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
Standard Tibetan is the most spoken form of the Tibetic languages. It is based on the speech of an Ü-Tsang dialect. For this reason, Standard Tibetan is called Lhasa Tibetan. Tibetan is an official language of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China; the written language is based on Classical Tibetan and is conservative. Like many languages, Standard Tibetan has a variety of language registers: Phal-skad: the vernacular speech. Zhe-sa: the formal spoken style prominent in Lhasa. Chos-skad: the literary style in which the scriptures and other classical works are written. Tibetan is an ergative language. Grammatical constituents broadly have head-final word order: adjectives follow nouns in Tibetan, unless the two are linked by a genitive particle objects and adverbs precede the verb, as do adjectives in copular clauses a noun marked with the genitive case precedes the noun which it modifies demonstratives and numerals follow the noun they modify Unlike many other languages of East Asia and Chinese, another Sino-Tibetan language, there are no numeral auxiliaries or measure words used in counting in Tibetan although words expressive of a collective or integral are used after the tens, sometimes after a smaller number.
In scientific and astrological works, the numerals, as in Vedic Sanskrit, are expressed by symbolical words. Tibetan is written with an Indic script, with a conservative orthography that reflects Old Tibetan phonology and helps unify the Tibetan-language area, it is helpful in reconstructing Proto Sino-Tibetan and Old Chinese. Wylie transliteration is the most common system of romanization used by Western scholars in rendering written Tibetan using the Latin alphabet. Tibetan pinyin, however, is the official romanization system employed by the government of the People's Republic of China. Certain names may retain irregular transcriptions, such as Chomolungma for Mount Everest; the following summarizes the sound system of the dialect of Tibetan spoken in Lhasa, the most influential variety of the spoken language. Tournadre and Sangda Dorje describe eight vowels in the standard language: Three additional vowels are sometimes described as distinct: or, an allophone of /a/; these sounds occur in closed syllables.
The result is that the first is pronounced as an open syllable but retains the vowel typical of a closed syllable. For instance, zhabs is pronounced and pad is pronounced, but the compound word, zhabs pad is pronounced; this process can result in minimal pairs involving sounds. Sources vary on whether the phone and the phone are distinct or identical. Phonemic vowel length exists in a restricted set of circumstances. Assimilation of Classical Tibetan's suffixes ‘i, at the end of a word produces a long vowel in Lhasa Tibetan. In normal spoken pronunciation, a lengthening of the vowel is frequently substituted for the sounds and when they occur at the end of a syllable; the vowels /i/, /y/, /e/, /ø/, /ɛ/ each have nasalized forms: /ĩ/, /ỹ/, /ẽ/, /ø̃/, /ɛ̃/ which results from /in/, /en/, etc. In some unusual cases, the vowels /a/, /u/, /o/ may be nasalised; the Lhasa dialect is described as having two tones: high and low. However, in monosyllabic words, each tone can occur with two distinct contours.
The high tone can be pronounced with either a flat or a falling contour, the low tone can be pronounced with either a flat or rising-falling contour, the latter being a tone that rises to a medium level before falling again. It is safe to distinguish only between the two tones because there are few minimal pairs that differ only because of contour; the difference occurs only in certain words ending in the sounds or. In polysyllabic words, tone is not important except in the first syllable; this means that from the point of view of phonological typology, Tibetan could more be described as a pitch-accent language than a true tone language, in which all syllables in a word can carry their own tone. The unaspirated stops /p/, /t/, /c/, /k/ become voiced in the low tone and are pronounced, respectively; the sounds are regarded as allophones. The aspirated stops, are lightly aspirated in the low tone; the dialect of the upper social strata in Lhasa does not use voiced stops in the low tone. The alveolar trill is in complementary distribution of the alveolar approximant.
