Is it possible to know how many buddhists have existed from the beginning to now?

Is it possible to know how many buddhists have existed from the beginning(Buddhas Life) to now?

Maybe you can work out an approximate estimate using the information on PRB website, their article about How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?

" Given a current global population of about 7.8 billion, the revised estimate means those alive in 2020 represent nearly 7% of the total number of people who have ever lived." (PRB 2021)


1 Like

Thanks, I tried to calculate but was not able to… maybe someone can help me

One can only but estimate and probably with very low confidence as we would have to work from uncertain and unknown parameters!

Given the estimate that about 117 billion members of our species have ever been born on Earth and assuming the current circa 9% share of population assumed as Buddhist we then have circa 10.5 billion.

But the truth is that religion is a relatively new cultural phenomena among our species and probably only covers ~10% of our timeline.

Hence, we could add a downside error margin of 50% to that estimate!


1 Like

It’s doesn’t seem when you see this video. :rofl:

1 Like

Interesting video, but I don’t quite understand your comment, can you please explain?

Beliefs and rituals have been part of the human evolution and prehistory for many thousands of years, as human capacity for language, and to imagine and create art gradually developed.

But religious practices like Buddhism, which require meditative reflection and rational thinking, I believe are very recent.

Going back to the original question, I think Gabriel’s estimate from the PRB data is good. To get a better estimate we would need average population data for each country where Buddhism was a dominant religion, starting with India at the time of Buddha, and maybe at 100-year intervals from 500 BC - 1900 AD, and for Buddhist population world-wide in the 20th and 21st century.

It would be interesting to know what the populations of the ancient Buddhist kingdoms and empires were, and see graphs of their population growth and decline, not only maps. There are some excellent maps of ancient India at Ancient Buddhist Texts website.

1 Like

In that case it’s true. But hard to know if they actually didn’t think like we do now in that period. I mean 11000 bc :thinking: and in the video is showing they made the 3 circles exactly aligned like pyramid. How smart they probably where. I’m thinking in that period they where already close to Nibbana. Our current normal human state came from humans that experienced contantly higher mind daily :thinking:

But in suttas Buddha remembers same places he is passed through with monks about Buddha Kassapa I think. I think your theory about the other Buddhas makes sense for those of period before kassapa and Gotama :thinking: