Timeline of Buddhism
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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
Sources give the date of the Buddha's birth as 563 BCE and others as 623 BCE; Theravada Buddhist countries tend to use the latter figure. This displaces all the dates in the following table about 60 years backward in time.  See Theravada Buddhism.
There is controversy about the base date of the Buddhist Era, with 544 BCE and 483 BCE being advanced as the date of parinibbana of the Buddha. As Wilhelm Geiger pointed out, the Sri Lankan chronicles, the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa are the primary sources for ancient South Asian chronology; they date the consecration (abhisheka) of Ashoka to 218 years after the parinibbana. Chandragupta Maurya ascended the throne 56 years prior to this, or 162 years after the parinibbana. The approximate date of Chandragupta's ascension is known to be within two years of 321 BCE (from Megasthenes). Hence the approximate date of the parinibbana is between 485 and 481 BCE - which accords well with the Mahayana dating of 483 BCE.
The difference between the two reckonings seems to have occurred at sometime between the reigns of the Sri Lankan kings Udaya III (946–954 or 1007–1015) and Pârakkama Pandya (c. 1046–1048), when there was considerable unrest in the country.
- 563 BCE: Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha-to-be, is born in Lumbini into a leading royal family in the republic of the Shakyas, which is now part of Nepal.
- 547 BCE: Siddartha Gautama gets married at the age of 16 in Kapilavastu.
- 534 BCE: Prince Siddhartha goes outside the palace for the first time and sees The Four Sights: an old man, an ill man, a dead man, and a holy man. He is shocked by the first three—he did not know what age, disease, and death were—but is inspired by the holy man to give up his wealth. He leaves his house and lives with three ascetics. However, he wants more than to starve himself, so he becomes a religious teacher.
- 528 BCE: Siddhartha attains Enlightenment in Buddha Gaya (modern-day Bodhgaya), then travels to a deer park in Sarnath (near Varanasi), India, and begins expounding the Dharma.
- 528 BCE According to legend, Tapassu and Balluka, two North Indian traders who lived in a city of Pushkaravat, offered Siddhatha Gautama his first meal after his enlightenment. In return, the Buddha gave eight strands of his hair to the two brothers, who brought the strands to the eastern coast of Sri Lanka and enshrined them in a small pagoda in an area called "Thanthirimale". The pagoda is called "Giri-hadu-Saya" in present day Trincomalee. It has been renovated and enlarged several times by various kings of Sri Lanka. Recently,[when?] during an excavation,[where?] archaeologists[who?] uncovered a collection of hair enshrined in a casket which may be the strands brought by Tapassu and Balluka. [according to whom?] A myth claims the strands were instead taken to Burma and enshrined in the Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Before 500 BCE: Maya Devi Temple is erected in Lumbini, Nepal. It is "possibly the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures ever found and the first archaeological evidence of Buddha's life".
- c. 490–410 BCE: Life of the Buddha, according to recent research.[dubious ]
- c. 483 BCE: Gautama Buddha dies ('attains parinibbana') at Kusinara (now called Kushinagar), India. Three months following his death,[dubious ] the First Buddhist Council is convened.
- 383 BCE: The Second Buddhist Council is convened by King Kalasoka and held at Vaisali.
- c. 250 BCE: Third Buddhist Council, convened by Ashoka the Great and chaired by Moggaliputta Tissa, compiles the Kathavatthu to refute the heretical views and theories held by some Buddhist sects. Ashoka issues a number of edicts (Edicts of Ashoka) about the kingdom in support of Buddhism.
- c. 250 BCE: Emperor Ashoka the Great sends various Buddhist missionaries to faraway countries, as far as China and the Mon & Malay kingdoms in the east and the Hellenistic kingdoms in the west, in order to make Buddhism known to them.
- c. 250 BCE: First fully developed examples of Kharoṣṭhī script date from this period (the Aśokan inscriptions at Shāhbāzgaṛhī and Mānsehrā, a northwestern Indian subcontinent).
- 3rd century BCE: Indian traders regularly visit ports in Arabia, explaining the prevalence of place names in the region with Indian or Buddhist origin; e.g., bahar (from the Sanskrit vihara, a Buddhist monastery). Ashokan emissary monks bring Buddhism to Suwannaphum, the location of which is disputed. The Dipavamsa and the Mon believe it was a Mon seafaring settlement in present-day Burma.
