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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten


Please note that most of below dates are approximations only and inclusion of major developments has been very arbitrary by the webmaster.

Prehistoric: Original Indus Valley Civilisation: meditation, asceticism.
1800 - 1500 BCE.: Invasion of Aryans in India: introduction of Vedas, Brahma, priesthood, caste system, ritual offering.
1500 BCE onwards: development of (pre-) Hindu schools like Mimamsa, Samkhya, Vedanta.
590-470 BCE: Mahavir - Founder of Jainism, contemporary of the Buddha.
624-560 BCE: Birth of Siddhartha Gautama
589-525 BCE: Enlightenment of the Buddha in Bodhgaya
(at age 36). During the full-moon night of July, the Buddha delivers his first discourse near Varanasi, introducing the world to the Four Noble Truths and commencing a 45-year career of teaching the religion he called "Dhamma-vinaya".
544-480 BCE: Passing away of Gautama Buddha.

543 -479 BCE: 1st Buddhist Council in Rajaghgraha during the rains retreat following the Buddha's Parinibbana. 500 Arahant Bhikkhus, led by Ven. Mahakassapa, gather to recite the entire body of the Buddha's teachings. The recitation of the Vinaya by Ven. Upali becomes accepted as the Vinaya Pitaka; the recitation of the Dhamma by Ven. Ananda becomes established as the Sutta Pitaka. {1,4}
443-379 BCE: 2nd Buddhist Council in Vesali, 100 years after the Buddha's parinirvana, to discuss controversial points of Vinaya. The first schism of the Sangha occurs, in which the Mahasanghika school parts ways with the traditionalist Sthaviravadins. At issue is the Mahasanghika's reluctance to accept the Suttas and the Vinaya as the final authority on the Buddha's teachings. This schism marks the first beginnings of what would later evolve into Mahayana Buddhism.
297 BCE: King Asoka (274-236 BCE) converted to Buddhism; Buddhism developed from small local group to state religion.
247 (308?) BCE : 3rd Buddhist Council, convened by King Asoka at Pataliputra (Patan?) India. Disputes on points of doctrine lead to further schisms, spawning the Sarvastivadin and Vibhajjavadin sects. The two Pitakas are enlarged to include the Abidhamma, forming the Tripitaka (three baskets.)The Abhidhamma Pitaka is recited at the Council. The modern Pali Tipitaka is now essentially complete, although some scholars have suggested that at least two parts of the extant Canon -- the Parivara in the Vinaya, and the Apadana in the Sutta -- may date from a later period. Asoka sends missionaries to Sri Lanka ( his son Mahindra), Kanara, Karnataka, Kashmir, Himalaya region, Burma, Afghanistan and even Egypt, Macedonia and Cyrene.
240 BCE Sri Lanka: Ven. Mahinda establishes the Mahavihara (Great Monastery) of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Vibhajjavadin community living there becomes known as the Theravadins. Mahinda's sister, Ven. Sanghamitta, arrives in Sri Lanka with a cutting from the original Bo tree, and establishes the bhikkhuni-sangha (nuns) in Sri Lanka.
236 BCE India: After death of Asoka, period of persecution of Buddhism under Pusyamitra Sunga
1st Cent BCE India: Erection of the great Stupa at Sanchi. The Ratnaguna Samcayagatha--a summary of the Prajna Paramita is written down. This includes the oldest literal reference to Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, and Bodhiyana.
94 BC Shri Lanka: 4th Buddhist Council (acc. to Theravadins) at Cave Aloka in Malaya district - see also 2nd Century India for another '4th Council'.
35 BCE Sri Lanka (or 100BCE?): King Vattagamani orders the Buddhist teachings (Theravada canon) to be committed to writing. Division between Mahavira and Abhayagiri vihara in Sri Lanka. Silhouets

