In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is any person, on the path towards Buddhahood but has not yet attained it. In the Early Buddhist schools as well as modern Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has made a resolution to become a Buddha and has received a confirmation or prediction from a living Buddha that this will be so. In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. In early Buddhism, the term bodhisatta is used in the early texts to refer to Gautama Buddha in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life in the period during which he was working towards his own liberation. During his discourses, to recount his experiences as a young aspirant he uses the phrase "When I was an unenlightened bodhisatta..." The term therefore connotes a being, "bound for enlightenment", in other words, a person whose aim is to become enlightened. In the Pāli canon, the bodhisatta is described as someone, still subject to birth, death, sorrow and delusion.
Some of the previous lives of the Buddha as a bodhisattva are featured in the Jataka tales. According to the Theravāda monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, the bodhisattva path is not taught in the earliest strata of Buddhist texts such as the Pali Nikayas which instead focus on the ideal of the Arahant; the oldest known story about how Gautama Buddha becomes a bodhisattva is the story of his encounter with the previous Buddha, Dīpankara. During this encounter, a previous incarnation of Gautama, variously named Sumedha, Megha, or Sumati offers five blue lotuses and spreads out his hair or entire body for Dīpankara to walk on, resolving to one day become a Buddha. Dīpankara confirms that they will attain Buddhahood. Early Buddhist authors saw this story as indicating that the making of a resolution in the presence of a living Buddha and his prediction/confirmation of one's future Buddhahood was necessary to become a bodhisattva. According to Drewes, "all known models of the path to Buddhahood developed from this basic understanding."The path is explained differently by the various Nikaya schools.
In the Theravāda Buddhavaṃsa, after receiving the prediction, Gautama took four asaṃkheyyas and a hundred thousand, shorter kalpas to reach Buddhahood. The Sarvāstivāda school had similar models about, they held it took him three asaṃkhyeyas and ninety one kalpas to become a Buddha after his resolution in front of a past Buddha. During the first asaṃkhyeya he is said to have encountered and served 75,000 Buddhas, 76,000 in the second, after which he received his first prediction of future Buddhahood from Dīpankara, meaning that he could no longer fall back from the path to Buddhahood. Thus, the presence of a living Buddha is necessary for Sarvāstivāda; the Mahāvibhāṣā explains that its discussion of the bodhisattva path is meant to “stop those who are in fact not bodhisattvas from giving rise to the self-conceit that they are.”The Mahāvastu of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins presents four stages of the bodhisattva path without giving specific time frames: Natural, one first plants the roots of merit in front of a Buddha to attain Buddhahood.
Resolution, one makes their first resolution to attain Buddhahood in the presence of a Buddha. Continuing, one continues to practice. Irreversible, at this stage, one cannot fall back; the Sri Lankan commentator Dhammapala in his commentary on the Cariyāpiṭaka, a text which focuses on the bodhisatta path, notes that to become a bodhisatta one must make a valid resolution in front of a living Buddha, which confirms that one is “irreversible” from the attainment of Buddhahood. The Nidānakathā, as well as the Buddhavaṃsa and Cariyāpiṭaka commentaries makes this explicit by stating that one cannot use a substitute for the presence of a living Buddha, since only a Buddha has the knowledge for making a reliable prediction; this is the accepted view maintained in orthodox Theravada today. The idea is that any resolution to attain Buddhahood may be forgotten or abandoned during the aeons ahead; the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw explains that though it is easy to make vows for future Buddhahood by oneself, it is difficult to maintain the necessary conduct and views during periods when the Dharma has disappeared from the world.
