Religion Wiki

Part of a series on


Dharma Wheel
Portal of Buddhism
Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism

Timeline - Buddhist councils

Major figures

Gautama Buddha
Disciples · Later Buddhists

Dharma or concepts

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Three marks of existence
Dependent origination
Saṃsāra · Nirvāṇa
Skandha · Cosmology
Karma · Rebirth

Practices and attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
4 stages of enlightenment
Wisdom · Meditation
Smarana · Precepts · Pāramitās
Three Jewels · Monastics

Countries and regions


Theravāda · Mahāyāna


Chinese canon · Pali canon
Tibetan canon

Related topics

Comparative studies
Cultural elements

A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists.

Historical Buddhist thinkers and founders of schools

Individuals are grouped by nationality, except in cases where the vast majority of their influence was felt elsewhere. Gautama Buddha and his contemporary disciples ('Buddhists') are listed separately from later Indian Buddhist thinkers, teachers and contemplatives.

Buddha's disciples and early Buddhists

See also: Disciples of the Buddha and Family of the Buddha

Later Indian Buddhists (after Buddha)

  • Aryadeva, foremost disciple of Nagarjuna, continued the philosophical school of Madhyamika
  • Asanga, under of the Yogachara school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher (with Nagarjuna)
  • Atisha, holder of the “mind training” (Tib. lojong) teachings, considered an indirect founder of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Bhavaviveka, early expositor of the Svatantrika Madhyamika
  • Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen/Chán
  • Bodhiruci, patriarch of the Ti-Lun school
  • Buddhabhadra, founding abbot and patriarch of the Shaolin temple
  • Buddhaghosa, (Theravadin commentator)
  • Buddhapalita, early expositor of the Prasangika Madhyamika
  • Candragomin, renowned grammarian
  • Chandrakirti, considered the greatest exponent of Prasangika Madhyamika
  • Dharmakirti, famed logician, author of the Seven Treatises; student of Dignana's student Ishvarasena; said to have debated famed Hindu scholar Shankara
  • Dignaga, famed logician
  • Gunaprabha, foremost student of Vasubandhu, known for his work the Vinayasutra
  • Kamalashila (8th century), author of important texts on meditation
  • Luipa, one of the eighty-four tantric Mahasiddhas
  • Nagarjuna, founder of the Madhyamika school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher (with Asanga)
  • Nagpopa, one of the eighty-four tantric mahasiddas
  • Nadapada, (Tib. Naropa), Tilopa's primary disciple, teacher of Marpa the Translator and Khungpo Nyaljor
  • Padmasambhava (Tib. Guru Rinpoche) Indian founder of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Prahevajra (Tib. Garab Dorje) Indian founder of Dzogchen (Total Perfection) tradition
  • Sakyaprabha, prominent expositor of the Vinaya
  • Saraha, famed mahasiddha, forefather of the Tibetan Kagyu lineage
  • Shantarakshita, abbot of Nalanda, founder of the Yogachara-Madhyamika who helped Padmasambhava establish Buddhism in Tibet
  • Shantideva, (8th century) author of the Bodhisattvacaryavatra
  • Talika, (Tilopa in Tibetan), recipient of four separate transmissions from Nagarjuna, Nagpopa, Luipa, and Khandro Kalpa Zangmo; Naropa's teacher
  • Vasubandhu, author of (1) the Abhidharmakosha and (2) various Yogacara treatises; these may or may not be the same person
  • Vimuktisena, commentator on texts of Asanga's


  • Dharmaraksita (3rd century BCE), Greek Buddhist missionary of Ashoka the Great, and a teacher of Nagasena.
  • Mahadharmaraksita (2nd century BCE), Greek Buddhist master during the time of Menander.
  • Nāgasena (2nd century BCE), Buddhist sage questioned about Buddhism by Milinda, the Indo-Greek king in the Milinda Pañha.

