Test: Religious Movements- 1

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Who among the following was the first to become a Buddhist nun?


In Buddhism, women are as capable of reaching nirvana as men. According to Buddhist scriptures, the order of bhikkhunis was first created by the Buddha at the specific request of his aunt and foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, who became the first ordained bhikkhuni.


Which of the following works of Mahayanism is a flowery account of the life of Buddha?


The Play in Full (Lalitavistara) is without a doubt one of the most important sūtras within Buddhist Mahāyāna literature. With parts of the text dating from the earliest days of the Buddhist tradition, this story of the Buddha’s awakening has captivated the minds of devotees, both ordained and lay, as far back as the beginning of the common era.


Mahayana Buddhists are credited, rather discredited, with starting the practice of idolworship for the first time in India. When did they began this practice?


Mahayana Buddhists built great statues with shiny metals, which perhaps were required to spread the ideas of someone from history, from a far off land, about whom not many would have heard. Importantly, in a non-violent way. This all started around the Ist century A.D.


At which of the following councils was the “Abhidhamma Pitaka” written for the first time?


The Abhidhamma Piṭaka is the last of the three pitakas, the three divisions that comprise the Pali Canon, the scriptures of Theravāda Buddhism. The other two parts of the Tipiṭaka are the Vinaya Piṭaka and the Sutra Piṭaka. It was written for the first time in Pataliputra council in the third Buddhist council. The Third Buddhist council was convened in about 250 BCE at Asokarama in Pataliputra, supposedly under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka. This is however disputed, as mention of the council never appears in the Edicts of Ashoka.


Which is the CORRECT historical sequence for the rise of the following Buddhist sects?

I. Sthaviravadin
II. Sarvastivadin
III. Mahayanists
IV. Vajrayanists.


The Sthavira nikāya (Sanskrit: "Sect of the Elders"; traditional Chinese: 上座部; ; pinyin: Shàngzuò Bù) was one of the early Buddhist schools. The Sthavira nikāya split away from the majority Mahāsāṃghikas during the Second Buddhist council resulting in the first schism in the Sangha.
Sarvastivada, (Sanskrit: “Doctrine That All Is Real”) also called Vaibhashika, a school of early Buddhism. While, like all Buddhists, the Sarvastivadins consider everything empirical to be impermanent, they maintain that the dharma factors are eternally existing realities.
Hinayana follows the original teaching of Buddha. It emphasizes individual salvation through self discipline and meditation. This sect of Buddhism believes in the heavenliness of Buddha and believes in Idol Worship. ... That' why, this sect is called Mahayana (The Great Vehicle).
Vajrayana, (Sanskrit: “Thunderbolt Vehicle” or “Diamond Vehicle”) form of Tantric Buddhism that developed in India and neighbouring countries, notably Tibet. Vajrayana, in the history of Buddhism, marks the transition from Mahayana speculative thought to the enactment of Buddhist ideas in individual life.


Arrange the following chronologically:

I. Nalanda University
II. Vikramsila University
III. Taxila University
IV. Valabhi University
V. Nagarjuna University


University of Taxila or Takshashila: Ancient India (now Pakistan) Taxila flourished between 600 BC and 500 AD, in the kingdom of Gandhar, in Ancient India, but now in Pakistan. 68 subjects were taught including Vedas, Grammar, Philosophy, astronomy, medicine, surgery, politics, archery warfare, music, commerce etc.
The name, Nagarjuna University is quite significant in that the great Buddhist preceptor and Philosopher Acharya Nagarjuna founded a University on the banks of river Krishna some centuries ago and made it a great centre of learning, attracting a large number of teachers and students form distant parts of the world.
Nalanda University was one of the first universities in the world, founded in the 5th Century BC, and reported to have been visited by the Buddha during his lifetime. At its peak, in the 7th century AD, Nalanda held some 10,000 students and 2000 teachers when it was visited by the Chinese scholar Xuanzang.
Valabhi University was established in Saurashtra of modern Gujarat at around 6th century and it flourished for 600 years till the 12th century. The University of Valabhi was an important center of Buddhist learning and championed the cause of Hinayana Buddhism between 600 CE and 1200 CE.
Vikramashila was founded by Pāla king Dharmapala in the late 8th or early 9th century. It prospered for about four centuries before it was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji along with the other major centres of Buddhism in India around 1193.


