these two sects have a lot of things in common.
|Picture of Lord Buddha After Attaining Enlightenment|
Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism
Buddhism : Buddhism believes in the process of reincarnation based on deeds of the present life.
Hinduism : Hinduism also believes that everyone is a part of an impersonal world and therefore, one's soul reincarnates into another body of any being, based on the deeds of the present life.
Buddha Statue On Salvation
Buddhism : One has to work for salvation oneself and therefore, cannot blame others for the same. The salvation depends on the good deeds of a person.
Hinduism : In Hinduism also, one attains salvation as per one's own fate and deeds. There are four paths or four yogas to attain salvation : Karma Yoga - Way of good works, Bhakti Yoga - Way of love and faith, Jnana Yoga - Way of knowledge, and Raja Yoga - Way of salvation.
Buddhism and Hinduism : Both of them believe that there are many paths to attain enlightenment such as overcoming through your feelings and desires and controlling over the six conscious senses.
Buddhism and Hinduism : Both the schools of thought believe that excessive attachment to things and people in the physical world causes pain and suffering. Therefore, we must get ourselves free from the illusions of 'Maya' or worldly desires.
Buddhism and Hinduism : Both of them gives an emphasis on the practice of meditation and other forms of yoga, which not only helps one to concentrate on the truth of life, but also facilitates the path of enlightenment and liberation.
Buddhism : Buddhism has a major sect, 'Tantrayana', which is mainly based upon the tantric practices.
Hinduism : Tantric practices are also prevalent in Hinduism, especially among the worshippers of the Goddess Kali and the god Shiva. Likewise Hinduism, the Mahayana Buddhism believes that the original teachings of the Buddha are from the Hindu practices, including prayers and the concept of God(even the Buddha as God in all His incarnations). Mahayana Buddhism also introduces the idea of (temporary) heavens and hells.
Ashoka (also sometimes transliterated as "Asoka"), the grandson of Chandragupta – the founder of the Mauryan dynasty – and the son of Bindusara, came to the throne circa 268 B.C. and died approximately 233 B.C. He is chiefly known from his series of rock and pillar inscriptions, which are found scattered in various parts of India and provide important information about his reign and policies. After eight years of rule, he waged a fierce war against the kingdom of Kalinga (Orissa of today) and was so horrified at the carnage he had caused that he gave up violence and turned to Buddhism.
In his efforts to propagate Buddhism, Ashoka built shrines and monasteries and inscribed Buddhist teachings on rocks and pillars in many places. He sent missionaries to countries as remote as Greece and Egypt; his own son, a monk, carried Buddhism to Sri Lanka, where it is still the major religion. Despite Ashoka's vigorous exertions of faith, he was tolerant of other religions. The empire enjoyed remarkable prosperity during his reign.
Some Indian historians think that his policy of peace led to the downfall of the Mauryan empire, which fell apart after his death. He was soon largely forgotten by Indian tradition and only remembered in Buddhist circles as a great patron of the faith. With the deciphering of his inscriptions during the 19th century, he took his rightful place in world history as one of the most benevolent rulers of antiquity.
Buddhism in Tibet:
Probably Buddhism was first introduced to Tibet in 173 CE during the reign of the 28th Yarlung king Lha Thothori Nyantsen, but had apparently no impact.
The first official historic introduction of a Buddhist scripture into Tibet happened during reign of King Hlato Ri Nyentsen (28th king of Tibet - around 500 CE), however, the book was not translated at the time.
King Song Tsen GampoThe 33rd King of Tibet, Song Tsen Gampo (born 617) had the book translated and married two Buddhist princesses. With this, one can say that Buddhism was first really introduced to Tibet as a practice.
The 37th King of Tibet, Trisong Detsen invited Indian Pandit Shantarakshita and Kamalasila, who suggested to invite Padmasambhava (or Guru-Rinpoche) to Tibet, who arrived in 817.
An ordained spiritual community was established in the first Buddhist monastery; Samye, which was built by Padmasambhava. In this period, translation of scriptures genuinely began. As of this time, one can say that Buddhism was firmly established in Tibet, as the presence of Sangha is considered essential.
In 792, after a great philosophical debate, King Trisong Detsen officially declared Indian Buddhism and not Chinese Buddhism to be the religion of Tibet
The Nyingma school is more or less a continuation of the initially introduced Buddhism by the Indian Pandit Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche - see image on the right). Historic information of Padmasambhava is generally shrouded in myths, (he is said to have lived for 3,600 in India prior to coming to Tibet), but he came to Tibet in 817 at the invitation of King Trisong Detsen.
Initially, the study of logic and philosophy was limited, but much emphasis was put on tantric practice. It must be noted however, that also within the Nyingma school considerable reformation has taken place over the ages.