65 CE China: First historic proof of Buddhist community.
1st Cent CE Thailand and Burma: monks from Sri Lanka establish Theravada.
2nd Century India: 4th Buddhist Council in Jalandhar, India under royal patron Kaniska.
2nd Century India: Appearance of Mahayana Buddhism as separate school.
2nd Century China: translators like An Shih-kao began translating Indian Buddhist texts using mostly Taoist terminology, initially causing many Chinese to believe that Buddhism was another version of Taoism.
2nd Century Vietnam: First introduction from China, followed by more missions, both Mahayana and non-Mahayana in 3rd century.
c. 200 India: Buddhist monastic university at Nalanda flourishes; remains a world center of Buddhist study for over 1,000 years.
2nd-3rd Century India: Master Nagarjuna; known for his profound teachings on emptiness.
320 to 1000 India: Development of Vajrayana Buddhism, based on Mahayana.
4th Century India: Master Vasubandhu; known for his teachings on mind-only (Cittamatrin) and worship of Amitabha, desire for rebirth in the Pure Land, leading to the development of the later Pure Land schools.
4th Century Sri lanka: King Mahasena introduces Mahayana monks.
320 China: Invasion of Huns in China, after which many Buddhist monasteries were established until 6th Century.
334-416 China: Master Hui: Founder of the White Lotus Movement and of Pure Land Buddhism in China.
372 Korea: First arrival of Buddhism on the peninsula from China.
4th Century Nepal: from this time onwards, coexistence of Buddhism and Hinduism, followed Indian traditions.
425 Sri Lanka: Buddhaghosa composes the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purity) which eventually becomes the classic Sri Lankan textbook on the Buddha's teachings.
5th Century China: Founding of Ching-t'u school of Pure Land Buddhism by T'an Luan (476-542)
5th Century Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Burma; Mahayana Buddhism was introduced, mainly by Indian immigrants.
480 China: Indian Master Bodhidharma travels as a Buddhist missionary to China, as follower of the Lanka School he is considered the forefather of Ch'an and Zen.
499 India: Monks of the Sarvastivadin school decide on new canon.
5th Century Cambodia
: mixture of Hindu Shivaism and Mahayana, lasting until the 11th century. Non-Mahayana schools were also present, but less prominent.
552 Japan: Buddhism enters from China (possibly via Korea?).
550-664 Korea: Buddhism is state religion.
6th Century China: Founding of T'ien T'ai by Chih-I (538-597), also known as Fa-hua, or lotus school; syncretism of all Mahayana shools.
6th Century Kashmir: invasion of Huns with persecution of monks. After their departure, slow restoration.
6th and 7th Century Korea: introduction of many Chinese schools.
641Tibet: Buddhism introduced from India, helped by King Song Tsen Gampo
650 Tibet: first Budhist temple in Tibet
7th century China
: Founding of Hua-yen school by Fa-tsang (643-712) - tantric Buddhism lasted only until about 1000 CE. Founding of Ch'an school by 6th Patriarch Hui-neng (638-713)
7th Century Cambodia: repression of Buddhism, followed by later strong support.
7th and 8th Century Kashmir: revival of Buddhism, strong influence of tantric schools.
710 Japan: capital moved to Nara; development of the 6 Nara-schools which were highly politisized, leaving them open to corruption.
730 Japan: introduction of Chinese Hua-yen school, known as Kegon in Japanese.
713-741 China: The T'ang Dynasty Esoteric School was introduced by the three Mahasattvas Subhakarasimha, Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra.
713 onwards China: sub-division in Ch'an schools; most important Lin-Ch'i with sudden awakening and use of koans, and Tsao-t'ung school of "just sitting" and gradual enlightenment. Notably, Ch'an only became an independent school with own monastic rules at the time of Pochang Huai-hai (720-814).
719 Thailand: introduction of Buddhism
787 Tibet: Foundation of Samye, first Buddhist monastery by Padmasambhava.
8th Century Tibet, Sikkhim, Bhutan: Master Padmasambhava establishes tantric Buddhism.
805 Japan: The Tendai School (from the Chinese T'ien T'ai) officially founded by Master Saicho (Dengyo Daishi).
810 India: King Devapala (ca. 810-845) donates the "income of five villages" for the founding and preservation of a Buddhist Library and Sutra copying facility at the Nalanda Universities.