Central Asian

  • An Shih Kao, a Parthian monk and the first known Buddhist missionary to China, in 148 CE.
  • Dharmaraksa, a Yueh-Chih Buddhist monk, the first known translator of the Lotus Sutra into Chinese.
  • Jnanagupta (561-592), a monk and translator from Gandhara, Pakistan.
  • Kumarajiva (c. 401), a Kuchean monk, and one of the most important translators.
  • Lokaksema, a Kushan monk, the first translator of Mahayana scriptures into Chinese, around 180 CE.
  • Prajna (c. 810). A monk and translator from Kabul, who translated important texts into Chinese and educated the Japanese Kūkai in Sanskrit texts.


  • Baizhang Huaihai
  • Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of Zen in China
  • Dahui Zonggao, 12th century koan master
  • Dao Xin, fourth patriarch of Zen in China
  • Daoji, a Buddhist monk revered as a deity in Taoism
  • Fa Ru
  • Fa Xian, translator and pilgrim
  • Fazang
  • Fu Yu
  • Hong Yi, calligraphist, painter, master of seal carving
  • Hongren, fifth patriarch of Zen in China
  • Huangbo Xiyun, 9th century, teacher of Linji
  • Hui Guang
  • Huike, second patriarch of Zen in China
  • Huineng, sixth and last patriarch of Zen in China
  • Yi Jing, pilgrim and translator
  • Ingen, 17th century Chinese Zen monk, founder of the Ōbaku sect of Zen
  • Jinaluo
  • Jizang, founder of the Three Treatise School
  • Jnanayasas, translator
  • Joshu, 9th century Chinese Zen monk
  • Linji, 9th century Chinese monk, founder of the Linji school of Zen
  • Mazu, 8th century Zen master, teacher of Zhaozhou
  • Mo-ho-yen, 8th century Chinese monk, advocate of “sudden” enlightenment
  • Ou-Yang Jin-Wu
  • Pu Ji
  • Sanghapala, 6th century monk (Mon-Khmer?) who translated many texts to Chinese
  • Seng Chou
  • Sengcan, third patriarch of Zen in China
  • Shenxiu, Tang Dynasty, Patriarch of "Northern School" Zen sect
  • Wumen Huikai, author of the Gateless Gate
  • Xuanzang, brought Yogacara to China to found Faxiang school, significant pilgrim, translator
  • Yunmen Wenyan, founder of one of the five Chán schools
  • Zhaozhou, 9th century Chán master; noted for "Mu" koan
  • Zhiyi, founder of theTiantai school
  • Zongmi, fifth patriarch of Chinese Huayan school


  • Gampopa, a student of Jetsun Milarepa and founder of the Karma Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Dolpopa founder of the Jonang school and the Shentong philosophy
  • Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, the first Jamgon Kongtrul
  • Karsey Kongtrül, the second Jamgon Kongtrul
  • Khungpo Nyaljor, founder of the Shangpa Kagyü lineage
  • Longchenpa one of the greatest Nyingma philosophers
  • Mandarava, important female student and consort of Padmasambhava
  • Marpa (Marpa the Translator, Marpa of Lhobrag), student of Naropa and a founder of the Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Milarepa, a foremost student of Marpa Lotsawa who is said to have achieved buddhahood in one lifetime
  • Padmasambhava, (Tib. Guru Rinpoche) Indian founder of Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Sakya Pandita one of the greatest Sakya philosophers
  • Taranatha important Jonang scholar
  • Tsongkhapa (14th century Tibetan monk, founder of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, based upon the Kadam tradition)
  • Yeshe Tsogyal, important female student and consort of Padmasambhava


