TOPIC 7 THREE PERIOD TIMES OF INDIAN BUDDHISM

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TOPIC 7
THREE PERIOD TIMES OF INDIAN BUDDHISM
 
THE FLOURISHING PERIOD (594 BCE – 185 BCE)
THE DECLINE PERIOD (185 BCE – 1526 AD)
THE RESTORATION PERIOD (1858 CE – 2013 CE)
 
I – THE FLOURISHING PERIOD OF BUDDHISM (594 BCE – 185 BCE)
A) The flourishing of Buddhism in the Buddha's time:
Before the Buddha was born, there were many religions in India such as Hinduism, Jainism, and human beliefs, etc.. Since the Buddha was born, cultivated to attain enlightenment and He propagated the Dharma until He entered Nirvana. Buddhism appeared in the world. Based on the traditional history of Mahayana Buddhism as follows:
- In the 7th century BCE on April 15 Lunar day, 624, the Buddha was born in Lumbini garden, present-day Nepal.
- On February 8 Lunar day, 605 BCE, the Buddha left home at the age of 19.
- In the 6th century on December 8 Lunar day, 594 BCE, the Buddha attained enlightenment at the age of 30.
- In the 6th century on February 15 Lunar day, 544 BCE, the Buddha entered Nirvana at the age of 80.
* From 594 to 544 BCE, He preached in different places for about 49 years. During this time, the kings supported His propagation such as Bimbisara King in the Rajgir kingdom; King Pasenadu in the Sravasti kingdom. During this time, Buddhism began to spread everywhere.
B) The flourishing of Buddhism in the reign of King Ashoka (268 - 232 BCE):
In the 3rd century from 268 BCE to 232 BCE, Buddhism was widely spread in the country and abroad through the reign of King Ashoka.
Ashoka king was born in 304 BC in  Pataliputta kingdom (Present-day Patna capital, Bihar state). His father was Bindusara Maurya; The queen is Devi Dharma. Devi Dharma Queen (also known as Subhadrangi or Janapadkalyani) is the daughter of a Brahmin monk (Hindu monk) in the city of Champa. King Bindusara Maurya is the son of King Chandragupta Maurya. King Chandragupta Maurya was the grandfather of Ashoka king, the first founder of the Maurya dynasty. He also renounced the throne to become a Jain monk.
From 268 to 232 BCE, Ashoka king was crowned emperor, the third generation of the Maurya dynasty. As emperor, Ashoka king extended his empire from Assam in the east to Balochistan in the west; from the Pamir Knot region in Afghanistan in the north to the Peninsula in the south. Because of expanding his dominion, Asoka king killed many people. Many people say that he was an evil king.

  Map of India under Ashoka king `s dynasty
Ashoka king and the relics of the Buddha
In 263 BC, King Ashoka became a Buddhist. He knew that Buddhism was a moral foundation, beneficial to humanity, animals, and the world. The king has contributed to the development of Buddhism such as:
1 - The king helped build many monasteries for monks and nuns.
2 - According to Buddhist history, the relics of the Buddha were divided into 8 countries. King Ashoka collected all the relics and built 84,000 stupas to worship the relics of the Buddha throughout India.
3 – The king allowed the history of the Buddha to be engraved on the sandstone pillars at the relics. Thanks to that, the British and Indian archaeologists discovered the historical relics of the Buddha later.
4 – The king supported the third collection of the Tripitaka at Pataliputta (present-day Patna capital, Bihar state), chaired by Master. Moggaliputta-Tissa in 244 BC.
5 - He allowed Crown Prince Mahinda and Princess Sanghamitta to become a Buddhist monk and a Buddist nun. They spread Buddhism to Sri-lanka. Sister Sanghamitta cut a branch of the Bodhi tree from the Bodhi tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment and planted it in Sri Lanka. In particular, the nun was the first one to establish Sila ordination ceremony for the Buddhist nuns in Ceylon.
6 - The king created conditions for monks to spread the Dharma all over the country. In particular, the King sent monks to propagate the Dharma to foreign countries such as Burma, Ceylon, and Southeast Asian countries. Ashoka king was the first king who brought Buddhist monks to Burma and Southeast Asian countries via the Silk Road.
  
