Jain cosmology is the description of the shape and functioning of the Universe and its constituents according to Jainism. Jain cosmology considers the universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end. Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist; this Universe, according to Jainism, is broad at the top, narrow at the middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom. According to Jains, the Universe is made up of six simple and eternal substances called dravya which are broadly categorized under Jiva and Ajiva as follows: Jīva Jīva i.e. Souls – Jīva exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it, it is characterised by upayoga. Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer to the disappearing of one state of soul and appearing of another state, these being the modes of the soul. Ajīva Pudgala – Matter is classified as solid, gaseous, fine Karmic materials and extra-fine matter i.e. ultimate particles.
Paramāṇu or ultimate particle is the basic building block of all matter. The Paramāṇu and Pudgala are indestructible. Matter combines and changes its modes but its basic qualities remain the same. According to Jainism, it destroyed. Dharma-dravya and Adharma-dravya – Dharmastikāya and Adharmastikāya are distinctly peculiar to Jaina system of thought depicting the principle of Motion and Rest, they are said to pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by itself not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharmastikāya motion is not possible and without Adharmastikāya rest is not possible in the universe. Ākāśa – Space is a substance that accommodates the living souls, the matter, the principle of motion, the principle of rest and time. It is all-pervading and made of infinite space-points. Kāla – Kāla is an eternal substance according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications can be achieved only through the progress of time. According to the Jain text, Dravyasaṃgraha: Conventional time is perceived by the senses through the transformations and modifications of substances.
Real time, however, is the cause of imperceptible, minute changes that go on incessantly in all substances. The Jain doctrine postulates an eternal and ever-existing world which works on universal natural laws; the existence of a creator deity is overwhelmingly opposed in the Jain doctrine. Mahāpurāṇa, a Jain text authored by Ācārya Jinasena is famous for this quote: According to Jains, the universe has a firm and an unalterable shape, measured in the Jain texts by means of a unit called Rajju, supposed to be large; the Digambara sect of Jainism postulates that the universe is fourteen Rajju high and extends seven Rajjus from north to south. Its breadth is seven Rajjus at the bottom and decreases till the middle where it is one Rajju; the width increases till it is five Rajju and again decreases till it is one Rajju. The apex of the universe is one Rajju wide and eight Rajju high; the total space of the world is thus 343 cubic Rajju. The svetambara view differs and postulates that there is constant increase and decrease in the breadth and the space is 239 cubic Rajju.
Apart from the apex, the abode of liberated beings, the universe is divided into three parts. The world is surrounded by three atmospheres: dense-wind and thin-wind, it is surrounded by infinitely large non-world, empty. The whole world is said to be filled with living beings. In all the three parts, there is the existence of small living beings called nigoda. Nigoda are of two types: Itara-nigoda. Nitya-nigoda are those which will reborn as nigoda throughout eternity where as Itara-nigoda will be reborn as other beings too; the mobile region of universe is one Rajju broad and fourteen Rajju high. Within this, there are animals and plants everywhere where as Human beings are restricted to 2.5 continents of middle world. The beings inhabiting lower world are called Naraki. Deva live in top three realms of lower world. Living beings are divided in fourteen classes: 1. Fine beings with one sense. 2. Crude beings with one sense. 3. Beings with two sense. 4. Beings with three sense. 5. Beings with four sense. 6.
Beings with five sense without mind. 7. Beings with five sense with a mind; these can be developed which makes it a total of fourteen. Human beings are the only ones which can attain salvation; the early Jains contemplated the nature of the earth and universe and developed a detailed hypothesis on the various aspects of astronomy and cosmology. According to the Jain texts, the universe is divided into 3 parts: Urdhva Loka – the realms of the gods or heavens Madhya Loka – the realms of the humans and plants Adho Loka – the realms of the hellish beings or the infernal regionsThe following Upanga āgamas describe the Jain cosmology and geography in a great detail: Sūryaprajñapti – Treatise on Sun Jambūdvīpaprajñapti - Treatise on the island of Roseapple tree.
Chinese pagodas are a traditional part of Chinese architecture. In addition to religious use, since ancient times Chinese pagodas have been praised for the spectacular views they offer, many famous poems in Chinese history attest to the joy of scaling pagodas; the oldest and tallest were built of wood. Some pagodas were solid, had no interior at all. Others were hollow and held within themselves an altar, with the larger containing a smaller pagoda; the pagoda's interior has a series of staircases that allow the visitor to ascend to the top of the building and to witness the view from an opening on one side at each storey. Most have the classic gradual tiered eaves. Earliest base-structure type for Chinese pagodas were circular-base. By the 5th-10th centuries the Chinese began to build octagonal-base pagoda towers; the highest Chinese pagoda from the pre-modern age is the Liaodi Pagoda of Kaiyuan Monastery, Hebei province, completed in the year 1055 AD under Emperor Renzong of Song and standing at a total height of 84 m.