- c. 220 BCE: Theravada Buddhism is officially introduced to Sri Lanka by the Venerable Mahinda, son of the emperor Ashoka of India during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa.
- 185 BCE: Brahmin general Pushyamitra Sunga overthrows the Mauryan dynasty and establishes the Sunga dynasty, apparently starting a wave of persecution against Buddhism.
- 180 BCE: Greco-Bactrian King Demetrius invades India as far as Pataliputra and establishes the Indo-Greek kingdom (180–10 BCE), under which Buddhism flourishes.
- c. 150 BCE: Indo-Greek king Menander I converts to Buddhism under the sage Nāgasena, according to the account of the Milinda Panha.
- 120 BCE: The Chinese Emperor Han Wudi (156–87 BCE) receives two golden statues of the Buddha, according to inscriptions in the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang.
- 1st century BCE: The Indo-Greek governor Theodorus enshrines relics of the Buddha, dedicating them to the deified "Lord Shakyamuni."
- 29 BCE: According to the Sinhalese chronicles, the Pali Canon is written down in the reign of King Vaṭṭagamiṇi (29–17 BCE)
- 2 BCE: The Hou Hanshu records the visit in 2 BCE of Yuezhi envoys to the Chinese capital, who give oral teachings on Buddhist sutras.
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|
|450 BCE||250 BCE||100 CE||500 CE||700 CE||800 CE||1200 CE|
- 67: Liu Ying's sponsorship of Buddhism is the first documented case of Buddhist practices in China.
- 67: Buddhism comes to China with the two monks Kasyapa and dharmaraksha.
- 68: Buddhism is officially established in China with the founding of the White Horse Temple.
- 78: Ban Chao, a Chinese General, subdues the Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan.
- 78–101: According to Mahayana tradition, the Fourth Buddhist council takes place under Kushana king Kanishka's reign, near Jalandar, India.
- 116: The Kushans, under Kanishka, establish a kingdom centered on Kashgar, also taking control of Khotan and Yarkand in the Tarim Basin.
- 148: An Shigao, a Parthian prince and Buddhist monk, arrives in China and proceeds to make the first translations of Theravada texts into Chinese.
- 178: The Kushan monk Lokaksema travels to the Chinese capital of Loyang and becomes the first known translator of Mahayana texts into Chinese.
- 2nd century/3rd century: Indian and Central Asian Buddhists travel to Vietnam.
- 3rd century: Use of Kharoṣṭhī script in Gandhara stops.
- 3rd century and 4th century: Kharoṣṭhī script is used in the southern Silk Road cities of Khotan and Niya.
- 296: The earliest surviving Chinese Buddhist scripture dates from this year (Zhu Fo Yao Ji Jing, discovered in Dalian, late 2005).
- 4th century: Two Chinese monks take scriptures to the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo and establish papermaking in Korea.
- 320-467: The University at Nalanda grows to support 3,000–10,000 monks.
- 399-414: Fa Xian travels from China to India, then returns to translate Buddhist works into Chinese.
- 5th century: The kingdom of Funan (centered in modern Cambodia) begins to advocate Buddhism in a departure from Hinduism. Earliest evidence of Buddhism in Myanmar (Pali inscriptions). Earliest evidence of Buddhism in Indonesian (statues). Earliest reinterpretations of Pali texts. The stupa at Dambulla (Sri Lanka) is constructed.
- 402: At the request of Yao Xing, Kumarajiva travels to Chang'an and translates many Buddhist texts into Chinese.
- 403: In China, Hui Yuan argues that Buddhist monks should be exempt from bowing to the emperor.
- 405: Yao Xing honours Kumarajiva.
- 425: Buddhism reaches Sumatra.
- 464: Buddhabhadra reaches China to preach Buddhism.
- 495: The Shaolin temple is built in the name of Buddhabhadra, by edict of emperor Wei Xiao Wen.
- 485: Five monks from Gandhara travel to the country of Fusang (Japan, or possibly the American continent), where they introduce Buddhism.
- 6th century: Zen adherents enter Vietnam from China. Jataka stories are translated into Persian by order of the Zoroastrian king, Khosrau I of Persia.
- 527: Bodhidharma settles into the Shaolin monastery in Henan province of China.
- 552: Buddhism is introduced to Japan via Baekje (Korea), according to Nihonshoki; some scholars place this event in 538.
