The Ultimate Buddha Quiz

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the meaning of the term 'Buddha'?

What is the Noble Eightfold Path?

What was the Buddha's tribe of origin?

What was the reason for the Buddha's renunciation?

What did the Buddha's first sermon teach?

Where did the Buddha's community grow to around sixty awakened monks?

What was the Vassa rainy season?

Where did the Buddha settle in his later years and develop a set of regulations for the sangha?

What are the core teachings of Buddhism?


Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, was a wandering ascetic and religious teacher who founded Buddhism in South Asia during the 6th or 5th century BCE. He was born in Lumbini, Nepal, to royal parents but renounced his home life to live as an ascetic. After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, he wandered through the Indo-Gangetic Plain, teaching and building a monastic order. He taught the Middle Way between sensual indulgence and severe asceticism, leading to Nirvana, which is freedom from ignorance, craving, rebirth, and suffering. His teachings are summarized in the Noble Eightfold Path, a training of the mind that includes ethical training and meditative practices. The Buddha has since been venerated by numerous religions and communities across Asia. Siddhartha Gautama came to be known as Buddha, which means "Awakened One" or "Enlightened One." The term "Buddha" is not a personal name, but a title for those who have attained bodhi (awakening, enlightenment). His family name was Siddhārtha Gautama, which means "He Who Achieves His Goal." The Buddha commonly used the term Tathāgata when referring to himself or other Buddhas in the Pāli Canon. The exact meaning of the term is unknown, but it is often thought to mean either "one who has thus gone" or "one who has thus come." The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, found in Gandhara and written in Gāndhārī, they date from the first century BCE to the third century CE. Scholars are hesitant to make claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most of them accept that the Buddha lived, taught, and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada, and during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire. There is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies, as the earliest versions of Buddhist biographical texts already contain many supernatural, mythical, or legendary elements. The dates of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Within the Eastern Buddhist tradition, the traditional date for the death of the Buddha was 949 BCE. According to the Ka-tan system of time calculation in the Kalachakra tradition, Buddha is believed to have died about 833 BCE. Buddhist texts present two chronologies which have been used to date the lifetime of the Buddha. The "long chronology," from Sri Lankese chronicles, states that the Buddha was born 298 years before the coronation of Asoka, and died 218 years before his coronation. Indian sources, and their Chinese and Tibetan translations, contain a "short chronology," which place the Buddha's birth at 180 years before Asoka's coronation, and his death 100 years before Asoka's coronation. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More recently his death is dated later, between 411 and 400 BCE.The Life and Times of the Buddha

  • The Buddha's death is believed to have occurred within 20 years of 400 BCE by most historians.

  • The long or short chronology affects the dating of Bimbisara and Ajatashatru's reign.

  • The Buddha was a Sakya, a sub-Himalayan ethnicity and clan of north-eastern region of the Indian subcontinent.

  • The Buddha's tribe of origin had non-Vedic religious practices which persist in Buddhism.

  • The Buddha was one of many śramaṇa philosophers of his time, and engaged in debates with other schools of thought.

  • The rise of Buddhism coincided with the Second Urbanisation, in which egalitarianism prevailed.

  • The Buddha was not depicted as possessing omniscience or being an eternal transcendent being in the earliest Buddhist texts.

  • The Jatakas depict the Buddha's previous lives and his path to Buddhahood.

  • The Buddha was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, and raised in Kapilavastu.

  • The Buddha's father was an elected chief of the Shakya clan, and later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala.

  • The Buddha's birth is celebrated in Theravada countries as Vesak.

  • Early texts suggest that Gautama was not familiar with the dominant religious teachings of his time until he left on his religious quest.Life of the Buddha: Renunciation, Awakening, and Formation of the Sangha

  • The legendary biographies of the Buddha depict his great martial skill as a youth in contests against other Shakyan youths.

  • The Buddha's renunciation was due to his realization that life was subject to old age, disease, and death, and that there might be something better.

  • The Buddha's departure from his palace was due to his shock upon encountering human suffering outside of the palace, which his father had shielded him from.

  • The Buddha practiced under two teachers of yogic meditation and achieved high levels of meditative consciousness before realizing that asceticism had not helped him attain nirvana.

  • The Buddha achieved liberation from samsara through the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, becoming known as the Buddha or "Awakened One".

  • The Buddha's first sermon, the "Benares sermon," taught the noble eightfold path as the middle path aloof from the two extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification.

  • The Buddha's community grew to around sixty awakened monks, who he instructed to teach and ordain people into the community.

  • The Buddha travelled throughout the Gangetic Plain, teaching a diverse range of people, from nobles to murderers and cannibals.

  • The Buddha likely taught in one or more of a variety of closely related Middle Indo-Aryan dialects.

  • The Buddha's sangha wandered throughout the year, except during the four months of the Vassa rainy season.

  • The Buddha's sangha enjoyed patronage from the kings of Kosala and Magadha, spending a lot of time in their respective capitals, Savatthi and Rajagaha.

  • The Vassa rainy season was a time when ascetics of all religions rarely travelled, as it was more difficult to do so without causing harm to flora and animal life.The Buddha's sangha, or community of monks, would retreat during the rainy season to monasteries or public parks. The sangha grew over time, including the Buddha's chief disciples, his son, and other Shakyans. An important lay disciple, Anāthapiṇḍika, gifted Jeta's grove to the sangha. The formation of a parallel order of female monastics (bhikkhunī) was another important part of the growth of the Buddha's community. In his later years, the Buddha settled in Sravasti and developed a set of regulations for the sangha called "Pratimoksa". The Buddha's last days were spent in Kushinagar, where he died and reached parinirvana. His body was cremated, and his remains were distributed among various north Indian kingdoms and placed in stupas. The core teachings of Buddhism include the samyojana, kleshas, and āsavas that perpetuate saṃsāra, the repeated cycle of becoming, the six sense bases and five aggregates, dependent origination, and the Middle Way with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. These teachings are shared by Theravada Pali texts, the Mahasamghika school's Śālistamba Sūtra, and the Theravada Majjhima Nikaya and Sarvastivada Madhyama Agama.


Test your knowledge on the life and teachings of the Buddha with our quiz! From his birth in Lumbini to his attainment of enlightenment and the formation of the sangha, this quiz covers key events and concepts in Buddhism. Challenge yourself to see how much you know about the Middle Way, the Noble Eightfold Path, and the Buddha's teachings on suffering and liberation. With questions on history, philosophy, and biography, this quiz is perfect for anyone interested in Buddhism or world religions.

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