Buddhism originated in the area around the Indus River in Kapilavasthu (now in Nepal and the region of India bordering Nepal). The royal prince, Siddhartha Gautama, became Sakyamuni Buddha, and in the 6th century his teachings formed the Buddhism. Later development led the Buddhism become one of the three major religions of the modern world. The spread of Buddhism mainly through three paths, the Northern Buddhism, passed through central Asia, via the Silk Road to China, Korea, and Japan; the South Buddhism transmitted to Sri Lanka, Thailand, and S.E. Asia; and the Tibetan Buddhism was spread around 7th century.
Image from http://www.buddhanet.net/lineart/buddhas/pages/buddhabowl.htm
When Sakyamuni Buddha was alive, Buddhist teachings were passed down to disciples through oral means. After the Buddha died, the disciples collected the contents of the Buddha’s teachings and the Buddhist Scriptures was developed in India. When Buddhism was introduced to China, a large-scale translation effort led by Xuanzang (fl. c. 602 – 664) began after his trip to India. This translation activity evolved into a national translation project with thousands of people participated and continued until the Song Dynasty. The translated scriptures were later assembled into what was called Buddhist Tripitaka. This has become the most important research materials for Chinese Buddhist studies.*
*The text and images are based on a presentation by Jen-jou Hung, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies and Director of the Library and Information Center at Dharma Drum institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) at 2019 National Central Library of Taiwan International Workshop “Development and Application of Digital Humanities” on Oct. 30, 2019.
ShuYong JIANG, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University Library
Chinese Studies Librarian