Arrange the following important personalities of Buddhism in the CORRECT sequence:

I. Nagasena
II. Vasumitra
III. Ananda
IV. Moggaliputta Tissa


Ānanda (5th–4th century BCE) was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.
Moggaliputtatissa (ca. 327–247 BCE), was a Buddhist monk and scholar who was born in Pataliputra, Magadha (now Patna, India) and lived in the 3rd century BCE. He is associated with the Third Buddhist council, the emperor Ashoka and the Buddhist missionary activities which took place during his reign.
Nāgasena was a Sarvastivadan Buddhist sage born in Kashmir and lived around 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwestern India, are recorded in the Milinda Pañha and the Sanskrit Nāgasenabhiksusūtra.
Vasumitra was a Buddhist monk of the Sarvastivada school who flourished in the 2nd century CE. A native of Gandhāra, he presided over the 4th Buddhist council in Kashmir, administered by Kanishka I. He is credited as contributing to the Mahāvibhāṣā.


Arrange the following places connected with Jainism in the chronological order:

I. Pavapuri
II. Valabhi
III. Pataliputra
IV. Kundagrama.


Kundagrama (the place of Mahavira's birth) is traditionally believed to be near Vaishali, an ancient town on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Its location in present-day Bihar is unclear, partly because of migrations from ancient Bihar for economic and political reasons.

The first council was held at Pataliputra (now Patna, Bihar, India). The Avashyaka-churni (dated between Samvat 650 and 750=593–693 CE) describes: There was twelve years long famine which resulted in the monks moving to the coast. When the famine ended, they gathered at Pataliputra.

Pawapuri or Pawa is a holy site for Jains located in the Nalanda district in the Bihar state of Eastern India. It is located about nineteen kilometers from Rajgir and 101 kilometers from Patna, the capital of Bihar. Pawapuri is the place of Mahavira's nirvana and a pilgrimage site for Jains.


Which of the following factors were responsible for the origin of the Buddhist tradition?


According to Buddhist practice, following the Noble Eightfold Path will ultimately result in being liberated from samsara, the cycle of rebirth and suffering. Many followers of this path to enlightenment participated in an emerging Buddhist monastic tradition. Partly in response, Mahayana Buddhism arose.


Which of the following statements regarding Buddha is WRONG?


The Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama) was a philosopher, mendicant, meditator, spiritual teacher, and religious leader who lived in Ancient India (c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism.


Who were the first teachers of the Buddha, after his great renunciation?


At this time in India there were many religious teachers. One of the best and most well known was Alara Kalama. Ascetic Gotama went to study under him. He stayed and was taught many things, including meditation. He worked hard and eventually equalled his teacher in learning. Finally Alara Kalama could not teach Gotama any more and he said, "You are the same as I am now. There is no difference between us. Stay here and take my place and teach my students with me."

But Gotama was not interested in staying. Despite what he had learnt he could see that he was still subject to old age, sickness, and death and that his quest was not over.

Thus, Gotama left Alara Kalama and went in search of a new teacher. At last he found another great teacher, Uddaka, who was famous for his cleverness. Again, Gotama learnt very quickly and soon knew as much as his teacher. He found that Uddaka could not teach him how to stop suffering, old age and death either, and he had never heard of anyone who could solve these problems. Once again the Ascetic Gotama was disappointed and left Uddaka, making up his mind to struggle by himself until he found the cause of all the suffering of life.


Which one of the following is NOT considered to be a great event in Buddha’s life?


The great events in the life of Buddha are Buddha’s birth (lotus and bull); the great departure (horse); enlightenment (Bodhi tree); First Sermon (Wheel); Death (Stupa).


On the basis of which of the following traditional records the dates of Buddha’s birth and death have been fixed?


On the basis of Chinese traditions and Cantonese records, the dates of Buddha’s birth and death have been fixed.


Which of the following statements is/are CORRECT?


