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Religions of Ancient India

General Knowledge for Competitive Exams

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The origin of Buddhism and Jainism

Jul 14, 2014

During Later Vedic period, the society was divided into 4 Varnas namely, Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishyas and Shudras and it was decided on the basis on birth. Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who were the two dominated Varnas at that time, competed for supremacy. Kshatriyas were the rulers who disliked the domination of the Brhamin priests. Both Gautam Buddha and Mahavira Jain challenged the hegemony of Brahmins. Moreover, the importance of Vaishyas grew as the importance of trade increased.

List of Jain Tirthankaras

Jul 11, 2014

A Tirthankara is defined as a founder of a Tirtha. He achieves the enlightenment and helps others achieve the same. A Tirthankara is believed to achieve Moksha or liberation at the end of his life.

Bodhisattvas

Jul 10, 2014

A Bodhisattva is an ordinary person who takes up a course in his or her life that moves in the direction of Buddha. You're a bodhisattva, I'm a bodhisattva; actually, anyone who directs their attention, their life, to practicing the way of life of a Buddha is a Bodhisattva.

Hinayana and Mahayana

Jul 10, 2014

After the death of Buddha, Buddhism was divided into two sects namely Mahayana and Hinayana. The terms Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle or Modest Vehicle) and Mahayana (Greater Vehicle or Vast Vehicle) originated in The Prajnaparamita Sutras (The Sutras on Far-Reaching Discriminating Awareness, The Perfection of Wisdom Sutras).

Buddhist Scholars

Jul 9, 2014

The objectives of the Buddhist teaching were to secure the salvation of individual or nirvana. Buddhism made an important impact on the society by keeping its doors open to women and Shudras. Buddhism taught people not to take things for granted but to argue and judge them on merits. Buddhism promoted rationalism among peoples. The Buddhists created a new language Hybrid Sanskrit by mixing Pali with Sanskrit.

Buddhist Councils

Jul 4, 2014

Six Buddhist Councils marked important turning points in the story of early Buddhism. This story spans the time from immediately after the death and Parinirvana of the historical Buddha in the 5th century BCE to sometime early in the first millennium CE. This is also the story of sectarian clashes and the eventual Great Schism that resulted in the two major schools, Theravada and Mahayana.

Buddhist Literature

Jul 3, 2014

During his lifetime the Buddha taught not in Vedic Sanskrit, which had become unintelligible to the people, but in his own Indian dialect; he also encouraged his monks to propagate his teachings in the vernacular. After his death, the Buddhist canon was formulated and transmitted by oral tradition, and it was written down in several versions in the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. Its main divisions, called Pitakas.

The Buddha

Jul 2, 2014

Sidhartha was born (c. 563 BC; Kapilavastu, Nepal) into the Gautama family of the Shakaya clan. The Shakayas were members of the priestly-warrior caste. In fact, Sidhartha's father(shuddhodhana) was the head of the tribe. Her mother’s name was Mahamaya. He got married to Yashodhara and got a son named Rahul. He left his luxurious life at the age of 29. At the age of thirty-five, under a papal tree, Sidhartha reached enlightenment and became an "enlightened one"--a Buddha (c. 528 BC).

Jainism

Jun 11, 2014

A Jain is defined as a follower of Jina. Jina means victor or Conqueror. Jainism started centuries before Buddhism but later on was revived by Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar of Jainism. According to Jain theology, Janism is one of the oldest religion which has neither beginning nor end.

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