World Figures and Events
|– 120*||6th Century B.C.E. *||• Life of Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha: conventional dates: 566-486 B.C.E. (According to more recent research, revised dates are: 490-410 BCE).||• Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great (550 B.C.E.)
• Confucius (551-479)
• Zarathustra (630-553)
• Birth of Mahavira (550)
|– 20||5th Century||• First Buddhist Council at Rajagaha (486) after the Parinirvana*, under the patronage of King Ajatasattu.
• The Buddhist Canon as it exist today was settled at this Council and preserved as an oral tradition.
|• Socrates (469-399)
• Plato (427-347)
• Battle of Marathon (490)
• Greek-Persian Wars (490-479)
• Partheon Built (438)
|144||4th Century||• Second Buddhist Council at Vesali (386) about 100 year after the Parinirvana.
• First schism of the Sangha occurs in which the Mahasanghika school parts ways with the Sthaviravadins and the Theravadins.
• Non-canonical Buddhist Council at Pataliputra (367)
|• Aristotle (384-322)
• Alexander the Great (356-323)
|244||3rd Century||• Reign of Indian Emperor Asoka (272-231) who converts and establishes the Buddha’s Dharma on a national level for the first time.
• Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra (250)under the patronage of Emperor Asoka about 200 years after the Parinirvana. • The modern Pali Tipitaka now essentially complete.
• Asoka’s son and missionary Mahindaestablished Buddhism in Sri Lanka (247)
|• Great Wall of China (250)
• Hadrian’s Wall circa 3rd Century AD
• Hannibal Barca (247?-183?)
|344||2nd Century||• Beginnings of Mahayana Buddhism (20O).
• Composition of Prajnaparamita literature.
• Historical record has it that two Buddhist missionaries from India in 68 AD, arrived at the court of Emperor Ming (58-75) of Han Dynasty. They enjoyed imperial favour and stayed on to translate various Buddhist Texts, one of which, The ‘Sutra of Forty-two Sections’ continues to be popular even today.
|• Buddhist monuments: Sanchi, Amaravati, Bodhi Gaya, India. (185-175)
• Han Dynasty in China
|444||1st Century||• Entire scriptural canon of Theravada Schoolwas committed to writing on palm leaves in Paliat the Aloka Cave, near Matale, Sri Lanka (35-32)
• Milinda-pañha or Questions of King Milinda to Venerble Nagasena.
|• 01BCE Mar 1, Start of the revised Julian calendar in Rome.
• Julius Caesar (100-44)
• Virgil, Latin poet (70-19)
|544||1st Century C.E.*||• King Kaniska (78-101) convened the Fourth Buddhist Council at Jalandhar or in Kashmir around 100 C.E. (This is not recognized by the Theravadins).
• Buddhism established in Cambodia 100 C.E and in Vietnam 150 C.E.
• Composition of Lotus Sutra and other Mahayana Buddhist texts.
• Buddhism enters Central Asia and China.
|• Jesus of Nazareth (0-33 C.E.)
• Destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple: (70 C.E.)
• The Buddha first represented in art as human form.
|644||2nd Century||• The Age of Indian Buddhist philosopher Nargarjuna (150) founder of the school of Madhyamika (‘the Middle Way’).
||• Roman Empire reaches the height of its power.
• In 185 C.E, Shunga a Brahman general became the ruler and the Shunga dynasty ruled for 112 years in India.
|744||3rd Century||• Expansion of Buddhism to Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The Yogacara (meditation) school was founded by Maitreyanatha (3rd century).
• Buddhist influence in Persia spreads through trade.
|• Three Kingdoms dynasty(220–265) Division into three states: Wei, Shu, Wu. Many scientific advances adopted from India.
• The Emperor Constantine converts to Christianity (312)
|844||4th Century||• Asanga (310-390) and his brother Vasubandhu (420-500) prominent teachers of the Yogacara school of Buddhism.
• Development of Vajrayana Buddhism in India.
• Translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese byKumarajiva (344-413) and Hui-yüan (334-416).
• Buddhism enters Korea (372).
|• Gupta dynasty exemplified by Chandra Gupta II (375-415) dominated North Central India.
• Saint Augustine (354-430)
|944||5th Century||• Buddhist monastic university founded at Nalanda, India.
• Buddhaghosa composes the Visuddhimagga and major commentaries in Sri Lanka.
