Question: Discuss the reasons for the emergence of new ideas in India around 6th century BCE.
Answer: During the Vedic period, all the religious texts, hymns and mantras were composed in Sanskrit, which the common people failed to understand. They wanted a simple religion and a simple language, which they could understand easily. These circumstances were thus best suited for the growth of new ideas and new religious around 6th century BCE.
Question: What were the main teachings of Mahavira?
Answer: The teachings of Mahavira were simple. He taught people three things – right faith, right knowledge and right behaviour:
- Mahavira known believed in ahimsa or non-violence. He did not want his followers to kill or harm any living thing.
- He taught his followers not to speak lies and not to steal other people’s things.
- He did not believed in religious ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices.
- He considered all people to be equal and opposed the caste system. He emphasized that people should be treated with respect and compassion.
Question: What was the eightfold path?
Answer: According to Buddha, eightfold path was the key to end suffering and attain enlightenment. It consisted of – right observation, right determination, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right memory and right meditation.
Question: What are the rules prescribed for Buddhist monks and nuns?
Answer: The monks had to strictly follow Buddh’s teachings (dhamma):
- They were expected to give up their family life and spent most of their time in prayer and meditation.
- They had to beg for their living and were called bhikshus (the Prakrit word for beggar) and bhikshunis.
- The members of the sanghas belonged to different castes, communities and professions.
- Women had to take permission from their husbands and slaves and servants had to seek the approval of their masters or landlords before joining the sangha.
Question: Describe the ways in which the Buddha tried to spread his message to the people.
Answer: The Buddha preached about life being full of suffering and unhappiness. He spoke of ‘tanha’ the desire to have more. He taught about ‘Karma’our actions which affect us in the current life and also in the later lives. He taught people to be kind and to respect the lives of others. He used the language of the ordinary people, Prakrit, to talk to them.