There are many cases for the fact that the Buddha was a Shramana because he had agreements with most of them, but he also had his disagreements. Perhaps he wasn't a Shramana or in fact a member of any religious group except for his own.

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Robert Hicks   13.10.2005

Homework 4     (A02)

Was Guatama a Shramana?

At the time of the Buddha there was great upheaval within society, with regards to peoples differing religious beliefs.  The Aryan invaders had brought with them Hinduism and this in turn  brought about the caste system in which the people were generally unsatisfied and wanted to find out the truth for themselves.  

The Buddha also believed this; that you have to find and experience life for yourself in order to reach enlightenment.  Hedonism and extreme asceticism were at the opposite ends of the spectrum, this is where the Buddha found the middle way, but only after experiencing these differing lifestyles for himself.

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The Shramana movement (A Shramana was a type of wandering freelance mendicant philosopher who taught alternative beliefs to those taught by Brahmin priests) culminated out of this unrest and is probably the group that the Buddha has most in common with.  Different groups of Shramanism taught different beliefs and the Buddha was to have differing opinions with all of them; they were the Materialists, Sceptics, Jainists, Ajivikas, Hindus, Vedic Hindus and Classical Hindus.  He shared some of their ideas of rebirth, the quest for peace, karma, meditation, detachment and self discipline but was critical of other beliefs that the ...

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