The Info List - Ashoka Pillar

--- Advertisement ---

The pillars of Ashoka
are a series of columns dispersed throughout the Indian subcontinent, erected or at least inscribed with edicts by the Mauryan
king Ashoka
during his reign in the 3rd century BC. Of the pillars erected by him, twenty still survive including those with inscriptions of his edicts. Only a few with animal capitals survive of which seven complete specimens are known.[2] Two pillars were relocated by Firuz Shah Tughlaq
Firuz Shah Tughlaq
to Delhi.[3] Several pillars were relocated later by Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
rulers, the animal capitals being removed.[4] Averaging between 12 to 15 m (40 to 50 ft) in height, and weighing up to 50 tons each, the pillars were dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected.[5]


1 Overview 2 Complete list of the pillars

2.1 The capitals 2.2 Minor Pillar Inscriptions

3 Description of the pillars

3.1 Pillars retaining their animals 3.2 Pillar at Allahabad 3.3 Pillars at Lauriya-Areraj and Lauriya-Nandangarh 3.4 Erecting the Pillars 3.5 Languages and script

4 Rediscoveries 5 Background of construction 6 Similar pillars 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links


Abacus of the Ashokan Rampurva
capital, 3rd century BCE.

The Pillars of Ashoka
are among the earliest known stone sculptural remains from India. Only another pillar fragment, the Pataliputra capital, is possibly from a slightly earlier date. It is thought that before the 3rd century BC, wood rather than stone was used as the main material for India
architectural constructions, and that stone may have been adopted following interaction with the Persians
and the Greeks.[6]

Ashoka's pillar capital of Sarnath. Ashokan capitals were highly realistic and used a characteristic polished finish, giving a shiny appearance to the stone surface. 3rd century BCE.

All the pillars of Ashoka
were built at Buddhist monasteries, many important sites from the life of the Buddha
and places of pilgrimage. Some of the columns carry inscriptions addressed to the monks and nuns.[7] Some were erected to commemorate visits by Ashoka. The traditional idea that all were originally quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi
and taken to their sites, before or after carving, "can no longer be confidently asserted",[8] and instead it seems that the columns were carved in two types of stone. Some were of the spotted red and white sandstone from the region of Mathura, the others of buff-colored fine grained hard sandstone usually with small black spots quarried in the Chunar
near Varanasi. The uniformity of style in the pillar capitals suggests that they were all sculpted by craftsmen from the same region. It would therefore seem that stone was transported from Mathura and Chunar
to the various sites where the pillars have been found, and there was cut and carved by craftsmen.[9]

A possible source of inspiration: Achaemenid
column with lotus capital and animals, Persepolis, 6th-4th c. BCE.

The pillars have four component parts in two pieces: the three sections of the capitals are made in a single piece, often of a different stone to that of the monolithic shaft to which they are attached by a large metal dowel. The shafts are always plain and smooth, circular in cross-section, slightly tapering upwards and always chiselled out of a single piece of stone. The lower parts of the capitals have the shape and appearance of a gently arched bell formed of lotus petals. The abaci are of two types: square and plain and circular and decorated and these are of different proportions. The crowning animals are masterpieces of Mauryan
art, shown either seated or standing, always in the round and chiselled as a single piece with the abaci.[10][11] Presumably all or most of the other columns that now lack them once had capitals and animals.