Although it no longer stands, the tallest pre-modern pagoda in Chinese history was the 100-metre-tall wooden pagoda of Chang'an, built by Emperor Yang of Sui. The Liaodi Pagoda is the tallest pre-modern pagoda still standing, yet in April 2007 a new wooden pagoda at the Tianning Temple of Changzhou was opened to the public. Iconography of Han is noticeable in architecture of the Chinese Pagoda; the image of the Shakyamuni Buddha in the abhaya mudra is noticeable in some Chinese pagodas. Buddhist iconography is inside of the symbolism in the pagoda. In an article on Buddhist elements in Han art, Wu Hung suggests that in these tombs, Buddhist iconography was so well incorporated into native Chinese traditions that a unique system of symbolism had been developed; some believed they would influence the success of young students taking the examinations for a civil service degree. When a pagoda of Yihuang County in Fuzhou collapsed in 1210 during the Song Dynasty, local inhabitants believed that the unfortunate event correlated with the recent failure of many exam candidates in the prefectural examinations for official degrees, the prerequisite for appointment in civil service.
The pagoda was rebuilt in 1223 and had a list inscribed on it of the successful examination candidates, in hopes that it would reverse the trend and win the county supernatural favor. From the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Southern and Northern Dynasties pagodas were built of wood, as were other ancient Chinese structures. Wooden pagodas are resistant to earthquakes, however many have burnt down, wood is prone to both natural rot and insect infestation. Examples of wooden pagodas: White Horse Pagoda at White Horse Temple, Luoyang. Futuci Pagoda in Xuzhou, built in the Three Kingdoms period. Many of the pagodas in Stories About Buddhist Temples in Luoyang, a Northern Wei text, were wooden; the literature of subsequent eras provides evidence of the domination of wooden pagoda construction in this period. The famous Tang Dynasty poet, Du Mu, once wrote: 480 Buddhist temples of the Southern Dynasties, uncountable towers and pagodas stand in the misty rain; the oldest extant wooden pagoda standing in China today is the Pagoda of Fugong Temple in Ying County, Shanxi Province, built in the 11th century during the Song Dynasty/Liao Dynasty.
During the Northern Wei and Sui dynasties experiments began with the construction of brick and stone pagodas. At the end of the Sui, wood was still the most common material. For example, Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty once issued a decree for all counties and prefectures to build pagodas to a set of standard designs, however since they were all built of wood none have survived. Only the Songyue Pagoda has survived, a circular-based pagoda built out of stone in 523 AD; the earliest extant brick pagoda is the 40-metre-tall Songyue Pagoda in Henan. This curved, circle-based pagoda was built in 523 during the Northern Wei Dynasty, has survived for 15 centuries. Much like the pagodas found during the following Tang Dynasty, this temple featured tiers of eaves encircling its frame, as well as a spire crowning the top, its walls are 2.5 m thick, with a ground floor diameter of 10.6 m. Another early brick pagoda is the Sui Dynasty Guoqing Pagoda built in 597; the earliest large-scale stone pagoda is a Four Gates Pagoda at Licheng, built in 611 during the Sui Dynasty.
Like the Songyue Pagoda, it features a spire at its top, is built in the pavilion style. One of the earliest brick and stone pagodas was a three-storey construction built in the Jin Dynasty, by Wang Jun of Xiangyang. However, it is now destroyed. Brick and stone went on to dominate Tang, Song and Jin Dynasty pagoda construction. An example is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, built during the early Tang Dynasty; the Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing has been one of the most famous brick and stone pagoda in China throughout history. The Zhou dynasty started making the ancient pagodas about 3,500 years ago and are still being made today. Pagodas, in keeping with the tradition of the White Horse Temple, were placed in the center of temples until the Sui and Tang dynasties. During the Tang, the importance of the main hall was elevated and the pagoda was moved beside the hall, or out of the temple compound altogether. In the early Tang, Daoxuan wrote
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions. Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language; as one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. It is related to Greek and Latin, as well as Hittite, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, it traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as the Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called the Classical Sanskrit emerged in mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini. Sanskrit, though not Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages. Examples include numerous modern daughter Northern Indian subcontinental languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali; the body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, drama, scientific and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity and fidelity; the earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st-century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada. Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.
Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants; the Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam and krta-. It connotes a work, "well prepared and perfect, sacred". According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal qualities, rather than semantic. Sound and oral transmission were valued quality in ancient India, its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. From late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic and religious literature" in India; the sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself, the "mysterious magnum" of the Hindu thought.
The search for perfection in thought and of salvation was one of the dimensions of sacred sound, the common thread to weave all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages; the term prakrta means "original, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in the Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patanjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding; the purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Dandin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar".
Dandin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of the author of the ancient Natyasastra text; the early Jain scholar Namisadhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisadhu stated that the Prakrit language was the purvam and they came to women and children, that Sanskrit was a refinement of the Prakrit through a "purification by grammar". Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is one of the three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as the Proto-Indo-European language: Vedic Sanskrit. Mycenaean Greek and Ancient Greek. Mycenaean Greek is the older recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems. Hittite.
This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. I
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents are arranged in a ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. In addition, macroscopic single crystals are identifiable by their geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations; the scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography. The process of crystal formation via mechanisms of crystal growth is called crystallization or solidification; the word crystal derives from the Ancient Greek word κρύσταλλος, meaning both "ice" and "rock crystal", from κρύος, "icy cold, frost". Examples of large crystals include snowflakes and table salt. Most inorganic solids are not crystals but polycrystals, i.e. many microscopic crystals fused together into a single solid. Examples of polycrystals include most metals, rocks and ice. A third category of solids is amorphous solids, where the atoms have no periodic structure whatsoever.
Examples of amorphous solids include glass and many plastics. Despite the name, lead crystal, crystal glass, related products are not crystals, but rather types of glass, i.e. amorphous solids. Crystals are used in pseudoscientific practices such as crystal therapy, along with gemstones, are sometimes associated with spellwork in Wiccan beliefs and related religious movements; the scientific definition of a "crystal" is based on the microscopic arrangement of atoms inside it, called the crystal structure. A crystal is a solid where the atoms form a periodic arrangement.. Not all solids are crystals. For example, when liquid water starts freezing, the phase change begins with small ice crystals that grow until they fuse, forming a polycrystalline structure. In the final block of ice, each of the small crystals is a true crystal with a periodic arrangement of atoms, but the whole polycrystal does not have a periodic arrangement of atoms, because the periodic pattern is broken at the grain boundaries.
Most macroscopic inorganic solids are polycrystalline, including all metals, ice, etc. Solids that are neither crystalline nor polycrystalline, such as glass, are called amorphous solids called glassy, vitreous, or noncrystalline; these have no periodic order microscopically. There are distinct differences between crystalline solids and amorphous solids: most notably, the process of forming a glass does not release the latent heat of fusion, but forming a crystal does. A crystal structure is characterized by its unit cell, a small imaginary box containing one or more atoms in a specific spatial arrangement; the unit cells are stacked in three-dimensional space to form the crystal. The symmetry of a crystal is constrained by the requirement that the unit cells stack with no gaps. There are 219 possible crystal symmetries, called crystallographic space groups; these are grouped into 7 crystal systems, such as hexagonal crystal system. Crystals are recognized by their shape, consisting of flat faces with sharp angles.
These shape characteristics are not necessary for a crystal—a crystal is scientifically defined by its microscopic atomic arrangement, not its macroscopic shape—but the characteristic macroscopic shape is present and easy to see. Euhedral crystals are those with well-formed flat faces. Anhedral crystals do not because the crystal is one grain in a polycrystalline solid; the flat faces of a euhedral crystal are oriented in a specific way relative to the underlying atomic arrangement of the crystal: they are planes of low Miller index. This occurs; as a crystal grows, new atoms attach to the rougher and less stable parts of the surface, but less to the flat, stable surfaces. Therefore, the flat surfaces tend to grow larger and smoother, until the whole crystal surface consists of these plane surfaces. One of the oldest techniques in the science of crystallography consists of measuring the three-dimensional orientations of the faces of a crystal, using them to infer the underlying crystal symmetry.
A crystal's habit is its visible external shape. This is determined by the crystal structure, the specific crystal chemistry and bonding, the conditions under which the crystal formed. By volume and weight, the largest concentrations of crystals in the Earth are part of its solid bedrock. Crystals found in rocks range in size from a fraction of a millimetre to several centimetres across, although exceptionally large crystals are found; as of 1999, the world's largest known occurring crystal is a crystal of beryl from Malakialina, Madagascar, 18 m long and 3.5 m in diameter, weighing 380,000 kg. Some crystals have formed by magmatic and metamorphic processes, giving origin to large masses of crystalline rock; the vast majority of igneous rocks are formed from molten magma and the degree of crystallization depends on the conditions under which they solidified. Such rocks as granite, which have cooled slowly and under great pressures, have crystallized.
