How influential was the Buddha during his own lifetime?

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#4
Was he just the head of an insignificant sect, or was he already a major historical figure in his own time?
Since there is little contemporary evidence for Buddha, that implies he wasn't a major figure during his lifetime, assuming he was a real historical person, of which there are doubts. The oldest biography of Buddha is not until the very latde 1st century AD or early 2nd century (after the canonical gospels were written by the way.). You would think a biography of Buddha would have been written a lot earlier if Buddhism had been influential a lot earlier. And the earliest non Buddhist reference to Buddha anywhere was by by the Clement of Alexandria in the beginning of the 3rd century, many centuries after Buddha's death. Had Buddha been influential in his lifetime, we would have had earlier references of him.


,
May i ask how did you come to that conclusion ?
The first mention of Buddha from a non Bushist source isn't until 600 years or more after Buddha death, and there is no agreement on when exactly Buddha lived , there is a range of about 80 years. The first biography of Buddha was written about 500 years after his death, and Buddhism is not shown to be interacting with any known historical figure. Pretty much all we know of Buddha comes from.just Buddhist sources.

When one can't say when a person lived within a couple generations, that indicated to me you might be dealing with a legendary character. An uncertainty of a few years is ok, but the range for Buddha is the difference of between the time of his grandfather or grandson - like saying that you don't know if a person was born in 1900 or 1980, and that is a huge difference.

Even Ashoka's famous Edicts don't mention Buddha by nams.(except one, that seems a later forget, being inconsistent with the others in language and wording).
 
Feb 2019
446
Thrace
#5
"On the basis of philological evidence, Indologist and Pali expert Oskar von Hinüber says that some of the Pali suttas have retained very archaic place-names, syntax, and historical data from close to the Buddha's lifetime, including the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta which contains a detailed account of the Buddha's final days. Hinüber proposes a composition date of no later than 350–320 BCE for this text, which would allow for a "true historical memory" of the events approximately 60 years prior if the Short Chronology for the Buddha's lifetime is accepted"

^ This is pretty cool.
 
Jul 2014
1,602
world
#6
Will this source be enough not to be bullshit ? Which Ashokan pillar is inconsistent if i may know?

From one of many Ashokan pillars.

From Suvarnagiri, on the order of His Highness the Prince, and the officers: good health to the officers of Isila who are to be instructed thus:

Thus speaks the Beloved of the Gods, Asoka:
I have been a Buddhist layman (Upāsaka)[21] /a Buddha-Sakya[19] /a Sakya[20] for more than two and a half years, but for a year I did not make much progress. Now for more than a year I have drawn closer to the Order (Samgha) and have become more ardent. The gods, who in India up to this time did not associate with men, now mingle with them, and this is the result of my efforts.
Moreover this is not something to be obtained only by the great, but it is also open to the humble, if they are earnest and they can even reach heaven easily.
This is the reason for this announcement that both humble and great should make progress and that the neighbouring peoples also should know that the progress is lasting,
And this investment will increase and increase abundantly, and increase to half as much again.
This matter must he inscribed here and elsewhere on the hills, and wherever there is a stone pillar it is to be engraved on that pillar. You must go out with this document throughout the length and breadth of your district.
This announcement has been proclaimed while on tour; 256 nights have been spent on tour.

— Adapted from Romilla Thapar, A translation of the Edicts of Ashoka p.259


Sanchi pillar:

". . . path is prescribed both for the monks and for the nuns. As long as (my) sons and great-grandsons (shall reign ; and) as long as the Moon and the Sun (shall endure), the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. For what is my desire ? That the Sangha may be united and may long endure."

— Edict of Ashoka on the Sanchi pillar.[12]
 
Last edited:
Likes: Ashoka maurya

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,690
India
#7
Was he just the head of an insignificant sect, or was he already a major historical figure in his own time?
Buddha lived during the lifetimes of kings of Magadha Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. After annexing Vishali, King Ajatashatru started to follow Buddha. But major boost to Buddhism came during the time of Mauryan Empire when King Ashoka adopted Buddhism when he was moved by the violence and loss of lives in the battle of Kalinga.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,690
India
#8
Will this source be enough not to be bullshit ? Which Ashokan pillar is inconsistent if i may know?

From one of many Ashokan pillars.

From Suvarnagiri, on the order of His Highness the Prince, and the officers: good health to the officers of Isila who are to be instructed thus:

Thus speaks the Beloved of the Gods, Asoka:
I have been a Buddhist layman (Upāsaka)[21] /a Buddha-Sakya[19] /a Sakya[20] for more than two and a half years, but for a year I did not make much progress. Now for more than a year I have drawn closer to the Order (Samgha) and have become more ardent. The gods, who in India up to this time did not associate with men, now mingle with them, and this is the result of my efforts.
Moreover this is not something to be obtained only by the great, but it is also open to the humble, if they are earnest and they can even reach heaven easily.
This is the reason for this announcement that both humble and great should make progress and that the neighbouring peoples also should know that the progress is lasting,
And this investment will increase and increase abundantly, and increase to half as much again.
This matter must he inscribed here and elsewhere on the hills, and wherever there is a stone pillar it is to be engraved on that pillar. You must go out with this document throughout the length and breadth of your district.
This announcement has been proclaimed while on tour; 256 nights have been spent on tour.