 
In 232 BCE, Ashoka king died. The Maurya dynasty had 9 generations, lasting from 322 to 180 BC.
1 – The first generation of King Chandragupta from 322 to 297 BC.
2 - Second generation King Bindisara from 297 to 268 BC.
3 - The third generation of King Ashoka from 268 to 232 BC.
4 - The fourth generation of King Dasharatha from 232 to 224 BC
5 - The fifth generation of King Samprati from 224 to 215 BC.
6 - The sixth generation of King Shalishuka from 215 to 202 BC.
7 - The seventh generation of King Devavarman from 202 to 195 BC.
8 - The eighth generation of King Shatadhanvan from 195 to 187 BC.
9 - Ninth king Brihadratha from 187 to 180 BC.
From the 3rd century 268 BCE, King Ashoka unified four countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India becoming one country. It lasted from the 3rd century 268 BCE until the 20th century in 1947 CE, a total of nearly 23 centuries. After the British gave India its independence in the 20th century in 1947, India was divided into 4 countries. That was Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India now.
1 - Please refer to the website of the history of King Ashoka for details. If you want to read Vietnamese, click the translate button:
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka
 
2 – You refer to the Indian Buddhist home page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Buddhism
 
+ Summary:
From the 6th century, 594 BCE was the year when the Buddha attained enlightenment and Buddhism began to spread. It lasted until the 2nd century, 185 BCE, total of 4 centuries. During this time, Buddhism was very prosperous, peaceful and was supported by kings and people.
 
 
II - THE DECLINE PERIOD OF BUDDHISM (185 BCE – 1526 AD)
1) From the 2nd century 185 BCE to the early 13th century 1206 CE, this was the era of the Hindu king – Brahma king reign:
We know that after the 16th century, Indian Buddhism was wiped out by the forces of other religions.
1 - All Buddhist monks were beheaded and killed.
2 - All monasteries were destroyed.
3 - All the Scriptures were burned up.
4 - All Buddhists were persecuted and banned.
Based in the history of India, in the 2nd century 185, Pushyamitra Shunga was a Hindu general of the Maurya dynasty. He assassinated the last king of the Maurya dynasty, King Brahadratha Maurya. Then he ascended the throne, proclaimed himself king Pushyamitra Shunga and he founded the Shunga dynasty. The Shunga dynasty lasted 50 years, from 185 to 73 BC. He was hostile to Buddhism and Buddhist followers. He persecuted the faith of Buddhists. He ordered the destruction of hundreds of monasteries, killing hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks. 840,000, Buddhist stupas were all demolished, etc. He awarded 100 gold coins to the person who cut off a Buddhist monk's head.
King Pushyamitra Shunga was the first king who set out to destroy Indian Buddhism.
          You refer to these below:
1 – History of India:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India
 
2 – History of the reign of the Hindu king Pushyamitra Shunga:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Buddhism#Shunga_dynasty_(2nd%E2%80%931st_century_BCE)
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushyamitra_Shunga
 
3 - Indian film Teesri Azadi tells the story of a Hindu king who orders the destruction of Buddhism
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM98m3mkS1w
 
2) From the beginning of the 13th century in 1206 to the 16th century in 1526, this was the era of the Turkish sultan – Turkic Muslim:
In Indian history, there is a story in the early 13th century in 1206, a Muslim general named Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji. He led the Turkish army to invade the northwestern Indian subcontinent such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Delhi capital now, etc. In particular, they destroyed Buddhism, the Nalanda Buddhist University in Bihar state, etc. The following is an excerpt from the website of the religious historian.
+ Reference home page:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Buddhism
 
The last empire to support Buddhism, the Pala dynasty, fell in the 12th century, and Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a general of the First Delhi Sultanate, destroyed monasteries and monuments and spread Islam in Bengal. [79] According to Randall Collins, Buddhism declined in India before the 12th century, but with the plunder of Muslim invaders, it nearly became extinct in India by the 1200s. [89] In the 13th century, in the state of Craig Lockard, Buddhist monks in India escaped to Tibet to avoid Muslim persecution; [90]while monks in western India, the state of Peter Harvey, escaped persecution by moving to the southern Indian Hindu kingdoms that were resistant to Muslim power. [91]
So, from the 2nd century 185 CE to the 16th century 1526 CE a total of 18 centuries; Buddhism in India was persecuted, destroyed, and perished by Hinduism and Islam. Therefore, Buddhism was completely absent all over India.
 
