This is a talk I gave recently on the geographical, social, political and religious background to the Buddha’s teaching, including discussing how these factors affected the teaching, and showing why the teaching was so successful.
The talk was given at the Bodhi Lankarama Buddhist Temple, where I am once again resident, and has been illustrated with graphics used on the night, with extra information and clarifications added in during editing.
The film is part of the Geography of Buddhism series, and now forms the opening video in that series, which includes what we might call both the physical and the sacred geography as understood in the teaching.
The talk begins with looking at the Aryan migrations against the backdrop of the Indus Valley civilisation, and speculates that whereas the Aryan cultures formed the backbone of the Brāminical religion, the Indus Valley probably gave rise to the Samaṇa cultures, of which Buddhism is a part.
The Buddha was living in a very dynamic period of history, with many changes in the social, political and religious fields taking place, and his new teaching caught the ear of the emerging leading classes.