One will fall back during such periods and this is why one is not a full bodhisatta until one receives recognition from a living Buddha. Because of this, it was and remains a common practice in Theravada to attempt to establish the necessary conditions to meet the future Buddha Maitreya and thus receive a prediction from him. Medieval Theravada literature and inscriptions report the aspirations of monks and ministers to meet Maitreya for this purpose. Modern figures such as Anagarika Dharmapala, U Nu both sought to receive a prediction from a Buddha in the future and believed meritorious actions done for the good of Buddhism would help in their endeavor to become bodhisattas in the future. Over time the term came to be applied to other figures besides Gautama Buddha in Theravada lands due to the influence of Mahayana; the Theravada Abhayagiri tradition of Sri Lanka practiced Mahayana Buddhism and was influential until the 12th century. Kings of Sri Lanka
Decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent
The decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent refers to a gradual process of dwindling and replacement of Buddhism in India, which ended around the 12th century. According to Lars Fogelin, this was "with a singular cause. Another factor were invasions of north India by various groups such as Huns, Turco-mongols and Persians and subsequent destruction of Buddhist institutions such as Nalanda and religious persecutions. Religious competition with Hinduism and Islam were important factors; the total Buddhist population in 2010 in the Indian subcontinent – excluding that of Sri Lanka and Bhutan – was about 10 million, of which about 7.2% lived in Bangladesh, 92.5% in India and 0.2% in Pakistan. Buddhism expanded in the Indian subcontinent in the centuries after the death of the Buddha after receiving the endorsement and royal support of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, it spread beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and China. The Buddha's period saw not only urbanisation, but the beginnings of centralised states.
The successful expansion of Buddhism depended on the growing economy of the time, together with increased centralised political organisation capable of change. Buddhism spread across ancient India and state support by various regional regimes continued through the 1st-millennium BCE; the consolidation of monastic organisation made Buddhism the centre of religious and intellectual life in India. Pushyamitra, the first ruler of the Shunga Dynasty built great Buddhist stupas at Sanchi in 188 BCE; the succeeding Kanva Dynasty had four Buddhist Kanva Kings. During the Gupta dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism turned more ritualistic, while Buddhist ideas were adopted into Hindu schools; the differences between Buddhism and Hinduism blurred, Vaishnavism and other Hindu traditions became popular, while Brahmins developed a new relationship with the state. As the system grew, Buddhist monasteries lost control of land revenue. In parallel, the Gupta kings built Buddhist temples such as the one at Kushinagara, monastic universities such as those at Nalanda, as evidenced by records left by three Chinese visitors to India.
Chinese scholars traveling through the region between the 5th and 8th centuries, such as Faxian, Yijing, Hui-sheng, Sung-Yun, began to speak of a decline of the Buddhist Sangha in the Northwestern parts of Indian subcontinent in the wake of the Hun invasion from central Asia in the 6th century CE. Xuanzang wrote that numerous monasteries in north-western India had been reduced to ruins by the Huns; the Hun ruler Mihirakula, who ruled from 515 CE in north-western region, suppressed Buddhism as well. He did this by destroying monasteries as far away as modern-day Allahabad. Yashodharman and Gupta Empire rulers, in and after about 532 CE, reversed Mihirakula's campaign and ended the Mihirakula era. According to Peter Harvey, the religion recovered from these invasions during the 7th century, with the "Buddhism of southern Pakistan remaining strong." The reign of the Pala Dynasty saw Buddhism in North India recover due to royal support from the Palas who supported various Buddhist centers like Nalanda.
By the eleventh century, Pala rule had weakened however. The regionalisation of India after the end of the Gupta Empire led to the loss of patronage and donations; the prevailing view of decline of Buddhism in India is summed by A. L. Basham's classic study which argues that the main cause was the rise of a reformed religion, "Hinduism", which focused on the worship of deities like Shiva and Vishnu and became more popular among the common people while Buddhism, being focused on monastery life, had become disconnected from public life and its life rituals, which were all left to Hindu Brahmins; the growth of new forms of Hinduism was a key element in the decline in Buddhism in India in terms of diminishing financial support to Buddhist monasteries from laity and royalty. According to Hazra, Buddhism declined in part because of the rise of the Brahmins and their influence in socio-political process; the disintegration of central power led to regionalisation of religiosity, religious rivalry. Rural and devotional movements arose within Hinduism, along with Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Tantra, that competed with each other, as well as with numerous sects of Buddhism and Jainism.
