Notes of Chapter 6 New Questions and Ideas Class 6th History

The story of the Buddha

• Siddhartha, also known as Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born about 2500 years ago.

• He belonged to a small gana known as the Sakya gana, and was a kshatriya.

• When he was a young man, he left the comforts of his home in search of knowledge.

• He wandered for several years and meditated for days on end under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he attained enlightenment.
→ After that, he was known as the Buddha or the Wise One.

• He then went to Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he taught for the first time.

• He spent the rest of his life travelling on foot, going from place to place, teaching people,
till he passed away at Kusinara.

• The Buddha taught that life is full of suffering and unhappiness which is caused because we have
cravings and desires.

• The Buddha taught in the language of the ordinary people, Prakrit, so that everybody could understand his message.


• These were part of the later Vedic texts.

• Upanishad literally means ‘approaching and sitting near’.

• They described the atman or the individual soul and the brahman or the universal soul that ultimately, were one.

• Most Upanishadic thinkers were men, especially brahmins and rajas.
→ There were also few women thinkers such as Gargi, who was famous for her learning, and participated in debates held in royal courts.


• The last and 24th tirthankara of the Jainas, Vardhamana Mahavira was the most famous among all thinkers.

• He was a kshatriya prince of the Lichchhavis, a group that was part of the Vajji sangha.

• Followers of Mahavira, who were known as Jainas, had to lead very simple lives, begging for food.

• They had to be absolutely honest, and were especially asked not to steal.

• Jainism was supported mainly by traders.

• Over hundreds of years, Jainism spread to different parts of north India, and to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

• The teachings of Mahavira and his followers were transmitted orally for several centuries.
→ They were written down in the form in which they are presently available at a place called Valabhi, in Gujarat, about 1500 years ago

The sangha

• Both the Mahavira and the Buddha felt that only those who left their homes could gain true knowledge.

• They arranged for them to stay together in the sangha, an association of those who left their homes.

• Men and women who joined the sangha led simple lives.
→ They meditated for most of the time and went to cities and villages to beg for food during fixed hours.
→ That is why they were known as bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.


• Both Jaina and Buddhist monks went from place to place throughout the year, teaching people.

• Many supporters of the monks and nuns, and they themselves felt the need for more permanent shelters and so monasteries were built.
→ These were known as viharas.

• The land on which the vihara was built was donated by a rich merchant or a landowner, or the king.

• The local people came with gifts of food, clothing and medicines for the monks and nuns.

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