Buddhism has assumed many different forms, but in each case there has been an attempt to draw from the life experiences of the Buddha, his teachings, and the "spirit" or "essence" of histeachings called dhamma or dharma as models for the religious life. However, not until the writing of the Buddha Charita life of the Buddha by Ashvaghosa in the 1st or 2nd century C. The Buddha was born ca. His erain general was one of spiritual, intellectual, and social ferment. This was the age when the Hindu ideal of renunciation of family and socia llife by holy persons seeking Truth first became widespread, and when the Upanishads were written.
Both can be seen as moves away from the centrality of the Vedic fire sacrifice. Siddhartha Gautama was the warrior son of a king and queen.
According to legend, at his birth a soothsayer predicted that he might become a renouncer withdrawing from the temporal life. To prevent this, his father provided him with many luxuries and pleasures.
But, as a young man, he once went on a series of four chariot rides where he first saw the more severe forms of human suffering: old age, illness, and death a corpse , as well as an ascetic renouncer. The contrast between his life and this human suffering made him realize that all the pleasures on earth where in fact transitory, and could only mask human suffering. Leaving his wife—and new son "Rahula"—fetter he took on several teachers and tried severe renunciation in the forest until the point of near-starvation.
Finally, realizing that this too was only adding more suffering, he ate food and sat down beneath a tree to meditate. By morning or some say six months later! Now the Buddha "the Enlightened or Awakened One" began to teach others these truths out of compassion for their suffering. His first Noble Truth is that life is suffering dukkha. Life as we normally live it is full of the pleasures and pains of the body and mind; pleasures, he said, do not represent lasting happiness.
They are inevitably tied in with suffering since we suffer from wanting them, wanting them to continue, and wanting pain to go so pleasure can come. The second Noble Truth is that suffering is caused by craving—for sense pleasures and for things to be as they are not. We refuse to accept life as it is. The third Noble Truth, however, states that suffering has an end, and the fourth offers the means to that end: the Eight-Fold Path and the Middle Way. If one follows this combined path he or she will attain Nirvana, an indescribable state of all-knowing lucid awareness in which there is only peace and joy.
The Middle Way represents a rejection of all extremes of thought, emotion, action, and lifestyle. Rather than either severe mortification of the body or a life of indulgence insense pleasures the Buddha advocated a moderate or "balanced" wandering life-style and the cultivation of mental and emotional equanimity through meditation and morality. After the Buddha's death, his celibate wandering followers gradually settled down into monasteries that were provided by the married laityas merit-producing gifts.
The laity were in turn taught by the monks some of the Buddha's teachings. They also engaged in such practices as visiting the Buddha's birthplace; and worshipping the tree under which he became enlightened bodhi tree , Buddha images in temples, and the relics of his body housed in various stupas or funeral mounds. Many monastic schools developed among the Buddha's followers. Another reason for the development of different schools was that he refused to appoint asuccessor to follow him as leader of the Sangha monastic order.
He told the monks to be lamps unto themselves and make the Dhamma their guide.
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About the first century C. Of the Hinayana "the Lesser Vehicle" branch of schools, only the The ravada school founded 4th century B. This school stresses the historical figure of Gautama Buddha, and the centrality of the monk's life-style and practice meditation. They believe, however, that human beings continue to be "reformed" and reborn, and to collect karma until they reach Nirvana. After Sulla retired, one of his former supporters, Pompey, briefly served as consul before waging successful military campaigns against pirates in the Mediterranean and the forces of Mithridates in Asia.
During this same period, Marcus Tullius Cicero , elected consul in 63 B. When the victorious Pompey returned to Rome, he formed an uneasy alliance known as the First Triumvirate with the wealthy Marcus Licinius Crassus who suppressed a slave rebellion led by Spartacus in 71 B. After earning military glory in Spain, Caesar returned to Rome to vie for the consulship in 59 B. From his alliance with Pompey and Crassus, Caesar received the governorship of three wealthy provinces in Gaul beginning in 58 B. With old-style Roman politics in disorder, Pompey stepped in as sole consul in 53 B.
In 49 B. Less than a year later, Caesar was murdered by a group of his enemies led by the republican nobles Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius. With Octavian leading the western provinces, Antony the east, and Lepidus Africa, tensions developed by 36 B. In 31 B. In the wake of this devastating defeat, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide.
By 29 B. In 27 B. He instituted various social reforms, won numerous military victories and allowed Roman literature, art, architecture and religion to flourish. Augustus ruled for 56 years, supported by his great army and by a growing cult of devotion to the emperor. When he died, the Senate elevated Augustus to the status of a god, beginning a long-running tradition of deification for popular emperors.
The line ended with Nero , whose excesses drained the Roman treasury and led to his downfall and eventual suicide. The reign of Nerva , who was selected by the Senate to succeed Domitian, began another golden age in Roman history, during which four emperors—Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius—took the throne peacefully, succeeding one another by adoption, as opposed to hereditary succession.
Under Antoninus Pius , Rome continued in peace and prosperity, but the reign of Marcus Aurelius — was dominated by conflict, including war against Parthia and Armenia and the invasion of Germanic tribes from the north. When Marcus fell ill and died near the battlefield at Vindobona Vienna , he broke with the tradition of non-hereditary succession and named his year-old son Commodus as his successor.
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The decadence and incompetence of Commodus brought the golden age of the Roman emperors to a disappointing end. His death at the hands of his own ministers sparked another period of civil war , from which Lucius Septimius Severus emerged victorious. During the third century Rome suffered from a cycle of near-constant conflict. A total of 22 emperors took the throne, many of them meeting violent ends at the hands of the same soldiers who had propelled them to power.
Meanwhile, threats from outside plagued the empire and depleted its riches, including continuing aggression from Germans and Parthians and raids by the Goths over the Aegean Sea. The reign of Diocletian temporarily restored peace and prosperity in Rome, but at a high cost to the unity of the empire.
Diocletian divided power into the so-called tetrarchy rule of four , sharing his title of Augustus emperor with Maximian. A pair of generals, Galerius and Constantius, were appointed as the assistants and chosen successors of Diocletian and Maximian; Diocletian and Galerius ruled the eastern Roman Empire, while Maximian and Constantius took power in the west. The stability of this system suffered greatly after Diocletian and Maximian retired from office. Constantine the son of Constantius emerged from the ensuing power struggles as sole emperor of a reunified Rome in He moved the Roman capital to the Greek city of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople.
Roman unity under Constantine proved illusory, and 30 years after his death the eastern and western empires were again divided. Despite its continuing battle against Persian forces, the eastern Roman Empire—later known as the Byzantine Empire—would remain largely intact for centuries to come.
Rome eventually collapsed under the weight of its own bloated empire, losing its provinces one by one: Britain around ; Spain and northern Africa by Attila and his brutal Huns invaded Gaul and Italy around , further shaking the foundations of the empire. Start your free trial today.
But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. For almost 30 centuries—from its unification around B. From the great pyramids of the Old Kingdom through the military conquests of the New Aqueducts The Romans enjoyed many amenities for their day, including public toilets, underground sewage systems, fountains and ornate public baths. None of these aquatic innovations would have been possible without the Roman aqueduct.