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Causes of New Movement

  • The Kshatriya reaction against the domination of the priestly class called Brahmanas. Mahavira and Gautama Buddha, both belonged to the Kshatriya clan.
  • Indiscriminate killing of cattle for Vedic sacrifices and food had led to the destabilization of the new agricultural economy which was dependent on cattle for ploughing the fields. Both Buddhism and Jainism stood against this killing.
  • The growth of cities with the increase in the circulation of Punch Marked coins and trade and commerce had added to the importance of Vaishyas who looked for a new religion to improve their position. Jainism and Buddhism facilitated their needs.
  • The new forms of property created social inequalities and the common people wanted to get back to their primitive form of life.
  • Growing complexity and degeneration of Vedic religion.


Buddhism stands for 3 pillars:

(a) Buddha: Its Founder
(b) Dhamma: His Teachings
(c) Sangha: order of Buddhist monks and nuns

Gautam Buddha

  • Also known as Sakyamuni or Tathagata.
  • Born in 536 BC. On the Vaisakha Poornima day at Lumbini (near Kapilavastu) in Nepal.
  • His father Suddhodhana was the Saka ruler
  • His mother (Mahamaya, of the Kosala dynasty) died after 7 days of his birth. Brought up by the stepmother Gautami.
  • Married at 16 to Yashodhara. Enjoyed the marital life for 13 years and had a son named Rahula.Overview: Buddhism and Jainism | General Test Preparation for CUET
  • Four Sights of Buddha's life at the age of 29 had moved him to the path of renunciation:
    (a) An old man
    (b) A diseased person
    (c) An ascetic
    (d) A dead person
  • He left his place at 29 in search of truth (also called Mahabhinishkramana’ or the Great Renunciation) and wandered for 6 years.
  • He attained ‘Enlightenment’ at 35 at Gaya in Magadha (Bihar) under the Pipal tree.
  • He delivered the first sermon at Sarnath where his five disciples had settled. His first sermon is called ‘Dharmachakrapravartan’ or ‘Turning of the wheel of law’.
  • Attained Mahaparinirvanda at Kushinagar (identical with village Kasia in Deoria district of UP) in 483 BC at the age of 80 in the Malla Republic.

Important events in the life of Buddha:Overview: Buddhism and Jainism | General Test Preparation for CUET

The Damma or 

Doctrine of Buddhism

1. The Four Great Truths or Four Noble Truths

  • Dukha: The world is full of sorrow and misery.
  • Samyuda: The of causes all the pain and misery is desire.
  • Nirodha: The pain and misery can be ended by killing or controlling desire.
  • Nirodha Gamini Pratipada: Path leading towards cessation of sorrow i.e. desire can be controlled by following Eight fold Paths.

2. The Eight Fold Path or Ashtangika Marga

  • Right observation
  • Right determination
  • Right exercise
  • Right action
  • Right speech
  • Right memory
  • Right meditation
  • Right livelihood

3. Madhya Marga: To avoid the excess of both luxury and austerity.

4. Belief in Nirvana:

  • When desire ceases, rebirth ceases and nirvana is attained le. freedom from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is gained by following the 8-fold path.
  • According to Buddha, soul is a myth.

5. Belief in Ahimsa: One Should Not Cause Injury To Any Living Being, Animal Or Man

6. Law of Karma: Man reaps the fruits of his past deeds.

The Sangha

  • Consists of monks (Bhikshus or Shramanas) and nuns.
  • Bhikshus acted as a torchbearer of the dhamma
  • Apart from Sangha, the worshippers were called Upasakas.

