Buddhism in India
It began with the life of Siddhartha Gautama (ca. 563-483 B.C.), a prince from the small Shakya Kingdom located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. Brought up in luxury, the prince abandoned his home and wandered forth as a religious beggar, searching for the meaning of existence.
Buddhism in the Eastern Himalayan sector has a special significance. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism has been introduced by Guru Padmasambhaba more than 400 years ago. The mystic Monasteries, belonging to the different sects & sub-sects of Mahayana Buddhism dominate the whole of Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayas.
Three months after the Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana (passing away), his immediate disciples convened a council at Rajagaha. Maha Kassapa, the most respected and senior monk, presided at the Council.
Buddhist Destinations in India
There are between four and sixteen principal Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India, with the most important located primarily in the Ganges Valley of India.
Buddhism Vehicles in India
In order to clarify the variations between the many different schools and traditions of Buddhism, the schools are often divided into the three Yanas, meaning ‘Vehicles’ or ‘Paths’. These three are: the Hinayana, Mahayana and Tantrayana. Within the various vehicles, much variation can still exist, which is further explained in the pages that deal with the traditions, like Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.