(a) Non-violence is at the heart of Buddhist thinking and behaviour. The first of the five precepts that all Buddhists should follow is "Avoid killing, or harming any living thing." Buddhism is essentially a peaceful tradition.
(b) Buddhists believe that there is no permanent self or soul. Because there is no unchanging permanent essence or soul, Buddhists sometimes talk about energy being reborn, rather than souls.
(c) All Buddhists traditionally strive to reach enlightenment or Nirvana. Although Buddhists don't believe in heaven, in very simple terms, this is the Buddhist equivalent of trying to reach a form of paradise in the Buddhist after life.
(d) Buddha is said to have proclaimed the Astangamarga or the Eightfold Path as the method and means of liberation from the slavery of the passions and desires.


Match the Buddhist Councils and the places where they were held:


A is the correct option.Six Buddhist Councils marked important turning points in the story of early Buddhism. 
The first council  was held in the Sattapani cave at Rajgriha. 
The Second Buddhist Council was held at Vaisali (or Vaishali), an ancient city in what is now the state of Bihar in northern India, bordering Nepal under the patronage of King Kalasoka while it was presided by Sabakami. 
The third was held in 250 BC at Pataliputra under the patronage of King Asoka. 
The fourth Buddhist council was held in 72 AD at Kundalvana, Kashmir.


Match the names of Presidents of the Buddhist Councils:


The correct option is Option B.

The first Buddhist council is traditionally said to have been held just after Buddha's Parinirvana, and presided over by Mahākāśyapa, one of His most senior disciples, at a cave near Rājagṛha (today's Rajgir) with the support of king Ajāthaśatru.

The Second Buddhist Council was held at Vaishali (or Vaishali), an ancient city in what is now the state of Bihar in northern India, bordering Nepal under the patronage of King Kalasoka while it was presided by Sabakami. This Council probably was held about a century after the first one, or about 383 BCE.

According to the Theravāda commentaries and chronicles, the Third Buddhist Council was convened by the Mauryan king Ashoka at Pātaliputra (today's Patna), under the leadership of the monk Moggaliputta Tissa.

The Fourth Buddhist Council was held at Kundalvana (presumed to be in or near Srinagar), Kashmir in 72 AD under the patronage of Kushan king Kanishka and the president of this council was Vasumitra, with Asvaghosa as his deputy. This council distinctly divided the Buddhism into 2 sects Mahayana & Hinayan.


Milinda of the well-known Pali text ‘Milinda Panho’ had dialogues with one Buddhist priest.Name the priest.


Nāgasena was a Sarvastivadan Buddhist sage born in Kashmir and lived around 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwestern India, are recorded in the Milinda Pañha and the Sanskrit Nāgasenabhiksusūtra.


What were the important causes of the spread of Buddhism in India?
A. Simple teachings in the language of the people.
B. Royal patronage.
C. Support of the trading community.
D. Role of Buddhist monks and monasteries.


Buddhism gained wide acceptance and its popularity spread like wild fire throughout India. Various causes were response accounted for the rise and spread of Buddhism. In recorded time, every nook and corner of the country reverberated with the prayers of the monks (bhikshus) and the lay-worshippers (Upasikas). Some of the important reasons were:
Simple Doctrines: As compared with Jainism, Buddhism was essentially simple. It did not confuse the people.
Royal patronage: Royal patronage of Buddhism also accounted for its rapid rise. The Buddha himself was a Kshatriya prince. Kings like Prasenjit, Bimbisara, Ajatasatru, Asoka, Kanishka and Harshavardhan patronised Buddhism and helped its spread throughout India.
Buddhist Monks and Sangha: The Buddhist monks and the Buddhist ‘Order’ (Sangha) did incomparable service for the spread of Buddhism.
Trading communities: Apart from this, one of the important reasons for spread of Buddhism was the support of the trading community.


Which statement on the history of Buddhism is NOT correct?


The correct option is A.
Buddhism became a major presence in Tibet towards the end of the 8th century CE. It was brought from India at the invitation of the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen, who invited two Buddhist masters to Tibet and had important Buddhist texts translated into Tibetan.


Which of the following is INCORRECT?