Some typical aspects for the Nyingma tradition: the practice of Dzogchen (seeking to examine the fundamental nature of mind directly, without relying on visualizations and images) and the presence of hidden scriptures or "terma" from Padmasambhava, which are discovered by later Masters.
MilarepaThis tradition started with the Tibetans Marpa Chökyi and Khyungpo Nyaljor, in the 11th. century, who had Tilopa (988-1069) and his disciple Naropa (1016 - 1100) as Indian masters.
Probably the most famous practitioner and master in the lineage is Milarepa (1040-1123), who attained Buddhahood in one life time by an incredible display of perseverance (image on the right). Milarepa was a disciple of Marpa (image on the left) who in turn was a pupil of Naropa.
The Kargyu tradition is both a meditation lineage and philosophy training lineage.
Typical aspects of the Kargyu tradition are the practice of Mahamudra (not unlike Dzogchen of the Nyingma) and the Six Yogas of Naropa.
It should be noted that currently several suborders of the Kargyu lineage exist, like the Karma Kargyu (with as leader the Karmapa), the Drikung Kargyu and the Drukpa Kargyu schools.
The Sakya tradition has its origins with the translator Drogmi, who transferred the lineage of the Indian master Virupa to Khon Konchog Gyalpo. On this occasion, Khon Konchog Gyalpo built the Sakya monastery (meaning grey earth) and founded the Sakya tradition. In 1247, the Mongolian prince Godan Khan conquered Tibet and gave temporal authority over Tibet to Lama Kunga Gyaltsen (better known as Sakya Pandita - see image on the right), who was one of the earliest major figures in this lineage. In 1254 Mongol emperor Kublai Khan invited Chögyal Phagpa for teachings. Also Kublai Khan made Buddhism state religion in Mongolia and made Chogyal Phagpa the first religious and secular leader over Tibet. Sakya masters ruled Tibet more than 100 yrs, before the Gelug took over secular power with the Dalai Lamas.
A typical aspect of the Sakya tradition is called Lamdrey (leading to state of Hevajra), a concise presentation of the Buddhist philosophy. The Sakyas were much influenced by the Kadam lineage.
In 1354, the rule over Tibet was given to the monk Changchub Gyaltsen, who was not a Sakya. After this, the tradition declined in importance.
Je TsongkhapaThe Gelugs (yellow hats) tradition was founded by Tibetan teacher Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 - see image on the left). The basis is formed by the old Kadam lineage, but it in fact includes all other Tibetan traditions. For example; Tsongkhapa's main teacher was the Sakya teacher Rendawa.
Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588), received the title 'Dalai Lama' (Ocean of Wisdom) from the Mongol ruler Althan Khan in 1578. In 1642, the 5th. Dalai Lama became temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet by order of the Mongol ruler Gushri Khan. Although trained in all four schools, basically all Dalai Lamas were Gelug; one of the reasons that Gelug tradition is most widespread in Tibet. Note that the posthumously declared "First Dalai Lama" named Gedun Truppa (born 1391) was a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa.
Unlike what many people think, the Dalai Lamas are not the spiritual heads of the Gelugpa school; this is always the Gaden Tripa.
Some typical aspects of the Gelug tradition: emphasis on ethics and sound scholarship. Main Buddhist teachings are collected in the Lamrim presentation (not unlike the Lamdrey teachings of the Sakya). The Gelug introduced a scholarly title, Geshe, for a fully qualified and authoritative spiritual master.
Ancient Buddhist Travelers Came to India for study Buddhism:
Hiuen Tsang was a Chinese pilgrim
who came to India in the first half of the Seventh Century A.D. in order to visit the places of pilgrimage associated with Buddha. He stayed here for 15 years during which he travelled widely and closely observed the country and its people. On returning to China, he put down all his impressions in a book called Si- yu-ki or 'The Records of the Western World'.
This book proved to be an invaluable source of information to historians about Harsha and the political, social, economic and religious conditions in India during his reign. Bana Bhatta was the court poet of Harsha who wrote a book called Harsha Charita giving a vivid account of the king's deeds. He also wrote a masterpiece entitled Kadambari.
Fa-Hien was a renowned Chinese traveler and pilgrim
known for his extensive travel throughout India. He visited India during the year 399 and returned to his homeland, China, in the year 414.
Fa-Hien came to India with a view to trace the origin of the Buddhist religion. As a part of his tour, he visited various Buddhist shrines and interacted with prominent religious persons. The account Fa-Hien wrote on his travel in India throws a valuable insight into the history of the land in ancient times. It describes his encounters with the people belonging to various dynasties and kingdoms. It contains a description of the famous places in India. It is a valuable resource to the researchers studying the Buddhist religion and ancient history of the land. It also contains the exact date when Buddhism was introduced in China.
In Theravada Buddhism, the Jatakas are a textual division of the Pali Canon, included in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka. The term Jataka may also refer to a traditional commentary on this book.