Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism has shaped Chinese culture in a wide variety of areas including art, literature, philosophy and material culture. The translation of a large body of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the inclusion of these translations together with works composed in China into a printed canon had far-reaching implications for the dissemination of Buddhism throughout the East Asian cultural sphere, including Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Chinese Buddhism is marked by the interaction between Indian religions, Chinese religion, Taoism. Various legends tell of the presence of Buddhism in Chinese soil in ancient times. Nonetheless, the scholarly consensus is that Buddhism first came to China in the first century CE during the Han dynasty, through missionaries from India. Generations of scholars have debated whether Buddhist missionaries first reached Han China via the maritime or overland routes of the Silk Road; the maritime route hypothesis, favored by Liang Qichao and Paul Pelliot, proposed that Buddhism was practiced in southern China, the Yangtze River and Huai River region, where prince Ying of Chu was jointly worshipping the Yellow Emperor and Buddha in 65 CE.
The overland route hypothesis, favored by Tang Yongtong, proposed that Buddhism disseminated through Central Asia – in particular, the Kushan Empire, known in ancient Chinese sources as Da Yuezhi, after the founding tribe. According to this hypothesis, Buddhism was first practiced in China in the Western Regions and the Han capital Luoyang, where Emperor Ming of Han established the White Horse Temple in 68 CE. In 2004, Rong Xinjiang, a history professor at Peking University, reexamined the overland and maritime hypotheses through a multi-disciplinary review of recent discoveries and research, including the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts, concluded: The view that Buddhism was transmitted to China by the sea route comparatively lacks convincing and supporting materials, some arguments are not sufficiently rigorous. Based on the existing historical texts and the archaeological iconographic materials discovered since the 1980s the first-century Buddhist manuscripts found in Afghanistan, the commentator believes that the most plausible theory is that Buddhism reached China from the Greater Yuezhi of northwest India and took the land route to reach Han China.
After entering into China, Buddhism blended with early Daoism and Chinese traditional esoteric arts and its iconography received blind worship. A number of popular accounts in historical Chinese literature have led to the popularity of certain legends regarding the introduction of Buddhism into China. According to the most popular one, Emperor Ming of Han precipitated the introduction of Buddhist teachings into China; the Mouzi Lihuolun first records this legend: In olden days Emperor Ming saw in a dream a god whose body had the brilliance of the sun and who flew before his palace. The next day he asked his officials: "What god is this?" the scholar Fu Yi said: "Your subject has heard it said that in India there is somebody who has attained the Dao and, called Buddha. The emperor sent an envoy to Tianzhu to inquire about the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhist scriptures were said to have been returned to China on the backs of white horses, after which White Horse Temple was named. Two Indian monks returned with them, named Dharmaratna and Kaśyapa Mātaṅga.
An 8th-century Chinese fresco at Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in Gansu portrays Emperor Wu of Han worshiping statues of a golden man. However, neither the Shiji nor Book of Han histories of Emperor Wu mentions a golden Buddhist statue; the first documented translation of Buddhist scriptures from various Indian languages into Chinese occurs in 148 CE with the arrival of the Parthian prince-turned-monk An Shigao. He worked to establish Buddhist temples in Luoyang and organized the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, testifying to the beginning of a wave of Central Asian Buddhist proselytism, to last several centuries. An Shigao translated Buddhist texts on basic doctrines and abhidharma. An Xuan, a Parthian layman who worked alongside An Shigao translated an early Mahāyāna Buddhist text on the bodhisattva path. Mahāyāna Buddhism was first propagated in China by the Kushan monk Lokakṣema, who came from the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Gandhāra. Lokakṣema translated important Mahāyāna sūtras such as the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, as well as rare, early Mahāyāna sūtras on topics such as samādhi, meditation on the buddha Akṣobhya.
