Buddhism in India

A chauhan

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Buddhism the one of the most prominent religion of the world has failed in India its birthplace.

1. It has failed to survive as a state religion.

2. It has failed to survive as a way of life and currently India has only 0.5 to 1 % buddhists here.

Buddhism was heavily propagated by one of the biggest Emperors of India and of the world Samrat Ashok.

As a Buddhist emperor, Ashoka believed that Buddhism is beneficial for all human beings as well as animals and plants, so he built a number of stupas, Sangharama, viharas, chaitya, and residences for Buddhist monks all over South Asia and Central Asia. He gave donations to viharas and mathas. He sent his only daughter Sanghamitra and son Mahindra to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka (then known as Tamraparni). Ashoka also sent many prominent Buddhist monks (bhikshus) Sthaviras like Madhyamik Sthavira to modern Kashmir and Afghanistan; Maharaskshit Sthavira to Syria, Persia / Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey; Massim Sthavira to Nepal, Bhutan, China and Mongolia; Sohn Uttar Sthavira to modern Cambodia, Laos, Burma (old name Suvarnabhumi for Burma and Thailand), Thailand and Vietnam; Mahadhhamarakhhita stahvira to Maharashtra (old name Maharatthha); Maharakhhit Sthavira and Yavandhammarakhhita Sthavira to South India.

Ashoka also invited Buddhists and non-Buddhists for religious conferences. He inspired the Buddhist monks to compose the sacred religious texts, and also gave all types of help to that end. Ashoka also helped to develop viharas (intellectual hubs) such as Nalanda and Taxila. Ashoka helped to construct Sanchi and Mahabodhi Temple. Ashoka also gave donations to non-Buddhists. As his reign continued his even-handedness was replaced with special inclination towards Buddhism. Ashoka helped and respected both Sramans (Buddhists monks) and Brahmins (Vedic monks). Ashoka also helped to organise the Third Buddhist council (c. 250 BCE) at Pataliputra (today's Patna). It was conducted by the monk Moggaliputta-Tissa who was the spiritual teacher of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.

It is well-known that Ashoka sent dütas or emissaries to convey messages or letters, written or oral (rather both), to various people. The VIth Rock Edict about "oral orders" reveals this. It was later confirmed that it was not unusual to add oral messages to written ones, and the content of Ashoka's messages can be inferred likewise from the XIIIth Rock Edict: They were meant to spread his dhammavijaya, which he considered the highest victory and which he wished to propagate everywhere (including far beyond India). There is obvious and undeniable trace of cultural contact through the adoption of the Kharosthi script, and the idea of installing inscriptions might have travelled with this script, as Achaemenid influence is seem in some of the formulations used by Ashoka in his inscriptions. This indicates to us that Ashoka was indeed in contact with other cultures, and was an active part in mingling and spreading new cultural ideas beyond his own immediate walls.

Ashoka - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
But if you see now its presence in India is negligible . Some people say that it was extinguished from India because of Brahmins and Kshatriyas, some say that the Muslim invasion was responsible for it, but it doesn't appear like that because Chinese Buddhists are also turning atheists without any violence. Moreover mere violence can't kick a religion out of the practice, it must have some socio-economical and spiritual factors behind it. Swami Vivekanand said :-

" Thus, inspite of preaching mercy to animals, inspite of the sublime ethical religion, inspite of the discussions about the existence or non-existence of a permanent soul, the whole building of Buddhism tumbled down piece-meal and the ruin was simply hideous. The most hideous ceremonies, the most obscene books that human hands ever wrote or the human brain ever conceived, have all been the creation of the degraded Buddhism. The Tartars and the Baluchis and all the hideous races of mankind that came to India, became Buddhists and assimilated with us, brought their national customs and the whole of our national life became a huge page of the most horrible, bestial customs. Sankara came and showed that the real essence of Buddhism and that of Vedanta are not very different but that the disciples did not understand the master and have degraded themselves, denied the existence of soul and one God and have become atheists. That was what Sankara showed and all the Buddhists began to come back to their old religion". The sages of India
There must be some other reasons except violence for this, What you guys say?
 

drkrn

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buddhism picked up very fast and lost the pace,
the main reasons for its failure is no potential religious leader to name about after these emperors.may be internal strives for power in between them
 

warriorextreme

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Buddhism lost the battle because of predominantly two things.

