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It means you have to let go of wordly belongings as only when you lose them you’ll understand that clinging to physical objects actually had no meaning.
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She died in childbirth and her son who was given the name of Siddhartha was brought up by his aunt and step-mother, Prajapati Gautami. After the name of the Sakya tribe to which his father belonged he was also called Sakya-Sinha, or lion amongst the Sakyas, and later on, Sakya-Muni or sage amongst the Sakyas. For one year he studied Indian philosophy, but it gave him no solution.Then for the next five years he practised severe austerities hoping thereby to find the way to salvation. His yogic practices may have included hatha yoga, yogasanas, kriya yoga and other processes to raise the kundalini. The samana tradition is an ancient yogic tradition that also included Mahavir Jain, the founder of Jainism.
Then one day as he sat immersed in deep meditation under the famous Bodhi tree of modern Bodh Gaya on the bank of the Niranjana, enlightenment came to him and he realised the truth. Henceforth he came to be known as the Buddha or the Enlightened and decided to spend the rest of his life in preaching the truth as he saw it. He died at the age of eighty at Kusinagara which has been identified by many archaeologists with Kasia in the Gorakhpur district. The date of his Parinirvana or decease, like the date of his birth, has not yet been decided with accuracy, though it is admitted by all that he was contemporary with kings Bimbisara and Ajatasatru of Magadha and died in the reign of the latter.
Thirdly, he was the first founder of a religion who organised a brotherhood of monks and started evangelization in an organised manner by peaceful means alone carrying the message of equality, peace, mercy. Lastly, he put reason above everything and exhorted his followers to accept nothing as true unless it stood the test of reasoning. These are the versions that are associated with the Dalai Lama, mandalas and other such types. But these misunderstandings (tantra yoga itself has nothing to do with sexuality) are only recent. Buddhism the religion founded by Gautama Buddha in the latter half of the sixth century BC.


It started with the basic principles of rebirth and karma which were then accepted by Indian philosophers as truths which required no proof. The karma doctrine means that the merits and demerits of a being in his past existences determine his condition in the present life. The doctrine of rebirth implies that at death the body perishes, but the soul which is immortal, takes new births until it attains salvation. But according to the Buddhist view the connecting link between a fiJrmer existence and a later one is not to be fimnd in the soul, the existence and immortality of which are assumed by Hindu philosophers but denied by Buddhism.
Buddhism holds that the suffering inseparably connected with existence is mainly due to desire, to a craving thirst for satisfying the senses.
Therefore the extinction of desire will lead to the cessation of existence by rebirth and of consequent suffering.
Desire can be extinguished if one followed the Noble Eightfold Path which consists of the following: ( l) right views or beliefs meaning simply a knowledge of the Four Noble Truths and of the doctrine of rebirth and karma implied in them. Buddhism repudiates the authority of the Vedas, denies the spiritual efficacy of Vedic rites and sacrifices, denies the efficacy of prayers and practically ignores the existence of a Supreme Being or God.
It holds that the acceptance of the Four Noble Truths and the pursuit of the Noble Eightfold Path which is open to all, irrespective of caste and sex, laymen as well as monks and nuns, will lead to the extinction of desire and this will lead to Nirvana which it is possible to attain even in this life and will free a person from the curse of re-birth.
It holds that it is easier for a monk living a secluded life to attain Nirvana but it is also open to lay Buddhists to attain the same. The Buddhist monks are not priests and they can pray neither for themselves nor for others who may wish to employ them. They arc an intellectual aristocracy like the Brahmans and are to be maintained by pious Buddhists. Buddhism requires no church or temple, but it recognises congregational discourses where the teachings of Gautama Buddha are recited and explained. The founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, himself is to be recognised as a supremely wise person who has known the truth, but not as God to whom prayers can be addressed.It was spread by Gautama Buddha during his lifetime in the Gangetic valley of Uttara Pradesha and of Bihar.
About 250 years after the decease of Gautama Buddha Emperor Asoka embraced the religion, sent Buddhist missionaries throughout India as well as to many countries outside India and thus started Buddhism on its victorious career which gradually turned it into a world religion.
The First Council met at Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) in Bihar soon after the death of Gautama Buddha. It was attended by the Buddhist elders (Theras) and was presided over by one of Buddha’s prominent Brahman disciples, named Mahakassapa. As Buddha had left none of his teachings in writing so at this Council three of his disciples, Kasyapa, the most learned, Upali, the oldest and Ananda, the most favoured of Buddha’s disciples, recited his teachings which were at first learnt orally and transmitted by teachers to disciples and were much later on put down in writing.
A century later a Second Council of the Buddhist elders met at Vaisali to settle a dispute that had arisen by that time amongst the Buddhist monks on certain questions of discipline.
The Council decided in favour of rigid discipline and revised the Buddhist scriptures which were still unwritten.
A Third Council met, according to tradition, 236 years after the death of Buddha, under the patronage of King Asoka Maurya. It was presided over by monk Tissa Moggaliputta, the author of the Kathavattu, a sacred Buddhist text. This Council is believed to have drawn up the Buddhist canon in the final form of the Tripitaka or the Three Baskets, and gave its decisions on all disputed points. If the Sarnath Pillar Edict of Asoka is correctly believed to have been issued after the session of this Third Council it can be rightly held that its decisions were not accepted by so many Buddhist monks and nuns that King Asoka found it necessary to threaten the schismatics with dire punishment.
The Fourth and last Council of the Buddhist elders met during the reign of Kanishka, the Kushana king (c. It drew up authentic commentaries on the canon and these were engraved on copper-plates which were encased in a stone-coffer and kept for safety in the Kundalavana monastery. These have not yet been found.Buddhist scriptures-have all grown after the death of Gautama Buddha who left nothing in writing. The scriptures known as the Tripitaka are believed to have been first recited by Ananda, Upali and Kasyapa, three close disciples of Gautama Buddha, at the session of the First Council of the Buddhist elders which met at Rajagriha soon after Buddha’s death.