The voiceless alveolar lateral approximant resembles the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative found in languages such as Welsh and Zulu and is sometimes transcribed ⟨ɬ⟩. The consonants /m/, /ŋ/, /p/, /r/, /l/, /k/ may appear in syllable-final positions; the Classical Tibetan final /n/ is still present, but its
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 five precepts or five rules of training is the most important system of morality for Buddhist lay people. They constitute the basic code of ethics undertaken by lay followers of Buddhism; the precepts are commitments to abstain from killing living beings, sexual misconduct and intoxication. Within the Buddhist doctrine, they are meant to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment, they are sometimes referred to as the śrāvakayāna precepts in the Mahāyāna tradition, contrasting them with the bodhisattva precepts. The five precepts form the basis of several parts of Buddhist doctrine, both monastic. With regard to their fundamental role in Buddhist ethics, they have been compared with the ten commandments in Christianity or the ethical codes of Confucianism; the precepts have been connected with utilitarianist and virtue approaches to ethics. They have been compared with human rights because of their universal nature, some scholars argue they can complement the concept of human rights.
The five precepts were common to the religious milieu of 6th-century BCE India, but the Buddha's focus on awareness through the fifth precept was unique. As shown in Early Buddhist Texts, the precepts grew to be more important, became a condition for membership of the Buddhist religion; when Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. In countries where Buddhism had to compete with other religions, such as China, the ritual of undertaking the five precepts developed into an initiation ceremony to become a Buddhist lay person. On the other hand, in countries with little competition from other religions, such as Thailand, the ceremony has had little relation to the rite of becoming Buddhist, as many people are presumed Buddhist from birth. Undertaking and upholding the five precepts is based on the principle of non-harming; the Pali Canon recommends one to compare oneself with others, on the basis of that, not to hurt others. Compassion and a belief in karmic retribution form the foundation of the precepts.
Undertaking the five precepts is part of regular lay devotional practice, both at home and at the local temple. However, the extent to which people keep them differs per time. People keep them with an intention to develop themselves, but out of fear of a bad rebirth; the first precept consists of a prohibition of both humans and all animals. Scholars have interpreted Buddhist texts about the precepts as an opposition to and prohibition of capital punishment, suicide and euthanasia. In practice, many Buddhist countries still use the death penalty. With regard to abortion, Buddhist countries take the middle ground, by condemning though not prohibiting it; the Buddhist attitude to violence is interpreted as opposing all warfare, but some scholars have raised exceptions. The second precept prohibits theft; the third precept refers to adultery in all its forms, has been defined by modern teachers with terms such as sexual responsibility and long-term commitment. The fourth precept involves falsehood spoken or committed to by action, as well as malicious speech, harsh speech and gossip.
The fifth precept prohibits intoxication through drugs or other means. Early Buddhist Texts nearly always condemn alcohol, so do Chinese Buddhist post-canonical texts. Buddhist attitudes toward smoking differ per time and region, but are permissive. In modern times, traditional Buddhist countries have seen revival movements to promote the five precepts; as for the West, the precepts play a major role in Buddhist organizations. They have been integrated in mindfulness training programs, though many mindfulness specialists do not support this because of the precepts' religious import. Lastly, many conflict prevention programs make use of the precepts. Buddhist scriptures explain the five precepts as the minimal standard of Buddhist morality, it is the most important system of morality in Buddhism, together with the monastic rules. Śīla is used to refer to Buddhist precepts, including the five. But the word refers to the virtue and morality which lies at the foundation of the spiritual path to enlightenment, the first of the three forms of training on the path.
Thus, the precepts are rules or guidelines to develop mind and character to make progress on the path to enlightenment. The five precepts are part of the right speech and livelihood aspects of the eight-fold path, the core teaching of Buddhism. Moreover, the practice of the five precepts and other parts of śīla are described as forms of merit-making, means to create good karma; the five precepts have been described as social values that bring harmony to society, breaches of the precepts described as antithetical to a harmonious society. On a similar note, in Buddhist texts, the ideal, righteous society is one in which people keep the five precepts. Comparing different parts of Buddhist doctrine, the five precepts form the basis of the eight precepts, which are lay precepts stricter than the five precepts, similar to monastic precepts. Secondly, the five precepts form the first half of the ten or eleven precepts for a person aiming to become a Buddha, as mentioned in the Brahmajala Sūtra of the Mahāyāna tradition.