This fragmentation of power into feudal kingdoms was detrimental for Buddhism, as royal support shifted towards other communities and Brahmins developed a strong relationship with Indian states. Over time the new Indian dynasties which arose after the 7th and 8th centuries tended to support the Brahmanical ideology and Hinduism, this conversion proved decisive; these new dynasties, all of which supported Brahmanical Hinduism, include "the Karkotas and Pratiharas of the north, the Rashtrakutas of the Deccan, the Pandyas and Pallavas of the south". One of the reasons of this conversion was that the brahmins were willing and able to aid in local administration, they provided councillors and clerical staff. Moreover, brahmins had clear ideas about society and statecraft and could be more pragmatic than the Buddhists, whose religion was based on monastic renunci
Saṃsāra in Buddhism is the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again. Samsara is considered to be dukkha and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya, the resulting karma. Rebirths occur in six realms of namely three good realms and three evil realms. Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana, the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality. In Buddhism, saṃsāra is the "suffering-laden, continuous cycle of life and rebirth, without beginning or end". In several suttas of the Samyutta Nikaya's chapter XV in particular it's said "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on", it is the never ending repetitive cycle of birth and death, in six realms of reality, wandering from one life to another life with no particular direction or purpose. Samsara is characterized by dukkha; every rebirth is impermanent.
In each rebirth one dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with one's own karma. It is perpetuated by one's avidya about anicca and anatta, from craving. Samsara continues until moksha is attained by means of nirvana; the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality. The Saṃsāra doctrine of Buddhism asserts that while beings undergo endless cycles of rebirth, there is no changeless soul that transmigrates from one lifetime to another - a view that distinguishes its Saṃsāra doctrine from that in Hinduism and Jainism; this no-soul doctrine is called the Anatman in Buddhist texts. The early Buddhist texts suggest that Buddha faced a difficulty in explaining what is reborn and how rebirth occurs, after he innovated the concept that there is "no self". Buddhist scholars, such as the mid-1st millennium CE Pali scholar Buddhaghosa, suggested that the lack of a self or soul does not mean lack of continuity. Buddhaghosa attempted to explain rebirth mechanism with "rebirth-linking consciousness".
The mechanistic details of the Samsara doctrine vary within the Buddhist traditions. Theravada Buddhists assert that rebirth is immediate while the Tibetan schools hold to the notion of a bardo that can last up to forty-nine days before the being is reborn. Buddhist cosmology identifies six realms of rebirth and existence: gods, demi-gods, animals, hungry ghosts and hells. Earlier Buddhist texts refer to five realms rather than six realms; the six realms are divided into three higher realms and three lower realms. The three higher realms are the realms of the gods and demi-gods; the six realms are organized into thirty one levels in east Asian literature. Buddhist texts describe these realms as follows: Gods realm: the gods is the most pleasure-filled among six realms, subdivided into twenty six sub-realms. A rebirth in this heavenly realm is believed to be from good karma accumulation. A Deva does not need to work, is able to enjoy in the heavenly realm all pleasures found on earth. However, the pleasures of this realm lead to attachment, lack of spiritual pursuits and therefore no nirvana.
The vast majority of Buddhist lay people, states Kevin Trainor, have pursued Buddhist rituals and practices motivated with rebirth into Deva realm. The Deva realm in Buddhist practice in southeast and east Asia, states Keown, include gods found in Hindu traditions such as Indra and Brahma, concepts in Hindu cosmology such as Mount Meru. Human realm: called the manuṣya realm. Buddhism asserts that one is reborn in this realm with vastly different physical endowments and moral natures because of a being's past karma. A rebirth in this realm is considered as fortunate because it offers an opportunity to attain nirvana and end the Saṃsāra cycle. Demi-god realm: the demi-gods is the third realm of existence in Buddhism. Asura are notable for some supernormal powers, they fight with trouble the Manusya through illnesses and natural disasters. They accumulate karma, are reborn. Demi-god is sometimes ranked as one of the evil realms as there are stories of them fighting against the Gods. Animal realm: is state of existence of a being as an animal.
