Types of Buddhism
- Hinayana: (a) Its followers believed in the original teachings of the Buddha. (b) They sought individual salvation through self-discipline and meditation. (c) They did not believe in idol-worship. (d) Hinayana, like Jainism, is a religion without God, karma taking the place of God. (e) Nirvana is regarded as the extinction of all misery. [The oldest school of Hinayana Buddhism is the Sthaviravada (Theravada in Pali) or the ‘Doctrine of the Elders’. Its Sanskrit counterpart which is more philosophical is known as Sarvastivada or the doctrine which maintains the existence of all things, physical as well as mental. Gradually, from Sarvastivada or Vaibhasika branched off another school called Sautantrika which was more critical in outlook.]
- Mahayana: (a) Its followers believed in the heavenliness of the Buddhas, and sought the salvation of all through the grace and helof the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. (b) Believes in idol-worship. (c) Believes that Nirvana is not a negative cessation of mysery but a positive state of bliss. Mahayanism had two chief philosophical schools: the ‘Madhyamika’ and the ‘Yogachara’ which is also called ‘Vijnnavadin’.
- The former took a line midway between the uncompromising realism of Hinayanism and the idealism of Yogachara. It is also called Shunyavada. Generally Nagarjuna is regarded as its founder but it is present before him in the Mahayana Sutras.
- The Yogachara school is founded by Maitreyanatha completely rejected the realism of Hinayana and maintained absolute idealism.
- Vajrayana: Its followers believed that salvation could be best attained by acquiring the magical power, which they called ‘Vajra’.
- The chief divinities of this new sect were the ‘Taras’.
- If became popular in Eastern India, particularly Bengal and Bihar.
- The four places: Lumbini, Bodh-Gaya, Sarnath and Kurinagar, where the four principal events of the Buddha’s life, namely, birth enlightenment, first preaching and mahaparinirvana took place. To these are added four places Sravasti, Rajgriha, Vaishali and Sankasya—these eight places have all along been considered as the eight holy places (ashtamahasthanas).
- Other centres of Buddhism in Ancien India—Amravati, Nagarjuna-konda in Andhra Pradesh; Nalanda in Bihar; Junagadh and Valabhi in Gujarat; Sanchi and Bharhut in M.P.; Ajanta-Ellora in Maharashtra, Dhaulagiri in Orissa; Kannauj, Kausambi and Mathura in U.P.; and Jagadala and Somapuri in West Bengal.
- Buddhist architecture developed essentially in three forms. viz. (a) Stupa (relics of the Buddha or some prominent Buddhist monk are preserved) (b) Chaitya (prayer hall) (c) Vihara (residence)
Contribution of Buddhism
- The doctrine of Ahimsa—so strongly stressed, devoutly preached and sincerely practised by the Buddhist, was incorporated bodily in their teachings by the Brahamins of later days.
- The practice of worshipping personal gods, making their images and erecting temples in their honour was adopted by the Hindus in imitation of the Mahayana Buddhists.
- The first contribution of Buddhism to Indian life was made in the realm of architecture and sculpture.
- Buddhism proved to be one of the greatest civilising forces which India gave to the neighbouring countries.
- Buddhism broke the isolation of India and established an intimate contact between India and foreign countries.
- A yearly tax, probably 1/6th of the produce.
- The tithe on produce, levied in kind, was measured out either by the village syndic or headman or by an official called Mahamatta.
- The king could impose forced labour or rajakara on the people.
- Milindapanha reveals three separate industries in the manufacture of bows and arrows, apart from any ornamental work on the same.
- The trade-name Kammara might be applied to a worker in any metal.
- Vaddhaki apparently covered all kind of wood craft.
- The leather-dressess, the painters, and others to the number of 18 were organised into guilds (sreni)
- The Sresthi was actually a financier or banker, sometimes the head of a trade guild.
- Srasvati was linked with both Kausambi and Varanasi.
- The route from Sravasti passed eastward and southward through Kapilvastu and Kusinara and came to Vaisali.
- Trader, crossed the Ganga near Patna and went to Rajgir. They also went by the Ganga to Champa.
- The traders went to Taxila, Ujjain and Gujarat coast via Mathura.
- Silks, muslins, the finer sorts of cloth, cutlery and armour, brocades, embroideries and rugs, perfumes and drugs, ivory and ivory-work, jewellery, gold and silver were the main articles in which the merchant dealt with.
- Coins made of metal appear first is this age of Buddha.
- The Kahapana was very important coin.
- Other coins are the ancient nishka, a gold coin, the suvarna also of gold, bronze or copper tokens as the masaka, the pada, the kakanika and the kamsa.
- Shippikani or coury shells are once mentioned in Jataka.
- The earliest hoards of these coins have been found in eastern U.P. and Magadha, although some early coins are also found in Taxila.
Flexibility of Market Economy
- It was facilitated by three innovations.
(i) The use of a script.
(ii) The consequent issuing of promissory notes, the letters of credit and pledges.
(iii) The introduction of money in the form of silver and copper punch-marked coins.