These translations from Lokakṣema continue to give insight into the early period of Mahāyāna Buddhism. This corpus of texts includes emphasizes ascetic practices and forest dwelling, absorption in states of meditative concentration: Paul Harrison has worked on some of the texts that are arguably the earliest versions we have of the Mahāyāna sūtras, those translated into Chinese in the last half of the second century CE by the Indo-Scythian translator Lokakṣema. Harrison points to the enthusiasm in the Lokakṣema sūtra corpus for the extra ascetic practices, for dwelling in the forest, above all for states of meditative absorption. Meditation and meditative states seem to have occupied a central place in early Mahāyāna because of their spiritual efficacy but a
Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and others. There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages. In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with Ṛta, the order that makes life and universe possible, includes duties, laws, virtues and "right way of living". In Buddhism, dharma means "cosmic law and order", is applied to the teachings of Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is the term for "phenomena". Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of proper religious practice; the word dharma was in use in the historical Vedic religion, its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The ancient Tamil moral text of Tirukkural is based on aṟam, the Tamil term for dharma; the antonym of dharma is adharma. The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma or the Prakrit Dhaṃma are a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, keep", takes the meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law".
It is derived from an older Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman-, with a literal meaning of "bearer, supporter", in a religious sense conceived as an aspect of Rta. In the Rigveda, the word appears as an n-stem, dhárman-, with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm". Figuratively, it means "sustainer" and "supporter", it is semantically similar to the Greek Themis. In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: dharma-; the word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root *dʰer-, which in Sanskrit is reflected as class-1 root dhṛ. Etymologically it is related to Avestan dar-, Latin firmus, Lithuanian derė́ti, Lithuanian dermė and darna and Old Church Slavonic drъžati. Classical Sanskrit word dharmas would formally match with Latin o-stem firmus from Proto-Indo-European dʰer-mo-s "holding", were it not for its historical development from earlier Rigvedic n-stem. In Classical Sanskrit, in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: dhárma-. In Prakrit and Pāli, it is rendered dhamma.
In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm. Ancient translationsWhen the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka wanted in the 3rd century BCE to translate the word "Dharma" into Greek and Aramaic, he used the Greek word Eusebeia in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription and the Kandahar Greek Edicts, the Aramaic word Qsyt in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription. Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian religion, it has multiple meanings in Hinduism and Jainism. It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations. There is no equivalent single-word synonym for dharma in western languages. There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German and French; the concept, claims Paul Horsch, has caused exceptional difficulties for modern commentators and translators. For example, while Grassmann's translation of Rig-veda identifies seven different meanings of dharma, Karl Friedrich Geldner in his translation of the Rig-veda employs 20 different translations for dharma, including meanings such as "law", "order", "duty", "custom", "quality", "model", among others.
However, the word dharma has become a accepted loanword in English, is included in all modern unabridged English dictionaries. The root of the word dharma is "dhri", which means "to support, hold, or bear", it is the thing that regulates the course of change by not participating in change, but that principle which remains constant. Monier-Williams, the cited resource for definitions and explanation of Sanskrit words and concepts of Hinduism, offers numerous definitions of the word dharma, such as that, established or firm, steadfast decree, law, custom, right, virtue, ethics, religious merit, good works, character, property. Yet, each of these definitions is incomplete, while the combination of these translations does not convey the total sense of the word. In common parlance, dharma means "right way of living" and "path of rightness"; the meaning of the word dharma depends on the context, its meaning has evolved as ideas of Hinduism have developed through history. In the earliest texts and ancient myths of Hinduism, dharma meant cosmic law, the rules that created the universe from chaos, as well as rituals.
In certain contexts, dharma designates human behaviours considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos and action necessary to all life in nature, family as well as at the individual level. Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, character, religion and all behaviour considered appropriate, correct or morally upright; the antonym of dharma is adharma, meaning that, "not dharma"
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
The Dhamma Chakra is a symbol from ancient India and one of the Ashtamangala of Hinduism, Buddhism. The Dhamma wheel symbol has represented Buddhism, Gautama Buddha's teachings and his walking of the path to Enlightenment since the time of early Buddhism; the symbol is connected to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, keep", takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law", it is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman- with the meaning "bearer, supporter" in the historical Vedic religion conceived of as an aspect of Ṛta. The wheel is the main attribute of Vishnu, the Vedic god of preservation. Madhavan and Parpola note Chakra sign appears in Indus Valley civilization, on several seals. Notably, in a sequence of ten signs on the Dholavira signboard, four are the chakra. Common Dharmachakra symbols consist of either 24 spokes. In Unicode, as emoji: ☸️; the Buddha described the 24 qualities of ideal Buddhist followers, represented by the 24 spokes of the Ashoka Chakra which represent 24 qualities of a Santani: Also an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate.