  • Bankei Yōtaku (1622-1693), 'Unborn' Zen
  • Deiryu, Jun-san - zen monk and artist. (1895-1954)
  • Dogen Zenji (founder of Soto Zen, based upon the Chinese Caodong tradition)
  • Eisai (12th century Japanese monk, travelled to China and returned to found the Japanese Rinzai sect of Zen)
  • Ippen, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Ji sect (Ji-shu)
  • Ikkyu
  • Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769, Rinzai Zen)
  • Hōnen, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Jodo sect (Jodo-shu)
  • Kūkai (9th century Japanese monk, founder of Shingon)
  • Myoe (Japanese monk of the Shingon and Kegon schools, known for his propagation of the Mantra of Light)
  • Nakahara Nantenbo, Toju Zenchu- Zen master and artist. 1839-1925
  • Nichiren (founder of Nichiren Buddhism)
  • Nikkō (founder of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism)
  • Rōben (8th century Japanese monk, invited Simsang to Japan and founded the Kegon tradition, based upon the Korean Hwaeom school)
  • Ryōkan (18th century Japanese Zen monk and poet)
  • Saichō (9th century Japanese monk, founder of Tendai tradition, based upon the Chinese Tiantai school)
  • Shinran, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Jodo Shin sect (Jodo Shinshu) and disciple of Hōnen
  • Takuan Sōhō (Zen teacher, and, according to legend, mentor of the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi)
  • Yamamoto Gempo Zen Master (1866-1961)


  • Gihwa (1376-1433) Korean Seon monk; wrote commentaries on the Diamond Sutra and Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment
  • Jinul Korean Seon monk (1158-1210); founder of modern Korean gong'an meditation system
  • Simsang (8th century Korean monk, who at the request of Rōben helped transmit Hwaeom to Japan, thereby founding the Japanese Kegon tradition)
  • Uisang (7th century Korean monk, founder of Hwaeom tradition, based upon the Chinese Huayan school)
  • Wonhyo (617-668) Korean monk; prolific commentator on Mahayana sutras
  • Woncheuk



  • Ajahn Buddhadasa
  • Ajahn Chah Subhatto
  • Ajahn Maha Bua (Luang Ta Maha Bua)
  • Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, Thai Buddhist monk who is credited with establishing the Thai Forest Tradition
  • Ajahn Sao Kantasilo
  • Phramonkolthepmuni (1885-1959) (Thai monk who founded the Dhammakaya Tradition)
  • Somdej Toh (Thai monk specializing in magical amulets)

Historical rulers and political figures

  • Ashoka the Great (304–232 BC), Mauryan Emperor of ancient India, and the first Buddhist ruler to send Buddhist missionaries outside of India throughout the Old World (阿育王)
  • Brhadrata, the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty
  • Menander (Pali: Milinda), 2nd century BCE, an Indo-Greek king of northwestern India, who questioned Nāgasena about Buddhism in the Milinda Pañha, and is said to have become an arhat.
  • Theodorus (1st century BCE), Indo-Greek governor, author of a Buddhist dedication.
  • Kanishka, ruler of the Kushan Empire
  • Shōtoku (574-622), crown prince and regent of Japan
  • Liang Wudi (梁武帝) (502-549), emperor during the Chinese Liang Dynasty
  • Harshavardhana (606-648), Indian emperor who converted to Buddhism.
  • Wu Zetian
  • Jayavarman VII (1181-1219), king of Cambodia
  • Anawrahta (1044-1077), first unifier and Buddhist King of Myanmar. Introduced Buddhism to Myanmar.
  • Mindon Min (1808–1878), king of Myanmar and facilitator of "Fifth World Theravada Buddhist Council" or Fifth Sangayana
  • Mongkut, king of Thailand and founder of the Thammayut Nikaya
  • Emperor Ming of Han China.
  • Tang Dynasty
  • Kublai Khan Mongol Ruler.