- Early 7th century: Jingwan begins carving sutras onto stone at Fangshan, Yuzhou, 75 km southwest of modern-day Beijing.
- 607: A Japanese imperial envoy is dispatched to Sui, China to obtain copies of sutras.
- 7th century: Xuan Zang travels to India, noting the persecution of Buddhists by Sasanka (king of Gouda, a state in northwest Bengal) before returning to Chang An in China to translate Buddhist scriptures. End of sporadic Buddhist rule in the Sindh. King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet sends messengers to India to get Buddhist texts. Latest recorded use of the Kharoṣṭhī script amongst Buddhist communities around Kucha.
- 671: Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Yi Jing visits Palembang, capital of the partly Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and reports over 1000 Buddhist monks in residence. Uisang returns to Korea after studying Chinese Huayan Buddhism and founds the Hwaeom school.
- 736: Huayan is transmitted to Japan via Korea, when Rōben invites the Korean Hwaeom monk Simsang to lecture, and formally founds Japan's Kegon tradition in the Tōdaiji temple.
- 743–754: The Chinese monk Jianzhen attempts to reach Japan eleven times, succeeding in 754 to establish the Japanese Ritsu school, which specialises in the vinaya (monastic rules).
- 8th century: Buddhist Jataka stories are translated into Syriac and Arabic as Kalilag and Damnag. An account of Buddha's life is translated into Greek by John of Damascus and widely circulated to the third seal of Jerusalem Christians as the story of Barlaam and Josaphat. By the 14th century knights of columbus, this story of Josaphat becomes so popular that he is made a Catholic saint.
- 8th century: Under the reign of King Trisong Deutsen, Padmasambhava travels from Afghanistan to establish tantric Buddhism in Tibet (later known as the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism), replacing Bonpo as the kingdom's main religion. Buddhism quickly spreads to Sikkim and Bhutan.
- c. 760: Construction is begun on Borobodur, the famous Indonesian Buddhist structure, probably as a non-Buddhist shrine. It is completed as a Buddhist monument in 830, after about 50 years of work.
- 804: Under the reign of Emperor Kammu of Japan, a fleet of four ships sets sail for mainland China. Of the two ships that arrive, one carries the monk Kūkai—recently ordained by the Japanese government as a Bhikkhu—who absorbs Vajrayana teachings in Chang'an and returns to Japan to found the Japanese Shingon school. The other ship carries the monk Saichō, who returns to Japan to found the Japanese Tendai school, partly based upon the Chinese Tiantai tradition.
- 838–847: Ennin, a priest of the Tendai school, travels in China for nine years. He reaches both the famous Buddhist mountain of Wutaishan and the Chinese capital, Chang'an, keeping a detailed diary that is a primary source for this period of Chinese history, including the Buddhist persecution.
- 841–846: Emperor Wuzong of the Tang Dynasty (given name: Li Yan) reigns in China; he is one of three Chinese emperors to prohibit Buddhism. From 843-845, Wuzong carries out the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution, permanently weakening the institutional structure of Buddhism in China.
- 9th-century Tibet: Decline of Buddhism; persecution by King Langdarma.
- 10th century: Buddhist temple construction commences at Bagan, Myanmar. In Tibet, a strong Buddhist revival is begun. The Caodong school of Zen is founded by Dongshan Liangjie and his disciples in southern China.
- 971: Chinese Song Dynasty commissions Chengdu woodcarvers to carve the entire Buddhist canon for printing. Work is completed in 983; 130,000 blocks are produced, in total.
- 991: A printed copy of the Song Dynasty Buddhist canon arrives in Korea, impressing the government.
- 11th century: Marpa, Konchog Gyalpo, Atisha, and others introduce the Sarma lineages into Tibet.
- 1009: Vietnam's Lý Dynasty begins, which is partly brought about by an alliance with the Buddhist monkhood. Ly emperors patronize Mahayana Buddhism, in addition to traditional spirits.
- 1010: Korea begins carving its own woodblock print edition of the Buddhist canon. No completion date is known; the canon is continuously expanded, with the arrival of new texts from China.
- 1017: In Southeast Asia, and especially in Sri Lanka, the Bhikkhuni (Buddhist nuns) Order dies out due to invasions. The bhikkhu line in Sri Lanka is later revived with bhikkhus from Burma.
- 1025: Srivijaya, a Buddhist kingdom based in Sumatra, is raided by the Chola empire 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.