Contrasting these precepts with the five precepts, the latter were referred to by Mahāyānists as the śrāvakayāna precepts, or the precepts of those aiming to become enlightened disciples of a Buddha, but not Buddhas themselves. The ten–eleven bodhisattva precepts presuppose the five precepts, are based on them; the five
Since the death of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhist monastic communities have periodically convened to settle doctrinal and disciplinary disputes and to revise and correct the contents of the sutras. These gatherings, referred to by historians as'Buddhist councils', are recorded in the Buddhist sutras as having begun following the death of the Buddha and have continued into the modern era; the number and ordering of the councils employed in Western academia is based on Theravada historical chronicles- regional or sectarian gatherings not involving the Mahavihara Theravada lineage may be regarded as equivalent in significance by other traditions. The earliest councils- for which there is little historical evidence outside of the sutras- are regarded as canonical events by every Buddhist tradition, while some councils have been concerned only with the Theravada tradition. According to the scriptures of all Buddhist schools, the first Buddhist Council was held soon after the death of the Buddha, dated by the majority of recent scholars around 400 BCE, under the patronage of the king Ajatashatru with the monk Mahakasyapa presiding, at Sattapanni caves Rajgriha.
Its objective was to preserve the the monastic discipline or rules. The Suttas were recited by Ananda, the Vinaya was recited by Upali. Western scholarship has suggested that the Abhidhamma Pitaka was composed starting after 300 BCE because of differences in language and content from other Sutta literature. However, oral tradition maintained by the Atthakathā-teachers describe the six canons of Abhidhamma Pitaka, one of its Matika, the ancient Atthakathā as included at the first Buddhist council in Sutta category, but its literature is different from Sutta because Abhidhamma Pitaka was authored by Sāriputta; some scholars of Indian Buddhism have questioned the event's historicity, although Sri Lankan and Theravadan sources display a level of internal coherence that suggest otherwise. The circumstances surrounding the First Buddhist Council are recorded in the Vinaya Pitaka of the early Buddhist schools; the text is called the Recitation of Five-Hundred because five hundred senior monks were chosen by the community to collect and clarify the Buddha's teachings.
The historical records for the so-called "Second Buddhist Council" derive from the canonical Vinayas of various schools. In most cases, these accounts are found at the end of the Skandhaka portion of the Vinaya. While disagreeing on points of details, they agree that the root dispute was points of vinaya or monastic discipline; the Second Council resulted in the first schism in the Sangha. Modern scholars see this event as caused by a group of reformists called Sthaviras who split from the conservative majority Mahāsāṃghikas; this view is supported by the vinaya texts themselves, as vinayas associated with the Sthaviras do contain more rules than those of the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya. All scholars agree that this second council was a historical event. There is no agreement however on the dating of the event or if it was post Ashoka, it was held at Vaishali under the presidency of Sabakami. In striking contrast to the uniform accounts of the Second Council, there are records of several possible "Third Councils".
These different versions function to authorize the founding of other. According to the Theravāda commentaries and chronicles, the Third Buddhist Council was convened by the Mauryan king Ashoka at Pātaliputra, under the leadership of the monk Moggaliputta Tissa, its objective was to purify the Buddhist movement from opportunistic factions, attracted by the royal patronage. The king asked the suspect monks what the Buddha taught, they claimed he taught views such as eternalism, etc. which are condemned in the canonical Brahmajala Sutta. He asked the virtuous monks, they replied that the Buddha was a "Teacher of Analysis", an answer, confirmed by Moggaliputta Tissa; the Council proceeded to recite the scriptures once more, adding to the canon Moggaliputta Tissa's own book, the Kathavatthu, a discussion of various dissenting Buddhist views now contained in the Theravāda Abhidhamma Pitaka. This council seems to have been the cause of the split between the Sarvastivada and the Vibhajjavāda schools.
Emissaries were sent to various countries in order to spread Buddhism, as far as the Greek kingdoms in the West. According to Frauwallner, several of these missionaries were responsible for founding schools in various parts of India: Majjhantika was the father of the Kasmiri Sarvastivādins. Relics of some of the Haimavata monks have been excavated at Vedisa in central India; the most famous of the missionaries, the main focus of interest for these Theravada histories, is Mahinda, who travelled to Sri Lanka where he founded the school we now know as Theravada. The Theravāda's own Dipavamsa records a quite different Council called the "Great Recital", which it claims was held by the reformed Vajjiputtakas following their defeat at the Second Council; the Dipavamsa criticizes the Mahasangitikas (who are the same as
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
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"