Special Features of Buddhism And The Causes of Its Spread

  • Buddhism does not recognize the existence of god and soul.
  • Women were also admitted to the Sangha. Sangha was open to all, irrespective of caste and sex.
  • Pali language was used which helped in the spread of Buddhist doctrines among the common people.
  • Ashoka embraced Buddhism and spread it to Central Asia, West Asia and Srilanka.
  • Buddhist Councils:
    (a) First Council: The first council was held in the year 483 B.C at Saptaparni caves near Rajgriha in Bihar under the patron of king Ajatshatru, during the first council two Buddhist works of literature were compiled Vinaya and Sutta Pitaka by Upali.
    (b) Second Council: The second council was held in the year 383 B.C at Vaishali under the patron of king Kalashoka.
    (c) Third Council: The third council was held in the year 250 B.C at Patliputra under the patron of King Ashoka the Great, during the third council Abhidhamma Pitaka was added and the Buddhist holy book Tripitaka was compiled.
    (d) Fourth Council: The fourth council was held in the year 78 A.D at Kundalvan in Kashmir under the patron of king Kanishka, during this council Hinayana and Mahayana were divided.
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In Mahayana, idol worship is there. It became popular in China, Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, Turkey and other SE countries. Hinayana became popular in Magadha and Sri Lanka. It believed in individual salvation and not in idol worship. Apart from these 2, there is a third vehicle, called "Vajrayana', which appeared in 8th century and grew rapidly in Bihar and Bengal. They did not treat meat, fish, wine, etc, as a taboo in dietary habit and freely consumed them.

Importance and Influence of Buddhism

1. Literature

  • Buddhist scriptures in pali is commonly referred to as Tripitaka i.e. threefold basket.
    (a) Sutta Pitaka: Buddha's sayings
    (b) Vinaya Pitaka: Monastic code
    (c) Abhidhamma Pitaka: Religious discourses of Buddha
  • Milindapanho: The dialogue between Menander and Saint Nagasena
  • Dipavamsha and Mahavamsha: The great chronicles of Sri Lanka
  • Buddhacharita by Ashvagosha

2. Sects

  • Hinayana (Lesser Wheel): They believe in the real teachings of Gautam Buddha of attaining Nirvana. They do not believe in idol worship and the Pali language was used in the Hinayana text.
  • Mahayana (Greater Wheel): They believe that Nirvana is attained by the grace of Gautam Buddha and following Boddhisattvas and not by following his teachings. They believe in idol worship and Sanskrit was used in the Mahayana text.
  • Vajrayana: They believe that Nirvana is attained with the help of magical tricks or black magic.

3. Bodhisattvas

  • Vajrapani
  • Avalokitesvara or Padmapani
  • Manjushri
  • Maitreya
  • Kshitigriha
  • Amitabha/Amitayusha

4. Buddhist Architectures

  • Places of Worship: Stupas containing the relics of Buddha or Bodhisattvas. Chaityas are the prayer hall while Viharas are the place of residence of monks.
  • Development of Cave architecture eg. Barabar caves in Gaya
  • Development of Idol worship and sculptures
  • Growth of universities of par excellence which attracted students from all over the world.

Causes of the Decline of Buddhism

  • Buddhism succumbed to the rituals and ceremonies which it had originally denounced.
  • They gave up Pali and took Sanskrit. They began to practice idol worship and received numerous offerings from devotees.
  • Monasteries came under the domination of ease-loving people and became the center of corrupt practices.
  • Vajrayana form started to develop.
  • Buddhists came to look upon women as objects of lust.


  • Founded by Rishabhanath.
  • There were 24 Tirthankaras (Prophets or Gurus), all Kshatriyas. 
  • First was Rishabnath (Emblem: Bull). His reference is also in Rigveda.
  • There is no historical basis for the first 22 Tirthankaras. Only the last 2 Tirthankaras made a historical presence.
  • The 23rd Tirthankar Parshwanath (Emblem: Snake ) was the son of king Ashvasena of Banaras.
    His main teachings: Non-lying, Non-injury, Non-stealing, Non-possession
  • The 24th and the last Tirthankar was Vardaman Mahavira (Emblem: Lion). Overview: Buddhism and Jainism | General Test Preparation for CUET