- 1056: King Anawrahta of Pagan Kingdom converts to Theravada Buddhism.
- 1057: Anawrahta captures Thaton Lower Burma, strengthening Theravada Buddhism in the country.
- 1063: A copy of the Khitans' printed canon arrives in Korea from mainland China.
- 1070: Bhikkhus from Pagan arrive in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka to reinstate the Theravada ordination line
- 1084–1112: In Myanmar, King Kyansittha reigns. He completes 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.
- 12th century: Sanskrit is subsequently written in Devanagari.
- 1100–1125: Huizong reigns during the Chinese Song Dynasty and outlaws Buddhism to promote the Dao. He is one of three Chinese emperors to have prohibited Buddhism.
- 1133–1212: Hōnen establishes Pure Land Buddhism as an independent sect in Japan.
- 1164: Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka destroyed by foreign invasion. With the guidance of two forest monks - Ven. Mahakassapa and Ven. Sariputta, Parakramabahu I reunites all bhikkhus in Sri Lanka into the Mahavihara sect
- 1171: Anawrahta of Pagan upon request of King Vijayabahu I of Ceylon sends monks and scriptures to restart Buddhism in the island kingdom
- 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 sets the stage for the later conversion of the Khmer people to Theravada Buddhism.
- 1190: King Sithu II of Pagan realigns Burmese Buddhism with the Mahavihara school of Ceylon
- 1236: Bhikkhus from Kañcipuram, India, arrive in Sri Lanka to revive the Theravada ordination line
- Late 12th century: The great Buddhist educational centre at Nalanda, India, (the origin of Buddhism) where various subjects were taught subjects such as Buddhism, Logic, Philosophy, Law, Medicine, Grammar, Yoga, Mathematics, Alchemy, and Astrology, is sacked, looted and burnt by Islamic invaders. Nalanda is supported by kings of several dynasties and serves as a great international centre of learning.
- 13th century: Theravada overtakes Mahayana—previously practised alongside Hinduism—as the dominant form of Buddhism in Cambodia; Sri Lanka is an influence in this change. In Persia, the historian Rashid-al-Din Hamadani 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, are identified in this collection. In the Mahayana tradition during the 13th century, the Japanese Mugai Nyodai became the first female abbess and thus the first ordained female Zen master.
- 1222: Birth of Nichiren Daishonin (1222–1282), the Japanese founder of Nichiren Buddhism.
- c. 1238: The Thai Kingdom of Sukhothai is established, with Theravada Buddhism as the state religion.
- 1227: Dogen Zenji takes the Caodong school of Zen from China to Japan as the Sōtō sect.
- 1244: Eiheiji Soto Zen Temple and Monastery are established by Dogen Zenji.
- 1285: Arghun makes the Il-Khanate a Buddhist state.
- 1287: The Pagan Empire, the largest Theravada kingdom of Southeast Asia, falls due to Mongol invasions
- c. 1279–1298: Sukhothai's third and most famous ruler, Ram Khamhaeng (Rama the Bold), reigns and makes vassals of Laos, much of modern Thailand, Pegu (Burma), and parts of the Malay Peninsula, thus giving rise to Sukhothai artistic tradition. After Ram Khamhaeng's death, Sukhothai loses control of its territories as its vassals become independent.
- 1295: Mongol leader Ghazan Khan is converted to Islam, ending a line of Tantric Buddhist leaders.
- 1305–1316: Buddhists in Persia attempt to convert Uldjaitu Khan.
- 1321: Sojiji Soto Zen Temple and Monastery established by Keizan Zenji.
- 1351: In Thailand, U Thong, possibly the son of a Chinese merchant family, establishes Ayutthaya as his capital and takes the name of Ramathibodi.
- 1391–1474: Gyalwa Gendun Drubpa, first Dalai Lama of Tibet.
- 1405–1431: The Chinese eunuch admiral Zheng He makes seven voyages in this period, through southeast Asia, India, the Persian Gulf, East Africa, and Egypt. At the time, Buddhism is well-established in China, so visited peoples may have had exposure to Chinese Buddhism.
- 1578: Altan Khan of the Tümed gives the title of Dalai Lama to Sonam Gyatso (later known as the third Dalai Lama).