Modern teachers

Theravada teachers

Tibetan Buddhist teachers

  • H.H.Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (born 1935)[4]
  • Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2002)
  • Chögyam Trungpa (1940-1987)
  • Dhardo Rimpoche (1917-1990)
  • Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987)
  • Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989)
  • Karma Thinley Rinpoche (b. 1931)
  • Pawo Rinpoche (1912-1991)
  • H.H.Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924–1981), the 16th Karmapa
  • Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, (1920-1996), Dzogchen, Mahamudra and the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa (Chokling Tersar).
  • Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
  • H.H.Trijang Rinpoche
  • H.E.Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Zen teachers


  • Soyen Shaku, Rōshi (1859-1919)
  • D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966)
  • Harada Daiun Sogaku (1871-1961)
  • Bassui Tokushō (1327-1387)
  • Nyogen Senzaki, Rōshi (1876-1958)
  • Katsube Keigaku
  • Eido Tai Shimano (b. 1932)
  • Genki Takabayashi (b. 1933)
  • Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965)
  • Haku'un Yasutani, Rōshi (1885-1973)
  • Jakushitsu Genkō (1290–1367)
  • Keido Fukushima
  • Imakita Kosen (1816-1892)
  • Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506)
  • Shodo Harada (b. 1940)
  • Sesson Yūbai (1290-1348)
  • Shunryu Suzuki, Rōshi (1904-1971)
  • Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)
  • Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982)
  • Soko Morinaga, Rōshi (1925-1995)
  • Dainin Katagiri (1928-1990)
  • Taizan Maezumi (1931-1995)
  • Soyu Matsuoka, Rōshi (?-1998)
  • Oda Sesso (1901-1966)
  • Soen Nakagawa (1907-1984)
  • Yamada Koun (1907-1989)
  • Harada Daiun Sogaku (1871-1961)
  • Sobin Yamada
  • Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769)
  • Bankei Yōtaku (1622-1693)
  • Zenkei Shibayama (1894-1974)


  • Ven. Hsu Yun (1840-1959)
  • Ven. Guang Qin (1892-1986)
  • Ven. Hsuan Hua (1918-1995)
  • Ven. Hsing Yun (1927-)
  • Ven. Fayun (1933-2003)
  • Ven. Sheng-yen (1931-2009)


  • John Garrie Roshi (1923 - 1998)
  • Muho Noelke
  • Kosen Thibaut (1950-)
  • Lama Ole Nydahl (1941-)


  • Anne Hopkins Aitken, (1911-1994)
  • Robert Joshin Althouse, Roshi (1949- )
  • Bodhin Kjolhede, Rōshi (1948- )
  • Brad Warner, Sensei
  • Jundo Cohen, (Just Jundo)
  • Cheri Huber
  • Daito Zenei Eric Thompson, Sensei (1956- )
  • Daizui MacPhillamy, Rev. Master (19??-2003)
  • Elihu Genmyo Smith (1948-)
  • Genjo Marinello (1954- )
  • Haju Linda Murray, Sunim (1944 -)
  • Jakusho Kwong, Rōshi (1935- )
  • Houn Jiyu-Kennett (1924-1996)
  • James Ishmael Ford, Rōshi (1948- )
  • Jeff Tipp, [ pŏpsa], Jidō Pŏpsanim
  • Jiun Foster, Sŏndok Pŏpsa (1970 - )
  • Jiyu Kennett, Rōshi (1924-1996)
  • John Crook (1930- )
  • John Daido Loori, Rōshi
  • John Tarrant, Roshi (1949 - )
  • Joko Beck (1917- )
  • Kobutsu Shindo Malone, Rōshi
  • Kongo Richard Langlois Roshi (1935-1999)
  • Paul Haller, Rōshi
  • Paul Lynch, [Dochong pŏpsa], Jidō Pŏpsanim (1957- )
  • Philip Kapleau, Rōshi (1912-2004)
  • Robert Baker Aitken, Rōshi (1917- )
  • Ji Bong Haeŭm sŏnsa, [Robert Moore], Zen Master (1941- )
  • Sevan Ross, Sensei (1951- )
  • Sherry Chayat, (1943- )
  • Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes)
  • Tenshin Reb Anderson
  • Tetsugen Bernard Glassman, Rōshi
  • Zentatsu Richard Baker, Rōshi
  • Zoketsu Norman Fischer
  • Ven. Heng Sure (1949-)


