Itsukushima is an island in the western part of the Inland Sea of Japan, located in the northwest of Hiroshima Bay. It is popularly known as Miyajima, which in Japanese means "Shrine Island"; the island is one of Hayashi Gahō's Three Views of Japan specified in 1643. Itsukushima is part of the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture; the island was part of the former town of Miyajima before the 2005 merger with Hatsukaichi. Itsukushima is famous for a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to records, the shrine was established in the time of Empress Suiko; the warrior-courtier Taira no Kiyomori gave the shrine its present form. In 1555, Mōri Motonari defeated Sue Harukata at the Battle of Miyajima. Toyotomi Hideyoshi built the Senjō-kaku, on a hill above the shrine. Itsukushima has a number of temples, including Toyokuni Shrine with a five-storied pagoda, Daiganji Temple - one of the three most famous Benzaiten temples of Japan; the island is famous for its upper hill side cherry blossoms and maple leaf autumn foliage.
The island of Itsukushima, including the waters around it, are within Setonaikai National Park. This sea is affected by strong tides. At low tide, the bottom of the sea is exposed past the island's torii. At high tide, the sea covers all the exposed seabed mud and fills areas underneath the shrine boardwalk. Itsukushima is sparsely settled, it has a middle school. There are no traffic signals, it is rural and mountainous, only 30.39 square kilometres, has a population of about 2000. There are no cities, only small towns with simple houses and owned shops; the islanders work hard to respect nature. Frequent ferry services, operated by JR West and by Miyajima Matsudai Tourist Ship, carry traffic between the island and the mainland; the trip takes about ten minutes. There is an hourly express passenger ferry to Hiroshima harbour. Miyajima's maple trees are renowned throughout Japan and blanket the island in crimson in the autumn. Momiji manjū, pastries filled with azuki jam or custard, are popular souvenirs and carry maple-leaf emblems.
Many other varieties such as chocolate and cheese are available. Because the island is seen as sacred, trees may not be cut for lumber. Deer roam freely. Deer are thought of as sacred in the native Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the gods, they walk the streets of the city, not afraid of the tourists. The shamoji, a style of wooden spoon used to serve cooked rice without impairing the taste, is said to have been invented by a monk who lived on the island; the shamoji is a popular souvenir, there are some outsized examples around the shopping district. The peak of Mount Misen, at 535 m, is the highest point on the island. Miyajima Ropeway carries visitors to within a 30-minute hike to the top. There are several sites related to the historic Buddhist priest and founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kōbō Daishi, including Daishō-in, near the top; the island contains the Miyajima Natural Botanical Garden on its north coast. People take the short ferry ride from mainland Japan to pray at Miyajima’s shrines and to marvel at the beauty of its forests.
There are many shrines and temples including the Goju-No-To Pagoda. Note that in Japan, the term "shrine" implies a Shinto religious structure and "temple" implies a Buddhist one. Miyajima is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto shrine, it is known for its "floating" torii gate. The historic shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the National Treasures by the Japanese government. Next to the Itsukushima Shrine is Daiganji Temple, dedicated to Goddess Benzaiten as well as three Buddhas important to Shingon Buddhism. Benzaiten Goddess in Japan has been traced to Goddess Saraswati of Hinduism in India, she is the Goddess of eloquence, arts and knowledge. The three Buddha in the temple are Wisdom Buddha and Mercy Buddha. Daiganji Temple is one the three most famous Benzaiten Temples in Japan, along with Enoshima Benzaiten and Chikubujima Benzaiten; the Benzaiten is opened to the public only once every year on June 17. On this day, Miyajima holds a big festival, people of the region visit the temple to offer their prayers.
The precise date for the first construction of Daiganji Benzaiten temple is unclear. It was reconstructed around 1200 AD in the Kamakura period; the construction date of Itsukushima-jinja and Daiganji temple is estimated to be 6th century or and the existence of Itsukushima-jinja is confirmed by early 9th century by ancient Japanese texts. The Nihon Koki confirms the sacredness of these Miyajama structures during the Heian Period. Daishō-in is a historic Japanese temple on the holy mountain on the island, it is the 14th temple in the Chūgoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage and famous for the maple trees and their autumn colors. It is called "Suishō-ji"; as the headquarters of the Omuro branch of Shingon Buddhism, it is the most important temple of Miyajima. The temple was the administrator of the Itsukushima shrine before Meiji Restoration forbade syncretism between Shinto and Buddhism in 1868. Senjokaku is the largest structure at Miyajima Island. Toyotomi Hideyoshi started construction of Senjokaku as a Buddhist library in which the chanting of Senbu-kyo sutras could be held for fallen soldiers.