This is a quote from the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas. In the Bhagavad Gita too, verses 14, 15 and 16, of Chapter 3 speaks about the revolving wheel thus: "From food, the beings are born; the one who does not follow the wheel thus revolving, leads a sinful, vain life, rejoicing in the senses." The Dharmachakra is one of the ashtamangala of Buddhism. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols found in Indian art, appearing with the first surviving post-Indus Valley Civilization Indian iconography in the time of the Buddhist king Ashoka; the Buddha is said to have set the dhammacakka in motion when he delivered his first sermon, described in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. The wheel itself depicts ideas about the cycle of saṃsāra and furthermore the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism adopted the wheel as the main symbol of the chakravartin "wheel-turner", the ideal king or "universal monarch", symbolising the ability to cut through all obstacles and illusions. According to Harrison, the symbolism of "the wheel of the law" and the order of Nature is visible in the Tibetan prayer wheels.
The moving wheels symbolize the movement of cosmic order. The image, having been found in antiquity is referred to as Rimbo is an accepted symbol used in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first Vice President of India has stated that the Ashoka Chakra of India represents the Dharmachakra. In the Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana, two kings named Jadabharata of the Hindu solar and lunar dynasties are referred to as "Chakravartins". Jagdish Chandra Jain referred to this icon in Kalinga. In Jainism, the Dharmachakra is worshipped as a symbol of the dharma. Other "chakras" appear in other Indian traditions, e.g. Vishnu's Sudarśanacakra, a wheel-shaped weapon; the former Flag of Sikkim featured a version of the dharmachakra. Thai people use a yellow flag with a red dhammacakka as their Buddhist flag; the emblem of Mongolia includes a dharmachakra together with some other Buddhist attributes such as the padma, cintamani, a blue khata and the Soyombo symbol. The dharmachakra is the insignia for Buddhist chaplains in the United States Armed Forces.
In non-Buddhist cultural contexts, an eight-spoked dharmachakra resembles a traditional ship's wheel. As a nautical emblem, this image is a common sailor tattoo. In the Unicode computer standard, the dharmachakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form, it is represented as U+2638. In Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, the Fǎlún is described as “an intelligent, rotating entity composed of high-energy matter.” Practitioners of Falun Gong cultivate this Law Wheel, which rotates in the lower abdomen, the same focal point described as Lower Dāntián. Dorothy C. Donath. Buddhism for the West: Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna. Julian Press. ISBN 0-07-017533-0. Media related to Dharmacakra at Wikimedia CommonsBuddhist Wheel Symbol
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
Theravada Buddhism defines arhat as one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana. Other Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood; the understanding of the concept has changed over the centuries, varies between different schools of Buddhism and different regions. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools; the Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda, Caitika schools all regarded arhats as imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas. Mahayana Buddhist teachings urge followers to take up the path of a bodhisattva, to not fall back to the level of arhats and śrāvakas; the arhats, or at least the senior arhats, came to be regarded as "moving beyond the state of personal freedom to join the Bodhisattva enterprise in their own way". Mahayana Buddhism regarded a group of Eighteen Arhats as awaiting the return of the Buddha as Maitreya, other groupings of 6, 8, 16, 100, 500 appear in tradition and Buddhist art in East Asia.