— Adapted from Romilla Thapar, A translation of the Edicts of Ashoka p.259

[A proclamation] of Devanampriya Asoka.
Two and a half years [and somewhat more] (have passed) since I am a Buddha-Sakya.
[A year and] somewhat more (has passed) [since] I have visited the Samgha and have shown zeal.
Those gods who formerly had been unmingled (with men) in Jambudvipa, have how become mingled (with them).
This object can be reached even by a lowly (person) who is devoted to morality.
One must not think thus, — (viz.) that only an exalted (person) may reach this.
Both the lowly and the exalted must be told : "If you act thus, this matter (will be) prosperous and of long duration, and will thus progress to one and a half.

— Maski Minor Rock Edict of Ashoka.[53]


Sanchi pillar:

". . . path is prescribed both for the monks and for the nuns. As long as (my) sons and great-grandsons (shall reign ; and) as long as the Moon and the Sun (shall endure), the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. For what is my desire ? That the Sangha may be united and may long endure."

— Edict of Ashoka on the Sanchi pillar.[12]
There is no surprise that Western historians always tried to undermine Eastern religions of Asia.
 
May 2013
1,721
The abode of the lord of the north
#9
"On the basis of philological evidence, Indologist and Pali expert Oskar von Hinüber says that some of the Pali suttas have retained very archaic place-names, syntax, and historical data from close to the Buddha's lifetime, including the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta which contains a detailed account of the Buddha's final days. Hinüber proposes a composition date of no later than 350–320 BCE for this text, which would allow for a "true historical memory" of the events approximately 60 years prior if the Short Chronology for the Buddha's lifetime is accepted"

^ This is pretty cool.
Short chronology is kinda absurd imo. But nevertheless, Hinuber's date falls before 150 years of his nirvana even if we are to believe the corrected long chronology.

There is further mention about Buddha in Sunga period



From Bharhut,
It reads Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho, "Revered sage of sakyas, Buddha"
 
Last edited:

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#10
"On the basis of philological evidence, Indologist and Pali expert Oskar von Hinüber says that some of the Pali suttas have retained very archaic place-names, syntax, and historical data from close to the Buddha's lifetime, including the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta which contains a detailed account of the Buddha's final days. Hinüber proposes a composition date of no later than 350–320 BCE for this text, which would allow for a "true historical memory" of the events approximately 60 years prior if the Short Chronology for the Buddha's lifetime is accepted"

^ This is pretty cool.
Since those dates are before writing existed in India (IVC script long disappears) it is really a guess work to say what the language was like back then. When these scholars say the language appears archaic, they are really making a guess and assumptions of what they think the language was like. We simply don't have samples to actually compare. The actual written copies of the works date from.many centuries later.

In the
Will this source be enough not to be bullshit ? Which Ashokan pillar is inconsistent if i may know?

From one of many Ashokan pillars.

From Suvarnagiri, on the order of His Highness the Prince, and the officers: good health to the officers of Isila who are to be instructed thus:

Thus speaks the Beloved of the Gods, Asoka:
I have been a Buddhist layman (Upāsaka)[21] /a Buddha-Sakya[19] /a Sakya[20] for more than two and a half years, but for a year I did not make much progress. Now for more than a year I have drawn closer to the Order (Samgha) and have become more ardent. The gods, who in India up to this time did not associate with men, now mingle with them, and this is the result of my efforts.
Moreover this is not something to be obtained only by the great, but it is also open to the humble, if they are earnest and they can even reach heaven easily.
This is the reason for this announcement that both humble and great should make progress and that the neighbouring peoples also should know that the progress is lasting,
And this investment will increase and increase abundantly, and increase to half as much again.
This matter must he inscribed here and elsewhere on the hills, and wherever there is a stone pillar it is to be engraved on that pillar. You must go out with this document throughout the length and breadth of your district.
This announcement has been proclaimed while on tour; 256 nights have been spent on tour.

— Adapted from Romilla Thapar, A translation of the Edicts of Ashoka p.259


Sanchi pillar:

". . . path is prescribed both for the monks and for the nuns. As long as (my) sons and great-grandsons (shall reign ; and) as long as the Moon and the Sun (shall endure), the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. For what is my desire ? That the Sangha may be united and may long endure."

— Edict of Ashoka on the Sanchi pillar.[12]
The fact that the name Asoka is screams forget. Ashoka does not use thatname in the other pillars, and the very name of Ashoka is used in Buddhist sources. In fact, it was just an assumption by the early British scholars that the person who wrote the pillars was the same person as the person referred to as Ashoka in the he Buddhist text. Once you don't accept that identification on blind Flfaith, there is really very long ttle to suggest that he person who wrote the Ashoka pillars is the same person as in the Buddhist religious text, or was even a Buddhist. Nothing in the he vast majority of the so called Ashoka eddicts is particularly Buddhist, Dharma and such are not specific to Buddhism.

To assert that Indians are more honest than anyone else, and that the Indians would never forget religious documents is not warranted by actual history. IndiNs are the same as everyone, and there were no doubt some that would not stop at created in inscriptions of what they thought Ashoka said. That most of the other isncriptions don't make changes this one in language makes them highly suspect. No detailed linguistic analysis has been done comparing these to the rest of the Edicts. Note, the Ashoka edircts were sitting out in the open where any one could read them and use them as a template to make forgeries. Note, when Ancient people made it these forgeries, the hey would not necessarily have regarded it as being dishonest or deceitful. They could have been thinking as merely recreating Edicts they were certain existed, but had been lost. Of course, simply because they believed it o be true doesn't make it so.