1.Destruction of state sponsored buddhism (started with Pusyamitra sunga killing brahdrata)
2.Work done by Adi Shankara who is also called as Prachanna Buddha( Buddha in disguise)
 

dhananjay1

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Buddhism was never a majority 'religion' in India. Only the imperial patronage by Ashoka gave it a boost. Buddhism managed to take roots in other cultures because it provides fine philosophical and social structures through the developments that were developed in India. But, there was no such advantage in India itself because here these developments were already in place through various traditions of 'Hinduism'. Thus the competition was stiiff and Buddhism didn't survive it. Though it survived as a minority tradition in the northern plains till 12th century and was finally wiped out by the Jihadi destruction that took place at the end of 12th century. It would have survived if it had even a single strong center in the south, but it didn't so it didn't. The Indian Mahaayaana tradition was also lost in the south east Asia. Theravaada Buddhism took over in Kambuja and champaa, while Java was islamised.
 

Decklander

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Buddhism never failed in India. In the seventh century, Sankaracharya challenged them to a dharm dwandh and defeated them as a result of which all of them reconverted to Sanatan dharm enmass.
 

W.G.Ewald

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Reviving Buddhism in India | Ron Purser
Spiritual pilgrimage has a central place in all the world's major religions. For the 600 million Buddhists in the world, the once dusty little village of Bodhgaya in India's state of Bihar is quickly becoming the mecca for Buddhist pilgrims. Towering over Bodhgaya is the Mahabodhi Mahavihara, an ancient temple and UNESCO world heritage site, that marks the place where the Buddha achieved enlightenment in the 5th century BCE. For over one thousand years the teachings of the Buddha were chanted daily at this site. As Buddhism declined and eventually disappeared in India, the Mahabodhi temple was abandoned in the fourteenth century. Yet India is the motherland of Buddhism, and a revival movement to bring the teachings of the Buddha back to India began nine years ago when the Light of the Buddhadharma Foundation sponsored the first International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony in Bodhgaya in 2006.
 

Simple_Guy

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Spread of Buddhism

Noted art historian Benoy K. Behl will screen a documentary titled Culture of Compassion: Buddhism in India and ASEAN countries at India Habitat Centre in Delhi on Sunday. The film shows the spread of Buddhism from India to other South Asian countries. Mr. Behl travelled to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

In the North, this Buddhist scholar explored Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. Down South, he travelled to Andhra Pradesh.

To examine how Buddhism spread in other South Asian countries, the film-maker travelled to Myanmar. He also travelled to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

"It is a great miracle that ideas do not face any barriers of oceans and geographical distances. Buddhism was warmly accepted by these Asian countries. Actually, there is little difference between Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. It is a Western idea that Buddhism is different from these two religions. Sadly, Indians too have started accepting this through our educational system.
 

Simple_Guy

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Another point of Jainism and Buddhism is that they remained elite religions, never becoming the people's religion, which was always Hinduism.

They relied on state support while Hinduism had the people's support. Even after Islamic invasions, Jainism survived because of state support in Gujarat-Rajasthan from the Rajput rulers, but Buddhism was wiped out.
 

amoy

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also Mahayana vs. Hinayana, anyone care to elaborate? East Asia mostly of Mahayana school, while the latter followed by southern minority neighboring Myanmar n Laos.

Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
 

Eesh

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Buddhism lost the battle because of predominantly two things.

1.Destruction of state sponsored buddhism (started with Pusyamitra sunga killing brahdrata)
2.Work done by Adi Shankara who is also called as Prachanna Buddha( Buddha in disguise)
Pushyamitra did withdraw state sponsorship of Buddhism, but did not destroy it.

Shankkaracharya came on the scene about 1,000 years later.

State patronage by Ashoka was a big facrtor in spread of Buddism. But unfortunately, it spawned a big class of monks who were freeloaders, shirker and general drain on resources. Fact is agriculture and economy suffered heavily due to easy living provided by monasteries. Not surprising it became ddegenerate.

Another factor was that around Ashoka times, Buddhists started actively trashing Hinduism and its philosophies. Consequently, a philosophical battle started in which Buddhist philosophers were the losers.