They can be seen as the Buddhist equivalents of the Christian saints, apostles or early disciples and leaders of the faith. Pāḷi arahant is a present participle coming from the verbal root √arh "to deserve", cf. arha "meriting, deserving". The word is used in the Ṛgveda with this sense of "deserving". A common folk etymology derives the word from ari and hanta from the root √han "to strike, to kill". Professor Richard Gombrich has argued that the present participle is "jarring" and seems out of place when there is an adjective from the same root. Since Jains used two Prakrit forms of the word arahanta and arihanta, the folk etymology may well be the correct etymology. Gombrich argues that this stems from the same metaphor as the Jain title jina "conqueror", whence jaina "related to the conqueror", i.e. Jainism; the term arhat is rendered in English as arahat. The term arhat was transliterated into some East Asian languages phonetically, for example, the Chinese āluóhàn shortened to luóhàn; this may appear in English as lohan.
In Japanese the pronunciation of the same Chinese characters is arakan. The Tibetan term for arhat was translated by meaning from Sanskrit; this translation, dgra bcom pa, means "one who has destroyed the foes of afflictions". Thus the Tibetan translators understood the meaning of arhat to be ari-hanta. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools; the Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda and Caitika schools all regarded arhats as being imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas. The Dharmaguptaka sect believed that "the Buddha and those of the Two Vehicles, although they have one and the same liberation, have followed different noble paths."The Mahīśāsaka and the Theravada regarded arhats and buddhas as being similar to one another. The 5th century Theravadin commentator Buddhaghosa regarded arhats as having completed the path to enlightenment. According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Pāli Canon portrays the Buddha declaring himself to be an arahant.
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, nirvāṇa is "the ultimate goal", one who has attained nirvana has attained arahantship: Bhikkhu Bodhi writes, "The defining mark of an arahant is the attainment of nirvāṇa in this present life."The Mahayana discerned a hierarchy of attainments, with samyaksambuddhas at the top, mahāsattvas below that, pratyekabuddhas below that and arhats further below. "But what was it that distinguished the bodhisattva from the sravaka, the buddha from the arhat? The difference lay, more than anywhere else, in the altruistic orientation of the bodhisattva." In pre-Buddhist India, the term arhat, denoting a saintly person in general, was associated with miraculous power and asceticism. The Buddhists drew a sharp distinction between their Arhat and Indian holy men in general, in Buddhism these miraculous powers were no longer central to arhat identity or to his mission. A range of views on the relative perfection of arhats existed amongst the early Buddhist schools. In general, Mahāsāṃghikas such as the Ekavyāvahārikas, Lokottaravādins, Bahuśrutīyins, Prajñaptivādins, Caitikas schools, advocated the transcendental and supramundane nature of the buddhas and bodhisattvas and the fallibility of arhats.
The Caitikas, for example, advocated the ideal of the bodhisattva over that of the arhat, they viewed arhats as being fallible and still subject to ignorance. According to A. K. Warder, the Sarvāstivādins held the same position as the Mahāsāṃghika branch regarding arhats, considering them to be imperfect and fallible. In the Sarvāstivādin Nāgadatta Sūtra, the demon Māra takes the form of Nāgadatta's father, tries to convince Nāgadatta, a bhikṣuṇī, to work toward the lower stage of arhatship rather than striving to become a enlightened buddha. Māra therefore took the disguise of Nāgadatta's father and said thus to Nāgadatta: "Your thought is too serious. Buddhahood is too difficult to attain, it takes a hundred thousand nayutas of koṭis of kalpas to become a Buddha. Since few people attain Buddhahood in this world, why don't you attain Arhatship? For the experience of Arhatship is the same as that of nirvāṇa. In her reply, Nāgadatta rejects arhatship as a lower path, saying, "A Buddha's wisdom is l
Tibetan Buddhism is the form of Buddhist doctrine and institutions named after the lands of Tibet, but found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas and much of Central Asia. It derives from the latest stages of Indian Buddhism and preserves "the Tantric status quo of eighth-century India." It has been spread outside of Tibet due to the Mongol power of the Yuan dynasty, founded by Kublai Khan, that ruled China. Tibetan Buddhism applies Tantric practices deity yoga, aspires to Buddhahood or the rainbow body. Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet has four major schools, namely Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug; the Jonang is a smaller school, the Rimé movement is an eclectic movement involving the Sakya and Nyingma schools. Among the prominent proponents of Tibetan Buddhism are the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, the leaders of Gelug school in Tibet. Westerners unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhism turned to China for an understanding. There the term used; the term was taken up by western scholars including Hegel, as early as 1822.