- 17th century & 18th century: When Vietnam divides during this period, the Nguyễn rulers of the south choose to support Mahayana Buddhism as an integrative ideology for the ethnically plural society of their kingdom, which is also populated by Chams and other minorities.
- 1614: The Toyotomi family rebuilds a great image of Buddha at the Temple of Hōkōji in Kyōtō.
- 1615: The Oirat Mongols convert to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.
- 1635: In Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu is born as a great-grandson of Abadai Khan of the Khalkha.
- 1642: Güüshi Khan of the Khoshuud donates the sovereignty of Tibet to the fifth Dalai Lama.
- 1753: Sri Lanka reinstatement of monks ordination from Thailand - the Siyam Nikaya lineage
- 1766–1767: In Thailand, many Buddhist texts are destroyed as the Burmese invade Ayutthaya.
- 19th century: In Thailand, King Mongkut—himself a former monk—conducts 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 northeast part of the country.
- 1802–1820: Nguyễn Ánh 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 takes over the north from the remaining Trinh. After coming to power, he creates a Confucianist orthodox state and is eager to limit the competing influence of Buddhism. He forbids adult men to attend Buddhist ceremonies.
- 1820–1841: Minh Mạng reigns in Vietnam, further restricting Buddhism. He insists that all monks be assigned to cloisters and carry identification documents. He also places new restrictions on printed material and begins the persecution of Catholic missionaries and converts that his successors (not without provocation) continue.
- c. 1860: In Sri Lanka, against all expectations, the monastic and lay communities bring about a major revival in Buddhism, a movement that goes hand in hand with growing nationalism; the revival follows 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.
- 1879: A council is convened under the patronage of King Mindon of Burma to re-edit the Pali canon. The king has the texts engraved on 729 stones, which are then set upright on the grounds of a monastery near Mandalay.
- 1882: Jade Buddha Temple is founded in Shanghai, China, with two Jade Buddha statues imported from Burma.
- c. 1884: Irish-born U Dhammaloka ordained in Burma; first named but not first known western bhikkhu.
- 1893: The World Parliament of Religions meets in Chicago, Illinois; Anagarika Dharmapala and Soyen Shaku attend.
- 1896: Using Fa Xian's records, Nepalese archaeologists rediscover the great stone pillar of Ashoka at Lumbini.
- 1899: Gordon Douglas is ordained in Myanmar; until recently thought to be the first Westerner to be ordained in the Theravada tradition.
- 1908: Charles Henry Allan Bennett a British national previously ordained as a Theravada monk as Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya in Burma leads the First Buddhist Mission to the West.
- 1911: U Dhammaloka tried for sedition for opposition to Christian missionaries in Burma.
- 1922: Zenshuji Soto Mission is founded as the first Soto Zen temple in North America.
- 1930: Soka Gakkai is founded in Japan.
- 1949: Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is returned to partial Buddhist control.
- 1950: World Fellowship of Buddhists is founded in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- 1952: German Dharmaduta Society founded by Asoka Weeraratna in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 21, 1952, to spread Buddhism in Germany and other western countries.It was originally known as Lanka Dhammaduta Society.
- 1954: The Sixth Buddhist Council is held in Yangon, Myanmar, organized by U Nu. It ends in time for the 2500th anniversary of the passing of the Buddha.
- 1956: Indian untouchable leader B.R. Ambedkar converts to Buddhism, with more than 350,000 followers—beginning the modern Neo-Buddhist movement.
- 1956: The Zen Studies Society is founded in New York to support the work of D.T. Suzuki.
- 1957: First Theravada Buddhist Mission to Germany from Sri Lanka sponsored by the German Dharmaduta Society founded by Asoka Weeraratna. The Mission comprised Ven. Soma, Ven. Kheminde and Ven. Vinitha of the Vajiraramaya Temple in Colombo, and was accompanied by Asoka Weeraratna.
- 1957: Establishment of the Berlin Buddhist Vihara in Berlin - Frohnau, Germany with residential monks from Sri Lanka, by the German Dharmaduta Society upon purchase of Das Buddhistische Haus founded by Dr. Paul Dahlke in 1924. This is the first Theravada Buddhist Vihara in continental Europe.
- 1957: Caves near the summit of Pai-tai mountain, Fangshan district, 75 km southwest of Beijing, are reopened, revealing thousands of Buddhist sutras that had been carved onto stone since the 7th century. Seven sets of rubbings are made, and the stones are numbered, in work that continues until 1959.