Lion designs

Left image: Vaishali lion of Ashoka. Right image: Assyrian relief of a lion at Nineveh
(circa 640 BCE). Many stylistic elements (design of the whiskers, the eyes, the fur etc...) point to similarites.[12]

Currently seven animal sculptures from Ashoka
pillars survive.[2][13] These form "the first important group of Indian stone sculpture", though it is thought they derive from an existing tradition of wooden columns topped by animal sculptures in copper, none of which have survived. It is also possible that some of the stone pillars predate Ashoka's reign. There has been much discussion of the extent of influence from Achaemenid
Persia, where the column capitals supporting the roofs at Persepolis
have similarities, and the "rather cold, hieratic style" of the Sarnath
Lion Capital of Ashoka
especially shows "obvious Achaemenid
and Sargonid influence".[14] Hellenistic influence has also been suggested.[15]

Pillar discovered at Lumbini, Nepal

Five of the pillars of Ashoka, two at Rampurva, one each at Vaishali, Lauriya-Araraj
and Lauria Nandangarh
Lauria Nandangarh
possibly marked the course of the ancient Royal highway from Pataliputra
to the Nepal
valley. Several pillars were relocated by later Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
rulers, the animal capitals being removed.[4] Complete list of the pillars[edit] The two Chinese medieval pilgrim accounts record sightings of several columns that have now vanished: Faxian
records six and Xuanzang fifteen, of which only five at most can be identified with surviving pillars.[16] All surviving pillars, listed with any crowning animal sculptures and the edicts inscribed, are as follows:[10][17]

Geographical spread of known pillar capitals.

Delhi-Topra, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
(Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII; moved in 1356 CE from Topra Kalan
Topra Kalan
in Yamunanagar district
Yamunanagar district
of Haryana
to Delhi
by Firuz Shah Tughluq.[1] Delhi-Meerut, Delhi
ridge, Delhi
(Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI; moved from Meerut
to Delhi
by Firuz Shah Tughluq
Firuz Shah Tughluq
in 1356.[1] Lauriya Araraj, Champaran, Bihar
(Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI).[1] Nigali Sagar (or Nigliva, Nigalihawa), near Lumbini, Nepal. Pillar missing capital, one Ashoka
edict. Erected in the 20th regnal year of Ashoka
(c. 249 BCE).[1] Rummindei, near Lumbini, Nepal. Also erected in the 20th regnal year of Ashoka
(c. 249 BCE), to commemorate Ashoka's pilgrimage to Lumbini. Capital missing, but was apparently a horse.[1] Allahabad
pillar, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
(originally located at Kausambi
and probable moved to Allahabad
by Jahangir; Pillar Edicts I-VI, Queen's Edict, Schism Edict).[1] Rampurva, Champaran, Bihar. Two columns: a lion with Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI; a bull without inscriptions. The abacus of the bull capital features honeysuckle and palmette designs derived from Greek designs.[1] Sanchi, near Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, four lions, Schism Edict.[1] Sarnath, near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, four lions, Pillar Inscription, Schism Edict.[1] This is the famous "Lion Capital of Ashoka" used in the national emblem of India. Lauriya-Nandangarth, Champaran, Bihar, single lion, Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI.[1] Vaishali, Bihar, single lion, with no inscription.[1] Sankissa, Uttar Pradesh, elephant capital only.[1]

A few Ashokan capitals were also found without their pillars:

(capital). Only the capital was found in the Kesaria stupa.[1] Udaigiri- Vidisha
(capital only at the Udayagiri Caves, visible here).[1] Attribution to Ashoka
however is disputed (ranging from the 2nd century BCE Sunga
period,[18] to the Gupta period.[19]).

The capitals[edit]

Frieze of the lost capital of the Allahabad
pillar, with two lotuses with multiple calyx, framing a "flame palmette" surrounded by small rosette flowers, over a band of beads and reels. This motif can also be seen at the front of the Diamond throne, built by Ashoka, in Bodh Gaya.

There are altogether seven remaining complete capitals, five with lions, one with an elephant and one with a zebu bull. One of them, the four lions of Sarnath, has become the State Emblem of India. The animal capitals are composed of a lotiform base, with an abacus decorated with floral, symbolic or animal designs, topped by the realistic depiction of an animal, thought to each represent a traditional directions in India.

