BH203 - History of Buddhism in India

The course focuses on the following aspects: the extent of the spread of Buddhism during the time of the Buddha and its impact on the contemporary society, Buddhist Councils and their importance in the history of Buddhism, formation of the Buddhist canonical literatures and its oral transmission by the bhānakas, development in Buddhist monasticism, emergence of Buddhist sects, growth of Buddhist rituals and concessions to popular religious needs, Aśoka and his contribution to the propagation of Buddhism in India and beyond. The study will focus on the progress of Buddhist culture in India for a few centuries after Aśoka on such aspects as Aśoka and expansion of Buddhism; the progress of Buddhism during the Śuńga-kānva period; development of Buddhist schools; the fourth Buddhist council; the Chinese pilgrims to India; great Buddhists after Aśoka including such rulers as Menader, Kaniska; Pāli authors such as Nāgasena, Buddhadatta, and Buddhaghosa; Sanskrit authors such as Aśvaghosa, Nāgārjuna, Buddhapālita and Bhāvaviveka, Asańga and Vasubandhu, Dinnāga and Dharmakīrti; the rise of the great centres of Buddhist studies like Nālandā, Vikramaśilā, and Jagaddalā.