AS Buddhism Essay Outlines

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  • Created on: 03-02-15 13:17

Buddhism Essay Outlines


January 2009

1 (a) Explain the sociological and economic background in India at the time of the Buddha.

  • The Buddha was born in a very stratified society(caste system) and was part of the upper classes, the Warrior Class

    • Warrior were the Rulers responsible for good order in society

    • Vedic sacrifices were necessary to maintain this good order, done by the priest paid for by the Warrior, Brahmins were dependent on the Warrior Class

    • (explanation of the caste system)

  • Brahmanism was very much the dominant religion at the time of the Buddha

  • Urban areas began to develop and many different castes were living in close proximity to each other

  • development of monarchies, and the loss of tribal leadership

  • there was economic prosperity which made leisure time more ample and also led to an increase the amount time spent religious contemplations(seen as hobby)

    • This led to Kshatriya classes challenging the Brahmin castes, and there is even records of Kings teaching Brahmin’s new religious ideas

    • Buddha as part of this caste would have had rejected the authority the Brahmins and the caste system

    • Part of contemporary religious ferment


(b) To what extent did the sociological and economic conditions in India influence the teachings

of the Buddha?

  • The way in which it influenced him

    • Kshatriya Conflict with Brahmins would have led him to challenge the authority of the Brahmins

    • Urban development and the conditions of the poor to which he was exposed(Four Sights) led him to the teachings of anicca,anatta, and Dukkha as to his rejection of the caste system

    • contemporary religious ferment influenced some his ideas i.e the Jains, current hindu beliefs but also provided an outlet for Buddha to pursue religious truth

  • HOWEVER theoretically Buddhist teachings are a revelation of the eternal Dharma and can be said to be unaffected by his background

    • Unlikely

2(a) Explain how and why the vinaya rules were developed.


  • What are The Vinaya Rules

    • Code of conduct for Buddhist Sangha

    • Divided into multiple section

      • Sutta Vibhanga-Rules concerning the individual i.e Patti Moka

      • Kandhaka rules concerning the organisation of the monastic community

      • the Parivara, general summary of these rules

  • Why were they developed

    • When Buddha died they were certain elements within the Sangha such as his cousin Devadatta that challenged the Buddha’s teachings and some monks believed that now the Buddha is dead they would be able to do as they please

  • How were they developed

    • the Sangha many felt that it was necessary to gather set a code of conduct for the Sangha which would help in practicing the Middle Way the basis of these rules were established at the first council of Rajr three months after the Buddha died, it the monk kassapa who undertook this responsibility and mostly used the initial rules the Buddha had established when he was alive

  • Further developmentI

    • After the Sangha had been established there was issues regarding the lack of adherence to the Vinaya Pittaka by certain monls i.e accepting gift and donations, and other corrupt

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