Hail to the Teachings
Please note that most of below dates are approximations only and inclusion of major developments has been very arbitrary by webmaster.
Pre-historic: Original Indus Valley
Civilization: meditation, asceticism.
1800 - 1500 BCE.: Invasion of Aryans in India: introduction of Vedas, Brahma, priesthood, caste system, ritual offering.
1500 BCE onwards: development of (pre-) Hindu schools like Mimamsa, Samkhya, Vedanta.
590-470 BCE: Mahavir - Founder of Jainism, contemporary of the Buddha.
624-560 BCE: Birth of Siddhartha Gautama
589-525 BCE: Enlightenment of the Buddha
544-480 BCE: Passing away of Gautama Buddha.
543 -479 BCE: 1st Buddhist Council
443-379 BCE: 2nd Buddhist Council; split of the "Mahasanghika" and "Sarvastivadin" schools.
297 BCE: King Asoka (274-236 BCE) converted to Buddhism; Buddhism developed from small local group to state religion.
247 BCE : 3rd Buddhist Council to agree on authentic Buddhist scriptures: establishment of the Theravada canon; more and separate schools within Buddhism develop. Asoka sends missionaries to Sri Lanka, Kanara, Karnataka, Kashmir, Himalaya region, Burma, Afghanistan and even Egypt, Macedon and Cyrene.
236 BCE India: After death of Asoka, period of persecution of Buddhism under Pusyamitra Sunga
35 BCE Sri Lanka: King Vattagamani orders the Buddhist teachings (Theravada canon) to be committed to writing. Division between Mahavira and Abhayagiri vihara in Sri Lanka.
65 CE China: First historic proof of Buddhist community.
1st Cent CE Thailand and Burma: monks from Sri Lanka establish Theravada.
2nd Century India: 4th Buddhist Council in India under royal patron Kaniska.
499 India: Monks of the Sarvastivadin school decided on new canon.
2nd Century India: Appearance of Mahayana Buddhism as separate school.
2nd Century China: translators like An Shih-kao began translating Indian Buddhist texts using mostly Taoist terminology, initially causing many Chinese to believe that Buddhism was another version of Taoism.
2nd Century Vietnam: First introduction from China, followed by more missions, both Mahayana and non-Mahayana in 3rd century.
2nd-3rd Century India: Master Nagarjuna; known for his profound teachings on emptiness.
320 to 1000 India: Development of Vajrayana Buddhism, based on Mahayana.
4th Century India: Master Vasubandhu; known for his teachings on mind-only (Cittamatrin) and worship of Amitabha, desire for rebirth in the Pure Land, leading to the development of the later Pure Land schools.
4th Century Sri lanka: King Mahasena introduces Mahayana monks.
320 China: Invasion of Huns in China, after which many Buddhist monasteries were established until 6th Century.
334-416 China: Master Hui: Founder of the White Lotus Movement and of Pure Land Buddhism in China.
372 Korea: First arrival of Buddhism on the peninsula from China.
4th Century Nepal: from this time onwards, coexistence of Buddhism and Hinduism, followed Indian traditions.
5th century China: Founding of Ching-t'u school of Pure Land Buddhism by T'an Luan (476-542)
5th Century Indonesia: Mahayana was introduced, mainly by Indian immigrants.
480 China: Indian Master Bodhidharma travels as a Buddhist missionary to China, as follower of the Lanka School he is considered the forefather of Ch'an and Zen.
5th Century Cambodia: mixture of Hindu Shivaism and Mahayana, lasting until the 11th century. Non-Mahayana schools were also present, but less prominent.
552 Japan: Buddhism enters from China (possibly via Korea?).
550-664 Korea: Buddhism is state religion.
6th Century China: Founding of T'ien T'ai by Chih-I (538-597), also known as Fa-hua, or lotus school; syncretism of all Mahayana shools.
6th Century Kashmir: invasion of Huns with persecution of monks. After their departure, slow restoration.
6th and 7th Century Korea: introduction of many Chinese schools.
7th Century Tibet: Buddhism introduced from India, helped by King Song Tsen Gampo
7th century China: Founding of Hua-yen school by Fa-tsang (643-712) - tantric Buddhism lasted only until about 1000 CE. Founding of Ch'an school by 6th Patriarch Hui-neng (638-713)
7th Century Cambodia: repression of Buddhism, followed by later strong support.
7th and 8th Century Kashmir: revival of Buddhism, strong influence of tantric schools.
710 Japan: capital moved to Nara; development of the 6 Nara-schools which were highly politisized, leaving them open to corruption.
