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The First Buddhists

When the historical Buddha died, leadership of the sangha fell to Mahakashyapa. Mahakashyapa convened the first Buddhist Council of the Buddha's followers to collect and preserve his teachings. Monks then went forth to spread Buddhism throughout India.
  1. The Buddha's Disciples (9)

The First Buddhist Monks
The Buddha and his first disciples had no fixed place to call home. They slept under trees and begged for all of their food. Their only clothes were robes they patched together from cloth taken from rubbish heaps.

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.

The Buddha's Robe
Although the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns come in many colors and styles, they are all part of a tradition going back to the time of the historical Buddha, 26 centuries ago.

The Buddha's Robe: A Photo Gallery
The distinctive style of Buddhist monks' robes originated 25 centuries ago among the historical Buddha's disciples. This image gallery illustrates the original robe today in southeast Asia and shows how it evolved as Buddhism spread north through China, Tibet, Japan and Korea.

The Buddhist Councils
The Four Buddhist Councils of early Buddhist history mark significant milestones in the development of Buddhism.

Kathina is an ancient ceremony for giving Buddhist monks and nuns gifts of cloth to make robes.

The First Buddhist Council
The First Buddhist Council was a significant event in early Buddhist history, although historians can verify very little about it.

The Third Buddhist Council: Pataliputra II

The Third Buddhist Council: Pataliputra I

The Buddha's First Sermon
The Buddha's first sermon is sometimes called the "first turning of the dharma wheel." In this sermon the Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths.

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