The horse motif on the Sarnath
Lion Capital of Ashoka, is often described as an example of Hellenistic realism.[20]

Various foreign influences have been described in the design of these capitals.[21] The animal on top of a lotiform capital reminds of Achaemenid
column shapes. The abacus also often seems to display a strong influence of Greek art: in the case of the Rampurva
bull or the Sankassa
elephant, it is composed of honeysuckles alternated with stylized palmettes and small rosettes.[22] A similar kind of design can be seen in the frieze of the lost capital of the Allahabad
pillar. These designs likely originated in Greek and Near-Eastern arts.[23] They would probably have come from the neighboring Seleucid Empire, and specifically from a Hellenistic city such as Ai-Khanoum, located at the doorstep of India.[24] Most of these designs and motifs can also be seen in the Pataliputra
capital. The Diamond throne
Diamond throne
of Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya
is another example of Ashokan architecture circa 260 BCE, and displays a band of carvings with honeysuckles and geese, similar to those found on several of the Pillars of Ashoka.[25]

Known capitals of the pillars of Ashoka




The "Lion Capital of Ashoka", from Sarnath.

Four lions, and possibly a wheel, at in Sanchi.

Vaishali lion

Lauria Nandangarh
Lauria Nandangarh

Minor Pillar Inscriptions[edit] These contain inscriptions recording their dedication.

(Rummindei), Rupandehi district, Nepal
(the upper part broke off when struck by lightning; the original horse capital mentioned by Xuanzang
is missing) was erected by Ashoka
where Buddha
was born. Nigali-Sagar (or Nigliva), near Lumbini, Rupandehi district, Nepal (originally near the Buddha
Konakarnana stupa)

Description of the pillars[edit]

The Ashoka
lions at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh

Pillars retaining their animals[edit] Main article: Lion Capital of Ashoka The most celebrated capital (the four-lion one at Sarnath
(Uttar Pradesh)) erected by Emperor Ashoka
circa 250 BC. also called the " Ashoka
Column" . Four lions are seated back to back. At present the Column remains in the same place whereas the Lion Capital is at the Sarnath
Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka
from Sarnath
has been adopted as the National Emblem of India
and the wheel " Ashoka
Chakra" from its base was placed onto the centre of the flag of India.

Depiction of the four lions capital surmounted by a Wheel of Law
Wheel of Law
at Sanchi, Satavahana
period, South gateway of stupa 3.

The lions probably originally supported a Dharma Chakra
Dharma Chakra
wheel with 24 spokes, such as is preserved in the 13th century replica erected at Wat Umong
Wat Umong
near Chiang Mai, Thailand
by Thai king Mangrai.[26] The pillar at Sanchi
also has a similar but damaged four-lion capital. There are two pillars at Rampurva, one with a bull and the other with a lion as crowning animals. Sankissa
has only a damaged elephant capital, which is mainly unpolished, though the abacus is at least partly so. No pillar shaft has been found, and perhaps this was never erected at the site.[27]

Front view of the single lion capital in Vaishali.

