Thinkers Belief and Buildings Culture Development (600 BCE – 600 CE)
Key concepts in nutshell
- Buildings of sanchi Kannakkheda are the most wonderful ancient buildings in the state of Bhopal.
- Buddhist, Jaina and Brahamanical text, monument and inscription are the some of the important historical sources of the age of C 600 BCE-600CE.
- Many was provided by rulers of Bhopal, Shahjahan Begum and her successor Sultan Jahan Begum to preserved the ancient sites.
- The Rigveda is a collection of hymns, praise of many deities like Agni, Indra, Soma etc.
- The basic philosophy of Jainism already existed in north India even before the birth of vardhamana Mahaveera.
- Tha Bhuddha was the most influential teachers of his times.
- Two traditions were including in modern Hinduism – Vaishnavism and Shaivism.
A detailed study
- A Glimpse of Sanchi
- Nineteenth-century Europeans were very interested in the stupa at Sanchi.
- The rulers of Bhopal, Shahjehan Begum and her successor Sultan Jehan Begum, provided money for the preservation of the ancient site.
- One of the most important Buddhist centres, the discovery of Sanchi has vastly transformed our understanding of early Buddhism. Today it stands testimony to the successful restoration and preservation of a key archaeological site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Buddhist tradition: Sacrifices and Debates
- The mid-first millennium BCE is often regarded as a turning point in world history as it saw the emergence of thinkers. They tried to understand the mysteries of existence and the relationship between human beings and the cosmic order.
- This was also the time when new kingdoms and cities were developing and social and economic life was changing in a variety of ways in the Ganga valley.
- The early Vedic traditions, religious belief and practice were known from the Rigveda, compiled between c.1500 and 1000 BCE.
- Rigveda consisted of hymns, which were chanted when sacrifices were performed, where people prayed for cattle, sons, good health, long life, etc.
- At first, sacrifices were performed collectively. Later (c. 1000 BCE-500 BCE onwards) some were performed by the heads of households for the wellbeing of the domestic unit.
- More elaborate sacrifices, such as the rajasuya and ashvamedha, were performed by chiefs and kings who depended on Brahmana priests to conduct the ritual.
- Many ideas found in the Upanishads (c. sixth century BCE onwards) show that people were curious about the meaning of life, the possibility of life after death and rebirth. Thinkers were concerned with understanding and expressing the nature of the ultimate reality.
- On the other hand, people outside the Vedic tradition began speculating on the significance of the sacrificial tradition and questioned the existence of ultimate reality.
- Buddhist texts mention as many as 64 sects or schools of thought.
- Debates took place in the kutagarashala – literally, a hut with a pointed roof – or in groves where travelling mendicants halted.
- Mahavira and Buddha, questioned the authority of the Vedas.
- They also emphasised individual agency – suggesting that men and women could strive to attain liberation from the trials and tribulations of worldly existence.
- This was a sharp contrast to the Brahmanical position, where an individual’s existence was thought to be determined by his or her birth in a specific caste or gender.
- The Message of Mahavira
- The philosophy of the Jainas already existed before the birth of Mahavira in the sixth century BCE.
- Vardhamana who came to be known as Mahavira, was preceded by 23 other teachers or tirthankaras, according to Jaina tradition.
- Tirthankaras are the teachers who guide men and women across the river of existence.
- The most important idea in Jainism is that the entire world is animated: even stones, rocks and water have life.
- The principle of ahimsa, emphasised within Jainism, has left its mark on Indian thinking as a whole.
- According to Jaina teachings, the cycle of birth and rebirth is shaped through karma.
- Asceticism and penance are required to free oneself from the cycle of karma. This can be achieved only by renouncing the world.
- Jaina monks and nuns took five vows: to abstain from killing, stealing and lying; to observe celibacy; and to abstain from possessing property.
- Gradually, Jainism spread to many parts of India. Jaina scholars produced a wealth of literature in a variety of languages – Prakrit, Sanskrit and Tamil.