This realm is traditionally thought to be similar to a hellish realm, because animals are believed in Buddhist texts to be driven by impulse and instinct, they prey on each other and suffer. Some Buddhist texts assert that plants belong with primitive consciousness. Hungry ghost realm: hungry ghosts and other restless spirits are rebirths caused by karma of excessive craving and attachments, they are invisible and constitute only "subtle matter" of a being. Buddhist texts describe them as beings who are thirsty and hungry small mouths but large stomachs. Buddhist traditions in Asia attempt to care for them on ritual days every year, by leaving food and drinks in open, to feed any hungry ghosts nearby; when their bad karma demerit runs out, these beings are reborn
Bangladesh the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It shares land borders with Myanmar; the country's maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is equal to the size of its land area. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country as well as its most densely-populated, to the exclusion of small island nations and city-states. Dhaka is largest city, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and easternmost part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population; the politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country. Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh. Most of Bangladesh is covered by the largest delta on Earth; the country has 8,046 km of inland waterways. Highlands with evergreen forests are found in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country.
Bangladesh has a coral reef. The longest unbroken natural sea beach of the world, Cox's Bazar Beach, is located in the southeast, it is home to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. The country's biodiversity includes a vast array of plant and wildlife, including endangered Bengal tigers, the national animal; the Greeks and Romans identified the region as Gangaridai, a powerful kingdom of the historical Indian subcontinent, in the 3rd century BCE. Archaeological research has unearthed several ancient cities in Bangladesh, which enjoyed international trade links for millennia; the Bengal Sultanate and Mughal Bengal transformed the region into a cosmopolitan Islamic imperial power between the 14th and 18th centuries. The region was home to many principalities; as the Mughal Empire's wealthiest province, Bangladesh as part of the Bengal Subah was worth 12% of the world's GDP, larger than the entirety of western Europe. It was a notable center of the global muslin and silk trade.
As part of British India, the region was influenced by the Bengali renaissance and played an important role in anti-colonial movements. The Partition of British India made East Bengal a part of the Dominion of Pakistan; the region witnessed the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After independence was achieved, a parliamentary republic was established. A presidential government was in place between 1975 and 1990, followed by a return to parliamentary democracy; the country continues to face challenges in the areas of poverty, education and corruption. Bangladesh is a developing nation. Listed as one of the Next Eleven, its economy ranks 43rd in terms of nominal gross domestic product and 29th in terms of purchasing power parity, it is one of the largest textile exporters in the world. Its major trading partners are the European Union, the United States, India, Japan and Singapore. With its strategically vital location between South and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh is an important promoter of regional connectivity and cooperation.
It is a founding member of SAARC, BIMSTEC, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation and the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Initiative. It is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Commonwealth of Nations, the Developing 8 Countries, the OIC, the Indian-Ocean Rim Association, the Non Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the World Trade Organization. Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping forces; the etymology of Bangladesh can be traced to the early 20th century, when Bengali patriotic songs, such as Namo Namo Namo Bangladesh Momo by Kazi Nazrul Islam and Aaji Bangladesher Hridoy by Rabindranath Tagore, used the term. The term Bangladesh was written as two words, Bangla Desh, in the past. Starting in the 1950s, Bengali nationalists used the term in political rallies in East Pakistan; the term Bangla is a major name for both the Bengali language. The earliest known usage of the term is the Nesari plate in 805 AD; the term Vangaladesa is found in 11th-century South Indian records.
The term gained official status during the Sultanate of Bengal in the 14th century. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as the first "Shah of Bangala" in 1342; the word Bangla became the most common name for the region during the Islamic period. The Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the 16th century; the origins of the term Bangla are unclear, with theories pointing to a Bronze Age proto-Dravidian tribe, the Austric word "Bonga", the Iron Age Vanga Kingdom. The Indo-Aryan suffix Desh is derived from the Sanskrit word deśha, which means "land" or "country". Hence, the name Bangladesh means "Land of Bengal" or "Country of Bengal". Stone Age tools found in Bangladesh indicate human habitation for over 20,000 years, remnants of Copper Age settlements date back 4,000 years. Ancient Bengal was settled by Austroasiatics, Tibeto-Burmans and Indo-Aryans in consecutive waves of migration. Archaeological evidence confirms that by the second millennium BCE, rice-cultivating communities inhabited the region.
