It is certain, however, that Buddhism reached these areas by the early centuries of the 1st millennium ce. As early as the time of King Ashoka of India, monks were sent to Thaton to spread the Buddha's teachings. This is because of this religion’s ‘image’ of being exotic and authentic. Even after the Chinese had been driven back, a Chinese-like bureaucracy closely supervised the Vietnamese monasteries. From its earliest beginnings to the establishment of the major monarchical states, Buddhism in Southeast Asia can only be characterized as diverse and eclectic. And it was mostly from China that Buddhism spread to the rest of east Asia. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The preeminence of Theravada Buddhism continued throughout the area during the remainder of the premodern period. Author has 1.2K answers and 1.4M answer views Buddhism spreaded significantly in Asia because Buddha was born there. In Southeast Asia the impact of Buddhism was felt in very different ways in three separate regions. The Mons was a major source of influence on the culture of Burma and Whenever it reached a new culture, the Buddhist methods and styles were freely modified to fit the local mentality, without compromising the essential points of wisdom and compassion. In some areas Buddhism was assimilated to Hinduism, forming a Hindu-oriented amalgam that in some places (for example in Bali) has persisted to the present. Later it spread to the West and North. It then goes without saying that people should not accept Buddhaâs teachings out of coercion from zealous missionaries or royal decree. It is notably the case of Buddhism which had a considerable influence on the early trade routes. By the late 13th century, the movement had spread to Thailand, where the Thai were gradually displacing the Mon as the dominant population. Bayon temple, Angkor Thom, Angkor, Cambodia. Our ability to maintain and further expand our website totally depends on your support. There are many countries with large Buddhist populations. According to the local Mon and Burman traditions, this is Suvarnabhumi, the area visited by missionaries from the Ashokan court. 1. Open seas protected the indigenous cultures of the island nations from outside influence. Other religious kings, such as the 16th century Mongol potentate Altan Khan, invited Buddhist teachers to their realm and proclaimed Buddhism the official creed of the land, in order to help unify their people and consolidate their rule. Many people in Asia and the West are attracted to Buddhism. Under the military regime of General Ne Win, established in 1962, reform and modernization were limited in all areas of national life, including religion. It’s a sub continent because it was detached from Africa, drifted and attached Eurasia plate. It was also in the 7th century that the great scholar from Nalanda, Dharmapala, visited Indonesia. King Ashoka also actively proselytized outside his kingdom by sending missions to distant lands, sometimes acting upon the invitation of foreign rulers, such as King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri Lanka. This article explains the various non-conflicting contextual presentations of the Buddhaâs life, and teaches us how these can be practically applied to our spiritual path. The support of King Aśoka and his descendants led to the spread Buddhism throughout the enlarged Maurya empire and even into neighboring lands –regions of Afghanistan and Central Asia, beyond the Mauryas' northwest border, and to the island of Sri Lanka south of India. During this period major Buddhist monuments were erected in Java, including the marvelous Borobudur, which is perhaps the most magnificent of all Buddhist stupas. Buddhism never developed an overall hierarchy of religious authority with a supreme head. Indian traders, missionaries and other settlers brought these religions to the area. This process also occurred with Buddhism in the oasis states along the Silk Route in Central Asia, during the two centuries before and after the common era. Gate at Angkor Thom, Angkor, Cambodia, c. 1200. Buddhism reached Southeast Asia both directly over sea from India and indirectly from Central Asia and China in a process that spanned most of the first millennium CE. In the mid-3rd century BCE, for example, Buddhism spread throughout northern India as a result of the personal endorsement of King Ashoka. Sri Lanka – 70%, 14 million Buddhists 6. Despite never developing a missionary movement, Buddha’s teachings spread afar over the centuries: first to Southeast Asia, then through Central Asia to China and the rest of East Asia, and finally to Tibet and the further reaches of Central Asia. Buddhism originated in India and spread to Tibet from the year 700 AD onwards. The long-term development of Buddhism in Vietnam, however, was most affected by Zen and Pure Land traditions, which were introduced from China into the northern and central sections of the country beginning in the 6th century ce. Cambodia – 97%, 13.5 million Buddhists 2. Two late 20th-century Buddhist groups, Santi Asoke (founded 1975) and Dhammakaya, are especially interesting. Answer: Buddhism spread across Asia through networks of overland and maritime routes between India, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and China. Its propagation probably followed the same pattern that was see… Often it developed in these regions organically, because of local interest in foreign merchantâs Buddhist beliefs. The question now becomes why. How Buddhism Spread. There are two