- The Buddha – His Enlightenment & Teachings
- The teachings and message of Buddha spread across the subcontinent and beyond – through Central Asia to China, Korea and Japan, and through Sri Lanka, across the seas to Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
- According to Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha, as the Buddha was named at birth, was the son of a chief of the Sakya clan. He had a sheltered upbringing within the palace but he was deeply anguished when he saw an old man, a sick man and a corpse.
- He also saw a homeless mendicant, who, it seemed to him, had come to terms with old age, disease and death, and found peace. Siddhartha decided that he too would adopt the same path. He then left the palace and set out in search of his own truth.
- He meditated for several days and finally attained enlightenment. After this he came to be known as the Buddha or the Enlightened One.
- For the rest of his life, he taught dhamma or the path of righteous living.
- His teachings: The Buddha’s teachings have been reconstructed from stories, found mainly in the Sutta Pitaka.
- Some stories describe his miraculous powers, others suggest that the Buddha tried to convince people through reason and persuasion rather than through displays of supernatural power.
- According to Buddhist philosophy, the world is transient (anicca) and constantly changing; it is also soulless (anatta) as there is nothing permanent or eternal in it. Within this transient world, sorrow (dukkha) is intrinsic to human existence.
- It is by following the path of moderation between severe penance and self-indulgence that human beings can rise above these worldly troubles.
- The Buddha regarded the social world as the creation of humans rather than of divine origin. So he advised kings and gahapatis to be humane and ethical.
- The Buddha emphasised individual agency and righteous action as the means to escape from the cycle of rebirth and attain self-realisation and nirvana, literally the extinguishing of the ego and desire – and thus end the cycle of suffering for those who renounced the world. Buddha’s last words to his followers were: “Be lamps unto yourselves as all of you must work out your own liberation.”
- His Followers: As the number of disciples of the Buddha increased and he founded a sangha, an organisation of monks who too became teachers of dhamma
- These monks lived on alms, and so they were known as bhikkhus.
- Initially, only men were allowed into the sangha, but later women also came to be admitted.
- The Buddha’s foster mother, Mahapajapati Gotami was the first woman to be ordained as a bhikkhuni. The Buddha’s followers came from many social groups. They included kings, wealthy men and gahapatis, and also humbler folk: workers, slaves and craftspeople.
- Once within the sangha, all were regarded as equal, having shed their earlier social identities on becoming bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.
- Buddhism grew rapidly as it appealed to many people dissatisfied with existing religious practices and confused by the rapid social changes taking place around them.
- The importance attached to conduct and values rather than claims of superiority based on birth drew men and women to Buddhist teachings.
QUESTIONS ANSWER –
Q1. Mention four places associated with the life of the Buddha. (2)
Ans.1. Lumbini (birthplace of the Buddha)
2. Kapilvastu ( the Buddha was brought up here)
3. Bodh Gaya ( the Buddha attained enlightenment here)
4. Sarnath- (the Buddha delivered his first religious discourse here).
Q2. What do you mean by Tri –ratna? (2)
Ans- According to Jainism, Moksha or salvation can be attained by observing Tri- ratna or
three jewels. These are-
1. Right knowledge
2. Right faith
3. Right action.
Q3. Into how many categories the religious sects that originated during the 6th century B.C. can be divided? (2)
Ans- The religious sects of the 6th century. B.C. can be divided into two categories:
1. The faiths which were openly against Vedic religion,
2. The faiths which did not oppose Vedic religion openly but propagated new principles venerating one or the other old divinity.
Q4. What do you mean by “Dharma Chakra Pravartana”? (2)
Ans- Dharma Chakra Pravartana means ‘sitting in motion the wheel of Dharma’. The first religious discourse or sermon delivered by Mahatma Buddha after attaining
enlightenment at Mrig dav or Deer Park of Sarnath near Varanasi , is known as ‘ Maha chakra Pravartana’.
Q5. Mention the various incarnations of Vishnu according to Vaishnavism. (2)
Ans. According to Vaishnavism there are ten incarnations of Vishnu. These are: Matsya , Kurma, Varsha, Narsimha, Vamana, Parsurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki.
