Up to now, we do not that the exact date of Buddha’s existence. It is a common belief that Buddha died at the age of eighty, however, there are also various views about the age that Buddha became a monk such as 19-year-old theory and 29-year-old theory. According to Hinayana Buddhism, it is ordained a theory that he became a monk at the age of 29 and attained enlightenment at the age of 35 after a 6-year period of asceticism. As the period of teachings that Buddha preached, it is about for 45 years in Hinayana Buddhism, but as I presume from Threefold Lotus Sutra ten volumes thirty two chapters that I use, I can read that it is for 50 years. Then, based on this sutra, it is said, “In 40-some years, the truth has not yet been revealed.” , so if the age of Buddha’s death is at the age of 80 and the period of the teachings is 50 years, it is considered that the Lotus Sutra was preached for about 8 years. It is said that where Buddha preached this was the place called “Gṛdhrakūṭa”. This is now called “Ryojusen”. When you climb this mountain, there is a big strangely shaped rock which is the shape of an eagle, so that this name may be originated in there. There is a slightly larger square called “Koshitsu” next to it and it is conveyed that it was the place where Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra for his disciples in his last years. The place where Ryojusen is located is Rajgir which was once the citadel of the Maghada Kingdom.
According to Buddha’s teachings, the place which Buddha became a monk and stepped in first was this Rajgir. It is said that the King Bimbisara was impressed by Buddha’s dignified appearance, converted Buddhism and established a monastery. The monastery was for Uango (monsoon season). Uango is the custom to stay in the monastery because people trample the insects to death when they walk around outside in the monsoon season of India. This is later the model of building called “Temple”. Buddha did not go for one step outside a monastery for about 100 days and he preached for kings, royal families and the people.
Many devotion of kings and royal families, or offering of monasteries were done in such as Kosala and Vesali. It seems that the teachings which was preached at that time were characterized as sutras two or three hundred years after Buddha’s death. Since to characterize the teachings of great sages were treated as taboo, they were conveyed from mouth to ears in the meanwhile, but it became a written sutra after the era of Nikaya Buddhism. Although the contents which were written in the sutras are the same, some expressions are different; this is considered that this is because when monks preached the Dharma (law), the local dialects were transcribed into written form, and transmitted teachings were slightly different in terms of nuance. Hinayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism are especially different in a big way. According to Hinayana Buddhism, it is considered a common theory that it loyally describes Buddha’s teachings relatively in Hinayana Buddhism, but for me personally, I consider that Buddha had his outlook on the universe and the thing that was made by the monks who could not understand it may be the sutra of Hinayana Buddhism. Anyhow, due to the properties of the sutra, which was made 2000 years ago, because where Buddha’s true intentions were is shrouded in mystery, there is no other way but to extract the veracity through experience from the two aspects of belief and practice.