Vardaman Mahavira

  • Mahavira was related to Bimbisara.
  • He was born in Kundagram (District Muzaffarpur, Bihar) in 599 BC.
  • His father Siddhartha was the head of the Jnatrika clan and mother was Trishala, sister of Lichchavi Prince Chetak of Vaishali.
  •  He was married to Yashoda, had a daughter named Priyadarsena, whose husband Jamali became his first disciple.
  • At 30, after the death of his parents, he became an ascetic.
  • In the 13th year of his asceticism (on the 10th of Vaishakha), outside the town of Jrimbhikgrama, attained the supreme knowledge (Kaivalya).
  • From now on he was called Jaina or Jitendriya and Mahavira, and his followers were named Jains. He also got the title of Arihant, i.e worthy.
  • At the age of 72, attained death at Pava, near Patna, in 527 BC.
  • Mahavira preached almost the same message as Parsvanath and added one more, Brahmcharya (celibacy) to it.
  • After the death of Mahavira, during the reign of King Chandragupta Maurya, a severe famine led to a great exodus of Jain monks from the Ganga valley to the Deccan, where they established important centers of their faith.
  • This migration led to a great schism in Jainism: 
    (a) Bhadrabhau, who led the emigrants, insisted on the retention of the rule of nudity that Mahavira had established.
    (b) Sthulabhadra, the leader of the monks who remained in the north, allowed his followers to wear white garments, owing to the hardships and confusions of the famine. 
  • Hence arose the two sects of the Jains, the Digambaras (sky-clad, i.e., naked) and the Svetambaras (white-clad).

Teachings of Mahavira

  • Rejected the authority of the Vedas and do not attach any importance to the performance of sacrifices.
  • He believed that every object, even the smallest particle, possesses a soul and is endowed with consciousness. That is why they observe strict non-violence.
  • The Jains reject the concept of a Universal Soul of a Supreme Power as the creator or Sustainer of the universe.
  • Jainism does not deny the existence of gods but refuses to give gods any important part in the universal scheme. Gods are placed lower than the Jina.
  • Universal brotherhood (non-belief in caste system).
    Question for Overview: Buddhism and Jainism
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Doctrine of Jainism

Five Vows of Jainism

  • Ahimsa: Non-violence
  • Satya: Do not speak a lie
  • Asteya: Do not steal
  • Aparigraha: Do not acquire property
  • Brahmacharya: CelibacyOverview: Buddhism and Jainism | General Test Preparation for CUET

Three Main Principles

  • Ahimsa
  • Anekantavada
  • Aparigraha

Triratna's of Jainism

  • Right Faith: Samayak Shradha
  • Right Knowledge: Samayak Jnan
  • Right Conduct: Samayak karma

Five types of knowledge

  • Mati jnana
  • Shruta jnana
  • Avadhi jnana
  • Manahparayaya Jnana
  • Keval Jnana

Jain council

  • 1st Council at Patliputra under the Patron of Chandragupta Maurya in 300 BC during which the 12 angas were compiled.
  • 2nd Council at Vallabhi in 512 AD during which the final compilation of 12 angas and 12 upangas was done.
    Question for Overview: Buddhism and Jainism
    Try yourself:1st Council at Patliputra under the Patron of Chandragupta Maurya in 300 BC during which the _____ angas were compiled.
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Importance and Influence of Jainism



  • Sthulabhadra, People who put on white robes. 
  • Those who stayed back in the North during the times of famine


  • Bhadrabahu, People who have naked attire
  • The exodus of monks to Deccan and South during the times of Magadhan famine.

Jain Literature

  • Jain literature is in Ardh-Magadhi and Prakrit dialects.
  • Prakrit was the common language of people than using Sanskrit. In this way, Jainism reached far and wide through people.
  • The important literary works are:
    (a) 12 Angas
    (b) 12 Upangas
    (c) 10 Parikramas
    (d) 6 Chhedsutras
    (e) 4 Mulasutras
    (f) 2 Sutra Grantas
  • Part of Sangam literature is also attributed to Jain scholars.
  • Due to the influence of Jainism, many regional languages emerged out, like Sauraseni, out of which grew the Marasthi, Gujarat, Rajasthani, and Kannada.

Causes responsible for the decline of Jainism in India 

1. Lack of royal patronage

  • The initial tempo of royal patronage of Jainism by Bimbisara, Ajatasatru, Udayin, and Kharavela was not kept up by kings and princes of later times. 
  • The zeal and determination of Asoka, Kanishka, and Harsha to spread Buddhism came to eclipse Jainism.
  • Thus, a lack of sincere and determined royal patronage came to relegate Jainism.

2. Lack of efforts 

  • There was also a decline in the missionary zeal and sincerity of the Jaina mendicants. 
  • They were no more particular in undertaking the strain of spreading Jainism in villages and towns. 
  • The traders and businessmen still remained loyal to Jainism. But they had no time to do anything for the spread of Jainism.