Hideyoshi died in 1598 and the building was never completed. Amida Buddha and two subordinate B
Java is an island of Indonesia, bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north. With a population of over 141 million or 145 million, Java is the home to 56.7 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world's most populous island. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on its northwestern coast. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java, it was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically and culturally. Four of Indonesia's eight UNESCO world heritage sites are located in Java: Ujung Kulon National Park, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, Sangiran Early Man Site. Formed as the result of volcanic eruptions from geologic subduction between Sunda Plate and Australian Plate, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest in Indonesia by landmass at about 138,800 square kilometres.
A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east–west spine along the island. Three main languages are spoken on the island: Javanese and Madurese, where Javanese is the most spoken. Furthermore, most residents are bilingual, speaking Indonesian as their second language. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java's population comprises people of diverse religious beliefs and cultures. Java is divided into four administrative provinces, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Banten, two special regions and Yogyakarta; the origins of the name "Java" are not clear. One possibility is that the island was named after the jáwa-wut plant, said to be common in the island during the time, that prior to Indianization the island had different names. There are other possible sources: the word jaú and its variations mean "beyond" or "distant". And, in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous. "Yavadvipa" is mentioned in the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama's army dispatched his men to Yavadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita.
It was hence referred to in India by the Sanskrit name "yāvaka dvīpa". Java is mentioned in the ancient Tamil text Manimekalai by Chithalai Chathanar that states that Java had a kingdom with a capital called Nagapuram. Another source states that the "Java" word is derived from a Proto-Austronesian root word, Iawa that meaning "home"; the great island of Iabadiu or Jabadiu was mentioned in Ptolemy's Geographia composed around 150 CE in the Roman Empire. Iabadiu is said to mean "barley island", to be rich in gold, have a silver town called Argyra at the west end; the name indicates Java, seems to be derived from the Sanskrit name Java-dvipa. The annual news of Songshu and Liangshu referred Java as She-po, He-ling called it She-po again until the Yuan dynasty, where they began mentioning Zhao-Wa. According to Ma Huan's book, the Chinese call Java as Chao-Wa, the island was called She-pó in the past; when John of Marignolli returned from China to Avignon, he stayed at the Kingdom of Saba for a few months, which he said had many elephants and led by a queen.
Java lies between Sumatra to Bali to the east. Borneo lies to the north and Christmas Island is to the south, it is the world's 13th largest island. Java is surrounded by the Java Sea to the north, Sunda Strait to the west, the Indian Ocean to the south and Bali Strait and Madura Strait in the east. Java is entirely of volcanic origin; the highest volcano in Java is Mount Semeru. The most active volcano in Java and in Indonesia is Mount Merapi. In total, Java boast more than 150 mountains. More mountains and highlands help to split the interior into a series of isolated regions suitable for wet-rice cultivation. Java was the first place where Indonesian coffee was grown, starting in 1699. Today, Coffea arabica is grown on the Ijen Plateau by larger plantations; the area of Java is 150,000 square kilometres. It is up to 210 km wide; the island's longest river is the 600 km long Solo River. The river rises from its source in central Java at the Lawu volcano flows north and eastward to its mouth in the Java Sea near the city of Surabaya.
Other major rivers are Brantas, Citarum and Serayu. The average temperature ranges from 22 °C to 29 °C; the northern coastal plains are hotter, averaging 34 °C during the day in the dry season. The south coast is cooler than the north, highland areas inland are cooler; the wet season ends in April. During that rain falls in the afternoons and intermittently during other parts of the year; the wettest months are February. West Java is wetter than East mountainous regions receive much higher rainfall; the Parahyangan highlands of West Java receive over 4,000 millimetres annually, while the north coast of East Java receives 900 millimetres annually. The natural environment of Jav
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Province No. 5 in Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mahamayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE. Gautama, who achieved Enlightenment some time around 528 BCE, became the Buddha and founded Buddhism. Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha. Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, various new temples, funded by Buddhist organisations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, the Lumbini International Research Institute are within the holy site. There is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he had his first bath. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born achieved ultimate Enlightenment and relinquished their earthly forms.
Lumbini was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was situated in east of Kapilavastu and southwest Devadaha of Shakya, an oligarchic republic. According to Buddhist tradition, it was there. A pillar discovered at Rummindei in 1896 is believed to mark the spot of Ashoka's visit to Lumbini; the site was not known as Lumbini. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people in charge of the park to commemorate Ashoka visit and gifts; the park was known as Rummindei, 2 mi north of Bhagavanpura. The Sutta Nipáta states that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada; the Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta. In 1896, General Khadga Samsher Rana and Alois Anton Führer discovered a great stone pillar at Rummindei, according to the crucial historical records made by the ancient Chinese monk-pilgrim Xuanzang in the 7th century CE and by another ancient Chinese monk-pilgrim Faxian in the early 5th century CE.