Shunyavad. Shankar and even Gaudpada before him did not condemn it, but accepted it as being in conformity with Parbrahmma.
 

Tolaha

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If we are going to measure the success of Buddhism in India, solely by the number of people who call themselves as Buddhists, then perhaps it did fail. But if Buddha's philosophies/teachings/morals have become a part of our culture, making it indistinguishable from what we call as Hinduism today, then perhaps Buddhism is successful.

However, even before we can answer the question as to 'why Buddhism failed?", we need to perhaps answer "Did Buddhism fail at all?"!. Once its decided that it indeed has failed, maybe then it would be possible to do a post-mortem.

Hinduism today is an amalgamation of what was, in the 6th century, unique and at times totally contradictory philosophies. To determine the winner in a race to conquer the heart and mind of the Indians, that was started way before 6th century, we need to decide who are the participants in this race. So who are they? I dont have the ability or the means to distinguish Buddhism in the 6th century from the boutique of philosophies then. I will atleast try to name these different philosophies. Mind you, it would be silly to include Hinduism as one of the participant, as its a recent clubbing of a number of participants, because some foreigners were too lazy to remember all the names of complex sounding philosophies. If we go a little back, none of our ancestors would be able to identify themselves as Hindus but rather place themselves under one of the participants mentioned below. Let's not loose our ability to judge basing our opinions around recently formed terminologies.

There is the Vedic Bhrahmanism, it is still the philosophy followed by Brahmins in India. But it does have quite a few flavors. It is, in itself, a rich boutique of philosophies then and now. It is the dominant group undoubtedly though, with most of the non-Brahmans assimilated into one of the streams of Vedic Brahminism. The major philosophies in here would be Advaita, Dvaita, Shrautha, Bhakthi.

Then we have Shaiva and Vaishnava. Though it would sound wrong in the current age to call them as religions, but they are sectarian, and hence, clearly divergent from Vedic Brahminism. Atleast in South India around the 12th century, I guess the fight would have been primarily between Shaiva, Vaishnava, Jaina and Buddha schools.

We have the Charvaka, which I have always suspected, to be the silent winner. Aren't most youngsters followers of this? ;-)

We have numerous village/regional deities. For example, in parts of Karnataka, worship of the spirits is a common practice by the Hindus (and Jains and at times even Muslims!). These spirits/village deities do not have any relevance in Vedic Brahmanism but are the central part of the worship by Hindus today in significant numbers across the country.

Then we have religions based on the Gurus. Nowadays, it would be the Arya Samaj, ISKON, Osho, Sai Baba etc.

And lastly, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, which are similar to the Guru based religions, but differ in terms of perhaps having institutions that have been established to carry on the work of the Gurus, rather successfully in a larger scale for a longer duration.

I'm sure I might have missed numerous important ones, but atleast this would give us some fair idea to rank Buddhism amongst various Indic religions.
 

drkrn

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Buddhism never failed in India. In the seventh century, Sankaracharya challenged them to a dharm dwandh and defeated them as a result of which all of them reconverted to Sanatan dharm enmass.
any links.....
 

Decklander

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any links.....
Adi Shakaracharya not only defeated Buddhists but also many other sects and brought them back to sanatan dharma.
Philosophical tour





Sharada temple at Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri
Adi Shankara then travelled with his disciples to Maharashtra and Srisailam. In Srisailam, he composed Shivanandalahari, a devotional hymn in praise of Shiva. The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam says that when Shankara was about to be sacrificed by a Kapalika, the god Narasimha appeared to save Shankara in response to Padmapadacharya's prayer to him. As a result, Adi Shankara composed the Laksmi-Narasimha stotra.[29]





Sarvajna Peetha, on Kodachadri peak, near Kollur where Adi Shankara is believed to have meditated
He then travelled to Gokarṇa, the temple of Hari-Shankara and the Mūkambika temple at Kollur. At Kollur, he accepted as his disciple a boy believed to be dumb by his parents. He gave him the name, Hastāmalakācārya ("one with the amalaka fruit on his palm", i.e., one who has clearly realised the Self). Next, he visited sringeri to establish the Śārada Pīṭham and made Sureśvarācārya his disciple.[30]

After this, Adi Shankara began a Dig-vijaya "tour of conquest" for the propagation of the Advaita philosophy by controverting all philosophies opposed to it. He travelled throughout India, from South India to Kashmir and Nepal, preaching to the local populace and debating philosophy with Hindu, Buddhist and other scholars and monks along the way.

