According to popular belief, there were 18 pre-Buddhist Sramana schools during this time. What this signifies is a little more difficult. First, despite the term “school,” there was no institutional divide in the saga at the time. Even as the Mahyna evolved from this age, Chinese traveller Xuanzang reported that monks of different schools would live side by side in dormitories and attend the same lectures. The only difference between them was the literature they read. Second, there is no consensus among historical sources on the names of these “eighteen schools.”
Pre-Buddhist Sramana Schools
- According to conventional accounts, these early schools were subsequently divided into the Sarvstivdins, Dharmaguptaka, and Vibhajyavda, totalling 18 or 20 schools.
- In truth, the Buddhist tradition has many overlapping lists of 18 schools, totalling approximately twice that many, albeit some may be different names for the same schools.
- The customary numbers are most likely just that: conventional. The Early Buddhist texts refer to the textual material shared by the early schools, and they are a significant source for understanding their theological similarities and differences.
- The following are the lists of Pre Buddhist Schools provided by various sources:
According to the Dipavamsa
- The following is a list collected from Sri Lankan life and times: The Dīpavaṃsa is Sri Lanka’s oldest historical record, while The Mahavansa is a comprehensive history of the country written in the manner of an epic poem in Pali.
- Sthavirada was an early Buddhist school, Vibhajyavda is a term used to refer to groupings of early Buddhists who belonged to the Sthavira Nikaya, and Theravada means “elderly schools.”
- According to certain records, Mahsaka was one of the first Buddhist schools.
- The Prajaptivda was a branch of the Mahsghika, one of India’s first Buddhist schools. According to early records, Bahurutya (Sanskrit) was one of the first Buddhist schools.
- The Ekavyvahrika was one of the first Buddhist schools, Caitika was an early Buddhist school and a Mahsghika sub-sect.
- The Caityaka sect was another name for them. Furthermore, the Dipavamsa identifies the following six schools without explaining where they originated:
- Hemavatika (Himavata in Sanskrit)
- Aparaseliya (Sanskrit: Aparaaila)
According to Vasumitra
- This list was drawn from the Samayabhedo Paracana Cakra, which was written by Vasumitra, the fourth monarch of the Shunga Empire of North India.
- The Sarvstivda was one of the first Buddhist schools founded around Asoka’s reign. Sthavira Nikaya. is one of the first Buddhists schools.
- Sarvstivdins refer to Haimavata as “the original Sthavira School,” but this school was only influential in India’s north.
- Around the reigns of Asoka, Vatsiputriya, Dharmottariya, Bhadrayanya, Sammittiya, and Sannagarika, the Sarvstivda was one of the early Buddhist schools.
- According to certain records, Mahsaka was one of the first Buddhist schools. Depending on the source, the Dharmaguptaka is one of the 18 or 20 early Buddhist schools.
- They are supposed to have descended from the Mahsakas, another sect. Kasyapiya was one of India’s first Buddhist schools.
- In ancient India, the Sramana movement was a non-Vedic movement that ran simultaneously with Vedic Hinduism.
- The Sramana tradition gave birth to Jainism, Buddhism, and Yoga, as well as the related concepts of sasra (birth and death) and Moksha (liberation) (liberation from that cycle).
- Sramanism, one of the strands of Hindu Philosophy, considers thought, hard work, and discipline.
- Brahmanism, which got its philosophical essence from Mimamsa, was one of two. The concept of Bhakti based on the idea of God is the third and most popular branch of Indian intellectual thinking in most areas of the world.
Pursuit of spiritual liberation
- Liberation in Indian philosophy refers to the end of all suffering.
- The concept of the pursuit of spiritual liberation refers to someone’s current state of enslavement and the prospect of their release into a state of liberty.
- It is possibly the most important concept in man’s search for pleasure.
- Like all other aware organisms, human beings are always fighting for their survival.
- While the battle is greater for lower beings, superior beings (who use their intellect to understand the conditions and meaning of existence develop strategies) are motivated by instinct and thus are more likely to succeed in life.
- The worldly situation of human life is unfinished, broken, and points beyond itself. It has a goal, a purpose to fulfil, and a deadline to meet.
After reviewing the numerous schools of thought on the meaning of freedom based on Indian philosophy, it is clear that all recognise Moksha or liberation as the salvation from the cycle of rebirths and regard it as the highest of human purposes or values. Each Indian philosophy outlined a distinct path to liberation and progress toward life’s highest aim. Selfless love, service to others, purification, and self-control are all aspects of liberation. Since ancient times, the 2 primary schools of philosophy in India have been Jainism and Buddhism. This understanding is founded on personal experience and goes beyond intellectual understanding. Space, time, and causality all play a role.