3. Severity of Jainism 

  • The severity of Jainism boomeranged against it to bring about its decline. 
  • Unlike the ‘middle path’ of Buddhism, Jainism stood for severe penance, meditation, fasting, and restraint, etc. 
  • All these were too severe to endure. People soon became disillusioned with it. In course of time, Jainism, once adored, became alienated from the people.

4. Unintelligible Philosophy

  • Most of the Jaina philosophy was unintelligible for the masses. 
  • The concepts of Jeeva, Ajeeva, Pudgala, Syadbada etc. could not be understood properly by the people. Many could not accept the view that stone, water, tree or earth had a soul of their own.
  • There was, thus, a gradual decline in popular faith for Jainism. This paved the way for its decline.

5. Factionalism in Jainism 

  • Factionalism among the Jainas after the death of Mahavira was the fifth cause of the decline of Jainism. Some now advocated to literally follow the teachings of Mahavira, while others wanted to tone down the severity of Jainism. 
  • As such, the rift led to a division in Jain ranks. They were now divided into ‘Digamvara’ and ‘Swetamvara’ groups.
    (a) The ‘Digamvara’ group, led by Bhadrabahu, gave up dress, adopted severe penance for self-purification, and became indifferent to worldly life.
    (b) The ‘Swetamvara’ group, led by Sitalabahu, wore a white dress. The division weakened Jainism and as such, its spread came to be curtailed.

6. Spread of Buddhism 

  • Buddhism came as a formidable obstacle in the path of the spread of Jainism. 
  • Buddhist was simple and intelligible. There was no severity in it. Even a householder could follow it.
  • Thus, Jainism which gained momentum came to a declining stage after the spread of Buddhism.

7. Role of Hindu preachers

  • Hinduism posed threats to Jainism and put constant problem on the path of the spread of Jainism
  • Nimbarka, Ramanuja, Sankaracharya, etc. came to make the foundation of Hinduism more solid and stronger. 
  • The rise of Vaisnavism, Saivism, and Saktism paled Jainism into comparative insignificance. 

The decline of Jainism, thus, became inevitable and unavoidable.

Question for Overview: Buddhism and Jainism
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Difference between Jainism and Buddhism and Vedic Religion

  • They did not attach any importance to the existing Varna system.
  • They preached the Gospel of non-violence.
  • They accepted Vaishyas, including the Moneylenders who were condemned by Brahmanas.
  • They preferred simple, puritan and ascetic living.
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FAQs on Overview: Buddhism and Jainism - General Test Preparation for CUET

