“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil, envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”
Buddha, the most enlightened one, a philosopher, teacher, guru, and god to millions of people around the world, was born in Lumbini, near the Indo-Nepal border, as Siddhartha Gautama. He was born as a prince to Shakya clan, in an eastern Magadha empire in 5th century BC.
He got enlightened in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, and died in Kushinagar.
India, from the last 3rd BCE till 10th century AD, had many great Buddhist kingdoms
Ashoka, one of the most celebrated India king, turned Buddhist after witnessing extreme violence in battlefield. He is well known for his contribution to India’s Buddhist Architecture. He donated land, grants and money to Buddhist mission and thousands of big Buddhist temples and stupas was commissioned under his rule.
After Ashoka, the western Indian kingdom of what is present-day Pakistan was a great center of Buddhism. Many empires of foreign invaders converted to Buddhism. These empires were Graeco-Bactrians, Sakas, Indo-Parthians, and Kusanas. Converting present-day Taxila and Gandhar into Buddhist and spreading Buddhism to Afganistan.
The next Golden Age of Buddhism in India was Gupta period. Gupta period was known for its tolerance and value on ahimsa(non-violence), one of most basic India philosophical trait. The kingdom was Hindu but promoted Buddhism extensively. The Buddhist art and architecture flourished.
After collapse of Gupta empire, Buddhism was still very much part of eastern Indian demography and flourished under Pala and Sena dynasty
Revival of Buddhism in India
Due to various reasons, Buddhism hadn’t survived in India as an organized religion past the 11th century AD until the emergence of 20th century Buddhism. Buddhism actually got extinct in the Indian subcontinent, except in few areas in the Himalayas mountains.
The revival of Buddhism started with one of India’s biggest civil right activist, B R Ambedkar who together with his followers adopted Buddhism as a way to protest against caste based discrimination in Hinduism.