By the 11th century people lived in systemically-aligned housing, buried their dead, manufactured copper ornaments and black and red pottery. The Ganges and Meghna rivers were natural arteries for communication and transportation, estuaries on the Bay of Bengal permit
The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the most complete extant early Buddhist canon. During the First Buddhist Council, Ananda recited the Sutta Pitaka, Upali the Vinaya Pitaka thirty years after the parinibbana of Gautama Buddha in Rajgir; the Arhats present accepted the recitations and henceforth the teachings were preserved orally by the Sangha. The Tipitaka, transmitted to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Asoka were preserved orally and were written down during the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BCE 454 years after the death of Gautama Buddha. Textual fragment of similar teachings have been found in the agama of other major Buddhist schools in India, they were however written down in various Prakrits other than Pali as well as Sanskrit. Some of those were translated into Chinese; the surviving Sri Lankan version is the most complete, but one, extensively redacted about 1,000 years after Buddha's death, in the 5th or 6th century CE.
The earliest textual fragments of canonical Pali were found in the Pyu city-states in Burma dating only to the mid 5th to mid 6th century CE. The Pāli Canon falls into three general categories, called pitaka; because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipiṭaka. The three pitakas are; the Vinaya Pitaka and the Sutta Pitaka are remarkably similar to the works of the early Buddhist schools termed Early Buddhist Texts. The Abhidhamma Pitaka, however, is a Theravada collection and has little in common with the Abhidhamma works recognized by other Buddhist schools; the Canon is traditionally described by the Theravada as the Word of the Buddha, though this is not intended in a literal sense, since it includes teachings by disciples. The traditional Theravādin interpretation of the Pali Canon is given in a series of commentaries covering nearly the whole Canon, compiled by Buddhaghosa and monks on the basis of earlier materials now lost. Subcommentaries have been written afterward, commenting further on its commentaries.
The traditional Theravādin interpretation is summarized in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga. An official view is given by a spokesman for the Buddha Sasana Council of Burma: the Canon contains everything needed to show the path to nirvāna. In Sri Lanka and Thailand, "official" Buddhism has in large part adopted the interpretations of Western scholars. Although the Canon has existed in written form for two millennia, its earlier oral nature has not been forgotten in actual Buddhist practice within the tradition: memorization and recitation remain common. Among recited texts are the Paritta. Lay people know at least a few short texts by heart and recite them regularly. Monks are of course expected to know quite a bit more. A Burmese monk named Vicittasara learned the entire Canon by heart for the Sixth Council; the relation of the scriptures to Buddhism as it exists among ordinary monks and lay people is, as with other major religious traditions, problematic: the evidence suggests that only parts of the Canon enjoyed wide currency, that non-canonical works were sometimes much more used.
Rupert Gethin suggests that the whole of Buddhist history may be regarded as a working out of the implications of the early scriptures. According to a late part of the Pali Canon, the Buddha taught the three pitakas, it is traditionally believed by Theravadins that most of the Pali Canon originated from the Buddha and his immediate disciples. According to the scriptures, a council was held shortly after the Buddha's passing to collect and preserve his teachings; the Theravada tradition states that it was recited orally from the 5th century BCE to the first century BCE, when it was written down. The memorization was enforced by regular communal recitations; the tradition holds that only a few additions were made. The Theravādin pitakas were first written down in Sri Lanka in the Alu Viharaya Temple no earlier than 29-17 B. C. E; the geographic setting of identifiable texts within the Canon corresponds to locations in the Ganges region of northeastern India, including the kingdoms of Kosala, Kasi and Magadha.