The Brahmi inscription on the pillar gives evidence that Ashoka, emperor of the Maurya Empire, visited the place in 3rd-century BCE and identified it as the birth-place of the Buddha. The inscription was translated by Paranavitana: At the top of the pillar, there is a second inscription by king Ripumalla, known from an inscription at the Nigali Sagar pillar: "Om mani padme hum May Prince Ripu Malla be long victorious" A second pillar of Ashoka is located about 22 kilometers to the northwest of Lumbini, the Nigali Sagar pillar, a third one 24 kilometers to the west, the Gotihawa pillar. According to Robin Coningham, excavations beneath existing brick structures at the Mayadevi Temple at Lumbini provide evidence for an older timber structure beneath the walls of a brick Buddhist shrine built during the Ashokan era; the layout of the Ashokan shrine follows that of the earlier timber structure, which suggests a continuity of worship at the site. The pre-Mauryan timber structure appears to be an ancient tree shrine.
Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from the wooden postholes and optically stimulated luminescence dating of elements in the soil suggests human activity began at Lumbini around 1000 BCE. The site, states Coningham, may be a Buddhist monument from 6th-century BCE. Other scholars state that the excavations revealed nothing, Buddhist, they only confirm that the site predates the Buddha. Lumbini is 1.6 km in width. The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shops, hotels or restaurants, it is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries. There is a long water filled canal separating the western and eastern zones, with a series of brick arch bridges joining the two sides along the length; the canal is serviced by simple outboard motor boats at the north end. The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashokan pillar and the Mayadevi Temple, where the supposed place of birth of Buddha is located.
From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site. A non-governmental organization named Samriddhi Foundation started in 2013 working extensively in the field of education and health specially in government schools of the area where underprivileged children study. A non-governmental organisation called "Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation" backed by chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal and Prime Minister Prachanda, the Chinese government and a UN group called "United Nations Industrial Development Organization" signed a deal to develop Lumbini into a "special development zone" with funds worth $3 billion; the venture was a China-UN joint project. A broader'Lumbini Development National Director Committee' under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed on 17 October 2011; the six-member committee included Communist Party of Nepal leader Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, Forest Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman, among other leaders.
The committee was given the authority to "draft a master plan to develop Lumbini as a peaceful and tourism area and table the proposal" and the responsibility to gather international support for the same. Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside katakana; the Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters in the Chinese language to refer to the character writing system, hanzi. Chinese characters first came to Japan on official seals, swords, coins and other decorative items imported from China; the earliest known instance of such an import was the King of Na gold seal given by Emperor Guangwu of Han to a Yamato emissary in 57 AD. Chinese coins from the first century AD have been found in Yayoi period archaeological sites. However, the Japanese of that era had no comprehension of the script, would remain illiterate until the fifth century AD. According to the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, a semi-legendary scholar called Wani was dispatched to Japan by the Kingdom of Baekje during the reign of Emperor Ōjin in the early fifth century, bringing with him knowledge of Confucianism and Chinese characters.
The earliest Japanese documents were written by bilingual Chinese or Korean officials employed at the Yamato court. For example, the diplomatic correspondence from King Bu of Wa to Emperor Shun of Liu Song in 478 has been praised for its skillful use of allusion. Groups of people called fuhito were organized under the monarch to read and write Classical Chinese. During the reign of Empress Suiko, the Yamato court began sending full-scale diplomatic missions to China, which resulted in a large increase in Chinese literacy at the Japanese court. In ancient times paper was so rare that people stenciled kanji onto thin, rectangular strips of wood; these wooden boards were used for communication between government offices, tags for goods transported between various countries, the practice of writing. The oldest written kanji in Japan discovered so far was written in ink on wood as a wooden strip dated to the 7th century, it is a record of trading for salt. The Japanese language had no written form at the time Chinese characters were introduced, texts were written and read only in Chinese.
During the Heian period, however, a system known as kanbun emerged, which involved using Chinese text with diacritical marks to allow Japanese speakers to restructure and read Chinese sentences, by changing word order and adding particles and verb endings, in accordance with the rules of Japanese grammar. Chinese characters came to be used to write Japanese words, resulting in the modern kana syllabaries. Around 650 AD, a writing system called man'yōgana evolved that used a number of Chinese characters for their sound, rather than for their meaning. Man'yōgana written in cursive style evolved into hiragana, or onna-de, that is, "ladies' hand," a writing system, accessible to women. Major works of Heian-era literature by women were written in hiragana. Katakana emerged via a parallel path: monastery students simplified man'yōgana to a single constituent element, thus the two other writing systems and katakana, referred to collectively as kana, are descended from kanji. In comparison to kana kanji are called mana.