730 Japan: introduction of Chinese Hua-yen school, known as Kegon in Japanese.
713-741 China: The T'ang Dynasty Esoteric School was introduced by the three Mahasattvas Subhakarasimha, Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra.
713 onwards China: sub-division in Ch'an schools; most important Lin-Ch'i with sudden awakening and use of koans, and Tsao-t'ung school of "just sitting" and gradual enlightenment. Notably, Ch'an only became an independent school with own monastic rules at the time of Pochang Huai-hai (720-814).
8th Century Tibet, Sikkhim, Bhutan: Master Padmasambhava establishes tantric Buddhism.
805 Japan: The Tendai School (from the Chinese T'ien T'ai) officially founded by Master Saicho (Dengyo Daishi).
845 China: Persecution of Buddhism started by Taoist emperor Wu-Tsung. T'ien T'ai and Huy Neng do not survive. Ch'an and Ching t'u survived and slowly recuperated.
9th Century Japan: Shingon ("True Word") Buddhism (tantric) established by Master Kukai (Kobo Daishi) derived from Chinese Chen-yen. A fusion of tantric Buddhism and indigenous Shinto became known as Ryobu-Shinto, which was remarkably separated again some 1000 years later into Buddhism and Shinto.
9th Century Tibet: Decline of Buddhism, persecution by King Langdharma
10th Century Tibet: Strong Buddhist revival.
10th and 11th Century Sri Lanka: disruption of Sri Lankan sangha by Tamil Nadu invaders. Lineage of nuns ordination dies out.
1070 Shri Lanka: reinstatement of monks ordination
11th and 12th Century Thailand: introduction of Mahayana due to Cambodian rule.
11-13th Centuries India: Encounter with Islam, iconoclasm, decline of (mainly Mahayana) Buddhism in Northern India. Sacking of Nalanda university in 1197, and Vikramasila University in 1203 by Muslims.
12th Century Sri Lanka: King Parrakama Bahu abolishes schools other than Mahavira.
12th Century Cambodia: revival of Mahayana, but later mainly Theravada influence.
1236 Shri Lanka: monks from India revive monk ordination lineage.
13th Century Japan: Founding of Jodo (Pure Land) school in Japan by Honen (1133-1212).
Founding of Zen sub-schools: Master Dogen (1200-1235) founds the Soto-shu (Chinese Ts'ao-tung) school. Master Eisai (1141-1251) founds the Rinzai-shu (Chinese Lin-Ch'I) school.
Master Nichiren Daishi (1222-1282) founds Nichiren Buddhism.
13th Century Laos: introduction of Theravada.
13th Century Mongolia: Introduction of Tibetan Buddhism under rulers like Kublai Khan (1260-94)
14th Century Korea: Decline of Buddhism with the assumption to the throne of the Chosun or Yi Dynasty and their adoption of Neo-Confucianism.
15th Century India: Final decline of Buddhism in Southern India, due to influence of various Hindu schools.
15th Century Indonesia: Eradication of Budhism by Islamic rebellion.
15th Century Thailand: monks were sent to Sri Lanka to establish a new ordination lineage.
16th Century Mongolia: after some decline, second introduction of Tibetan Buddhism under Altan Khan (1507-83)
16th Century: Sri Lanka; persecution and virtual eradication of Buddhism.
16th Century Japan: Master Ingen (1592-1673) founds the Obaku-shu zen school.
17th Century Sri Lanka: reintroduction of Dharma twice from Burma (same as original tradition).
1753 Sri Lanka: reinstatement of monks ordination from Thailand - the Siyam Nikaya lineage
1777 Thailand: standardisation of Thai translation of the Theravada Tripitaka
17th -19th Century inner Mongolia: The Ch'ing emperors of China (1662- 1911) encouraged Buddhism to keep control over the area. Buddhism first spread to outer Mongolia end 18th cent, which had remained fully shamanistic.
1851-64 China: Great peace rebellion; strong persecution in South.
1862: First Western translation of the Dhammapada into German
1868 Burma: 5th Council
Late 19th Century China: gradual revival of Buddhism
1871 Burma: 5th Buddhist Council in Mandalay.
1905 North America: First Zen teachers arrive in North America.
1920 Soviet Union: Communist attack on Buddhism in Mongolia
1950 China: Beginning of communist attack on Buddhism
1954-56 Burma: 6th Buddhist Council in Rangoon, Burma.
1959 Tibet: Exodus of many Tibetans (including His Holiness the Dalai Lama) from Tibet.
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Last updated: January 26, 2001