200s BC: Indian traders regularly visited ports in Arabia, explaining the prevalence of place names in the region with Indian or Buddhist origin. For example, bahar (from the Sanskritvihara, a Buddhist monastery).
100s BC: Theravada Buddhism is officially introduced to Sri Lanka by the Venerable Mahinda, the son of the emperor Ashoka of India during the reign of king Devanampiya-Tissa.
0s: According to Theravadins, during the reign of King Vatta Gamini in Sri Lanka, the Buddhist monks assembled in Aloka Vihara and wrote down the Tripitaka in Pali.
67: Buddhism officially came to China, with the two monks Moton and Chufarlan.
600s: Xuan Zang travelled to India, noting the persecution of Buddhists by Sasanka (king of Gouda, a state in north-west Bengal), before returning to Chang An in China to translate Buddhist scriptures. End of sporadic Buddhist rule in the Sindh.
600s: King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet sent messengers to India to get Buddhist texts.
671: Chinese Buddhist pilgrim I-Ching visited Palembang, the capital of the partly-Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. He reported over 1000 buddhist monks in residence.
700s: Buddhist Jataka stories are translated in to Syriac and Arabic as Kalilag and Damnag. An account of Buddha's life was translated in to Greek by St John of Damascus, and widely circulated to Christians as the story of Jalaam and Josaphat. By the 1300s this story of Josaphat had become so popular that he was made a Catholic saint.
700s: Under the reign of King Trisong Deutsen, Buddhism replaces Bonpo as Tibet's main religion.
Abt. 760: Borobodur, the famous Indonesian Buddhist structure, begins construction, probably as a non-Buddhist shrine. It was completed as a Buddhist monument in 830 after about 50 years of work.
1009: Vietnam's Ly Dynasty began, which was partly brought about by an alliance with the Buddhist monkhood. Ly emperors patronized Mahayana Buddhism, in addition to traditional spirits.
1025: Srivijaya, a partly Buddhist kingdom based on Sumatra, is raided by pirates from the Chola region of southern India. It survives, but declines in importance. Shortly after the raid, the centre of the kingdom moves northward from Palembang to Jambi-Melayu.
1084-1113: In Myanmar, Pagan's second king, Kyanzittha (son of Anawrahta) reigns. He completed the building of the Shwezigon pagoda, a shrine for relics of the Buddha, including a tooth brought from Sri Lanka. Various inscriptions refer to him as an incarnation of Vishnu, a chakravartin, a bodhisattva and dharmaraja.
1113: Alaungsithu reigned in Pagan, Myanmar, until his son Narathu smothered him to death and assumed the throne.
1181: The self-styled bodhisattva Jayavarman VII, a devout follower of Mahayana Buddhism (though he also patronised Hinduism), assumes control of the Khmer kingdom. He constructs the Bayon, the most prominent Buddhist structure in the Angkor temple complex. This set the stage for the later conversion of the Khmer people to Theravada Buddhism.
1190: In Myanmar, Anawrahta's lineage regains control with the assistance of Sri Lanka. Pagan has been in anarchy. The new regime reforms Burmese Buddhism on Sri Lankan Theravada models.
1200s: Theravada overtakes Mahayana - previously practised alongside Hinduism - as the dominant form of Buddhism in Cambodia. Thailand and Sri Lanka were influences in this change. In Persia, the historian Rashid al-Din records some eleven Buddhist texts circulating in Arabic translation, amongst which the Sukhavati-vyuha and Karanda-vyuha Sutras are recognizable. Portions of the Samyutta and Anguttara-Nikayas, along with parts of the Maitreya-vyakarana, have also been identified in this collection.
Abt. 1279-1298: Sukothai's third and most famous ruler, Ramkhamhaeng (Rama the Bold), reigned and made vassals of Laos, much of modern Thailand, Pegu (Burma), and parts of the Malay Peninsula, thus giving rise to Sukhothai artistic tradition. After Ramkhamhaeng's death, Sukothai lost control of its territories as its vassals became independent.
1578: Altan Khan of the Tümed gave the title of Dalai Lama to Sonam Gyatso (the third Dalai Lama).
1600s & 1700s: When Vietnam divided during this period, the Nguyen rulers of the south chose to support Mahayana Buddhism as an integrative ideology for the ethnically plural society of their kingdom, which was also populated by Chams and other minorities.
1615: The Oyirad Mongols converted into the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.
1800s: In Thailand, King Mongkut - himself a former monk - conducted a campaign to reform and modernise the monkhood, a movement that has continued in the present century under the inspiration of several great ascetic monks from the north-east of the country.
1802-20: Nguyen Anh comes to the throne of the first united Vietnam - he succeeds by quelling the Tayson rebellion in south Vietnam with help from Rama I in Bangkok, then took over the north from the remaining Trinh. After coming to power, he created a Confucianist orthodox state and was eager to limit the competing influence of Buddhism. He forbade adult men to attend Buddhist ceremonies.
1820-41: Minh Mang reigns in Vietnam, further restricting Buddhism. He insists that all monks be assigned to cloisters and carry identification documents. He also placed new restrictions on printed material. He also began a persecution of Catholic missionaries and converts that his successors (not without provocation) continued.
Abt. 1860: In Sri Lanka, against all expectations the monastic and lay community brought about a major revival in Buddhism, a movement that went hand in hand with growing nationalism. The revival followed a period of persecution by foreign powers. Since then Buddhism has flourished and Sri Lankan monks and expatriate lay people have been prominent in spreading Theravada Buddhism in Asia, the West and even in Africa.
1966: World Buddhist Sangha Council convened by Theravadins in Sri Lanka with the hope of bridging differences and working together. The first convention was attended by leading monks, from many countries and sects, Mahayana as well as Theravada. Nine points written by Ven. Walpola Rahula were approved unanimously;
The Buddha is our only Master
We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha
We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God
We consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom leading to the realization of Ultimate Truth
We accept the Four Noble Truths, namely Dukkha, the Arising of Dukkha, the Cessation of Dukkha, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Dukkha; and the law of cause and effect (Dependent Origination)
All conditioned things (sa.mskaara) are impermanent (anitya) and dukkha, and that all conditioned and unconditioned things (dharma) are without self (anaatma).
We accept the Thirty-seven Qualities conducive to Enlightenment (bodhipak.sa-dharma) as different aspects of the Path taught by the Buddha leading to Enlightenment.
There are three ways of attaining bodhi or Enlightenment: namely as a disciple (sraavaka), as a Pratyeka-Buddha and as a Samyak-sam-Buddha (perfectly and Fully Enlightened Buddha). We accept it as the highest, noblest, and most heroic to follow the career of a Bodhisattva and to become a Samyak-sam-Buddha in order to save others.
We admit that in different countries there are differences with regard Buddhist beliefs and practices. These external forms and expressions should not be confused with the essential teachings of the Buddha.
1970s: Indonesian Archaeological Service and UNESCO restore Borobodur.
1975: LaoCommunist rulers attempted to change attitudes to religion, in particular calling on monks to work, not beg. This caused many to return to lay life, but Buddhism remains popular.
1975-79: Cambodian communists under Pol Pot tried to completely destroy Buddhism, and very nearly succeeded. By the time of the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 nearly every monk and religious intellectual had been either murdered or driven into exile, and nearly every temple and Buddhist library had been destroyed.
1980: Burmese military government asserts authority over the sangha.
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