Sunday, July 19, 2015

Robinson Richard, H., & Williard L. Johnson. 1997, The Buddhist Religion, A Historical Introduction, Chapter 3 (pp. 53 – 81) Wadsworth Publishing Company

The development of early Indian Buddhism

The formation of the Canon

The religion of Buddhism was founded on the Dharma (doctrine) and the Vinaya (discipline) after Lord Buddha’s death. It was first put together by Upali for the Dharma and by Ananda for the Vinaya in the first Council the year after the Parinirvana. Originally organized around the Abhidharma (higher Dharma) Buddhism took many turns and twists to conclude to its current teachings.
The development of the Early Systems and Schools
Buddha’s approach to teaching was mostly therapeutic. Lord Buddha offered a path to end suffering which is said to be a fact of human life. He offered a path to get out of a house that was burning, not the floor plan! This lack of structure and organization though made the transition to a full religion challenging for Buddhism.As  they would get together to organize the teachings then new schools would form arguing minor point that seemed enough to split though.
After the Second Council what was seen was the creation of the Mahasanghikas, that later became the Mahayanas. Then the Personalist School. Then after the third council the Sarvastivadins, that later rejoined the Theravadins. From them sprung the Sautrantikas and later other schools like the Dharmaguptakas, that later became the Tantric School of Buddhism.

The following table is a decent diagram (from geocities) on the progression of the school formations.

Gotama Savaka Sangha


The 18  Buddhist schools



Sthaviravada/ Theravada

The Emperor Asoka, possibly in the interest of peace and prosperity of the vast kingdom he inherited from his forefathers, adopted Buddhism as a religion. His domestic Dharma policy was centered on a personal Dharma practice, an administration in line with the Dharma, and Dharma instructions to the populace. Dharma for Asoka was centered around moral action and skillful mental qualities.
Religious Life in the early centuries
Part of the development of Buddhism involved a set of rules and set of conducts for monks, nuns and their interactions with the laity on which they fully depended for their survival.

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