  • Samu Sunim (born 1941)
  • Seung Sahn, Soen Sa (1927-2004)
  • Seongcheol, Soen Sa (1912-1993)


  • Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-)
  • Thich Chan Khong (1938-)
  • Thich Thien An (1926-1980)


  • Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933)
  • Issan Dorsey (1933-1997)
  • Ven. Cheng Yen (1937-)

Modern Buddhist authors

  • Nakamura Hajime (1911-1999)
  • Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945)
  • Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990)
  • Ven. Tai Xu (1890-1947)
  • Ven. Yin Shun (1906-2005)
  • Han Yong-un (1879-1944)
  • Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907)
  • Tanaka Chigaku (1861-1939)
  • Chittadhar Hridaya (1906-1982)
  • Alan Watts (1915-1973)
  • Dennis Lingwood (1925 - )
  • Daisaku Ikeda (1928 - )
  • Christmas Humphreys (1901–1983)

Modern politicians, activists, and protesters

  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) -Indian nationalist, jurist, scolar, political leader, Buddhist revivalist and architect of the Indian Constitution
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Mazie Hirono - U.S. Congresswoman from Hawaii
  • Hank Johnson - U.S. Congressman from Georgia
  • Thich Quang Duc (1897-1963)
  • Thich Quang Do (1928-)
  • Thich Huyen Quang (1919-2008)

Celebrity Buddhists

Fictional Buddhists

  • Lisa Simpson, feminist and daughter of Homer and Marge Simpson[28]
  • Carl Carlson, character from the cartoon The Simpsons[29]
  • Lenny Leonard, character from the cartoon The Simpsons[30]
  • Yoh Asakura, protagonist of the anime/manga Shaman King
  • Trini Kwan, original Yellow Ranger of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
  • Wendy Wu, protagonist of the Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
  • Wolverine (comics), Marvel Comics' character and member of the X-Men.
  • Xorn (comics), Marvel Comics' character and member of the X-Men.
  • Gi, the Planeteer able to wield the element water.
  • Edina Monsoon ( Eddy) from the Absolutely Fabulous TV sitcom.
  • Jeremy, from the popular web series Pure Pwnage

See also


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. The Guardian, 2005: Enduring Love
  4. Zen
  5. Karmapa teaching
  6. Angelina Jolie
  7. Angelina Jolie and Religion - ReligionFacts
  8. Angelina Jolie Biography
  9. IMDB - Biography for Uma Thurman
  10. NNDB - Uma Thurman
  11. NEWS.COM.AU: Miranda's Model Life
  12. His Holiness Karmapa with martial artist and actor Jet Li
  13. Jet Li to quit film for Buddhism
  14. Buddhist View International - 08/28/04 Flying Fistsoaring Mind...Jet Li ..; Buddhist View is an internet resource for those interested in or practicing any school of Buddhism. We post world news of interest to buddhists and more
  15. Morgan, Bill. I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. Viking. New York:2006
  16. [3]
  17. Philip Glass: Biography and Much More from
  18. The second coming of kd Lang - Times Online
  19. Issue Number 1002 | Where Have You Been, k.d.? |
  20. The Guardian, 2005: Enduring Love
  21. Alanis Morissette
  22. Kropywiansky, Leo. "Victor Pelevin interview". BOMB magazine. Retrieved August 14 2006. 
  23. - Pondering the mysterious Keanu Reeves - Nov. 5, 2003
  24. YouTube - Thuy Trang memorial news report
  25. Gandhi and Tiger Woods - By Robert Wright - Slate Magazine
  26. Naomi Watts drawn towards Buddhism : Hollywood News : ApunKaChoice.Com
  27. Sharon Stone: Balancing Religion and Acting, Buddha and God
  28. The Simpsons Episode 275 (Season 13 Episode 6) 'She of Little Faith'
  29. The Simpsons Episode 275 (Season 13 Episode 6) 'She of Little Faith'
  30. The Simpsons Episode 275 (Season 13 Episode 6) 'She of Little Faith'