The Vaishali pillar has a single lion capital.[28] The location of this pillar is contiguous to the site where a Buddhist monastery and a sacred coronation tank stood. Excavations are still underway and several stupas suggesting a far flung campus for the monastery have been discovered. The lion faces north, the direction Buddha
took on his last voyage.[29] Identification of the site for excavation in 1969 was aided by the fact that this pillar still jutted out of the soil. More such pillars exist in this greater area but they are all devoid of the capital. Pillar at Allahabad[edit] Main articles: Allahabad pillar
Allahabad pillar
and Allahabad
Stone Pillar Inscription of Samudra Gupta In Allahabad
there is a pillar with inscriptions from Ashoka
and later inscriptions attributed to Samudragupta
and Jehangir. It is clear from the inscription that the pillar was first erected at Kaushambi, an ancient town some 30 kilometres west of Allahabad
that was the capital of the Koshala
kingdom, and moved to Allahabad, presumably under Muslim rule.[30] The pillar is now located inside the Allahabad
Fort, also the royal palace, built during the 16th century by Akbar
at the confluence of the Ganges
and Yamuna
rivers. As the fort is occupied by the Indian Army
Indian Army
it is essentially closed to the public and special permission is required to see the pillar. The Ashokan inscription is in Brahmi
and is dated around 232 BC. A later inscription attributed to the second king of the Gupta empire, Samudragupta, is in the more refined Gupta script, a later version of Brahmi, and is dated to around 375 AD. This inscription lists the extent of the empire that Samudragupta
built during his long reign. He had already been king for forty years at that time and would rule for another five. A still later inscription in Persian is from the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The Akbar
Fort also houses the Akshay Vat, an Indian fig tree of great antiquity. The Ramayana
refers to this tree under which Lord Rama
is supposed to have prayed while on exile. Pillars at Lauriya-Areraj and Lauriya-Nandangarh[edit] The column at Lauriya-Nandangarh, 23 km from Bettiah
in West Champaran
district, Bihar
has single lion capital. The hump and the hind legs of the lion project beyond the abacus.[10] The pillar at Lauriya-Areraj in East Champaran
district, Bihar
is presently devoid of any capital. Erecting the Pillars[edit] The Pillars of Ashoka
may have been erected using the same methods that were used to erect the ancient obelisks. Roger Hopkins and Mark Lehrner conducted several obelisk erecting experiments including a successful attempt to erect a 25ton obelisk in 1999. This followed two experiments to erect smaller obelisks and two failed attempts to erect a 25-ton obelisk.[31][32] Languages and script[edit]

inscription on a fragment of the 6th Pillar of Ashoka
from Meerut, British Museum.[33]

Alexander Cunningham, one of the first to study the inscriptions on the pillars, remarks that they are written in eastern, middle and western Prakrits which he calls "the Punjabi or north-western dialect, the Ujjeni or middle dialect, and the Magadhi or eastern dialect."[34] They are written in the Brahmi
script. Rediscoveries[edit]

The "minor" Ashokan pillar at Lumbini, Nepal.

A number of the pillars were thrown down by either natural causes or iconoclasts, and gradually rediscovered. One was noticed in the 16th century by the English traveller Thomas Coryat
Thomas Coryat
in the ruins of Old Delhi. Initially he assumed that from the way it glowed that it was made of brass, but on closer examination he realized it was made of highly polished sandstone with upright script that resembled a form of Greek. In the 1830s James Prinsep
James Prinsep
began to decipher them with the help of Captain Edward Smith and George Turnour. They determined that the script referred to King Piyadasi which was also the epithet of an Indian ruler known as Ashoka
who came to the throne 218 years after Buddha's enlightenment. Scholars have since found 150 of Ashoka's inscriptions, carved into the face of rocks or on stone pillars marking out a domain that stretched across northern India
and south below the central plateau of the Deccan. These pillars were placed in strategic sites near border cities and trade routes. The Sanchi
pillar was found in 1851 in excavations led by Sir Alexander Cunningham, first head of the Archaeological Survey of India. There were no surviving traces above ground of the Sarnath pillar, mentioned in the accounts of medieval Chinese pilgrims, when the Indian Civil Service engineer F.O. Oertel, with no real experience in archaeology, was allowed to excavate there in the winter of 1904-05. He first uncovered the remains of a Gupta shrine west of the main stupa, overlying an Ashokan structure. To the west of that he found the lowest section of the pillar, upright but broken off near ground level. Most of the rest of the pillar was found in three sections nearby, and then, since the Sanchi
capital had been excavated in 1851, the search for an equivalent was continued, and the Lion Capital of Ashoka, the most famous of the group, was found close by. It was both finer in execution and in much better condition than that at Sanchi. The pillar appeared to have been deliberately destroyed at some point. The finds were recognised as so important that the first onsite museum in India
(and one of the few then in the world) was set up to house them.[35] Background of construction[edit]