• Buddhism established in Burma and Korea.
• Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien visits India (399-414).
• Amitabha (Amida) Pure Land sect emerges in China.
• Sri lankan Theravadin nuns introduce full ordination lineage into China (433).
• Mahayana Buddhism was introduced into Java, Sumatra, Borneo, mainly by Indian immigrants.
|• 5th Century Anglo-Saxon Invasion of England
• Earliest hospital in Sri Lanka (437)
• Fall of the Western Roman Empire (476)
|1044||6th Century||• Bodhidharma founder of Ch’an (Zen) arrives in China from India. (526)
• Sui Dynasty in Chinese History (589-617)beginning of Golden Age of Chinese Buddhism.
• Development of T’ien-tai, Hua-yen, Pure Land, and Ch’an schools of Chinese Buddhism.
• Buddhism enters Japan (538) becomes state religion (594).
• Buddhism flourishing in Indonesia.
• Jataka Tales translated into Persian by King Khusru (531-579).
|• Prophet Mohammed (570-632)
• The Age of Islamic Expansion
• First pagoda built in China (600)
|1144||7th Century||• Construction of Potala Palace, Jokang and Ramoche temples to house Buddha images (641-650)
• Harsa-vardhana ruler of a large empire in northern India from 606 to 647. He was a Buddhist convert in a Hindu era.
• Chinese pilgrim Hsuan-Tsang (602-664) visits India.
|• Islam sweeps across North Africa (700-800)• Tang dynasty, China (618-906)|
|1244||8th Century||• Academic schools (Jöjitsu, Kusha, Sanron, Hossö, Ritsu, and Kegon) proliferate in Japan.
• Great debate between Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist schools.
• Ch’an declared heretical in Tibet.
• Nyingma School of Tibet Buddhism established.
• Borobudur Temple complex built in Java.
• Jataka Tales translated into Syrian and Arabic under title: Kalilag and Damnag.
|• Nara Period in Japanese history (710-784)
• First monastery built in Tibet (Sam-ye) (749)
• Moslem invasion of Central Asia (760)
• Charlemagne (742-814)
|1344||9th Century||• Khmer kings build Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument.
• Tendai School (founded by Saichö (767-822)and Shingon School (founded by Kukai: (774-835) appear in Japan.
• Biography of Buddha translated into Greek by Saint John of Damascus and distributed in Christianity as “Balaam” and “Josaphat”.
|• Heian Period in Japanese history (794-1185)
• First printed book, Diamond Sutra, China (868)
|1444||10th Century||• First complete printing of Chinese Buddhist Canon (983), known as the Szechuan edition.
• Buddhism in Thailand (900-1000)
• Islam replaces Buddhism in Central Asia (900-1000).
|• Sung Dynasty in Chinese History (960-1279)
• 1000 C.E The population at this time was about 200 million people in the world.
|1544||11th Century||• Conversion of King Anawrahta of Pagan (Burma) (1044-1077) by Shin Arahan.
• Atisha (982-1054) arrives in Tibet from India (1042).
•The bhikkhu and bhikkhuni (monk and nun) communities at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, die out following invasions from South India.
• Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism established.
|• 1000-1100 There was a Confucian revival in China.
• Edward the Confessor, English king (1042-1066)
• Great Schism between Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches (1054)
• 1st Crusades (1096-1099)
|1644||12th Century||• Theravada Buddhism established in Burma.
• Eisai (1141-1215) founds the Rinzai Zen School of Japanese Buddhism.
• In 1193 the Moslems attacked and conquered Magadha, the heartland of Buddhism in India, and with the destruction of the Buddhist Monasteries and Universities (Valabhi and Nalanda) – in that area Buddhism was wiped out.
• Buddhism in Korea flourishes under the Koryo dynasty (1140-1390).
|• Omar Khayyam, Persian poet and mathematician (1044-1123)
• 1119 Bologna University founded in Italy; Paris University, in France, is founded in 1150.
• Kamakura Period in Japanese history (1192-1338)
|1744||13th Century||• Shinran (1173-1263 ) founds True Pure Land School of Japanese Buddhism.
• Dogen (1200-1253) founds Soto Zen Schoolof Japanese Buddhism.
• Nichiren (1222-1282) founds school of Japanese Buddhism named after him.
• Mongols converted to Vajrayana Buddhism.