For many centu-ries these were learnt orally, being transmitted by teachers to their disciples and it was not till 80 B.C. The Sutta contains stories and parables related by Buddha during his preaching tours; the Vitzaya lays down the laws and rules of discipline and the Abkidhamma contains the doctrines and metaphysical views of Buddhism. The Sutta is subdivided into five Nikayas of varying length, one of which contains the Dhammapada, Thera and Tkerigathas and the]atakas; the Vinaya has three sub-divisions, while the Abhidhamma has seven sub-divisions of which the celebrated Dhammasangini is the first.
The scriptures of the Hinayana are written in Pali while those of the Mahayana in Sanskrit.Consequently the Hinayana is often known as the Pali school and the Mahayana as the Sanskrit school of Buddhism. Again, the Hinayana prevails mainly in Sri Lanka and Burma and is consequently often called the Southern Buddhism while the Mahayana which mainly prevails in Nepal, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Korea and Japan is called the Northern Buddhism. As all Buddhist canonical literature wherever it might have extended, arose in northern India and the two schools possess traces of mutual influence so the division of the Buddhist Church into Northern and Southern Schools is more or less unjustified.
As the two schools represent only different aspects of the same religious system so the use of terms lower and higher is not also justifiable.
Indeed many prefer to call the Hinayana as Theravada, that is to say, the opinion of the Theras or older monks. Mahayanism was not a sudden development; it developed slowly and gradually in the course of some centuries.
120), though Nagarjuna who was a contemporary and protege of Kanishka exposed in his Karika the hollowness of the Hinayana thought.
It was, therefore, between the second and the fourth centuries of the Christian era that Mahayanism fully developed in India. It was also during this period that many non-Indians were converted to Buddhism.This circumstance has led to the theory that Mahayanism was developed in order to meet their requirements.
There are, however, reasons for holding that Mahayanism grew up in order to meet the religious and philosophical needs of the Indian Buddhists themselves though in later times it grew more popular outside India. According to the Hinayana Gautama is the Buddha, the sole Buddha, who now reposes in Nirvana, the absence of desire and striving, having left to mankind a simple rule by which the? This creed knows no prayers, invocations or offerings and worships no images, for Buddha is not God, but a man who has attained perfection and thrown off the karma which dooms mankind to successive existences in the world of pain and sorrow. Each is to work for himself and attain Nirvana by overcoming all thirst or attachment by living a good life as indicated by the Noble Eightfold Path. According to the Mahayana, Gautama is merely one re-incarnation in a vast series of Buddhas stretching from an illimitable past into an equally infinite future. Not only in this world but in other worlds numerous as the sands of the Ganges, Buddhas have lived and preached at intervals separated by myriads of years from a time past human calculation.
Ultimately in China Amida or Amitabha Buddha, a personage unknown to early Buddhist scriptures, became the object of almost exclusive devotion and his pure paradise, called the Western Heaven, the goal to which the pious should aspire.
The Mahayana holds that the ultimate aim of the life of a Buddhist is not the attainment of individual liberation. A person who acquires enlightenment should not remain satisfied with his own Nirvana, but should work for the good of his fellowmen. Thus Buddhas and Bodhisattvas came to be worshiped and their images were made and installed in temples where these were worshiped with various rituals and incantations.
Every incident of Buddha’s life as well as of his previous births familiarised by the Jataka stories and by later biographical sketches like the Lalitavistara came to be depicted in Buddhist sculptures.
Using Sanskrit in its rituals and scriptures and worshiping images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas Mahayanism tended to shorten the breach that separated Buddhism from Hinduism within the wide folds of which it was ultimately assimilated.
In spite of the differences that exist between the Hinayana and the Mahayana there are not two Buddhisms.



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