Buddhism In India: A Study of Indian Buddhism in the Past and Present
Indian Buddhism, as you might have guessed, started in India. It started about 2500 B.C., by the teachings of one simple man, who only wanted peace. It impacted people so strongly, that today it is one of the world’s largest religions. Even though things have change, this is one religion that hasn’t. Here’s how it started.
In 563 B.C. a small baby boy was born, one who was expected to someday rule the small kingdom of Skakya, in the foothills of the Himalayas. As he grew, his father made sure that wherever he went, the roads were clear of sick, dead, and old people. As the student Nicole Negoita put it, “ At the age of 21, an Indian prince by the name of Gautama Sakyamuni stepped outside of his palace and, for the first time in his life, saw an ill person, an old person – and a dead person” (Nicole Negoita 1). After this incident, he wandered around India in despair, searching for the truth. He finally did find the truth, while sitting under Bodhi tree one day. So he started another journey around India, telling all of his new followers, who spread the news.
Today he is known as the Buddha, “the man who woke up,” and the center of all Buddhist faith. The truth that he found is now summarized as the Four Noble Truths. As Religion Around the World writes, “…the Four Noble Truths: all of life is suffering; the cause of suffering is desire; the end of desire leads to the end of suffering; the means to end desire is a path of discipline and meditation” (Religion Around the World 2).
Buddhists all over follow the Four Noble Truths. But there are different sects of Buddhism, with different ideas on how to live. There are two main sects of Buddhism in India: Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. The Theravadas believe that salvation is only possible for a certain few that follow the Four Noble Truths very strictly. And the Mahayana’s believe that everyone is saved if they just believe. There are also smaller sects in...