Understanding the Philosophy of Buddhism and its challenge to Brahmanism

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Shirumoni Baruah

Abstract

The principles of Buddhism and Jainism started a new era in the history of Indian thought and philosophy. Buddhism became a revolution for the then Indian society and culture. It vehemently opposed the Brahmanical authority and religious orthodoxy. The then political, economic and social circumstances were ripe for the religious and social revolution which emerged as a shape of Buddhism. During 5th and 6th century BCE the caste distinction became a prime factor in exposing the qualities of an individual. Because once position in society was determined by his birth, not by his deeds. The time gave privileges to enquiry into the problems of life and the way to attain eternal happiness and peace. After a long and uncertain journey, Siddhartha (founder of Buddhism) was able to find out the answers to his questions. He attained Buddhatta and came to be known as Tathagata. He devoted his life to the cause of the people how one would refrain from sorrow, from old age, from illness and from death. He liberates himself from the recycle of birth. Buddhism is based on rationalism. It teaches man to depend upon his own knowledge. Buddhism is a religion of individual freedom and endeavour. It always respects the quality of the individual.

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