A pillar at the 6th-century tomb of Xiao Jing in China.

ascended to the throne in 269 BC inheriting the empire founded by his grandfather Chandragupta Maurya. Ashoka
was reputedly a tyrant at the outset of his reign. Eight years after his accession he campaigned in Kalinga where in his own words, "a hundred and fifty thousand people were deported, a hundred thousand were killed and as many as that perished..." After this event Ashoka
converted to Buddhism
in remorse for the loss of life. Buddhism
didn't become a state religion but with Ashoka's support it spread rapidly. The inscriptions on the pillars described edicts about morality based on Buddhist tenets. Legend has it that Ashoka
built 84,000 Stupas commemorating the events and relics of Buddha's life. Some of these Stupas contained networks of walls containing the hub, spokes and rim of a wheel, while others contained interior walls in a swastika (卐) shape. The wheel represents the sun, time, and Buddhist law (the wheel of law, or dharmachakra), while the swastika stands for the cosmic dance around a fixed center and guards against evil.[36][37] Similar pillars[edit] According to Huu Phuoc Le, the 6th century pillar at the tomb of Xiao Jing is similar to the Ashoka
pillar.[38] See also[edit]

Stambha Tagundaing


^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Buddhist architecture, Huu Phuoc Le, Grafikol, 2010 p.36-40 ^ a b Himanshu Prabha Ray. The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation. Routledge. p. 123.  ^ India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from c. 7000 BCE to CE 1200, Burjor Avari Routledge, 2016 p.139 ^ a b Krishnaswamy, 697-698 ^ "KING ASHOKA: His Edicts and His Times". www.cs.colostate.edu. Retrieved 29 October 2017.  ^ India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from c. 7000 BCE to CE 1200, Burjor Avari Routledge, 2016 p.149 ^ Companion, 430 ^ Harle, 22 ^ Thapar, Romila (2001). Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryan, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-564445-X, pp.267-70 ^ a b c Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, S.Chand & Company, New Delhi, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.350-3 ^ Companion, ^ Buddhist Architecture, by Huu Phuoc Le, Grafikol, 2010 p.44 ^ Rebecca M. Brown, Deborah S. Hutton. A Companion to Asian Art and Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 423-429.  ^ Harle, 22, 24, quoted in turn ^ A Comprehensive History Of Ancient India, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2003, p.87 ^ Ashoka, 2 ^ Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. New Delhi: Pearson Education. p. 358. ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9.  ^ Story of the Delhi
Iron Pillar, R. Balasubramaniam p.19 ^ The Past Before Us, Romila Thapar p.361 ^ A Brief History of India, Alain Daniélou, Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, 2003, p.89-91 [1] ^ The pillars "owe something to the pervasive influence of Achaemenid architecture and sculpture, with no little Greek architectural ornament and sculptural style as well. Notice the florals on the bull capital from Rampurva, and the style of the horse of the Sarnath capital, now the emblem of the Republic of India." "The Diffusion of Classical Art in Antiquity" by John Boardman, Princeton University Press, 1993, p.110 ^ Le, Huu Phuoc (29 October 2017). "Buddhist Architecture". Grafikol. Retrieved 29 October 2017 – via Google Books.  ^ Le, Huu Phuoc (29 October 2017). "Buddhist Architecture". Grafikol. Retrieved 29 October 2017 – via Google Books.  ^ "Reflections on The origins of Indian Stone Architecture", John Boardman, p.15 [2] ^ Buddhist Architecture, Huu Phuoc Le, Grafikol, 2010 p.240 ^ " Wat Umong
Wat Umong
Chiang Mai". Thailand's World. Retrieved 26 November 2013.  ^ Companion, 428-429 ^ "Destinations :: Vaishali".  ^ "Destinations :: Vaishali :: Bihar
State Tourism Development Corporation". bstdc.bih.nic.in. Retrieved 29 October 2017.  ^ Krishnaswamy, 697-700 ^ "NOVA Online - Mysteries of the Nile - August 27, 1999: The Third Attempt". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 29 October 2017.  ^ Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ramses II: Magnificence on the Nile (1993)p. 56-57 ^ " British Museum
British Museum
Highlights". Retrieved 29 October 2017.  ^ Inscriptions of Ashoka
by Alexander Cunningham, Eugen Hultzsch. Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. Calcutta: 1877 ^ Allen, Chapter 15 ^ Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ancient India: Land Of Mystery (1994) p. 84-85,94-97 ^ Oliphant, Margaret "The Atlas Of The Ancient World" 1992 p. 156-7 ^ Buddhist Architecture by Huu Phuoc Le p.45


