How long did Early Buddhism last in India?

How long did the Early Buddhism last in India, according to the evidences currently available and general consensus of the scholars?

I would very much appreciate if anyone could provide any evidences or links to the papers.

Hi. I have noticed individuals in the internet claiming the know Abhidhamma but my impression is most of these individuals have only read the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, which similar to the Visuddhimagga, seems to be a mass-market commentary.

But if we actually study the Tripitaka, we can discern how the Early Buddhist Teachings change with the introduction of the Patisambhidamagga & the Abhidhamma. If we simply study these two texts, we can discern for ourselves, without relying on external authority scholars, how the Patisambhidamagga & Abhidhamma literally changed the teachings of the EBTs. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Does it worth reading beforehand?

If I read those two first, then I will not have enough time to read the others, I guess.

How long will it take to study those? Is there any other easy way to start with?

Well, to answer your original question

Patisambidhamagga according to Wikipedia

According to German tradition of Indology this text was likely composed around the 2nd century CE


Modern scholars generally believe that the canonical Abhidharma texts emerged after the time of the Buddha, in around the 3rd century BCE.

Ashokas pillars which reference suttas:

3rd century BCE


This is one of the earlier Buddhist scriptures,[4] A recent analysis concludes that the text of the Pali discourses, including the Udāna, was largely fixed in its current form, with only small differences from the modern text, by the first century B.C.E.[

So it seems like it’s hard to nail an exact date, but I would mark the cut off at 1 CE, and would do further research on early Abhidhamma. So I wouldn’t bother with Patisambidhamagga. I personally went through the Patisambidhamagga about 5 years ago and noticed it’s very similar to Visuddhimagga and Vimuttimagga, and I believe both works are based on it.

From wiki:

The Patisambhidamagga has been described as an “attempt to systematize the Abhidhamma” and thus as a possible precursor to the Visuddhimagga.

So to cut to the chase, I would study the early Abhidhamma to figure out when early buddhism ended in India.

If we exclude the Abhidhamma, then early buddhism ended 100-200 years after the Buddha’s death, I suppose.