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Early Developments

Early Buddhism was primarily monastic, and Buddhist monks and nuns were expected to follow strict rules and regulations. Lay followers supported the monks by providing food, shelter, and clothing.

Schisms and Sects

Buddhism continued to evolve after the Buddha's death. Philosophical innovations led to new sutras and new divisions of Buddhism emerged.

Missions and Expansion

In the first millennium of the Common Era, Buddhism spread throughout Asia, spawning new social identities, new languages, and new institutions.

Exploration and Conquest

Ashoka, who ruled a large portion of the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century B.C.E., was a key figure in Buddhism's transformation from local to international religion.

Modern Age

Buddhism has become an international religion with adherents all over the world. It is integral to Asian cultural, political, intellectual, charitable, and religious institutions, and it has made significant in-roads into the west.