With the Malayali King Sudhanva as companion, Shankara passed through Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Vidarbha. He then started towards Karnataka where he encountered a band of armed Kapalikas. King Sudhanva, with his Nairs, resisted and defeated the Kapalikas. They safely reached Gokarna where Shankara defeated in debate the Shaiva scholar, Neelakanta.

Proceeding to Saurashtra (the ancient Kambhoja) and having visited the shrines of Girnar, Somnath and Prabhasa and explaining the superiority of Vedanta in all these places, he arrived at Dwarka. Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara of Ujjayini, the proponent of Bhedābeda philosophy, was humbled. All the scholars of Ujjayini (also known as Avanti) accepted Adi Shankara's philosophy.

He then defeated the Jainas in philosophical debates at a place called Bahlika. Thereafter, the Acharya established his victory over several philosophers and ascetics in Kamboja (region of North Kashmir), Darada and many regions situated in the desert and crossing mighty peaks, entered Kashmir. Later, he had an encounter with a tantrik, Navagupta at Kamarupa.[31]

Adi Shankara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You can do some more net search and will find some very very interesting facts about Adi Shankaracharya.
 

A chauhan

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@Tolaha I called it a failed religion on the basis of the two facts:-

1. The contribution of Buddhist philosophy to Indian philosophy is limited.

2. Buddhist population % in India, its birthplace is negligible which is a strange fact, because it has a very good presence in other countries.

It is very strange that Buddhism is about to extinct in its birthplace, hence I said that it failed in India, however you may call it a successful religion in other countries.
 
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Tolaha

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@Tolaha I called it a failed religion on the basis of the two facts:-

1. The contribution of Buddhist philosophy to Indian philosophy is limited.

2. Buddhist population % in India, its birthplace is negligible which is a strange fact, because it has a very good presence in other countries.

It is very strange that Buddhism is about to extinct in its birthplace, hence I said that it failed in India, however you may call it a successful religion in other countries.
err.... would you elaborate on the facts? Just as an example, do we still place animals in the fire pit, to say, get the ability to buy a new car? Ok, I was joking. The point that I was trying to make is, in that earlier (lengthy!) post was, that many of Buddhist philosophies have got so imbibed in our culture, that it is not easily distinguishable. Buddha was about not following a practice blindly just because its written by someone long back. But if majority of Indians still believe that the animals that we drop into the fire in an elaborate ceremony do directly reach the gods and that a yajna or spending many years in desolate forests performing tapasya is the only way to convince the gods to fulfill all our wishes, then yes, Buddha was a failure and I give up.
 
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A chauhan

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err.... would you elaborate on the facts? Just as an example, do we still place animals in the fire pit, to say, get the ability to buy a new car? Ok, I was joking. The point that I was trying to make is, in that earlier (lengthy!) post was, that many of Buddhist philosophies have got so imbibed in our culture, that it is not easily distinguishable. Buddha was about not following a practice blindly just because its written by someone long back. But if majority of Indians still believe that the animals that we drop into the fire in an elaborate ceremony do directly reach the gods and that a yajna or spending many years in desolate forests performing tapasya is the only way to convince the gods to fulfill all our wishes, then yes, Buddha was a failure and I give up.
That could be the real case, and again it doesn't signify that Buddhism was successful, rather I will say that Buddhism has affected Hinduism or Indian philosophy in more or less positive way. Its contribution is still limited or minimal to the larger Indian philosophy, however I may be wrong.
 

Eesh

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@Tolaha I called it a failed religion on the basis of the two facts:-

1. The contribution of Buddhist philosophy to Indian philosophy is limited.

2. Buddhist population % in India, its birthplace is negligible which is a strange fact, because it has a very good presence in other countries.

It is very strange that Buddhism is about to extinct in its birthplace, hence I said that it failed in India, however you may call it a successful religion in other countries.
Don't have much love lost for Buddhists. But influence of Buddhism on Sanatan Dharm cannot be denied. In fact the real development of Vedanta philosophy was in response to Buddhism. But Buddhism itself was contained. The denouement is that Buddha is considered 8th avatar!!
 
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