While Theravada tradition has regarded Pali as being synonymous with the language of the kingdom of Magadhi as spoken by the Buddha, linguists have identified Pali as being more related to other prakrit languages of western India, found substantial incompatibilities with the few preserved examples of Magadhi and other north-eastern prakrit languages. Linguistic research suggests that the teachings of the Buddha may have been recorded in an eastern India language but were transposed into the west Indian precursor of Pali sometime before the Asokan era. Much of the material in the Canon is not Theravādin, but is
The five precepts or five rules of training is the most important system of morality for Buddhist lay people. They constitute the basic code of ethics undertaken by lay followers of Buddhism; the precepts are commitments to abstain from killing living beings, sexual misconduct and intoxication. Within the Buddhist doctrine, they are meant to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment, they are sometimes referred to as the śrāvakayāna precepts in the Mahāyāna tradition, contrasting them with the bodhisattva precepts. The five precepts form the basis of several parts of Buddhist doctrine, both monastic. With regard to their fundamental role in Buddhist ethics, they have been compared with the ten commandments in Christianity or the ethical codes of Confucianism; the precepts have been connected with utilitarianist and virtue approaches to ethics. They have been compared with human rights because of their universal nature, some scholars argue they can complement the concept of human rights.
The five precepts were common to the religious milieu of 6th-century BCE India, but the Buddha's focus on awareness through the fifth precept was unique. As shown in Early Buddhist Texts, the precepts grew to be more important, became a condition for membership of the Buddhist religion; when Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. In countries where Buddhism had to compete with other religions, such as China, the ritual of undertaking the five precepts developed into an initiation ceremony to become a Buddhist lay person. On the other hand, in countries with little competition from other religions, such as Thailand, the ceremony has had little relation to the rite of becoming Buddhist, as many people are presumed Buddhist from birth. Undertaking and upholding the five precepts is based on the principle of non-harming; the Pali Canon recommends one to compare oneself with others, on the basis of that, not to hurt others. Compassion and a belief in karmic retribution form the foundation of the precepts.
Undertaking the five precepts is part of regular lay devotional practice, both at home and at the local temple. However, the extent to which people keep them differs per time. People keep them with an intention to develop themselves, but out of fear of a bad rebirth; the first precept consists of a prohibition of both humans and all animals. Scholars have interpreted Buddhist texts about the precepts as an opposition to and prohibition of capital punishment, suicide and euthanasia. In practice, many Buddhist countries still use the death penalty. With regard to abortion, Buddhist countries take the middle ground, by condemning though not prohibiting it; the Buddhist attitude to violence is interpreted as opposing all warfare, but some scholars have raised exceptions. The second precept prohibits theft; the third precept refers to adultery in all its forms, has been defined by modern teachers with terms such as sexual responsibility and long-term commitment. The fourth precept involves falsehood spoken or committed to by action, as well as malicious speech, harsh speech and gossip.
The fifth precept prohibits intoxication through drugs or other means. Early Buddhist Texts nearly always condemn alcohol, so do Chinese Buddhist post-canonical texts. Buddhist attitudes toward smoking differ per time and region, but are permissive. In modern times, traditional Buddhist countries have seen revival movements to promote the five precepts; as for the West, the precepts play a major role in Buddhist organizations. They have been integrated in mindfulness training programs, though many mindfulness specialists do not support this because of the precepts' religious import. Lastly, many conflict prevention programs make use of the precepts. Buddhist scriptures explain the five precepts as the minimal standard of Buddhist morality, it is the most important system of morality in Buddhism, together with the monastic rules. Śīla is used to refer to Buddhist precepts, including the five. But the word refers to the virtue and morality which lies at the foundation of the spiritual path to enlightenment, the first of the three forms of training on the path.
Thus, the precepts are rules or guidelines to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment. The five precepts are part of the right speech and livelihood aspects of the eight-fold path, the core teaching of Buddhism. Moreover, the practice of the five precepts and other parts of śīla are described as forms of merit-making, means to create good karma; the five precepts have been described as social values that bring harmony to society, breaches of the precepts described as antithetical to a harmonious society. On a similar note, in Buddhist texts, the ideal, righteous society is one in which people keep the five precepts. Comparing different parts of Buddhist doctrine, the five precepts form the basis of the eight precepts, which are lay precepts stricter than the five precepts, similar to monastic precepts. Secondly, the five precepts form the first half of the ten or eleven precepts for a person aiming to become a Buddha, as mentioned in the Brahmajala Sūtra of the Mahāyāna tradition.
