New Questions and Ideas CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 6 Notes

Textbook NCERT
Board CBSE Board, UP board, JAC board, HBSE Board, Bihar Board, PSEB board, RBSE Board, UBSE Board
Class 6th Class
Subject History | Social Science
Chapter Chapter 6
Chapter Name New Questions and Ideas
Topic New Questions and Ideas CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 6 Notes
Medium English
Especially Designed Notes for CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA, UPSC, SSC, NDA

New Questions and Ideas

The Story of the Buddha

  • Siddhartha, also known as Gautama, was the founder of Buddhism.
  • He was born about 2500 years ago.
  • There was a rapid change in the lives of people.
  • Some kings in the mahajanapadas were growing more powerful.
  • New cities were developing and life was also changing in the villages.
  • Many thinkers were busy in analysing the changes occurred in the early society and also wanted to try and find out the true meaning of life.
  • The Buddha belonged to the Sakya gana, and was a kshatriya.
  • When Buddha was a young man, he left the comforts of his home in search of knowledge.
  • He wandered for several years, meeting and holding discussions with other thinkers.
  • He finally decided to find his own path to realisation.
  • He meditated for many days under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he finally attained enlightenment.

After the enlightenment

  • After the enlightenment, he was known as the Buddha or the Wise One.
  • He then went to Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he taught for the first time.
  • He spent the rest of his life travelling on foot, going from place to place, teaching people, till he passed away at Kusinara.

Doctrine of the Buddha

Doctrines of the Buddha were:

  • Life is full of suffering and unhappiness, which is caused because we have cravings and desires (which often cannot be fulfilled).
  • Sometimes, even if we get what we want, we are not satisfied, and want even more (or things).
  • The Buddha described this as thirst or tanha¹.
  • He taught that this constant craving could be removed by following moderation in everything.
  • He taught people to be kind and to respect the lives of others, including animals.
  • He believed that the results of our actions (called karma), whether good or bad, affect us both in this life and the next.
  • The Buddha taught in the language of the ordinary people, Prakrit, so that everybody could understand his message.
  • He also encouraged people to think for themselves rather than to simply accept what he said.


  • Around the time that the Buddha was preaching and perhaps a little earlier, other thinkers also tried to find answers to difficult questions.
  • Some of them wanted to know about life after death, others wanted to know why sacrifices should be performed.
  • Many of the thinkers felt that there was something permanent in the universe that would last even after death, which was described by them as the atman or the individual soul, and the brahman or the universal soul.
  • They believed that ultimately, both the atman and the brabman were one.
  • Upanishad literally means approaching and sitting near. Often, ideas were presented through simple dialogues.
  • Most Upanishadic thinkers were men, especially brahmins and rajas.
  • There were very few women thinkers like Gargi, who was famous for her learning, and participated in debates held in royal courts.


  • Poor people rarely took part in these discussions.
  • One famous exception was Satyakama Jabala, who was named after his mother, the slave woman Jabali. Jabala had a deep desire to learn about reality, was accepted as a student by a brahmin teacher named Gautama, and became one of the best-known thinkers of the time.
  • Many of the ideas of the Upanishads were later developed by the famous thinker Shankaracharya.


  • The most famous thinker of the Jainas, Vardhamana Mahavira, spread his message around 2500 years ago.
  • Vardhamana Mahavira was a kshatriya prince of the Lichchhavis, a group that was part of the Vajji sangha.
  • At the age of 30, he left home and went to live in a forest.
  • For 12 years he led a hard and lonely life, at the end of which he attained enlightenment.

Doctrine Taught by Mahavira

Doctrines taught by Mahavira were:

  • Men and women who wished to know the truth must leave their homes.
  • They must follow very strictly the rules of ahimsa, which means not hurting or killing living beings.
  • “All beings,” said Mahavira “long to live. To all things life is dear.”

Followers of Mahavira

  • His followers, who were known as Jainas, had to lead very simple lives, begging for food.
  • They had to be absolutely honest and were especially asked not to steal.
  • Also they had to observe celibacy.
  • Men had to give up everything, including their clothes.
  • It was very difficult for most men and women to follow these strict rules.
  • Thousands left their homes to learn and teach this new way of life.
  • Many more remained behind and supported those who became monks and nuns, providing them with food.

Jainism support and Jainism spread

  • Jainism was supported mainly by traders, but not by farmers, who had to kill insects to protect their crops and found it more difficult to follow the rules.
  • Over hundreds of years, Jainism spread to different parts of North India and to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • The teachings of Mahavira and his followers were transmitted orally for several centuries.
  • They were written down first at a place called Valabhi, in Gujarat, about 1500 years ago.

The Sangha

  • Both the Mahavira and the Buddha felt that only those who left their homes could gain true knowledge.
  • They arranged for them to stay together in the sangha, an association of those who left their homes.
  • The rules made for the Buddhist sangha were written down in a book called the Vinaya Pitaka.

What we know from Vinaya Pitaka.

  • From this we know that there were separate branches for men and women.
  • All men could join the sangha.
  • However children had to take the permission of their parents and slaves that of their masters.
  • Those who worked for the king had to take his permission and debtors that of creditors while women had to take their husbands’ permission.
  • Men and women who joined the sangha led simple lives.
  • They meditated for most of the time, and went to cities and villages to beg for food during fixed hours.
  • That is why they were known as bhikkhus (the Prakrit word for renouncer- beggar) and bhikkhunis.
  • They taught others and helped one another. They also held meetings to settle any quarrels that took place within the sangha.
  • Those who joined the sangha included brahmins, kshatriyas, merchants, labourers, barbers, courtesans and slaves.
  • Many of them wrote down the teachings of the Buddha. Some of them also composed beautiful poems, describing their life in the sangha.


  • Both Jaina and Buddhist monks went from place to place throughout the year, teaching people.
  • The only time they stayed in one place was during the rainy season, when it was very difficult to travel.
  • Then, their supporters built temporary shelters for them in gardens, or they lived in natural caves in hilly areas.
  • The local people came with gifts of food, clothing and medicines for the monks and nuns.
  • In return, they taught the people. Over the centuries, Buddhism spread to many parts of the sub-continent and beyond.


  • As time went on, the need for more permanent shelters was needed and so monasteries were built, which were known as viharas.
  • The earliest viharas were made of wood, and then of brick.
  • Some were even in caves that were dug out in hills, especially in Western India.
  • Very often, the land on which the vihara was built was donated by a rich merchant or a landowner, or the king.

1. Tanha: A consuming desire or a yearning called tanha.

2. Prakrit: it was the language of the ordinary people. The Buddha taught in this language.

3. Atman: The individual soul or essence.

4. Brahman: The universal soul.

5. Upanishad: A group of philosophical treatise contributing to the theology of ancient Hinduism, elaborating on the earlier Vedas.

6. Jaina: A believer in or adherent of Jainism. The word Jaina comes from the term Jina means conqueror.

7. Sangha: The community or association of Buddhist and Jaina monks.

8. Ahimsa: Its literally meaning is non-violence or love for other lives including animals. This principle teaches us to be kind and to respect the lives of all other living things. The Buddhism and Jainism both emphasise on it very much.

9. Vihara: It originally meant “a secluded place in which to walk” and referred to “dwellings” or “refuges” used by wandering monks during the rainy season.

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