major divisions of Buddhism: Hinayana (the Modest Vehicle), which emphasizes personal liberation, and Mahayana (the Vast Vehicle), which stresses working to become a fully enlightened Buddha to be able to benefit others. With about 470 million followers, scholars consider Buddhism one … Do Now: Aim: How did Buddhism Other times he would send monks as envoys at his own initiative. In Vietnam, the third region, the main connections have been with China. Because of the trade on the Silk Road, Buddhism spread towards Eastern Asia and Southeast Asia. Another organic method was through the slow cultural assimilation of a conquering people, such as the Greeks into the Buddhist society of Gandhara in present-day central Pakistan, during the centuries following the 2nd century BCE. With the help of the monk Gunavarman and other Indian missionaries, Buddhism gained a firm foothold on Java well before the 5th century ce. The first dhyana (Zen; Vietnamese thien), or meditation, school was introduced by Vinitaruchi (Vinitaruci), an Indian monk who had gone to Vietnam from China in the 6th century. ..." in History if there is no answer or all answers are wrong, use a search bar and try to find the answer among similar questions. This is evidenced by the fact that in such places as South India and southern Burma, Buddhism soon took root, while in places such as the Greek colonies in Central Asia, there is no record of any immediate impact. Theravada Buddhism, the most conservative school, is prominent in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The history of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present.Buddhism arose in the eastern part of Ancient India, in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama.The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region of the Indian subcontinent through Central, East, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Alexander Berzin. The Chinese form of Mahayana later spread to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. How did Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam become established in Southeast Asia? Gautama Buddha died in 483 B.C., and his teachings were compiled and committed to the memories of the 500 monks who attended the first Buddhist Council immediately after his death. The spread of Hinduism in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Buddhism in Ceylon and Southeast Asia Theravada Buddhism , also called Hinayana Buddhism, soon found a home in Southeast Asia, as well as the island of Ceylon, now home to the country of Sri Lanka. onwards, trade between India and Burma expanded and there was increased contact with the Indian traders and their religious beliefs. A variety of forms of Buddhism developed as people in the different lands it reached emphasized one or another aspect of the teachings. Due to this separation from the distance in geography, Buddhism and Hinduism don’t interact that much anymore. Some Muslims became traders 4. From Central Asia, they spread into China in the 2nd century CE. He instructed his monks to go forth in the world and expound his teachings. For example, when Buddhist merchants visited and settled in different lands, some members of the local populations naturally developed an interest in these foreignersâ beliefs, as happened with the introduction of Islam to Indonesia and Malaysia later on. During the next two centuries, Theravada reforms penetrated as far as Cambodia and Laos. He did not ask others to denounce and give up their own religion and convert to a new one, for he was not seeking to establish his own religion. Throughout much of the history of Angkor, the great imperial centre that ruled Cambodia and much of the surrounding areas for many centuries, Hinduism seems to have been the preferred tradition, at least among the elite. The peoples of Southeast Asia have not been mere satellites of the more powerful Indian and Chinese civilizations. In the 6th century, an emissary from a king of Korea introduced Buddhism to the court of the emperor of Japan. In Thailand, which retained its independence, a process of gradual reform and modernization was led by a new Buddhist sect, the Thammayut Nikaya, which was established and supported by the reigning Chakri dynasty. Religious movements and religions have had an important role on the history of the Silk Roads. Tantrism, Daoism, and Confucianism also filtered into Vietnam at this time. Sometimes rulers adopted Buddhism to help bring ethics to their people, but no one was forced to convert. Both the Modest and Vast vehicles have many subdivisions. In Laos and Cambodia, both of which suffered an extended period of French rule followed by devastation during the Vietnam War and the violent imposition of communist rule, the Buddhist community has been severely crippled. Despite never developing a missionary movement, Buddhaâs teachings spread afar over the centuries: first to Southeast Asia, then through Central Asia to China and the rest of East Asia, and finally to Tibet and the further reaches of Central Asia. In what order did Indians spread religious ideas to Southeast Asia? In two of these (the region of Malaysia/Indonesia and the region on the mainland extending from Myanmar to southern Vietnam), the main connections have been with India and Sri Lanka via trade routes. Hinduism and Buddhism exerted an enormous influence on the civilizations of Southeast Asia and contributed greatly to the development of a written tradition in that area. Buddhism spread from northern India into nearby