Buddhism – GK Notes [PDF]

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Buddhism is now one of the major religions in the world. The faith of Buddhism is founded more than 2,500 years ago in India by Siddhartha, son of Śuddhodana, the king of the Sakhya dynasty. In the context of the history of India, Buddhism has great importance for our competitive exams.

Buddhism GK Important Points

Buddhism – GK + Notes [PDF]: Due to the lack of contemporary historical texts, our knowledge of Gautama Buddha is very limited. Although, the Sonipat and Jataka texts provide some information about the life of the Buddha. The former name of Buddha was Siddhartha. He was born on the full moon of Baishakhi beneath a sal tree in Lumbini garden, near the town of Kapilavastu in the Tarai region of Nepal (c. 566 BC). His father Śuddhodana was the leader of the Shakya clan. His mother was Mayadevi. When Siddhartha was 7 years old his mother died. After that, his mother-in-law Gautomi brought up him carefully. So many people think that Gautam is another name for Buddha after the name of his mother-in-law, Gautami. At the age of sixteen, he married a princess named Yasodharā.

According to Buddhist mythology, four consecutive scenes aroused deep pain in Gautama’s heart. The first was ‘decrepitude/infirmity‘, the second was ‘disease/disorder‘, the third was ‘death‘, and the fourth was ‘a traveling monk in a yellow robe‘. Seeing these scenes, Gautam became restless searching for a spiritual/better life. Fearing further entanglement in the family after the birth of his son, he left his wife, newborn child, and the luxuries of the palace at night and set out in search of the truth. This event is known in the Buddhist texts as “Mahaviniskraman“.

At first, Gautam became a disciple of a sage named Alara Kalama and became a novice in the study of scriptures. But he did not know the secrets of the world. He then meditated at a place called Urubi near Buddhagaya. This is the place where he achieved “Bodhi” or divinity. After that, He became the Buddha (Absolute sagacious) or Tathagata (who has found the ultimate truth).


At the age of 35, he attained ‘Bodhi‘ or Divinity and was the first to teach five disciples in the Mrigdab forest of Sarnath. At this time his name was Buddha. His teaching was based on a few basic truths.

They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

These truths can also be summarized as follows,

  1. The world is miserable
  2. Desire, lust, and addiction are the cause of sorrow,
  3. Destroy the causes of sorrow and get rid of sorrow,
  4. There are ways to destroy these factors as well.

These four truths are called Aryasatya. He speaks of eight ways to destroy human addiction. These are known as ‘Ashta Marg‘ or ‘Astangik Marg or the ‘eightfold path‘. These are right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (‘meditative absorption or Samyak Samadhi’).

He thought that extreme indulgence and extreme austerities and penance were both obstacles to the progress of the soul. That is why he was in favor of taking a middle ground between these two extremes. After long preaching, in 486 BC, he died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar.

Important events in the life of Gautam Buddha

DOB of Gautam Buddha566 BC
MotherMayadevi or Mahamaya
TeacherAlara Kalama
Tree of KnowledgePipal or Bodhi tree
Death486 BC at Kushinagar
Info about Gautam Buddha

Scriptures of Buddhism:

Buddha used to deliver his advice in the Pali language which is accessible to the public. No words were recorded during his lifetime.

Tripitaka (Sutta Pitaka, Vinaya Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka) written in Pali is a sacred scripture of the Buddhists. Besides, Jatakas, Dipavamsa, and Mahavamsa are also very important.

List of Buddhist University

Buddhist UniversityPlaceKingDynasty
NalandaBiharThe first Kumar GuptaGupta dynasty
OdantapuriBiharGopalPala Empire
VikramshilaBiharDharmapalaPala Empire
SompuriNorth BengalDharmapalaPala Empire
JagaddalBengalDharmapalaPala Empire
VallaviGujaratBhattarkMaitraka dynasty
Buddhist University

Buddhist councils

There are mainly 5 Buddhist councils held by the various king at various places. Those are given below.

1. First Buddhist Council

Place: Rajgir/Rajagriha

Year: 483 BC or 486 BC

Forecaster: Mahakashyapa

King: Ajatashatru

Results of Council: The first part of the text Tripitaka was read by one of his disciples. Buddha’s great teachings are collected which are attached to the Sutta Pitaka in the form of inscriptions.

2. Second Buddhist Council

Place: Vaishali

Year: 483 BC or 487 BC

Forecaster: Mahādeva

King: Kalashoka

Results of Council: It was the second-largest council in Vaishali. The followers of the Buddha are divided into two groups, namely Sthaviras/Stagnant and conglomerate/Mahāsāṃghika.

3. Third Buddhist Council

Place: Patliputra

Year: 251 BC

Forecaster: Moggaliputta-Tissa

King: Ashoka

Results of Council: In this council, the Stagnant/Sthaviras are considered the old followers of Buddha. The third lesson of Tripitaka in this conference is Abhidhamma Pitaka, which explains the psychology and philosophy of Buddhism.

4. Fourth Buddhist Council

Place: Kashmir

Year: First century BC / 72 AD

Forecaster: Vashumitra

King: Kanishka

Results of Council: In the new concept, Buddhism is divided into two parts. One is Mahayana and the other is Hinayana.

5. Fifth Buddhist council

Place: Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar)

Year: 1871 CE

Forecaster: Jagarabhivamsa, Narindabhidhaja, and Mahathera Sumangalasami.

King: Minden

Results of Council: The main purpose of this meeting was to make all the contents of the stagnant Buddhism in Pali and to educate all the closed monks.

FAQs on Buddhism

Buddhism General knowledge notes for UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commission, Railway, and other competitive government job exams. A comprehensive and sufficient discussion is made on this topic so that Buddhism GK/note will help you to gain great knowledge for your preparation.

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