New Questions and Ideas (Class 6 History Chapter 6 Notes)

a buddhist manuscript picture
New Questions and Ideas
Buddha
  1. Buddha, the founder of  Buddhism, was  born as Siddhartha Gautama about  2500  years  ago.
  2. The Buddha belonged to a small gana known as Sakya Gana and was kshatriya.
  3. He found enlightment under Bodhi tree (Peepal Tree) at Bodh Gaya, Bihar.
  4. He gave his first teachings at Sarnath near Varanasi.
  5. He wandered throughout the subcontinent and taught people about life till he passed away at Kusinara.
  6. The Buddha taught that life is full of suffering and unhappiness. This happens because of our cravings and desires which  often  cannot  be fulfilled. And sometimes, even when we get what we want, we desire for more. Buddha has described this thrist as tanha. He taught this can be removed by simply moderation in everything.
  7. He also taught people to be kind and respectful to others.
  8. He believed that the results of our actions affect us both in this life and next.
  9. Buddha taught in the language of people at that time, Prakrit.
  10. He also encouraged people to think about his teaching rather than simply adopting them.

Upanishads
  1. Upanishad literally means approaching and sitting near. They are part of later vedic age literature.
  2. They talk about the philosophical questions of life.
  3. The ideas presented in the form of dialouges.
  4. Most Upanishad thinkers are men, but there are few women thinkers such as Gargi. Again, most of thinkers are from higher section of the society, but there are shudra thinkers such as Jabali.

Jainism
  1. Vardhamana Mahavira, most famous Jaina Thirthankara, also spread his message around 2500 years ago.
  2. He was Kshatriya Lichchhavi prince, a group that was part of Vajji sangha.
  3. At the age of thirty, he left home and went to live in forest for 12 years before he attained enlightment.
  4. He taught the doctrine of ahimsa, no hurting or killing a living being.
  5. He preached that men and women who wished to acheive enlightment must leave their homes.
  6. He also taught in Prakrit.
  7. Jainism was easily adopted by traders, but farmers were not able to follow the strict rule of ahimsa who need to kill insects and rodents in order to protect their farms.
  8. The teachings of Mahavira was passed down orally, till they were recorded at a place called Vallabhi (Gujarat) around 1500 years ago.

Sangha
  1. Both Buddha and Mahavira felt the need a place for those who have left their home in pursuit of knowledge. They arranged places for them to stay together. These places became to be known as Sangha.
  2. The rules made for the Buddhist Sangha were written down in the book called Vinaya Pitaka.
  3. There were separate branches for men and women. Men can join sangha without any permission, but women have to take the permission from their parents or husband, children from their parents, slaves from their masters and so on.
  4. They led a simple life and begged food for living. This is why they are known as bhikkhus (prakrit word for beggars) and bhikkhunis.

Monasteries
  1. These are settlements which provide shelter to bhikkus and bhikkhunis during rainy seasons. These are originally known as Viharas.
  2. The earliest viharas were made up of wood and then, brick.
  3. Some were even in caves dug out in hills, especially in Western India. Karle, Maharashtra is one such example of cave monastery.
  4. Often, the land was gifted by a rich merchant or landowner.

Ashramas
  1. Around 2500 years ago, Brahmans developed a system of ashrama.
  2. Ashrama, here, does not mean a place for live and mediate, but it is a stage of life.
  3. There are four ashrama stage being identified. These are brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and samnyasa.
  4. Brahmacharya means age of learning. Grihastha means age of house duties. Vanaprastha means age of living in forest and mediate, and samnyasa means age of giving up worldly possessions and desires.