Saturday, July 07, 2007

From: GP Srinivasan
Date: Jul 7, 2007 2:27 AM
Subject: Re: [ib] Why Did Buddhism Vanish from India?

These reasons are from Philosophical :) - Metaphysical :) - Religious : ) and moral angles. However these are not the essential ingrediants for the total annihilation of Religion....Think Think...
How come Budhhism survived in Nepal?
North East?

Think think...

With a handful of desciplwes and a kamandalu and Dhadam and manuscripts with as the sole property Could Adi Sankara be held as a reason for the disapperance of a State religion like Buddhism? A common man with some logic would dispute with that idea. Maya vada Vs Shunya vada alone could not have resulted in the annhilation.

On 7/7/07, wrote:

This is an eye-opening article for those of us who try to blame Hindus about
Buddhism vanishing from India.

Why Did Buddhism Vanish from India?
Have listed six reasons plus 7. words of Swami Vivekanand and 8. words of
Dr B. R. Ambedkar.
The main cause was the neglect by the monks of this life and its values.
While the Buddhist monks realized that everyone was not fit or could not become
a monk or nun, they paid attention only to the life of a monk and not to the
life of a householder. Which meant that they focused on the life of a monk,
which is a life of inwardness as compared to that of a householder, which is
one of outwardness. Now, both these aspects need examination, study, guidance
and control. It is not enough to tell a householder that this existing life
is only a stepping-stone to the life of a monk. Why and how is it so and what
relation it bears to realities has to be explained. Instead Buddhist
philosophers began to teach that this life was nothing but a value of tears and
misery. While some forms of Vedanta taught the same philosophy, the attitude of
Mimamsa (philosophy of action) and the Epics saved Hinduism from the fate that
overtook Buddhism in India. Many great Indians were impacted by spiritual
teachings but "unless there were some codes extolling the values of the world,
they tended to become one-sidedly inwardly ".
Another reason was the admission of women into monasteries and the more or
less indiscriminate conversion of men, women into monks and nuns. While true
renunciation and celibacy were appreciated, people wanted to see them well
practiced. When people supported these monasteries with their hard-earned money,
they did not want its residents to live in luxury and enjoyment, virtues,
which were condemned. If monks and nuns had lived by the rules that they were
taught, people would have supported them inspite of any hardship that they had
to face.
The next reason was the deterioration in the political and economic life of
the country. Monasteries were supported by the people and the Kings e.g.
Ashoka. Now, when a dynasty fell or a king died, the next in line might not give
the same degree of support. The king's thinkers realized that their defeat
was due to the loss of their best fighters, leaders, who had become monks. This
made the country an easy prey to the foreign invader. Coincidence or
otherwise, India's first foreign invasion by the Greeks took place in 327 B.C. a
couple of centuries after Emperor Asoka's peace movement.
Buddhism existed in the monasteries and unlike the dharmaasutras (ethical
codes) lacked a moral code. So when monasteries disappeared, Buddhism
disappeared. The invasion of the Muslims and the ruthless destruction of Buddhist
monasteries extinguished the lamp of Buddhism in North India. The wanton
destruction of the great monastery of Uddandapura (Bihar) and the wholesale massacre
of its monks might make us visualize how the great monasteries of Nalanda,
Vikramasila and others met with a tragic end.
The extreme asceticism practiced and popularized by both Buddhism and
Jainism disturbed the social life of India. Magadha, the seat of many imperial
dynasties, became Bihar, the land of monasteries (viharas). There was nothing in
these religions to emphasize the importance of life in this world and its
values. These causes led to a bloodless revolt by the orthodox in the
eight-century a.d. The revolt was staged from two sides, the Brahmanic and the
Upanisadic. Kumarila was the leader of the former and Sankara of the latter. Kumarila
succeeded in reviving a strong positive attitude towards the world and its
values and all that could be called human and activistic. On the other hand,
Sankara said that everything that was good in Buddhism already existed in the
Upanishads. In fact, Gaudapada, the grand teacher of Sankara, unified the
current spanda (vibration) doctrine of Saivism, the vijnana (mind) doctrine of
the Buddhists and the Atman doctrine of the Upanishads in his Mandukyakarikas
and made the way easy for Sankara to assimilate and absorb Buddhism. Thus,
there remained no justification for its separate existence in India; it had no
social ethics and consequently, no hold over society. It could not stand
alone as a spiritual discipline as it was shown to be part of the Upanishads.
Quoting Swami Vivekananda " 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".
Buddhism adopted various thoughts and beliefs between the first century B.C.
and the sixth century a.d. Some Buddhists adopted the tantric sadhanas and
distorted them for the sake of enjoyment and comfort. The highly advanced
philosophy of tantric sadhana is difficult to understand without the guidance of
a proper teacher. This undigested knowledge of tantra, including the use of
wine, meat, fish, gestures and physical union led these Buddhist followers to
their downfall. Also, the distortions of Buddhism produced a variety of
schools, which were not pure Buddhist schools but contained a variety of
practices. To give you an idea of the syntheses between Vedanta and Buddhism, the
concept of Maya in Vedanta in borrowed from Buddhism. Sankara accepted the
logical connotation of Maya just as it was given by the Buddhists. Jainism was
saved by tacitly allowing its members to become part of the Hindu fold by
adopting rules of conduct of the third caste, namely Vaisyas or traders.

Quoted from 'Dr Ambedkar Life & Mission by Dhananjay Keer'. Dr B R Ambedkar
addressed delegates of Young Men's Buddhist Association in May 1950 at
Colombo on 'Rise & fall of Buddhism in India' - 'Buddhism in its material force
had disappeared. But as a spiritual force it still exists'. As regards
Hinduism he said it went through three phases, Vedic religion, Brahmanism and
Hinduism. It was during the Brahmanism period that Buddhism was born. It was not
true that after the days of Shankaracharya Buddhism was dead in India. It was
going on for years together. In fact Shankaracharya and his teacher were both
Buddhists he added. While he was digging material on the subject for the
decline/vanish of Buddhism from India the reasons were - adoption of some rituals
& practices from Buddhism by the Vaishnava & Shaiva cults, which were
vociferous in their propaganda against Buddhism. During the invasion by Allauddin
Khilji thousands of priests in Bihar were massacred and consequently some of
them fled for their lives to Tibet, China & Nepal. In the meanwhile, the
majority of Buddhists went over to Hinduism. The third cause was that Buddhism was
difficult to practice while Hinduism was not. Reason four was that the
political atmosphere in India had been unfavorable to the advancement of Buddhism
he concluded.

But according to Hindu scholars the fall of Buddhism was due to many
reasons. Owing to universalistic ambition its spread was everywhere but it had
geographical center nowhere. It discarded all national gods & godmen & proclaimed
Buddha the greatest of all gods. As long as it reacted as a reformative flank
in India, