Buddhism Timeline

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Siddhartha Gautama is Born

563 B.C.

Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha-to-be, is born in Lumbini into a leading royal family in the republic of the Shakyas

Prince Siddhartha sees "The Four Sights"

534 B.C.

Prince Siddhartha goes outside the palace for the first time and sees The Four Sights: an old man, an ill man, a dead man, and a holy man. He is shocked by the first three—he did not know what age, disease, and death were—but is inspired by the holy man to give up his wealth. He leaves his house and lives with three ascetics. However, he wants more than to starve himself, so he becomes a religious teacher.

Siddhartha attains Enlightenment

528 B.C.

Siddhartha attains Enlightenment

Siddhatha Gautama gets his first meal after his enlightenment

528 B.C.

According to legend, Tapassu and Balluka, two North Indian traders who lived in a city of Pushkaravat, offered Siddhatha Gautama his first meal after his enlightenment. The Buddha gives eight strands of his hair to the two brothers; who brought the strands to eastern coast of Sri Lanka and enshrined in a small pagoda in an area called 'Thanthirimale'. the pagoda was called "Giri-hadu-Saya" in present day Trincomalee. Later it was renovated, enlarged several times by various kings of ancient Sri Lanka. Recently during an excavation the archeologists uncovered a collection of enshrined hair in a casket which believed to be the strands brought by 'Tapassu & Balluka'. Another theory says the strands are brought back to Burma and enshrined in the Shwedagon Pagoda. Thus, according to myth, this is the year when the Shwedagon Pagoda was built.

Buddha dies

483 B.C.

Gautama Buddha dies ('attains parinibbana') at Kusinara (now called Kushinagar), India. Three months following his death,[dubious – discuss] the First Buddhist Council is convened.

Indian traders explain Buddhism

399 B.C. - 300 B.C.

Indian traders regularly visit ports in Arabia, explaining the prevalence of place names in the region with Indian or Buddhist origin

The Second Buddhist Council is convened

383 B.C.

The Second Buddhist Council is convened by King Kalasoka and held at Vaisali.

Emperor Ashoka sends various Buddhist missionaries

250 B.C.

Emperor Ashoka the Great sends various Buddhist missionaries to faraway countries, as far as China and the Mon & Malay kingdoms in the east and the Hellenistic kingdoms in the west, in order to make Buddhism known to them.

Theravada Buddhism is officially introduced to Sri Lanka

220 B.C.

Theravada Buddhism is officially introduced to Sri Lanka by the Venerable Mahinda

Indo-Greek governor enshrines relics of the Buddha

199 B.C. - 100 B.C.

The Indo-Greek governor Theodorus enshrines relics of the Buddha

Brahmin overthrows the Mauryan dynasty

185 B.C.

Brahmin general Pusyamitra Sunga overthrows the Mauryan dynasty and establishes the Sunga dynasty, apparently starting a wave of persecution against Buddhism.

Greco-Bactrian King Demetrius invades India

180 B.C.

Greco-Bactrian King Demetrius invades India as far as Pataliputra and establishes the Indo-Greek kingdom (180–10 B.C.), under which Buddhism flourishes.

Chinese Emperor receives two golden statues of the Buddha

120 B.C.

The Chinese Emperor Han Wudi (156–87 BCE) receives two golden statues of the Buddha

Liu Ying sponsors Buddhism

65 A.D.

Liu Ying's sponsorship of Buddhism is the first documented case of Buddhist practices in China.

Buddhism comes to China

67 A.D.

Buddhism comes to China with the two monks Kasyapa and dharmaraksha.

Buddhism is established in China

68 A.D.

Buddhism is officially established in China with the founding of the White Horse Temple.

The Fourth Buddhist council takes place

78 A.D. - 101 A.D.

According to Mahayana tradition, the Fourth Buddhist council takes place under Kushana king Kanishka's reign

Ban Chao subdues the Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan.

78 A.D.

Ban Chao, a Chinese General, subdues the Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan.

The first translations of Theravada texts into Chinese.

148 A.D.

An Shigao, a Parthian prince and Buddhist monk, arrives in China and proceeds to make the first translations of Theravada texts into Chinese.

Lokaksema becomes the first known translator of Mahayana texts into Chinese.

178 A.D.

The Kushan monk Lokaksema travels to the Chinese capital of Loyang and becomes the first known translator of Mahayana texts into Chinese.

The earliest surviving Chinese Buddhist scripture dates

296 A.D.

The earliest surviving Chinese Buddhist scripture dates from this year

The University at Nalanda grows

320 A.D. - 467 A.D.

The University at Nalanda grows to support 3,000–10,000 monks.

Fa Xian travels from China to India

399 A.D. - 414 A.D.

Fa Xian travels from China to India, then returns to translate Buddhist works into Chinese.

Kumarajiva travels to Chang'an and translates many Buddhist texts into Chinese.

402 A.D.

At the request of Yao Xing, Kumarajiva travels to Chang'an and translates many Buddhist texts into Chinese.

Hui Yuan argues that Buddhist monks should be exempt from bowing to the emperor.

403 A.D.

In China, Hui Yuan argues that Buddhist monks should be exempt from bowing to the emperor.

Buddhism reaches Sumatra

425 A.D.

Buddhism reaches Sumatra.

Buddhabhadra reaches China to preach Buddhism

464 A.D.

Buddhabhadra reaches China to preach Buddhism.

The Fall of Rome

467 A.D.