- 1959: The 14th Dalai Lama flees Tibet amidst unrest and establishes an exile community in India. Monasteries that participated in or sheltered agents of partisan violence were damaged or destroyed in the fighting.
- 1962: The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is founded by Tripitaka Master Shramana Hsuan Hua, who later founds the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and ordains the first five fully ordained American Buddhist monks and nuns.
- 1962: The San Francisco Zen Center is founded by Shunryu Suzuki.
- 1963: Thích Quảng Đức immolates himself to protest the oppression of the Buddhist religion by Ngo Dinh Diem.
- 1965: The Burmese government arrests over 700 monks in Hmawbi, near Rangoon, for refusing to accept government rule.
- 1966: The World Buddhist Sangha Council is convened by Theravadins in Sri Lanka with the hope of bridging differences and working together. The first convention is attended by leading monks from many countries and sects, Mahayana as well as Theravada. Nine Basic Points Unifying the Theravada and Mahayana are written by Ven. Walpola Rahula are approved unanimously.
- 1967: Friends of the Western Sangha (later Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) founded by Urgyen Sangharakshita
- 1968: August. First ordinations into the Western Buddhist Order (Founder: Urgyen Sangharakshita)
- 1968: The Shurangama Sutra and Shurangama Mantra are lectured for the first time in the West (San Francisco) by Tripitaka Master Shramana Hsuan Hua during 90 day retreat. The first five American Bhikshus and Bhikshunis are ordained in the Chinese tradition including the oldest still-in-robes American Bhikshuni nun Heng Chr.
- 1970s: Indonesian Archaeological Service and UNESCO restore Borobodur.
- 1974: Wat Pah Nanachat, the first monastery dedicated to providing training and support for western Buddhist monks, is founded in Thailand by Venerable Ajahn Chah. The monks trained here would later establish branch monasteries throughout the world.
- 1974: The Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) is founded in Boulder, Colorado.
- 1974: In Burma, during demonstrations at U Thant's funeral, 600 monks are arrested and several are bayoneted by government forces.
- 1975: Lao Communist rulers attempt to change attitudes to religion—in particular, calling on monks to work, not beg. This causes many to return to lay life, but Buddhism remains popular.
- 1975: The Insight Meditation Society is established in Barre, Massachusetts.
- 1975–1979: Cambodian Communists under Pol Pot try to completely destroy Buddhism, and very nearly succeed. By the time of the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1978, nearly every monk and religious intellectual has been either murdered or driven into exile, and nearly every temple and Buddhist library has been destroyed.
- 1976:Bhikshus Rev. Heng Sure and Rev. Heng Chau, the American Buddhist Monk disciples of Ven. Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, for the sake of world peace, undertook an over six hundred mile three steps one bow pilgrimage from Los Angeles area to City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Mendocino area, repeatedly taking three steps and one bow to cover the entire journey. In the entire 2.5 years taken to make the pilgrimage, Shramana Heng Sure observed a practice of total silence.
- 1976: Following a demonstration in Burma, the government seeks to discredit the critical monk La Ba by claiming that he is a cannibal and a murderer.
- 1978: In Burma, more monks and novices are arrested, disrobed, and imprisoned by the government. Monasteries are closed and property seized. The critical monk U Nayaka is arrested and dies, the government claiming it is suicide.
- 1980: The Burmese military government asserts authority over the sangha, and violence against monks continues through the decade.
- 1983: The Shanghai Institute of Buddhism is established at Jade Buddha Temple, under the Shanghai Buddhist Association.
- 1988: During the 1988 uprising, SPDC troops gun down monks. After the uprising, U Nyanissara, a senior monk, records a tape that discusses democracy in Buddhist precepts; the tape is banned.
- 1990, August 27: Over 7000 monks meet in Mandalay, in Burma, to call for a boycott of the military. They refuse to accept alms from military families or perform services for them. The military government seizes monasteries and arrests hundreds of monks, including senior monks U Sumangala and U Yewata. The monks face long-term imprisonment, and all boycotting monks are disrobed; some monks are tortured during interrogation.
- 1992: The Buddha Statue of Hyderabad, India is installed, a work of former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Late Sri N.T. Rama Rao. The 16-meter tall, 350-ton monolithic colossus rises high from the placid waters of picturesque Husain Sagar Lake. It is made of white granite, finely sculptured and stands majestically amidst the shimmering waters of the lake. It is later consecrated by Dalai Lama.
