Jainism and Buddhism:Ancient History of India

                                    JAINISM AND BUDDHISM

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  • 6th century was a period of intellectual awakening
  • Existed to reformed the socio – religious organizations
  • The aim of these religions is to remove the superstitious beliefs, unwanted religious rituals and the caste discrimination
  • Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism



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  • In Jainism, 24 Tirthankaras were worshipped.
  • The first Tirthankara was Adhinathar, who was known as Rishabadeva
  • Vardhamana Mahavira is the last Tirthankara. (24th)
  • Vardhamana Mahavira lived during B.C.534 – B.C.462
  • His father was Siddhartha
  • His mother was Trisala.
  • Wife was Yasodha
  • Performed penance for 12 years
  • He treated both joy and sorrow equally
  • Jian” which means the “Conqueror”
  • People also called him as “Mahavira”.
  • Why are people born? Why do they die? What are the causes for their sufferings?
  • These were the important questions that arose in him


Previous birth

  • Mahavira never accepted this
  • Human beings are responsible for their own problems


  • Should not harm any
  • Preached a restricted life
  • Principles of ‘Ahimsa’ or ‘Non-Violence’
  • Jains starved and subjected themselves to all bodily hardships.

Trade & Commerce

  • Should not wage war or do agriculture.
  • Trade and commerce was their occupation

Three Gems or Triratna

  • Right Knowledge
  • Right Knowledge
  • Right Action

The Five Doctrines

  • Ahimsa (Non-Violence
  • Satya (Truth)
  • Asatya (Non Stealing)
  • Aprigraha (Non-possession)
  • Brahmacharya (Celibacy

Kings who followed Jainism

  • Chandragupta Maurya
  • Kalingathu Karavelen
  • Koon Pandian
  • Mahendravarma Pallava I

Contribution of Jains to Tamil Literature:


  • Sillapathigaram
  • Chivgachinthamani,
  • Literature and Grammar works
  • Yapperungalaviruthi, Neminatham, Nannool, Agaporulvillakam, Naladiar, Nanmanikadikai, Pazhamozhi

Contribution of Jains to architecture:

  • Rajasthan – Dilwara temple at Mount Abu
  • Kajiraho – Chittoor, Ranakpur Temples of Jains



  • Udaiyagiri
  • Hathigumpa
  • Girnar
  • Saravanabelagola
  • Kazhugumala
  • The statue of Gomateswara at Shravanabelagola is at Karnataka


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  • Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism
  • Original name was Siddhartha
  • Lived during 563 B.C. – 483 B.C
  • Born at Kapilavastu in Nepal
  • Father, Suddhodhana belonged to the Sakya dynasty
  • Mother, Mayadevi died at the seventh day of his birth
  • Got married at the age of 16
  • Siddhartha, who was enlightened under a pipal tree at Gaya became Buddha.
  • The meaning of the word ‘Buddha’ is a person who knows what is good, what is bad and what is suffering.



  • Life is full of miseries
  • We should strive to overcome the sorrows by not being greedy
  • Not telling lies and not harming others.
  • Right speech and right livelihood
  • Opposed caste discrimination
  • Buddha’s principles on suffering are the Four Noble Truths
  • The principles on conduct are the ‘Eight Fold Paths


The Four Noble Truths are

  • Life is full of sorrow
  • Desire is the cause of sorrow
  • Sorrow can be ended by giving up desire
  • The eightfold path is the way to end sorrow

Eight – Fold Paths to overcome desire:

  • Right belief
  • Right speech
  • Right living
  • Right effort
  • Right thought
  • Right action
  • Right meditation

Buddhist monks

  • The organization of the monks was called as ‘Sangam’
  • The most important followers among King was Ashoka.

Jainism and Buddhism were at their zenith till the 6th century. Buddhism split into Hinayana and Mahayana


  • Accepted Buddha’s principles. No idol worship


  • Worshipped Buddha as God. Idol worship
  • Even today Buddhism is followed in Ceylon, Burma, Tibet, China, Japan and Thailand.
  • The kings who followed Buddhism, Ashoka, Kanishka and Harsha

Historical Monuments

  • The Jataka tales describes the history of Buddhism
  • The Jataka stories are depicted at Gaya, Sanchi and Bur cut
  • Anantha and Ellora Cave paintings, which are in Aurangabad at Maharastra describe the fame of Buddha
  • Gandhara art also belongs to Buddhism
  • The prayer halls of the Buddhist monks are called Chaityas
  • Their monasteries are called Viharas
  • They are of rock cut structures


The Buddhist religious texts are called Tripitakas.

  • Vinaya Pitaka


  • Sutta Pitaka


  • Abhidhamma Pitaka

Manimekalai and Kundalakesi are Buddhist literature.

The books written by Jain monks

  • Sillapathikaram, Nannool (Grammar)
  • Chivagacinthamani; Vallayapathi (Literature)
  • Religious text: Angas and Purvas.


A book of Sri Lanka says that Tripitakas was written during the reign of Vattakkamini Abayan

In Pali language it is called as Tripitakas which means three baskets.

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