1. What are the main causes that led to the emergence of new movements in Buddhism and Jainism?
Ans. The main causes that led to the emergence of new movements in Buddhism and Jainism include: - Dissatisfaction with the existing religious practices and rituals: Some individuals felt that the traditional Vedic religion and its rituals did not provide them with the spiritual satisfaction they were seeking. This dissatisfaction led them to explore alternative paths such as Buddhism and Jainism. - Rejection of the caste system: Both Buddhism and Jainism rejected the rigid caste system prevalent in ancient India. They offered a more egalitarian approach to spirituality, where individuals were not judged based on their birth or social status. - Emphasis on personal liberation and enlightenment: Buddhism and Jainism focused on individual efforts towards attaining liberation and enlightenment. They emphasized self-discipline, meditation, and ethical conduct as means to achieve spiritual growth. - Influence of charismatic leaders: The presence of charismatic leaders like Gautama Buddha and Mahavira played a significant role in attracting followers to these new movements. Their teachings and personal examples inspired many to join their respective religious communities. - Appeal to the masses: Buddhism and Jainism offered a more accessible and inclusive religious path compared to the complex rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic religion. This appeal to the masses contributed to the growth and popularity of these new movements.
2. How does the Damma (Doctrine) of Buddhism shape the new movement?
Ans. The Damma or Doctrine of Buddhism plays a crucial role in shaping the new movement. It encompasses the teachings and principles espoused by Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Key aspects of the Damma include: - The Four Noble Truths: The Damma introduces the concept of the Four Noble Truths, which explain the nature of suffering (dukkha) and the path to liberation from it. These truths act as guiding principles for followers of Buddhism. - The Eightfold Path: The Damma outlines the Eightfold Path, which provides a systematic framework for individuals to follow in order to achieve enlightenment. This path includes ethical conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom. - Impermanence and Non-Self: Buddhism emphasizes the impermanent and ever-changing nature of existence and rejects the concept of a permanent self or soul. These teachings challenge traditional beliefs and encourage individuals to develop a deeper understanding of reality. - Compassion and Loving-Kindness: The Damma promotes compassion and loving-kindness towards all beings. It encourages followers to cultivate a mindset of empathy and to act selflessly for the benefit of others. - Mindfulness and Meditation: Buddhism emphasizes the practice of mindfulness and meditation as a means to develop self-awareness, concentration, and insight. These practices are central to the Damma and play a vital role in spiritual growth.
3. What are the main differences between Jainism and Buddhism in comparison with the Vedic religion?
Ans. The main differences between Jainism and Buddhism in comparison with the Vedic religion are as follows: - Rejection of the caste system: Both Jainism and Buddhism rejected the caste system, which was an integral part of the Vedic religion. They advocated for equality among individuals, irrespective of their birth or social status. - Non-violence and compassion: Jainism places a strong emphasis on non-violence (ahimsa) towards all living beings, including animals and insects. Buddhism also promotes non-violence and compassion as fundamental principles. - Focus on personal liberation: Jainism and Buddhism prioritize individual efforts towards attaining liberation and enlightenment. In contrast, the Vedic religion emphasized the performance of rituals and sacrifices for the appeasement of gods. - Simplification of rituals and sacrifices: Jainism and Buddhism offered simpler and more accessible religious practices compared to the complex rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic religion. They emphasized inner transformation and ethical conduct over external rituals. - Concept of karma and rebirth: Jainism and Buddhism share a belief in the concepts of karma and rebirth, which were also present in the Vedic religion. However, they offered different interpretations and approaches towards these concepts.
4. How does Buddhism and Jainism address the spiritual needs of the masses differently from the Vedic religion?
Ans. Buddhism and Jainism address the spiritual needs of the masses differently from the Vedic religion in the following ways: - Accessibility and inclusivity: Buddhism and Jainism offered a more accessible and inclusive religious path compared to the complex rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic religion. They did not discriminate based on caste or social status, making them more appealing to the masses. - Emphasis on personal effort: Both Buddhism and Jainism emphasized individual efforts towards spiritual growth and liberation. They encouraged self-discipline, meditation, and ethical conduct as means to attain enlightenment, empowering individuals to take charge of their own spiritual journeys. - Rejection of the caste system: While the Vedic religion upheld the caste system, Buddhism and Jainism rejected it. They challenged the rigid social hierarchy and offered a more egalitarian approach to spirituality, where individuals were judged based on their actions rather than their birth. - Focus on ethical conduct: Buddhism and Jainism placed a strong emphasis on ethical conduct and moral principles. They provided clear guidelines for followers to lead virtuous lives and fostered a sense of responsibility towards oneself and others. - Inner transformation over external rituals: Unlike the Vedic religion, which heavily relied on elaborate rituals and sacrifices, Buddhism and Jainism focused on inner transformation. They emphasized the development of qualities such as compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom, which were considered essential for spiritual progress.
5. How did the presence of charismatic leaders like Gautama Buddha and Mahavira contribute to the growth of Buddhism and Jainism?
Ans. The presence of charismatic leaders like Gautama Buddha and Mahavira played a significant role in the growth of Buddhism and Jainism. Their contributions include: - Inspiring teachings: Gautama Buddha and Mahavira were renowned for their profound and inspiring teachings. Their messages resonated with people seeking spiritual guidance and provided a new perspective on life and existence. - Personal examples: Both leaders embodied the principles and values they preached. Their personal examples of compassion, non-violence, and self-discipline attracted followers and motivated them to emulate their behavior. - Formation of religious communities: Gautama Buddha and Mahavira established monastic orders where individuals could join and dedicate themselves to the practice of their respective religions. These communities provided support, guidance, and a sense of belonging to the followers. - Spreading the teachings: The charismatic leaders actively traveled and disseminated their teachings, attracting a wide range of followers from different regions. Their teachings were often transmitted orally and later compiled into scriptures, ensuring the preservation and widespread dissemination of their messages. - Influence on social and cultural norms: The presence of Gautama Buddha and Mahavira challenged the existing social and cultural norms. Their teachings and actions led to the questioning and reevaluation of traditional beliefs, contributing to the growth of these new movements.
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