+ COMMENTS SECTION:
It is said that the Muslim army invaded India in the early 13th century in 1206; Since then, Islam wiped out Buddhism.
+ Answer:
• Islam occupies only a few subcontinents of India, they could not destroy Buddhism nationwide. After all, we already know that Buddhism was present throughout India and abroad during the reign of King Ashoka (268-232 BC).
• If Islam completely destroyed Buddhism, why not also destroy Hinduism and other religions? Why did they only target Buddhism? Whereas Hinduism is now 79% of the Indian population; Islam has about 17%.
• In the national museums in the capital Delhi, Sarnath exhibits the destruction of Islam, but most of them are more Hindu than Buddhist. Therefore, researchers believe that Buddhism was largely destroyed before the invasion of Islam.
• Especially in the history of India shows the Hindu kings ordered the destruction of Buddhism gradually through the dynasties of the Hindu kings.
Throughout history, religious researchers have proved that Hinduism and Islam had destroyed Buddhism.
 
 
III - THE RESTORATION PERIOD OF BUDDHISM (1858  – 2013):
In the 19th century 1858 – 20th century 1947, India was a British colony; A total of 89 years. During this era, Buddhism began to recover gradually through foreign Buddhist monks and 4 Buddhists such as 1) Mr. Alexander Cunningham, 2) Mr. Anagarika Dhammapala, 3) Mr. Ambekar, 4) Mr. Goenka.
A – The restoration of Buddhism through the four Buddhists:
  1. Archaeologist Alexander Cunningham (1814 - 1893):
 

Mr. Alexander Cunningham
• Introduction:
Archaeologist Alexander Cunningham was actually a British Army Major General. He was born on January 23, 1814, in London, England; He died on 28 November 1893. He was also a British Army engineer with the Bengal Engineering Group. He later became interested in the history and archeology of India. In 1861, he was appointed to the new position, establishing an archaeological surveyor for the government of India; and he founded the Archaeological Survey of India.
An excerpt from the home page is below. You can refer.
•        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Cunningham
 
Britain colonized India in the 19th century in 1858. Three years later, in 1861, Mr. Alexander Cunningham founded the Archaeological Survey of India, abbreviated as ASI, based in 24 Tilak Marg, New Delhi, India, 110001. He is also the direct executive director of this Archaeological Survey. The Archaeological Survey has rediscovered historical sites in India. Thanks to that, the historical relics of the Buddha were excavated. He has made great contributions to Buddhism and Buddhist followers around the world. Today, Buddhists all over the world can visit the relics of the Buddha, Thanks to Mr. Alexander Cunningham. We must pay gratitude to archaeologist Alexander Cunningham.
• You can refer to the website below for more information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_Survey_of_India
 
2) MR ANAGARIKA DHAMMA (1864 – 1933):
 

Mr. Anagarika Dhammapala
• Introduction:
Anagarika Dharmapala was born September 17, 1864 – April 29, 1933, aged 69, in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), was revered by the most Buddhist followers of the 20th century. With the help of Henry Steel Olcott and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, he became a major reformer and renaissance of Sri Lankan Buddhism and a very important figure in Western Buddhist transmission. He spoke at the Congress of World Religions in 1893. After the Buddhist monuments were excavated, the Hindu monks took over and built more Hindu temples in the relics. Therefore, he filed a lawsuit to save the Buddhist relics. He founded the Maha Bodhi Society in India on May 31, 1891. He managed and restored sacred Buddhist temples to this day such as the enlightenment Stupa in Bodhgaya village, Dhamma wheel stupa in Sarnath, Nirvana stupa in Kushinagar.
His association did not only conducts religious activities, but also took care of education, and social charity. He was a great contributor to the revival of Indian Buddhism.
+ Excerpt from the home page below:
 https://theosophy.wiki/en/Anagarika_Dharmapala
 
On May 31, 1891, the Budh-Gaya Mahabodhi Society was established. The High Priest of Ceylon H. Sumangala is the President, Colonel Olcott is the Director and Chief Counsel, and Dharmapala is the General Secretary. The new Society has solicited donations to maintain staff at the site of Buddha Gaya. The Society convened an international Buddhist conference at Buddha Gaya in October 1891. Its headquarters was established in Calcutta (now Kolkata). A journal, The Maha Bodhi began publication in 1892, with Dharmapala serving as the editor for many years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
3) Mr. Ambekar (1891 - 1956 AD):