Q6. Mention the teachings of Mahatma Buddha? (5)
Ans - According to Buddhist philosophy the world is transient ( anicca) and constantly changing it is also soulless (anatta) as there is nothing permanent or eternal in it. Within this transient world, sorrow is intrinsic to human existence. It is by following the path of moderation between severe penance and self indulgence that human beings can rise above these worldly troubles.The Buddha regarded the social world as the creation of humans rather than of divine origin. According to Buddhist tradition, his last words to his followers were: “Be lamps unto yourselves as all of you must work out your own liberation”.
Q7. What was the Budha Sangha? Discuss its characteristics. (5)
Ans. 1. Budha founded organization of monks called “Sangha”.
2. These monks served as teachers of “Dhamma”. They believed a simple life.
3. They possessed only the essential things which were required for their survival.
4. Earlier only men were allowed to joined the ‘Sangha’, later on the women were allowed for admission to the Sangha.
5. All the members were regarded as equal in the Sangha.
Q8. How Buddhist text were prepared and preserved? (5)
Ans. The Buddha used to give teachings through debate and discussion. Men, Women and children attended these discussions and discussed what they heard. None of his teachings were written down during his life time. After his death, his followers called a council of elders at Vaishali. This council compiled all of his teachings. These complications were known as Tripitaka which literally means the tree baskets to hold different types of text. Firstly they were transmitted orally and then written and classified according to their subject matter and length. When Bhuddism spread to new lands like Srilanka, other texts like Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa were written. Many Pilgrims like FaXian and Xuan Zang carried Buddhist texts with them to disseminate the teachings of Buddha.
Q9. Discuss how and why Stupas were built? (6+4)=10
1. Inscription found on the railings and pillars of stupas record donations made for building and decorating them.
2. Some donations were made by kings such as the Satavahanas; others were made by guilds,
3. Such as that of the ivory workers who financed part of one of the gateways at Sanchi.
4. Hundreds of donations were made by women and men who mention their names.
5. Sometimes adding the name of the place from where they came, as well as their occupations and names of their relatives.
5. Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis also contributed towards building these monuments.
Stupas were built for many resons -
1. There were other placestoo that were regarded as sacred. This was because relics of the Buddha such as his bodily remains or object used by him were buried there. These were mounds known as stupas.
2. The tradition of erecting stupas may have been pre- Buddhist, but they came to be associated with Buddhism.
3. Since they contained relics regarded as sacred, the entire stupa came to be venerated as an emblem of both the Buddha and Buddhism.
4. By the second century, a number of stupas, including those at Bharhut , Sanchi and Sarnath had been built.
PASSAGE BASED QUESTIONSQ
10. Read the given passage carefully and answer the question that follows –
Why were Stupa’s built
“This is an excerpt from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, part of the Sutta Pitaka: As the Buddha lay dying, Ananda asked him: “What are we to do Lord, with remains of the Tathagata (another name for the Buddha)?”
The Buddha replied : “Hinder not yourselves Ananda by honouring the remains of the Tathagata. Be zealous, be intent on your own good.”
But when pressed further, the Buddha said: “At the four crossroads they should erect a thupa (Pali for stupa) to the Tathagata. And whosever shall there place garlands or perfume …. or make a salutation there, or become in its presence calm of heart, that shall long be to them for a profit and joy.”
Q1. What are the Stupas ? Who advised the Ananda to build the Stupa? (2)
Ans. The Stupa were the sacred places. They preserved the relics of the Buddha shch as his bodily remains or the objects used by him. All these things were buried in the stupas.
Q2. From which chapter has this excerpt been taken? It is a part of which book? (1)
Ans. This excerpt has been taken from the “ Mahaparinibbhana Sutta.” It was a part of the “Sutta Pitaka.”
Q3. Who was the Tathagata? What had he told about the importance of the stupa? (3)
Ans. Tathagata was another name for the Buddha. He told Ananda that the honour to his worldly remains was not important. He laid stress on the importance of one’s good
deeds. The stupas should be erected on the holy places. If anybody placed garlands or perfume or saluted them, he will not only get the peace of mind but also profit and joy.
Q4. Name any three places where the Stupas have been built. (2)
Ans. The stupas were built at many places. The most important stupas existed at Bharhut, Sanchi and Sarnath.