845 China: Persecution of Buddhism started by Taoist emperor Wu-Tsung. T'ien T'ai and Huy Neng do not survive. Ch'an and Ching t'u survived and slowly recuperated. In many places Islam replaces Buddhism
9th Century Cambodia: building of Angkor Wat
9th Century Japan: Shingon ("True Word") Buddhism (tantric) established by Master Kukai (Kobo Daishi) derived from Chinese Chen-yen. A fusion of tantric Buddhism and indigenous Shinto became known as Ryobu-Shinto, which was remarkably separated again some 1000 years later into Buddhism and Shinto.
9th Century Tibet: Decline of Buddhism, persecution by King Langdharma
10th Century Tibet: Strong Buddhist revival.
1050 Sri Lanka: disruption of sangha by Tamil Nadu invaders. Lineage of nuns ordination dies out.
1070 Shri Lanka: reinstatement of monks ordination
11th and 12th Century Thailand: introduction of Mahayana due to Cambodian rule.
11-13th Centuries India: Encounter with Islam, iconoclasm, decline of (mainly Mahayana) Buddhism in Northern India. Sacking of Nalanda university in 1197, and Vikramasila University in 1203 by Muslims.
1164 Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa destroyed by foreign invasion. With the guidance of two monks from a forest branch of the Mahavihara sect -- Vens. Mahakassapa and Sariputta -- King Parakramabahu reunites all bhikkhus in Sri Lanka into the Mahavihara sect.
12th Century Sri Lanka
: King Parrakama Bahu abolishes schools other than Mahavira.
12th Century Cambodia: revival of Mahayana, but later mainly Theravada influence.
1236 Shri Lanka: monks from India revive monk ordination lineage.
c.1279 Burma: last nunnery mentioned in historic records.
13th Century Japan: Founding of Jodo (Pure Land) school in Japan by Honen (1133-1212).
Founding of Zen sub-schools: Master Dogen (1200-1235) founds the Soto-shu (Chinese Ts'ao-tung) school. Master Eisai (1141-1251) founds the Rinzai-shu (Chinese Lin-Ch'I) school.
Master Nichiren Daishi (1222-1282) founds Nichiren Buddhism.
13th Century Laos: introduction of Theravada.
13th Century Mongolia: Introduction of Tibetan Buddhism under rulers like Kublai Khan (1260-94)
14th Century Korea: Decline of Buddhism with the assumption to the throne of the Chosun or Yi Dynasty and their adoption of Neo-Confucianism.
15th Century India: Final decline of Buddhism in Southern India, due to influence of various Hindu schools.
15th Century Indonesia: Eradication of Budhism by Islamic rebellion.
15th Century Thailand: monks were sent to Sri Lanka to establish a new ordination lineage.
16th Century Mongolia: after some decline, second introduction of Tibetan Buddhism under Altan Khan (1507-83)
16th Century: Sri Lanka; persecution and virtual eradication of Buddhism.
16th Century Japan: Master Ingen (1592-1673) founds the Obaku-shu zen school.
17th Century Sri Lanka: reintroduction of Dharma twice from Burma (same as original tradition).
1753 Sri Lanka: reinstatement of monks ordination from Thailand - the Siyam Nikaya lineage
1777 Thailand:
standardisation of Thai translation of the Theravada Tripitaka
17th -19th Century inner Mongolia
: The Ch'ing emperors of China (1662- 1911) encouraged Buddhism to keep control over the area. Buddhism first spread to outer Mongolia end 18th cent, which had remained fully shamanistic.
1851-64 China: Great peace rebellion; strong persecution in South.
1862: First Western translation of the Dhammapada into German
1868 or 1871? Burma: 5th Buddhist Council in Mandalay. The Pali scriptures were inscribed in marble.
Late 19th Century China: gradual revival of Buddhism
1905 North America: First Zen teachers arrive in North America.
1920 Soviet Union: Communist attack on Buddhism in Mongolia
1950 China: Beginning of communist attack on Buddhism
1954-56 Burma: 6th Buddhist Council in Mahapasana Great Cave, Kaba-Aye, Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar).
1959 Tibet: Exodus of many Tibetans (including His Holiness the Dalai Lama) from Tibet following the invasion by the Chinese. Virtually all monasteries are destroyed by the Chinese invaders and Buddhist practitioners are persecuted.
1989: Dalai Lama is awarded the Nobel Peace prize


For detailed timelines, see the BuddhaNet site.

Just for fun:

History is a set of lies agreed upon.
Napoleon Bonaparte

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Last updated: February 6, 2011