Ashoka, Emperor, Edicts of Ashoka, eds. N. A. Nikam, Richard P. McKeon, 1978, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226586111, 9780226586113, google books "Companion": Brown, Rebecca M., Hutton, Deborah S., eds., A Companion to Asian Art and Architecture, Volume 3 of Blackwell companions to art history, 2011, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, ISBN 1444396323, 9781444396324, google books Harle, J.C., The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, 2nd edn. 1994, Yale University Press Pelican History of Art, ISBN 0300062176 Krishnaswamy, C.S., Sahib, Rao, and Ghosh, Amalananda, "A Note on the Allahabad
Pillar of Aśoka", The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 4 (Oct., 1935), pp. 697–706, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, JSTOR Falk, H. Asokan Sites and Artefacts: a A Source-book with Bibliography, 2006, Volume 18 of Monographien zur indischen Archäologie, Kunst und Philologie, Von Zabern, ISSN 0170-8864

Further reading[edit]

Singh, Upinder (2008). "Chapter 7: Power and Piety: The Maurya Empire, c. 324-187 BCE". A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. New Delhi: Pearson Education. ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashoka

Archaeological Survey of India British Museum, collections online Columbia University, New York - See "lioncapital" for pictures of the original "Lion Capital of Ashoka" preserved at the Sarnath
Museum which has been adopted as the "National Emblem of India" and the Ashoka
Chakra (Wheel) from which has been placed in the center of the "National Flag of India".

v t e


Glossary Index Outline


Three Jewels

Buddha Dharma Sangha

Four Noble Truths Noble Eightfold Path Nirvana Middle Way

The Buddha

Tathāgata Birthday Four sights Physical characteristics Footprint Relics Iconography in Laos and Thailand Films Miracles Family

Suddhodāna (father) Māyā (mother) Mahapajapati Gotamī (aunt, adoptive mother) Yasodhara (wife) Rāhula
(son) Ānanda (cousin) Devadatta

Places where the Buddha
stayed Buddha
in world religions

Key concepts

Avidyā (Ignorance) Bardo Bodhicitta Bodhisattva Buddha-nature Dhamma theory Dharma Enlightenment Five hindrances Indriya Karma Kleshas Mind Stream Parinirvana Pratītyasamutpāda Rebirth Saṃsāra Saṅkhāra Skandha Śūnyatā Taṇhā
(Craving) Tathātā Ten Fetters Three marks of existence

Impermanence Dukkha Anatta

Two truths doctrine


Ten spiritual realms Six realms

Deva (Buddhism) Human realm Asura realm Hungry Ghost realm Animal realm Hell

Three planes of existence


Bhavana Bodhipakkhiyādhammā Brahmavihara

Mettā Karuṇā Mudita Upekkha

Buddhābhiseka Dāna Devotion Dhyāna Faith Five Strengths Iddhipada Meditation

Mantras Kammaṭṭhāna Recollection Smarana Anapanasati Samatha Vipassanā
(Vipassana movement) Shikantaza Zazen Kōan Mandala Tonglen Tantra Tertön Terma