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar April 14, 1891 – December 6, 1956, aged 64, also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian lawyer, economist, politician, and social reformer, who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination against the untouchables (Dalits). He was the first Minister of Justice and Justice of India and the chief architect of the Constitution of India.
Ambedkar was a prolific student, earning a doctorate in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and was renowned as a scholar for the study of law, economics, and political science. [15] In his early career, he was an economist, professor, and lawyer. His later life was marked by his political activities; He participated in the campaign and negotiations for Indian independence, published magazines, advocated for political rights and social freedoms for the Dalits, and contributed significantly to the establishment of the Indian state. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism, initiating the mass conversion of Dalits.
Throughout history, we see him as a constitutional contributor to India when it was newly independent in 1947. In particular, on October 14, 1956, he became a Buddhist and he guided 500,000, who took refuge in the Three Jewels in Nagpur city, Maharashtra state. After 2 months, he passed away on December 6, 1956. Now, Buddhists in India all worship him as the second founder of Buddhism. So, he is a person with great merit in propagating the Dharma and taking refuge in the Three Jewels for Buddhists. This is a great contribution to the revival of Buddhism in India. Description: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Dr._Ambedkar_delivering_speech_during_conversion.jpg/220px-Dr._Ambedkar_delivering_speech_during_conversion.jpg Description: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Deekshabhoomi_-_panoramio.jpg/200px-Deekshabhoomi_-_panoramio.jpg
+ Excerpt from the home page below. If you want more details, click on the home page.
 
4)- Mr. Goenka (1924 – 2013 AD):
S.N. Goenka - DHAMMA KHETTA
Mr. Goenka
 
Please read the excerpt below and refer to the homepage below:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._N._Goenka
 
Mr. Goenka was born on January 29, 1924, in Mandalay capital, Burma (now Myanmar), died on September 29, 2013, at the age of 89 years old in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. His parent was Indian of the Marwari ethnic group. Goenka grew up in a conservative Hindu Sanatan family. [1] He was a successful businessman. When, in 1955, he began experiencing severe, debilitating migraines. [2][3] Medical relief could not be found, and at the suggestion of a friend, he met Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Though reluctant at first, Ba Khin took him in as a student. [4] [5] [6] Goenka then trained for 14 years. [4] [7] In 1969, Goenka was commissioned to teach by Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who died in 1971. He left his business and moved to India, where he started the first Vipassana meditation center at Kusum Nagar in Hyderabad. Seven years later, in 1976, he opened his first meditation center, Dhamma Giri, in Igatpuri near Nashik, Maharashtra. He taught himself meditation until 1982 and then began training as assistant teachers. He founded the Vipassana Research Institute at Dhamma Giri in 1985. [4] [7] From the beginning, he taught intensive meditation courses lasting 10 days and by 1988 had taught many people, including several thousand Westerners. [8] Today, Vipassana courses, in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin, are held at 341 sites in 94 countries, including about 202 permanent Vipassana meditation centers. [9] There are such centers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia Ancient, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and 78 centers in India. [4] [7] [10] In 2000, Goenka laid the foundations of the 325 ft high global Vipassana temple, near Gorai beach, in Mumbai, which opened in 2009, and houses Buddha's relics and a meditation hall. [4] It was built as a tribute to his teacher, who wanted to repay his debt to India, the land of origin of Vipassana. However, unlike his protégé, U Ba Khin was unable to obtain a passport and therefore was unable to personally travel to India. [first]
Through his preaching, we can see that he had great merit in spreading the Dharma to revive Buddhism in India in the 20th and 21st centuries.  He was a great contributor to Buddhist recovery in India
 

B—The Restoration of Buddhism through foreign monks:

The researcher believes that Indian Buddhism propagated to China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian countries, etc. Now, foreign Buddhist countries have recovered Indian Buddhism through the Northeast and South India.

+ Burmese Buddhism spread to India from the Northeast:

In the 19th century, under British times, there were some Burmese monks who came to Northeast of India such as Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, etc. They gave Dhamma talk to the Chakma ethnic peoples. So the most of the Chakma people worshiped Buddha. Some of them got ordination as Buddhist monks. From there, Chakma monks propagated Buddhism somewhere in India.

+ Sri Lanka Buddhism spread to India from South India:

On May 31, 1891, Mr. Dhammapala founded the Mahabodhi Society to manage Buddhist relics. At the same time, he brought Sri Lankan monks to India to directly run the association's facilities. Therefore, the Sri Lankan monks propagated the Dharma and accepted Indian Buddhists as Buddhist monks. Now, we see monks in the relics.

We must also admire and appreciate the contribution of Burmese and Sri Lankan monks to the restoration of Indian Buddhism during the period from the 19th to the 21st century.

According to statistics of Indian religion, Buddhism is only 0.7% of the population of India. We pray that the wheel of enlightenment will always turn for the benefit of human beings.

 

Namo Shakyamuni Buddha!

Phat Linh Temple on September 22, 2020

Master Thich Hanh Dinh

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