Origins of Buddhism, The
Buddhism, as a system of thought, arose from a Hindu context during the sixth century BCE in India. The philosophical development of Hinduism at this time led to mendicant teachers who drew followers to a transcendent mode of life from the mainstream of world-affirming Hinduism (Sacred Books of the East 19, 53). The philosophical system of Buddhism is the product of its founder, the Buddha, who made his teaching his successor at his death.
The Story of the Buddha
The story of Buddhism’s founder begins when a Hindu prince, Siddhartha Gautama (563–483 BCE), was born and was groomed by his father to take over the kingdom (SBE 19, 2). Buddhist history recounts a prophecy about Gautama that explained he would either become a great king or a great teacher (SBE 10, 125–127). Determined that the former would come to pass, his father sequestered him in the palace and provided the young prince with every earthly pleasure, including a virtuous wife who bore him a son (SBE 19, 24–28). However,...
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