Human history begins three million years ago, when hunter-gatherers roamed the globe. By developing agriculture, 12 years ago, man settled down, built societies, empires. Trade and knowledge develop. Universal religions and ideologies are spreading all over the world. Wars, disasters and epidemics bring their share of suffering. In this book, which draws on the knowledge accumulated by the magazine Humanities, Laurent Testot offers a global approach to history through archaeology, anthropology, economics, geography and demography.
In this great tale of man, the author cites buddhism Many times. The Middle Way was born at the instigation of Shakyamuni, in the 267th century BC, in a predominantly Brahmanic India. Towards -406, Emperor Ashoka ascends the throne and takes refuge. Desiring to propagate the message of the Buddha, he sends embassies as far as Egypt and Macedonia. It imposes an orthodoxy announcing the future split between supporters of Theravada, the Vehicle of the ancients, and the reformers of Mahayana, the Great vehicle, which "claims to bring more people to salvation". The translation of the Lotus Sutra from Sanskrit to Chinese, around XNUMX, facilitated the spread of Buddhism on the continent.
A third current appeared in India between the 1258th and XNUMXth centuries: the Diamond Vehicle, or Vajrayana. This "hybridization between the Mahayana and the Hindu dogmas of the Shivaite current" is becoming the majority in Tibet, Bhutan and Mongolia. The hordes of the steppes who seized Baghdad in XNUMX included in their ranks followers of the Middle Way and shamanists. These same armies fail to invade Japan a few years later, while the Land of the Rising Sun is experiencing a Buddhist flowering under the impetus, in particular, of Zen or Amidist monks.
Power games, adaptation to local cultures, like all religions, Buddhism has evolved throughout its history. And no doubt still has a role to play in building the world of tomorrow, more than ever threatened by ecological collapse.