The seventh and eighth lectures by Prof David Eckel on Buddhism look at the Buddhist monastic community and Buddhist art and architecture.
According to Buddhist tradition, the small group of friends who made up the audience of the Buddha’s first sermon became the first of many converts who formed the early Buddhist samgha, or “community.”
Over the course of a long and productive teaching career, the Buddha laid the foundation for Buddhist monasticism, including both monks and nuns, as well as a sophisticated tradition of lay devotion and support.
After the Buddha’s death, attention shifted from the Buddha himself to the teachings and moral principles embodied in his dharma. His followers convened a council to recite his teaching, forming the nucleus of a canon of Buddhist scripture, while disputes in the early community anticipated the sectarian divisions of later Buddhist schools.