Merit Mindfulness


Nekkhamma Pāramitā Paritta Puja

Offerings Prostration Chanting

Refuge Satya


Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Sati Dhamma vicaya Pīti Passaddhi


Five Precepts Bodhisattva
vow Prātimokṣa

Threefold Training

Śīla Samadhi Prajñā


Four Right Exertions


Bodhi Bodhisattva Buddhahood Pratyekabuddha Four stages of enlightenment

Sotāpanna Sakadagami Anāgāmi Arhat


Bhikkhu Bhikkhuni Śrāmaṇera Śrāmaṇerī Anagarika Ajahn Sayadaw Zen
master Rōshi Lama Rinpoche Geshe Tulku Householder Upāsaka and Upāsikā Śrāvaka

The ten principal disciples

Shaolin Monastery

Major figures

Gautama Buddha Kaundinya Assaji Sāriputta Mahamoggallāna Mulian Ānanda Mahākassapa Anuruddha Mahākaccana Nanda Subhuti Punna Upali Mahapajapati Gotamī Khema Uppalavanna Asita Channa Yasa Buddhaghoṣa Nagasena Angulimala Bodhidharma Nagarjuna Asanga Vasubandhu Atiśa Padmasambhava Nichiren Songtsen Gampo Emperor Wen of Sui Dalai Lama Panchen Lama Karmapa Shamarpa Naropa Xuanzang Zhiyi


Tripiṭaka Madhyamakālaṃkāra Mahayana
sutras Pāli Canon Chinese Buddhist canon Tibetan Buddhist canon


Theravada Mahayana

Chan Buddhism

Zen Seon Thiền

Pure Land Tiantai Nichiren Madhyamaka Yogachara

Navayana Vajrayana

Tibetan Shingon Dzogchen

Early Buddhist schools Pre-sectarian Buddhism Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna


Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan Cambodia China India Indonesia Japan Korea Laos Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Myanmar Nepal Pakistan Philippines Russia

Kalmykia Buryatia

Singapore Sri Lanka Taiwan Thailand Tibet Vietnam Middle East


Western countries

Argentina Australia Brazil France United Kingdom United States Venezuela


Timeline Ashoka Buddhist councils History of Buddhism
in India

Decline of Buddhism
in India

Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution Greco-Buddhism Buddhism
and the Roman world Buddhism
in the West Silk Road transmission of Buddhism Persecution of Buddhists Banishment of Buddhist monks from Nepal Buddhist crisis Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism Buddhist modernism Vipassana movement 969 Movement Women in Buddhism


Abhidharma Atomism Buddhology Creator Economics Eight Consciousnesses Engaged Buddhism Eschatology Ethics Evolution Humanism Logic Reality Secular Buddhism Socialism The unanswered questions



Temple Vihara Wat Stupa Pagoda Candi Dzong architecture Japanese Buddhist architecture Korean Buddhist temples Thai temple art and architecture Tibetan Buddhist architecture



Tree Budai Buddharupa Calendar Cuisine Funeral Holidays

Vesak Uposatha Magha Puja Asalha Puja Vassa

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Kasaya Mahabodhi Temple Mantra

Om mani padme hum

Mudra Music Pilgrimage

Lumbini Maya Devi Temple Bodh Gaya Sarnath Kushinagar

Poetry Prayer beads Prayer wheel Symbolism

Dharmachakra Flag Bhavacakra Swastika Thangka

Temple of the Tooth Vegetarianism


Abhijñā Amitābha Avalokiteśvara


Brahmā Dhammapada Dharma
talk Hinayana Kalpa Koliya Lineage Maitreya Māra Ṛddhi Sacred languages

Pali Sanskrit

Siddhi Sutra Vinaya


Bahá'í Faith Christianity

Influences Comparison

East Asian religions Gnosticism Hinduism Jainism Judaism Psychology Science Theosophy Violence Western philosophy


Bodhisattvas Books Buddhas


Buddhists Suttas Temples