geographical locations such as Tibet, Sri Lanka, and southeast Asia. Reports since the late 1980s indicated signs of vitality despite serious government limitations on Buddhist activities. With the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in the late 1980s, the country’s military rulers used their support of a very traditional form of Buddhism to legitimize their highly repressive regime. And to Southeast Asia. Later generations of followers were inspired by his example, and shared with others his methods that they found useful in their lives. Buddhism was introduced to the kingdoms of the Korean Peninsula by monks from Gandhara and China in the 4th century. A third major Zen school was established in the 11th century by the Chinese monk Thao Durong. If you find our material useful, please consider making a single or monthly donation. Spread of Buddhism in Asia. A second area of Buddhist expansion in Southeast Asia extends from Myanmar in the north and west to the Mekong delta in the south and east. The earliest waves of Parthian, Sogdian and Indian translators of early Chinese Buddhist texts came to Loyang via the silk routes. But how did Buddhism introduced to China? Although some scholars locate the Suvarnabhumi (“Land of Gold”), to which Ashokan missionaries were supposedly sent, somewhere on the Malay Peninsula or in Indonesia, this is probably not accurate. In Myanmar, which endured an extended period of British rule, the sangha and the structures of Buddhist society have been seriously disrupted. Drawing heavily on the Theravada heritage that had been preserved among the Mon in southern Myanmar, as well as on the new reform tradition of Sri Lanka, this revival soon established the Theravada tradition as the most dynamic in Myanmar, where the Burmans had conquered the Mon. Bhutan – 75%, 560,000 Buddhists 5. From Tibet, it spread throughout the Himalayan regions and to Mongolia, Central Asia, and several regions of Russia (Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva). Buddhism became a powerful cultural influence in Asia and has remained the majority religion for thousands of years. Also, due to Indian Ocean trade, the Buddhist ideas spread towards Southeast Asia. There is also a small non-Chinese community of Buddhists that is concentrated in the vicinity of Borobudur. Tibetan Buddhism attracted many people and it still does. Spread Through Missionaries Buddhist monks directed to wander and teach Travelers from East Asia came to India to learn more and brought back knowledge and translated texts Where did Buddhism spread? In the early 17th century, Neiji Toyin tried to bribe eastern Mongol nomads into following Buddhism by offering livestock for each verse they memorized. The arrival of the Western powers in the 19th century brought important changes. King Kertanagara of Java (reigned 1268–92) was especially devoted to Tantric practice. Farther to the east and south, in what is now Cambodia and southern Vietnam, various combinations of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism became prevalent. Rather loosely joined together, Vietnamese Buddhists managed to preserve their traditions through the period of French colonial rule in the 19th and 20th centuries. Get an answer to your question "How did buddhism spread throughout asia? About the beginning of the Common Era, Indian merchants may have settled there, bringing Brahmans and Buddhist monks with them. On page 288, point out that Buddhism spread from India to Sri Lanka. A. Missionaries traveled around Asia and taught people about Buddhism. Portion of India’s population became Muslims 3. As the story goes, Siddharta was born into affluence but left his life as a prince after he experienced the fabled “4 Encounters”. Beginning in the 1980s, however, it showed increasing signs of life and vitality. In modern Indonesia and Malaysia, Buddhism exists as a living religion primarily among the Chinese minority, who in the early 21st century constituted about one-quarter of the population and were recognized by the constitution as Buddhist. Shakyamuni Buddha told people not to follow his teachings out of blind faith, but to only do so after examining them carefully. During these early centuries Buddhism competed successfully with indigenous forms of magical animism and Brahmanism, undoubtably becoming transformed in the process. B. Asian governments heard about the Buddha and required people to become Buddhists. Thaton was a trading centre of southern Burma. In addition, from the 2nd century CE, Indian forms of Mahayana Buddhism spread to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sumatra and Java along the sea trade route from India to South China. Answer: East into Asia – China, Japan, Korea, etc. In various ways, Buddhism managed to peacefully spread throughout much of Asia, carrying its message of love, compassion and wisdom, while fitting in to the needs and dispositions of different people. The expansion of Buddhism throughout most of Asia was peaceful, and occurred in several ways. A brief picture of Buddhism in Asia and the West. The Buddhaâs teachings spread peacefully across the Indian subcontinent, and from there far and wide throughout Asia. The Tibetan Mahayana tradition started in the 7th century CE, inheriting the full historical development of Indian Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha, as a travelling teacher sharing his insights with those who were receptive and interested from the nearby kingdoms, set the precedent. Religion: Buddhism in Asia. On the other hand, Mahayana Buddhism spread from India and China to Southeast Asia in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Under the communist regime that has ruled the reunited country since 1975, conditions have been difficult, but Buddhism has persisted. In the process, they may have prohibited certain practices of non-Buddhist, indigenous religions, and even persecuted those who follow them, but these rare heavy-handed moves were largely politically motivated. Below is a list of countries with large Buddhist populations along with the estimated population of Buddhists by percent and number. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. Buddha in Theravada, Mahayana and Tantra: The Same? It’s in Indian sub continent, present day Nepal where highest point Mount Everest exists. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. D. … The northern part of what is now Vietnam had been conquered by the Chinese empire in 111 bce and remained under Chinese rule until 939 ce. The Dhammakaya group has been much more successful at gathering a large popular following but has also become very controversial because of its distinctive meditation practices and questions concerning its care of financial contributions from its followers. Its presence was felt as part of the Indian cultural influence that flourished throughout the area. Buddhaâs aim was merely to help others overcome the unhappiness and suffering that they were creating for themselves, due to their lack of understanding of reality. They were well-received by the local ruler, King Devanampiva Tissa, and Theravada Buddhism took hold there. Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in the Indochina region. Laos – 66%, 4 million Buddhists 7… By making Buddhaâs message available to the public, people were free to choose what was helpful. Thailand – 93%, 64.5 million Buddhists 3. 1. Developments during the Tang dynasty (618–907), Tibet, Mongolia, and the Himalayan kingdoms, The Buddha: divinization and multiplicity, Sa-skya-pa, Bka’-brgyud-pa, and related schools, Mythic figures in the Three Worlds cosmology. In the 20th century reform and modernization became more diversified and affected virtually all segments of the Thai Buddhist community. Contrary to popular belief, Buddhism did not originate from China. From there, it reached the rest of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia and Laos). Burma (Myanmar) – 88%, 48.5 million Buddhists 4. In Laos it was recognized by the government as a part of the national heritage, and in Cambodia it was even given the status of a state religion. Nevertheless, in the second decade of the 21st century, both government restrictions on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and rules regarding political participation were eased, and the future of Buddhism seemed destined for change. Buddhism flourished and spread across central and eastern Asia; whereas, Hinduism generally stayed close to home, in India. It later moved to Pakistan and Afghanistan before entering Central Asia and later to China. Here is a general description of some of the major forms found in Southeast Asia, China and Tibet. When the Chinese traveler Yijing visited this kingdom in the 7th century, he noted that Hinayana was dominant in the area but that there were also a few Mahayanists. From the 7th century onward, Vajrayana Buddhism spread rapidly throughout the area. None of them are extant today. The transmission of Buddhism and Hinduism to Southeast Asia can thus be regarded as the spread of the religious symbols of the more-advanced Austroasiatic peoples to other Austroasiatic groups sharing some of the same basic religious presuppositions and traditions. Buddhism was also introduced at about this time in Sumatra, and by the 7th century the king of Srivijaya on the island of Sumatra was a Buddhist. At present, only three major forms survive: one Hinayana subdivision in Southeast Asia, known as Theravada, and two Mahayana divisions, namely the Chinese and Tibetan traditions. Throughout the first five centuries A.D., Buddhism slowly began to spread throughout southeast Asia, entering China, Korea, Japan and finally Tibet, where it eventually found its home. C. Proximity to China encouraged the spread of Buddhism and other practices south into Indochina. B. In Myanmar and Thailand, despite the presence of Hindu, Mahayana, and Vajrayana elements, the more-conservative Hinayana forms of Buddhism were especially prominent throughout the 1st millennium ce. In the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia, as in India, Buddhism gradually lost its hold during the first half of the 2nd millennium ce. Buddhism is a religion that was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (“The Buddha”) more than 2,500 years ago in India. However, from the first century C.E. In two of these (the region of Malaysia/Indonesia and the region on the mainland extending from Myanmar to southern Vietnam), the main connections have been with India and Sri Lanka via trade routes. The Shailendra dynasty, which ruled over the Malay Peninsula and a large section of Indonesia from the 7th century to the 9th century, promoted the Mahayana and Tantric forms of Buddhism. Islam spread through India 2. This is how what is now called âBuddhismâ spread far and wide. As local rulers and their people learned more about this Indian religion, they invited monks from the merchantsâ native regions as advisors or teachers, and eventually, many adopted the Buddhist faith. This is absolutely not part of