dcs wrote:Does anyone know what term Buddhists used to refer to themselves during the ancient and medieval time periods? I imagine that "Buddhist" must be a relatively recent term coined by Westerners during the Colonial era.
Samana, or Śramaṇas
Buddha was not the first Śramaṇa. His father, King Śuddhodana, while Siddhārtha was still a householder, feared that he would become a Śramaṇa. Śramaṇa's were a certain type of ascetics around at the time who shaved their heads and renounced the household life. They typically engaged in austerities, and meditation. Mahavira and Gotama the Buddha were both Śramaṇa contemporaries.
"Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina, and Gautama Buddha were leaders of their śramaṇa orders. According to Jain literature and the Buddhist Pali Canon, there were also some other śramaṇa leaders at that time." - quote from article below
The Buddha later realized that the sort of austerities they practiced had no benefit, and began his own path, up until his enlightenment. From this point on, his views/position greatly differed with the other Śramaṇa orders.
Śramaṇa movementhttp://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us
Several śramaṇa movements are known to have existed before the 6th century BCE dating back to Indus valley civilization.
Samkhya and Yoga are two early and very important philosophies that follow the Sramana philosophy and which had their origins in the Indus Valley period of about 3000-2000 BCE. Yoga is probably the most important Sramana practice to date, which follows the Samkhya philosophy of liberating oneself from the grip of Prakriti (nature) through individual effort. Elaborate processes are outlined in Yoga to achieve individual liberation through breathing techniques (Pranayama), physical postures (Asanas) and meditations (Dhyana). Patanjali's Yoga sutra is one product (school) of this philosophy. Other Yogic schools and the Tantra traditions are also important derivatives and branches of the Sramana practices.
The movement later received a boost during the times of Mahavira and Buddha when Vedic ritualism had become the dominant tradition in certain parts of India. Śramaṇas adopted a path alternate to the Vedic rituals to achieve liberation, while renouncing household life. They typically engage in three types of activities: austerities, meditation, and associated theories (or views). As spiritual authorities, at times śramaṇa were at variance with traditional Brahmin authority, and they often recruited members from Brahmin communities themselves, such as Cānakya and Śāriputra.
Mahāvīra, the 24th Jina, and Gautama Buddha were leaders of their śramaṇa orders. According to Jain literature and the Buddhist Pali Canon, there were also some other śramaṇa leaders at that time. ...