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
Vajrayāna, Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is known as Tángmì Hanmi 漢密 or Mìzōng, in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna, in Japan it is known as Mikkyō. Vajrayāna is translated as Diamond Vehicle or Thunderbolt Vehicle, referring to the Vajra, a mythical weapon, used as a ritual implement. Founded by medieval Indian Mahāsiddhas, Vajrayāna subscribes to the literature known as the Buddhist Tantras, it includes practices that make use of mantras, mudras and the visualization of deities and Buddhas. According to Vajrayāna scriptures, the term Vajrayāna refers to one of three vehicles or routes to enlightenment, the other two being the Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna. Tantric Buddhism can be traced back to groups of wandering yogis called Mahasiddhas. According to Reynolds, the mahasiddhas date to the medieval period in the Northern Indian Subcontinent, used methods that were radically different than those used in Buddhist monasteries including living in forests and caves and practiced meditation in charnel grounds similar to those practiced by Shaiva Kapalika ascetics.
These yogic circles came together in tantric feasts in sacred sites and places which included dancing, sex rites and the ingestion of taboo substances like alcohol, meat, etc. At least two of the Mahasiddhas given in the Buddhist literature are names for Shaiva Nath saints who practiced Hatha Yoga. According to Schumann, a movement called, it was dominated by long-haired, wandering Mahasiddhas who challenged and ridiculed the Buddhist establishment. The Mahasiddhas pursued siddhis, magical powers such as flight and extrasensory perception as well as liberation. Ronald M. Davidson states that, "Buddhist siddhas demonstrated the appropriation of an older sociological form—the independent sage/magician, who lived in a liminal zone on the borders between fields and forests, their rites involved the conjunction of sexual practices and Buddhist mandala visualization with ritual accouterments made from parts of the human body, so that control may be exercised over the forces hindering the natural abilities of the siddha to manipulate the cosmos at will.
At their most extreme, siddhas represented a defensive position within the Buddhist tradition and sustained for the purpose of aggressive engagement with the medieval culture of public violence. They reinforced their reputations for personal sanctity with rumors of the magical manipulation of various flavors of demonic females, cemetery ghouls, other things that go bump in the night. Operating on the margins of both monasteries and polite society, some adopted the behaviors associated with ghosts, not only as a religious praxis but as an extension of their implied threats." Many of the elements found in Buddhist tantric literature are not wholly new. Earlier Mahayana sutras contained some elements which are emphasized in the Tantras, such as mantras and dharani; the use of protective verses or phrases dates back to the Vedic period and can be seen in the early Buddhist texts, where they are termed paritta. Mahayana texts like the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra expound the use of mantras such as Om mani padme hum, associated with vastly powerful beings like Avalokiteshvara.
The practice of visualization of Buddhas such as Amitābha is seen in pre-tantric texts like the Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. There are other Mahayana sutras which contain "proto-tantric" material such as the Gandavyuha sutra and the Dasabhumika which might have served as a central source of visual imagery for Tantric texts. Vajrayana developed a large corpus of texts called the Buddhist Tantras, some of which can be traced to at least the 7th century CE but might be older; the dating of the tantras is "a difficult, indeed an impossible task" according to David Snellgrove. Some of the earliest of these texts, Kriya tantras such as the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa, teach the use of mantras and dharanis for worldly ends including curing illness, controlling the weather and generating wealth; the Tattvasaṃgraha Tantra, classed as a "Yoga tantra", is one of the first Buddhist tantras which focuses on liberation as opposed to worldly goals. In another early tantra, the Vajrasekhara Tantra, the influential schema of the five Buddha families is developed.
Other early tantras include the Guhyasamāja Tantra. The Guhyasamāja is a Mahayoga class of Tantra, which features new forms of ritual practice considered "left-hand" such as the use of taboo substances like alcohol, sexual yoga, charnel ground practices which evoke wrathful deities. Indeed, Ryujun Tajima divides the tantras into those which were "a development of Mahayanist thought" and those "formed in a rather popular mould toward the end of the eighth century and declining into the esoterism of the left", this "left esoterism" refers to the Yogini tantras and works associated with wandering antinomian yogis. Monastic Vajrayana Buddhists reinterpreted and internalized these radically transgressive and taboo practices as metaphors and visualization exercises; these tantras such as the Hevajra Tantra and the Chakrasamvara are classed as "Yogini tantras" and represent the final form of development of