the religious creed. The nomads complained to the authorities, and the overbearing teacher was punished and exiled. These forms of Hinayana were later combined with Mahayana aspects that came through this same route from India, with the Mahayana eventually becoming the dominant form of Buddhism in China and most of Central Asia. During the struggle between North and South Vietnam in the 1960s and early ’70s, many Buddhists worked to achieve peace and reconciliation, though they met with little success; to protest the South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, some Buddhist monks turned to self-immolation. Such ambitious rulers still never forced subjects to adopt Buddhist forms of belief or worship. Which statement describes how geography influenced the cultural development of Southeast Asia? Instead, each country to which it spread developed its own forms, its own religious structure, and its own spiritual head. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, however, the Buddhist King Jayavarman VII built a new capital called Angkor Thom that was dominated by both Mahayana and Vajrayana monuments, which represent one of the high points of Buddhist architecture. Sometimes, the process evolved organically. On the contrary, the cultures that arose in these three vast areas might better be thought of as alternative developments that occurred within a greater Austroasiatic civilization, sometimes called the Asia of the monsoons. The visiting monks would not pressure others to convert, but would just simply make the Buddhaâs teachings available, allowing people to choose for themselves. The clergy was divided between those who were highborn and Sinicized and those in the lower ranks who often were active in peasant uprisings. This great empire-builder did not force his subjects to adopt the Buddhist faith, but by posting edicts engraved on iron pillars throughout his realm exhorting his people to lead an ethical life, and by following the principles himself, he inspired others to adopt Buddhaâs teachings. Buddhism and Hinduism-- the core area of both is Northern India and each spread through the Indian subcontinent, yet both did not seem to expand with the same radius. For present purposes it is perhaps enough to know that the Theravada is now predominant in Southeast Asia, Mahayana is characteristic in East Asia, and Vajrayana distinguishes the Himalayan region of South Asia. A. Within these growing trade route networks, Buddhism started its development from the Indian Subcontinent, and reached other regions along the Silk Roads. Often, the dissemination was due primarily to the influence of a powerful monarch who had adopted and supported Buddhism himself. It was founded in India, and is based on the teachings of a prince-turned-monk named Siddharta Gautama. I’ll make this quick since this type of answers are long 1. During the next 500 years, the religion continued to become more important in these countries and was eventually adopted as the official state religion. Spread of Buddhism to SE Asia In the 2nd century BCE, Asoka's emissaries (perhaps including Asoka's son Mahinda) went to Sri Lanka, an island southeast of the Indian subcontinent. In mainland Southeast Asia, as in Sri Lanka, a Theravada reform movement emerged in the 11th century. Santi Asoke, a lay-oriented group that advocates stringent discipline, moral rectitude, and political reform, has been very much at odds with the established ecclesiastical hierarchy. Tantrism was influential among the believers in the Mahayana Buddhism of Southeast Asia. Other Hinayana schools spread to modern-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, eastern and coastal Iran, and Central Asia. In the 9th century a school of “wall meditation” was introduced by the Chinese monk Vo Ngon Thong. There are indications that Vietnam was involved in the early sea trade between India, Southeast Asia, and China, and it is quite probable that Buddhism reached the country via this sea route near the beginning of the 1st millennium ce. In Southeast Asia the impact of Buddhism was felt in very different ways in three separate regions. Distance from Oceania prevented the migration of Austronesian language, beliefs, and technology. It is known that Buddhist kingdoms had appeared in this region by the early centuries of the 1st millennium ce. Theravada Buddhism first spread from India to Sri Lanka, then to Cambodia, Laos and the southern part of Myanmar. Indian traders, missionaries, and other settlers brought these religions In what order did Indians spread religious ideas to Southeast Asia? From 1414 to 1428 Buddhism in Vietnam was persecuted by the Chinese, who had again conquered the country. In the other Theravada countries in Southeast Asia, Buddhism has had a much more difficult time. After the Buddha's death, how did Buddhism spread? How did Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam become become established in Southeast Asia? C. Doctors throughout Asia began to encourage their patients to meditate if they were ill. D The Buddha's children wrote books about his life and had them distributed throughout Asia. In most of Malaysia and Indonesia, however, both Hinduism and Buddhism were replaced by Islam, which remains the dominant religion in the area. During the modern period Mahayana traditions in northern and central Vietnam have coexisted with Theravada traditions from Cambodia in the south. Over time, Buddhism developed into several distinct branches. 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