In modern Japanese, kanji are used to write parts of the language such as nouns, adjective stems, verb stems, while hiragana are used to write inflected verb and adjective endings and as phonetic complements to disambiguate readings and miscellaneous words which have no kanji or whose kanji is considered obscure or too difficult to read or remember. Katakana are used for representing onomatopoeia, non-Japanese loanwords, the names of plants and animals, for emphasis on certain words. In 1946, after World War II and under the Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese government, guided by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, instituted a series of orthographic reforms, to help children learn and to simplify kanji use in literature and periodicals; the number of characters in circulation was reduced, formal lists of characters to be learned during each grade of school were established. Some characters were given simplified glyphs, called shinjitai. Many variant forms of characters and obscure alternatives for common characters were discouraged.
These are guidelines, so many characters outside these standards are still known and used. The kyōiku kanji are 1,006 characters; the list only contained 881 characters. This was expanded to 996 characters in 1977, it was not until 1982 the list was expanded to its current size. The grade-level breakdown of these kanji is known as the gakunen-betsu kanji haitōhyō, or the gakushū kanji; the jōyō kanji are 2,136 characters consisting of all the Kyōiku kanji, plus 1,130 additional kanji taught in junior high and high school. In publishing, characters outside this category are given furigana; the jōyō kanji were introduced in 1981, replacing an older list of 1,850 characters known as the tōyō kanji, introduced in 1946. Numbering 1,945 characters, the jōyō kanji list was extended to 2,136 in 2010; some of the new characters were Jinmeiyō kanji. Since September 27, 2004, the jinmeiyō k
Ashoka, sometimes Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism. Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, it covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra, with provincial capitals at Ujjain. Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga, which he conquered in about 260 BCE. In about 263 BCE, he converted to Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he had waged out of a desire for conquest and which directly resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations, he is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.
Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana, in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, his Sanskrit name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow". In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya, Priyadarśin, his fondness for his name's connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or "Ashoka tree", is referenced in the Ashokavadana. In The Outline of History, H. G. Wells wrote, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, shines alone, a star." Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor and Subhadrangī. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya dynasty, born in a humble family, with the counsel of Chanakya built one of the largest empires in ancient India.
According to Roman historian Appian, Chandragupta had made a "marital alliance" with Seleucus. An Indian Puranic source, the Pratisarga Parva of the Bhavishya Purana described the marriage of Chandragupta with a Greek princess, daughter of Seleucus; the ancient Buddhist and Jain texts provide varying biographical accounts. The Avadana texts mention that his mother was queen Subhadrangī. According to the Ashokavadana, she was the daughter of a Brahmin from the city of Champa, she gave him the name Ashoka, meaning "one without sorrow". The Divyāvadāna tells a similar story, but gives the name of the queen as Janapadakalyānī. Ashoka had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from the other wives of his father Bindusara. Ashoka was given royal military training; the Buddhist text Divyavadana describes Ashoka putting down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers. This may have been an incident in Bindusara's times. Taranatha's account states that Chanakya, Bindusara's chief advisor, destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 towns and made himself the master of all territory between the eastern and the western seas.
Some historians consider this as an indication of Bindusara's conquest of the Deccan while others consider it as suppression of a revolt. Governor of UjainFollowing this, Ashoka was stationed at Ujain, the capital of Malwa, as governor. A commemorative inscription found in Saru Maru, Madhya Pradesh, mentions the visit of Piyadasi as he was still an unmarried Prince; this inscription confirms Ashoka's presence in Madhya Pradesh as a young man, his status while he was there. Bindusara's death in 272 BCE led to a war over succession. According to the Divyavadana, Bindusara wanted his elder son Susima to succeed him but Ashoka was supported by his father's ministers, who found Susima to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them. A minister named; the Ashokavadana recounts Radhagupta's offering of an old royal elephant to Ashoka for him to ride to the Garden of the Gold Pavilion where King Bindusara would determine his successor. Ashoka got rid of the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals.
Radhagupta, according to the Ashokavadana, would be appointed prime minister by Ashoka once he had gained the throne. The Dipavansa and Mahavansa refer to Ashoka's killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Vitashoka or Tissa, although there is no clear proof about this incident; the coronation happened in four years after his succession to the throne. Buddhist legends state, he built Ashoka's Hell, an elaborate torture chamber described as a "Paradisal Hell" due to the contrast between its beautiful exterior and the acts carried out within by his appointed executioner, Girikaa. This earned him the name of Chanda Ashoka meaning "Ashoka the Fierce" in Sanskrit. Professor Charles Drekmeier cautions that the Buddhist legends tend to dramatise the change that Buddhism brought in him, theref
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor
The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las