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A History of Buddhism

The History of Buddhism began with the life of the Buddha in the 6th century BCE and continues to the present day. Buddhism encompasses an enormous diversity of practices and traditions, yet the basic teachings of the Buddha remain the clear light at the center of all.
  1. Emergence of Mahayana (2)
  2. The Emperor Ashoka (5)
  3. The First Buddhists (19)
  4. Through Asia and Beyond (25)

The Life of the Historical Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, lived 25 centuries ago in what is now northern India. Born into wealth and privilege, he chose to renunciate his worldly life to seek enlightenment. The Buddha's story, told here, includes his early years, the Four Sights, the Renunciation, the Enlightenment, and his later years as a teacher.

Early Buddhist History: The First Five Centuries
A brief overview of the early history of Buddhism, beginning with the death of the Buddha, about 483 BCE, to the beginning of the 1st millennium CE.

Mount Meru
Buddhist texts and teachers sometimes refer to Mount Meru, also called Sumeru (Sanskrit) or Sineru (Pali). Mount Meru is a sacred mountain in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain mythology. For a time, the existence (or not) of Meru was a heated controversy.

How Buddhism Came to Tibet
This is a brief history of Tibetan Buddhism from in 641 CE, when King Songtsen Gampo unified Tibet and married two Buddhist princesses, to 1642, when the 5th Dalai Lama became ruler of Tibet.

The Lost World of Buddhist Gandhara
The ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhara stretched across what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan and made invaluable contributions to Buddhist art.

The First Buddhist Women
The historical Buddha’s most famous statements on women came about when his stepmother and aunt, Maha Pajapati Gotami, asked to join the Sangha and become a nun. The Buddha initially refused her request. Eventually he relented, but in doing so he made conditions and a prediction that remain controversial to this day.

A History of Buddhism
The history of Buddhism includes the original order of monks, the Buddhist Councils, the influence of the Emperor Ashoka, and the emergence of Mahayana as a separate school from Theravada. Through the centuries, Buddhism spread throughout Asia and is now practiced around the globe.

History of Buddhism after Buddha
A brief history of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy after the life of the Buddha.

The 5th Dalai Lama
A biography of the 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet, a life marked by political intrigue from start to finish -- and beyond.

Timeline of Buddhist History
A useful Buddhist history timeline from the life of Siddhartha Gautama to the present.

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