Timeline of Buddhism

The purpose of this timeline is to give a detailed account of Buddhism from the birth of Gautama Buddha to the present.

Timeline of events

Timeline: Development and propagation of Buddhist traditions (ca. 450 BCE – ca. 1300 CE)

  450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE







Early Buddhist schools Mahāyāna Vajrayāna






Sri Lanka &
Southeast Asia










Tibetan Buddhism








East Asia


Early Buddhist schools
and Mahāyāna
(via the silk road
to China, and ocean
contact from India to Vietnam)


Nara (Rokushū)




Thiền, Seon
Tiantai / Jìngtǔ









Central Asia & Tarim Basin





Silk Road Buddhism


  450 BCE 250 BCE 100 CE 500 CE 700 CE 800 CE 1200 CE
  Legend:   = Theravada   = Mahayana   = Vajrayana   = Various / syncretic


Gautama Buddha

Main article: Gautama Buddha

The times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE.[1][2] More recently his death is dated later, between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death.[1][3][note 1] These alternative chronologies, however, have not yet been accepted by all historians.[5][6][note 2] and that several Yaksha-shrines, where trees were worshipped, were converted into Buddhist holy places.[7]</ref>

Indian Buddhism

The First Buddhist council is convened.

Expansion of Buddhism

Decline in India

Medieval period

Early modern era

Modern era

See also


    • 411-400: Paul Dundas: "[...], as is now almost universally accepted by informed Indological scholarship, a re-examination of early Buddhist historical material, [...], necessitates a redating of the Buddha's death to between 411 and 400 BCE, [...]" —Paul Dundas, The Jains, 2nd edition, (Routledge, 2001).[web 1]
    • 405: Richard Gombrich
      • Richard Gombrich (1992), Dating the Buddha: a red herring revealed. In: Heinz Bechert, editor, The Dating of the Historical Buddha / Die Datierung des historischen Buddha, Part 2 (Symposien zur Buddhismus forschung, IV, 2), Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1992, pp. 237-59. See also &
      • Richard Gombrich (2000), Discovering the Buddha's date. In: Lakshman S. Perera (ed.), Buddhism for the New
    Millennium. London: World Buddhist Foundation, 2000, pp. 9-25.
    • Around 400: See the consensus in the essays by leading scholars in The Date of the Historical Śākyamuni Buddha (2003) Edited by A. K. Narain. B. R. Publishing Corporation, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7646-353-1.
    • According to Pali scholar K. R. Norman, a life span for the Buddha of c. 480 to 400 BCE (and his teaching period roughly from c. 445 to 400 BCE) "fits the archaeological evidence better".[4]
    See also Notes on the Dates of the Buddha Íåkyamuni.
  1. in 2013, archaeologist Robert Coningham found the remains of a Bodhigara, a tree shrine, dated to 550 BCE at the Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, speculating that it may possible be a Buddhist shrine. If so, this may push back the Buddha's birth date.[web 2] Archaeologists caution that the shrine may represent pre-Buddhist tree worship, and that further research is needed.[web 2]
    Richard Gombrich has dismissed Coningham's speculations as "a fantasy", noting that Coningham lacks the necessary expertise on the history of early Buddhism.[web 3]
    Geoffrey Samuels notes that several locations of both early Buddhism and Jainism are closely related to Yaksha-worship, that several Yakshas were "converted" to Buddhism, a well-known example being Vajrapani,[lower-roman 1]


  1. See "Ambattha Sutta", Digha Nikaya 3, where Vajrapani frightens an arrogant young Brahman, and the superiority of Kshatriyas over Brahmins is established.<ref group='web'>Piya Tan, Ambaṭṭha Sutta. Theme: Religious arrogance versus spiritual openness


  1. 1 2 Cousins 1996, pp. 57–63.
  2. Schumann 2003, p. 10-13.
  3. Prebish 2008, p. 2.
  4. Norman 1997, p. 33.
  5. Schumann 2003, p. xv.
  6. Wayman 1993, pp. 37-58.
  7. Samuels 2010, p. 140-152.
  8. Geiger 2012.
  9. Baldev Kumar (1973). Exact source needed!
  10. "HugeDomains.com - EasternMartialArts.com is for Sale (Eastern Martial Arts)". Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  11. Canzonieri, Salvatore (February–March 1998). "History of Chinese Martial Arts: Jin Dynasty to the Period of Disunity". Han Wei Wushu. 3 (9).
  12. The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense, Health and Enlightenment by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
  13. "Abbess Nyodai's 700th Memorial". Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  14. Current Perspectives in Buddhism: Buddhism today : issues & global dimensions, Madhusudan Sakya, Cyber Tech Publications, 2011, page 244
  15. Subhana Barzaghi Roshi
  16. Aspects of early Visnuism, pg. 32, by Jon Gonda at https://books.google.com/books?id=b8urRsuUJ9oC&pg=PA156&dq=indra+superior+vishnu&lr=&cd=40#v=onepage&q=indra%20superior%20vishnu&f=false
  17. 1 2 3 4 "Women Making History". Vajradakininunnery.org. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  18. 1 2 "Khenmo Drolma". Vajradakininunnery.org. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  19. 1 2 "Vajra Dakini Nunnery". Vajra Dakini Nunnery. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  20. Zen master who?: a guide to the people and stories of Zen By James Ishmael Ford
  21. Background story for Sister Khema
  22. Zen T.C. Zheng. "Cultivating her faith: Buddhist order's first female priest tends to diverse congregation". Chron.com. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  23. "Dharma Connections 2008 p.9" (PDF). Zen Center of Syracuse. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  24. Boorstein, Sylvia (2011-05-25). "Ordination of Bhikkhunis in the Theravada Tradition". Huffington Post.
  25. "Bhikkhuni Ordination in Los Angeles". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  26. "Chanting Names Once Forgotten: The Zen Women Ancestors Document". Lion's Roar. February 18, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  27. "2,500 Years After The Buddha, Tibetan Buddhists Acknowledge Women". Huffington Post. 18 May 2011.
  28. "Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, An Interview with the World's First Female Geshe". Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. September 11, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  29. "Buddhist nun professors or none?". onfaith. June 7, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  30. "Sushma Swaraj inaugurates Nalanda University". Economic Times. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  31. "Nalanda University reopens". Times of India. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  32. Nuns, Tibetan (2016-07-14). "Tibetan Buddhist Nuns Make History: Congratulations Geshema Nuns! - The Tibetan Nuns Project". Tnp.org. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  33. July 15, 2016 (2016-07-15). "Twenty Tibetan Buddhist nuns are first ever to earn Geshema degrees - Lion's Roar". Lionsroar.com. Retrieved 2016-10-04.


Printed sources


  1. p. 24. Books.google.com. 2002. ISBN 9780415266062. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  2. 1 2 Vergano, Dan (25 November 2013). "Oldest Buddhist Shrine Uncovered In Nepal May Push Back the Buddha's Birth Date". National Geographic. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  3. "Recent discovery of "earliest Buddhist shrine" a sham? - Tricycle". Retrieved 1 March 2015.

External links

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