Contrasting these precepts with the five precepts, the latter were referred to by Mahāyānists as the śrāvakayāna precepts, or the precepts of those aiming to become enlightened disciples of a Buddha, but not Buddhas themselves. The ten–eleven bodhisattva precepts presuppose the five precepts, are based on them; the five
Buddhist meditation is the practice of meditation in Buddhism. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā and jhāna/dhyāna. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation and Nirvana, includes a variety of meditation techniques, most notably asubha bhavana; these techniques aim to develop equanimity and sati. These meditation techniques are preceded by and combined with practices which aid this development, such as moral restraint and right effort to develop wholesome states of mind. While these techniques are used across Buddhist schools, there is significant diversity. In the Theravada tradition, reflecting developments in early Buddhism, meditation techniques are classified as either samatha and vipassana. Chinese and Japanese Buddhism preserved a wide range of meditation techniques, which go back to early Buddhism, most notably Sarvastivada. In Tibetan Buddhism, deity yoga includes visualisations; the closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā and jhāna/dhyāna.
Modern Buddhist studies has attempted to reconstruct the meditation practices of pre-sectarian Early Buddhism through philological and text critical methods using the early canonical texts. According to Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst, "the teaching of the Buddha as presented in the early canon contains a number of contradictions," presenting "a variety of methods that do not always agree with each other," containing "views and practices that are sometimes accepted and sometimes rejected." These contradictions are due to the influence of non-Buddhist traditions on early Buddhism. One example of these non-Buddhist meditative methods found in the early sources is outlined by Bronkhorst: The Vitakkasanthāna Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya and its parallels in Chinese translation recommend the practicing monk to ‘restrain his thought with his mind, to coerce and torment it’; the same words are used elsewhere in the Pāli canon in order to describe the futile attempts of the Buddha before his enlightenment to reach liberation after the manner of the Jainas.
According to Bronkhorst, such practices which are based on a "suppression of activity" are not authentically Buddhist, but were adopted from the Jains by the Buddhist community. The two major traditions of meditative practice in pre-Buddhist India were the Jain ascetic practices and the various Vedic Brahmanical practices. There is still much debate in Buddhist studies regarding how much influence these two traditions had on the development of early Buddhist meditation; the early Buddhist texts mention that Gautama trained under two teachers known as Āḷāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta, both of them taught formless jhanas or mental absorptions, a key practice of proper Buddhist meditation. Alexander Wynne considers these figures historical persons associated with the doctrines of the early Upanishads. Other practices which the Buddha undertook have been associated with the Jain ascetic tradition by the Indologist Johannes Bronkhorst including extreme fasting and a forceful "meditation without breathing".
According to the early texts, the Buddha rejected the more extreme Jain ascetic practices in favor of the middle way. Early Buddhism, as it existed before the development of various schools, is called pre-sectarian Buddhism, its meditation-techniques are described in the Chinese Agamas. Meditation and contemplation are preceded by preparatory practices; as described in the Noble Eightfold Path, right view leads to leaving the household life and becoming a wandering monk. Sila, comprises the rules for right conduct. Sense restraint and right effort, c.q. the four right efforts, are important preparatory practices. Sense restraint means controlling the response to sensual perceptions, not giving in to lust and aversion but noticing the objects of perception as they appear. Right effort aims to prevent the arising of unwholesome states, to generate wholesome states. By following these preparatory steps and practices, the mind becomes set naturally, for the practice of dhyana. Asubha bhavana is reflection on "the foul"/unattractiveness.
It includes two practices, namely cemetery contemplations, Paṭikkūlamanasikāra, "reflections on repulsiveness". Patikulamanasikara is a Buddhist meditation whereby thirty-one parts of the body are contemplated in a variety of ways. In addition to developing sati and samādhi, this form of meditation is considered to be conducive to overcoming desire and lust. Anussati means "recollection," "contemplation," "remembrance," "meditation" and "mindfulness." It refers to specific meditative or devotional practices, such as recollecting the sublime qualities of the Buddha or anapanasati, which lead to mental tranquillity and abiding joy. In various contexts, the Pali literature and Sanskrit Mahayana sutras emphasize and identify different enumerations of recollections. An important quality to be cultivated by a Buddhist meditator is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a polyvalent term w