- 1996: Subhana Barzagi Roshi became the Diamond Sangha's first female roshi (Zen teacher) when she received transmission on March 9, 1996, in Australia. In the ceremony Subhanna also became the first female roshi in the lineage of Robert Aitken Roshi.
- 1996, India: The Bhikkhuni (Buddhist nuns) Order and lineage is revived in Sarnath, India through the efforts of Sakyadhita, an International Buddhist Women Association. The revival is done with some resistance from some of the more literal interpreters of the Buddhist Vinaya (monastic code) and lauded by others in the community.
- 1998, January 25: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists commit a deadly suicide attack on Sri Lanka's most sacred Buddhist site and a UNESCO World Heritage centre: the Temple of the Tooth, where Buddha's tooth relic is enshrined. Eight civilians are killed and 25 others are injured and significant damage is done to the temple structure, which was first constructed in 1592.
- 1998: Sherry Chayat, born in Brooklyn, became the first American woman to receive transmission in the Rinzai school of Buddhism.
- 2001, May: Two of the world's tallest ancient Buddha statues, the Buddhas of Bamyan, are completely destroyed by the Taliban in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
- 2002: Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, became the first bhikkhuni in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, getting ordained in Taiwan in 2002.
- 2004: Khenmo Drolma became the first westerner, male or female, to be installed as an abbot in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. She was installed as the abbot of the Vajra Dakini Nunnery in 2004. The Vajra Dakini Nunnery does not follow The Eight Garudhammas.
- 2004, April: In Sri Lanka, Buddhist monks acting as candidates for the Jaathika Hela Urumaya party win nine seats in elections.
- 2006, April: The Government of the People's Republic of China sponsors the First World Buddhist Forum in Mount Putuo, Zhejiang Province. Notably absent was the Dalai Lama.
- 2006: Merle Kodo Boyd, born in Texas, became the first African-American woman ever to receive Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism.
- 2006: For the first time in American history, a Buddhist ordination was held where an American woman (Sister Khanti-Khema) took the Samaneri (novice) vows with an American monk (Bhante Vimalaramsi) presiding. This was done for the Buddhist American Forest Tradition at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center in Missouri.
- November: In the United States, two Buddhists are elected for the first time to the 110th Congress.
- 2007: Myokei Caine-Barrett, born and ordained in Japan, became the first female Nichiren priest in her affiliated Nichiren Order of North America.
- 2008: After a 10-year process of advanced training culminating in a ceremony called shitsugo (literally “room-name”), Sherry Chayat received the title of roshi and the name Shinge (“Heart/Mind Flowering") from Eido Roshi, which was the first time that this ceremony was held in the United States.
- 2010, Spring: Western Buddhist Order(Founder: Urgyen Sangharakshita) changes name to Triratna Buddhist Order and Friends of the Western Buddhist Order to Triratna Buddhist Community.
- 2010: In 2010 the first Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in America (Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont) was officially consecrated. It offers novice ordination and follows the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. The abbot of the Vajra Dakini nunnery is Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, who is the first bhikkhuni in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, having been ordained in Taiwan in 2002. She is also the first westerner, male or female, to be installed as an abbot in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, having been installed as the abbot of the Vajra Dakini Nunnery in 2004. The Vajra Dakini Nunnery does not follow The Eight Garudhammas.
- 2010: In Northern California, 4 novice nuns were given the full bhikkhuni ordination in the Thai Theravada tradition, which included the double ordination ceremony. Bhante Gunaratana and other monks and nuns were in attendance. It was the first such ordination ever in the Western hemisphere. The following month, more bhikkhuni ordinations were completed in Southern California, led by Walpola Piyananda and other monks and nuns. The bhikkhunis ordained in Southern California were Lakshapathiye Samadhi (born in Sri Lanka), Cariyapanna, Susila, Sammasati (all three born in Vietnam), and Uttamanyana (born in Myanmar).
- 2010: The Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) approves a document honoring the women ancestors in the Zen tradition at its biannual meeting on October 8, 2010. Female ancestors, dating back 2,500 years from India, China, and Japan, may now be included in the curriculum, ritual, and training offered to Western Zen students.
- History of Buddhism
- History of Hinduism
- Silk Road transmission of Buddhism
- Timeline of Jainism
- Timeline of Zen Buddhism in the United States
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