Insofar as it implies a discontinuity between Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, the term has been discredited. Another term, "Vajrayāna" is used mistakenly for Tibetan Buddhism. More it signifies a certain subset of practices included in, not only Tibetan Buddhism, but other forms of Buddhism as well; the native Tibetan term for all Buddhism is "doctrine of the internalists". In the west, the term "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism" has become current, in acknowledgement of its derivation from the latest stages of Buddhist development in northern India. Buddhism was formally introduced into Tibet during the Tibetan Empire. Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures from India were first translated into Tibetan under the reign of the Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo, In the 8th century King Trisong Detsen established it as the official religion of the state. Trisong Detsen invited Indian Buddhist scholars to his court, including Padmasambhāva and Śāntarakṣita ), who founded the Nyingma, The Ancient Ones, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism.
There was influence from the Sarvāstivādins from Kashmir to the southwest and Khotan to the northwest. Trisong Detsen invited the Chan master Moheyan to transmit the Dharma at Samye Monastery. According to Tibetan sources, Moheyan lost the socalled council of Lhasa, a debate sponsored by Trisong Detsen on the nature of emptiness with the Indian master Kamalaśīla, the king declared Kamalaśīlas philosophy should form the basis for Tibetan Buddhism. A reversal in Buddhist influence began under King Langdarma, his death was followed by the socalled Era of Fragmentation, a period of Tibetan history in the 9th and 10th centuries. During this era, the political centralization of the earlier Tibetan Empire collapsed; the late 10th and 11th century saw a revival of Buddhism in Tibet. Coinciding with the early discoveries of "hidden treasures", the 11th century saw a revival of Buddhist influence originating in the far east and far west of Tibet. In the west, Rinchen Zangpo founded temples and monasteries.
Prominent scholars and teachers were again invited from India. In 1042 Atiśa arrived in Tibet at the invitation of a west Tibetan king; this renowned exponent of the Pāla form of Buddhism from the Indian university of Vikramashila moved to central Tibet. There his chief disciple, Dromtonpa founded the Kadampa school of Tibetan Buddhism, under whose influence the New Translation schools of today evolved; the Sakya, the Grey Earth school, was founded by Khön Könchok Gyelpo, a disciple of the great Lotsawa, Drogmi Shākya. It is headed by the Sakya Trizin, traces its lineage to the mahasiddha Virūpa, represents the scholarly tradition. A renowned exponent, Sakya Pandita, was the great-grandson of Khön Könchok Gyelpo. Other seminal Indian teachers were his student Naropa; the Kagyu, the Lineage of the Word, is an oral tradition, much concerned with the experiential dimension of meditation. Its most famous exponent was an 11th-century mystic, it contains one major and one minor subsect. The first, the Dagpo Kagyu, encompasses those Kagyu schools that trace back to the Indian master Naropa via Marpa Lotsawa and Gampopa Tibetan Buddhism exerted a strong influence from the 11th century CE among the peoples of Inner Asia the Mongols.
The Mongols invaded Tibet in 1240 and 1244. The Mongols had annexed Kham to the east. Sakya Paṇḍita was appointed Viceroy of Central Tibet by the Mongol court in 1249. Tibet was incorporated into the Mongol Empire, retaining nominal power over religious and regional political affairs, while the Mongols managed a structural and administrative rule over the region, reinforced by the rare military intervention. Tibetan Buddhism was adopted as the de facto state religion by the Mongol Yuan dynasty, founded by Kublai Khan, whose capital is Xanadu. With the decline of the Yuan dynansty and the loose administration of the following Ming dynasty, Central Tibet was ruled by successive local families from the 14th to the 17th century, Tibet would gain de facto a high autonomy after the 14th century. Jangchub Gyaltsän became the strongest political family in the mid 14th century. During this period the reformist scholar Je Tso