Pali forms are given in the sections on the core teachings of early Buddhism that are reconstructed primarily from Pali texts and in sections that deal with Buddhist traditions in which the primary sacred language is Pali. Sanskrit forms are given in the sections that deal with Buddhist traditions whose primary sacred language is Sanskrit and in other sections that deal with traditions whose primary sacred texts were translated from Sanskrit into a Central or East Asian language such as Tibetan or Chinese.
Buddhism arose in northeastern India sometime between the late 6th century and the early 4th century bce , a period of great social change and intense religious activity. Many modern scholars believe that the historical Buddha lived from about to about bce. Many others believe that he lived about years later from about to bce.
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At this time in India, there was much discontent with Brahmanic Hindu high-caste sacrifice and ritual. In northwestern India there were ascetics who tried to create a more personal and spiritual religious experience than that found in the Vedas Hindu sacred scriptures.
In the literature that grew out of this movement, the Upanishads , a new emphasis on renunciation and transcendental knowledge can be found. Northeastern India, which was less influenced by Vedic tradition, became the breeding ground of many new sects.
Richard F. Nance, Speaking for Buddhas: Scriptural Commentary in Indian Buddhism - PhilPapers
Society in this area was troubled by the breakdown of tribal unity and the expansion of several petty kingdoms. Religiously, this was a time of doubt, turmoil, and experimentation. A proto-Samkhya group i. New sects abounded, including various skeptics e. The most important sects to arise at the time of the Buddha, however, were the Ajivikas Ajivakas , who emphasized the rule of fate niyati , and the Jains , who stressed the need to free the soul from matter.
Although the Jains, like the Buddhists, have often been regarded as atheists, their beliefs are actually more complicated. Unlike early Buddhists, both the Ajivikas and the Jains believed in the permanence of the elements that constitute the universe, as well as in the existence of the soul.
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According to tradition, the Buddha himself was a yogi—that is, a miracle-working ascetic. Buddhism, like many of the sects that developed in northeastern India at the time, was constituted by the presence of a charismatic teacher, by the teachings this leader promulgated , and by a community of adherents that was often made up of renunciant members and lay supporters. In the case of Buddhism, this pattern is reflected in the Triratna —i.
These supposedly more advanced teachings were expressed in sutras that the Buddha purportedly made available only to his more advanced disciples.
As Buddhism spread, it encountered new currents of thought and religion. In some Mahayana communities, for example, the strict law of karma the belief that virtuous actions create pleasure in the future and nonvirtuous actions create pain was modified to accommodate new emphases on the efficacy of ritual actions and devotional practices. This movement was influenced by gnostic and magical currents pervasive at that time, and its aim was to obtain spiritual liberation and purity more speedily. Separate different tags with a comma.
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Skip to content Skip to search. Nance, Richard F. Author Nance, Richard F. Subjects Buddhist literature -- India -- History and criticism. Buddhism -- India -- History. Contents Models of speaking: Buddhas and monks Models of instruction: preachers perfect and imperfect Models of argument: epistemology and interpretation Models of explication: commentarial guides. Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"?
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