Geography of Religion Wk 12

The Decline of Buddhism in India (That’s what it said but there’s literally one sentence about its decline.)

  • Hinduism and Jainism coexisted with Buddhism fairly peacefully for centuries. Unfortunately, powerful rulers of the other two religions would occasionally attack Buddhist shrines. Coins pictured the Hindu god instead of the Buddha (except an extremely rare few.)
  • Until the 2nd and 3rd century AD statues of Buddha were practically nonexistent, with sculptors preferring to represent the Buddha with symbols rather than the image of his body.
  • The debate over whether it was sacrilege or necessity to convey his appearance slowly settled down as Buddhism spread, even though no one could agree on his exact appearance.
  • From the 4th century on, Buddhist universities developed in India where people would research write and debate
  • The foundation of all Buddhist doctrine comes from the Tipitaka. They are literally called the “Three Baskets” because they were originally written on palm leaves and stored in 3 baskets
  • These firsthand accounts of Buddha’s life and teachings were written by people who traveled with the Buddha
  • The Sutra Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka are the three parts of the Tipitaka and each represents something different. The first: discourses from events in the Buddha’s life. The second: monastic rules. The third and final: a higher analysis of the Buddha’s teachings
  • However since all of the Buddha’s original teachings were exclusively oral and all of the earliest Buddhists spoke different languages, a final and agreed upon interpretation of the Buddha’s intent has never been agreed upon.
  • Through trade and migration, the Buddhist religion had begun to spread thousands of miles and was flourishing in other countries even as it diminished in India.

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