• Theravada Buddhism spreads to Laos.
• Some Buddhist texts still being translated into Arabic, in Persia.
|• Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
• Magna Carta (1215)
• Genghis Khan invades China (1215)
• Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
• Mongol conquest of China complete (1279)
|1844||14th Century||• Bu-ston collects and edits Tibetan Buddhist Canon.
• Rulers of the north (Chieng-mai) and northeast (Sukhothai) Thailand adopt Theravada Buddhism (becomes state religion in 1360).
• Theravada Buddhism adopted in Cambodia and Laos.
• Tsong-kha-pa (1357-1419) Tibetan Buddhist reformer and founder of Dge-lugs-pa (or Gelugpa, or ‘Yellow Hat’) order.
|• John Wycliffe (1328-1384) English theologian and biblical translator.
• China regains its independence from the Mongols under the Ming dynasty (1368)
|1944||15th Century||• Beginning of Dalai Lama lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. • In Cambodia, the Vishnuite temple, Angkor Wat, founded in the 12th century, becomes a Buddhist centre.||• Development of printing in Europe
• Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519)
• Columbus “finds” the new world (1492)
|• Tibet’s Gelugpa leader receives the title of “Dalai” from Altan Khan (1578).
• “Great Fifth” Dalai Lama meets Qing Emperor Shunzhi near Beijing.
|• Martin Luther (1483-1546)
• Protestant Reformation
• Shakespeare, (1564-1616)
• Galileo (1564-1642)
|2144||17th Century||• Control of Japanese Buddhism by Tokugawa Shögunate (the ruling feudal government)(I603-1867)
• Hakuin (1686-1769) monk, writer and artist who helped revive the Rinzai Zen Sect in Japanese Buddhism.
|• Japan closes the door to foreigners (1639)
• Pilgrims reach America (1620)
• Galileo recants (1633)
• English Civil War (1642)
|2244||18th Century||• Colonial occupation of Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
• King Kirti Sri Rajasinha obtains bhikkhus from the Thai court to reinstate the bhikkhu ordination line which has died out in Sri Lanka.
|• 1700s Age of Enlightenment introduces revolutionary new ideas to Europe.
• American independence (1776)
• French revolution (1789-1802)
|2344||19th Century||• New sects begin to emerge in Japanese Buddhism.
• Sri Lankan forest monks go to Burma for reordination (1862).
• First Western translation of the Dhammapada. (German-1862).
• German translation of Lotus Sutra, 1852 and pioneer Buddhist scholars: – Neumann and Odlenburg, first German monk, Nyanatiloka.
• First Chinese Temple in USA (San Francisco) (1853)
• 5th Buddhist Council in Mandalay, Burma (1868-1871) where the text of the Pali Canon was revised and inscribed on 729 marble slabs.
|• Meiji Restoration in Japanese history 1868, marking end of military rule.
• 1833 Abolition of slavery in British empire.
• American Civil War (1861-1865)
|2444-2544||20th Century||• Buddhist Society of Great Britain, founded (1907).
• Buddhist Mission Society in Germany, founded (1903).
• Taishö Shinshü Daizokyö edition of Chinese Buddhist Canon printed in Tokyo (1924-1929).
• Chinese control of Tibetan Buddhism (1950).
• Founding of World Fellowship of Buddhists (1952).
• Buddha Jayanti Year, commemorating 2,500 years of Buddhism (1956).
• 6th Buddhist Council held at Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma) (1954-1956).
• Dalai Lama fleesTibet to India (1959).
• Tibetan Buddhism spreads to western countries.
• First Theravada Monastery established in USA (1966).
• First Tibetan (Sakya) Centre founded in USA (1971).
• Tibetan texts collected, translated and disseminated by Buddhist publishers 1960’s.
• H.H. Dalai Lama receives Nobel Peace Prize (1989).
|• Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
• WW I (1914-1918)
• Russian revolution (1917-1922)
• 1919 Ernest Rutherford splits atom for first time.
• WW II (1939-1945)
• Cultural Revolution (China) (1966)
• Pope John Paul II pardons Galileo (1995)
• The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War ends. (1989)
* The Buddhist calendar starts (year 1) from the Buddha’s Parinirvana (death and final release) which occured in his eightieth year.
* B.C.E. = Before Common Era (Equivalent to B.C.) * C.E. = Common Era (Equivalent to A.D.)