The correct option is D.
Certain Buddhist teachings appear to have been formulated in response to ideas presented in the early Upanishads – in some cases concurring with them, and in other cases criticizing or re-interpreting them.
The influence of Upanishads, the earliest philosophical texts of Hindus, on Buddhism has been a subject of debate among scholars. While Radhakrishnan, Oldenberg and Neumann were convinced of Upanishadic influence on the Buddhist canon, Eliot and Thomas highlighted the points where Buddhism was opposed to Upanishads.
Buddhism may have been influenced by some Upanishadic ideas, it however discarded their orthodox tendencies. In Buddhist texts he is presented as rejecting avenues of salvation as "pernicious views". Later schools of Indian religious thought were influenced by this interpretation and novel ideas of the Buddhist tradition of beliefs.


Which of the following is INCORRECT?


It must have been very difficult for slaves to join the sangha. According to the rules. a slave needed to take permission from his/her master for joining the sangha. But a slave was never in a position to assert his right. He was always at the mercy of his master. But in Buddhism slaves were allowed to join 'sanghas'. Those who followed Buddhism did not believe in dividing the society and Buddha taught that all humans are equal.


Who was the founder of the Theraveda sect of Buddhism?


Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism who later became known as “the Buddha,” lived during the 5th century B.C. Gautama was born into a wealthy family as a prince in present-day Nepal.


Who was the founder of the Ajivika sect?


Ajivika is one of the nāstika or "heterodox" schools of Indian philosophy. Purportedly founded in the 5th century BCE by Makkhali Gosala, it was a śramaṇa movement and a major rival of vedic religion, early Buddhism and Jainism. Ājīvikas were organised renunciates who formed discrete communities.


Who was the founder of the Mahasanghika sect of Buddhism?


Mahasanghika is the name of an early Buddhist school in India, which emerged about a century after the death of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, during the Second Buddhist council held at Vaishali. Its founder was Mahakassapa.


Which of the following is NOT a feature of Mahayana Buddhism?


Mahayana Buddhism says that there are three aspects of Buddhahood, which it describes by regarding Buddha as having three bodies (trikaya): Dharmakaya: Buddha is transcendent - he is the same thing as the ultimate truth. Sambhogakaya: Buddha's body of bliss, or enjoyment body.


Which of the following events of Buddha’s life is known as Mahabhinishkramana?


He left his home at the age of 29 years to live a life of an ascetic which is known as Mahabhinishkramana (the great departure). 


What was Uruvela?


After leaving his kingdom of Kapilavastu, Prince Siddhartha Gautama wandered around present day Bihar for four years seeking answers to his spiritual quest. Finally he arrived at a place called Uruvela near the town of Gaya in present day Bihar. He was thirty three years old when he began his final striving for enlightenment. Today Uruvela is called Bodh Gaya and it is the most sacred of all the pilgrimage destinations of the Buddhists on a pilgrimage to worship the sacred memory of Gautama Buddha.


The third Buddhist Council was held at Patliputra, during the reign of Ashoka, 236 years after the death of Buddha to revise the scriptures. Which of the following Pitakas was added to the existing two in this Council?


Abhidhamma Pitaka, the third—and historically the latest—of the three “baskets,” or collections of texts, that together compose the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism, the form predominant in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). The other two collections are Sutta and Vinaya (“Discipline”) Pitakas. Unlike Sutta and Vinaya, the seven Abhidhamma works are generally claimed to represent not the words of the Buddha himself but those of disciples and great scholars. Nevertheless, they are highly venerated, particularly in Myanmar (Burma).


According to the Buddhist traditions the four great signs transformed the life of Gautama.Which one of the following is known as the ‘Four Great Signs’?


During his late twenties, Siddhartha is said to have encountered "four signs" which altered his life forever. These signs were: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and a monk or a yogin (i.e. yoga or yogin refer to a man who pursues and/or teaches various religious practices).


Which of the following is NOT one of the ‘Four Noble Sentiments’ that a person aspiring for nirvana should cultivate?


Metta as 'compassion meditation' is often practiced in Asia by broadcast chanting, wherein monks chant for the laity.

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