NB. many early dates are very approximate

c.6th-4th C BCE  Laozi (Lao Tzu / Lao Tze) – legendary philosopher and poet                                                                                                           –  ‘founder’ of Daoism/Taoism

551-479 BCE        Confucius

5th C  BCE            Democritus

c.490-410             Buddha (these very provisional dates are based on contemporary scholarship)

469-399                Socrates

427-347                 Plato

c.4th C BCE          Zhuang Zhou (Zhuangzi/Chuang Tzu) – influential Daoist philosopher                                                                                         (and name of Daoist text)

c.3rd C                   Spread of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma – Theravada Schools

384-322                Aristotle

c.360-c.270          Pyrrho – founder of school of scepticism (reputed to have started out as a painter

356-323                 Alexander the Great (Pyrrho may have been on Alexander’s Indian expedition, c.327)

341-270                 Epicurus

c.320-c.230          Timon of Phlius – poet, writer and student of Pyrrho

272-231                 Asoka reigns as Buddhist Emperor of most of India (except far south)

died c.50               Lucretius – author of On the Nature of Things

c.7 BCE – 33CE   Life of Jesus Christ

c.2nd C CE            Buddhism travels along Silk Road to China + first translations of texts into Chinese

2nd C CE               Nagarjuna – influential figure in Madhyamika School of Buddhism

2nd-3rd C             Buddhism migrates from India to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos – reaching Korea, 4th C

2nd or 3rd C         Sextus Empiricus – physician and writer of Outlines of Pyrrhonism

5th C                      Bodhidharma (legend: brought Buddhism to China, taught at Shaolin temple)                                                                         1st Zen patriarch

c.570-632             Life of Muhammad

c.580 C                  Development of a form of Chinese Chan Buddhism in Vietnam                                                                                                   (known as Thien Buddhism)

c.635-713              Hui Neng – 6th patriarch in Chinese Zen/Chan Buddhism – very influential

c.8th C                   Buddhism spreads from India into Tibet and eventually Mongolia                                                                                               – Zen/Seon develops in Korea

c.8th-9th C           Han Shan – famous Chinese poet and Buddhist, friend of Shi Te                                                                                                   (known as Kanzan and Jittoku in Japanese)

died c.850            Huangbo / Huangpo – influential Chinese Zen teacher

11th C                    Founding of Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism

1133-1212             Honen – founder of Pure Land School of Japanese Buddhism

1141-1215              Eisai – founder of Rinzai Zen School of Japanese Buddhism

1200-1253            Dogen – influential teacher in Japanese Soto Zen tradition

1533-1592             Michel de Montaigne (writer of famous essays – humanist and Christian sceptic)

c.1564-1616          Shakespeare

1622-1693            Bankei – influential Rinzai Zen teacher                                                                                                                                                – used the term, the Unborn (sunyata or anutpāda)

1661                       Founding of Obaku School of Zen – a small School, related to Rinzai in practice

1686-1768            Hakuin  – very influential Japanese Rinzai Zen teacher

1711-1776              David Hume – Scottish sceptical philosopher

1813-1855             Soren Kierkegaard – Danish Christian sceptical theologian

1870-1966            D T Suzuki – influential writer and advocate for Zen Buddhism

1905-1971             Shunryu Suzuki – Soto Zen teacher  (taught about ‘beginner’s mind’)

1912-1998            Kosho Uchiyama – Soto Zen teacher  (also known as ‘homeless’ Kodo)

1915-1968            Thomas Merton – Trappist monk (Catholic)                                                                                                                                      (wrote about Zen and Christian mysticism)

1915-1973             Alan Watts – influential writer on Zen – author of The Way of Zen

1926-                     Thich Nhat Hanh – Vietnamese Zen Buddhist teacher and writer

1927-2004            Seung Sahn – Korean Zen teacher  (taught about ‘don’t know mind’)

1927-                     Henepola Gunaratana – Sri Lankan Buddhist teacher of vipassana/insight meditation                                                          (writer of Mindfulness in Plain English)

Timeline: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/b_chron-txt.htm