Buddhism

The religious, monastic system, founded c. 500 B.C. on the basis of pantheistic Brahminism. The speculations of the Vedanta school of religious thought, in the eighth and following centuries, B.C., gave rise to several rival schemes of salvation. These movements started with the same morbid view that conscious life is a burden and not worth the living, and that true happiness is to be had only in a state like dreamless sleep free from all desires, free from conscious action. They took for granted the Upanishad doctrine of the endless chain of births, but they differed from pantheistic Brahminism both in their attitude towards the Vedas and in their plan for securing freedom from rebirth and from conscious existence. In their absolute rejection of Vedic rites, they stamped themselves as heresies. Of these the one destined to win greatest renown was Buddhism. 2004

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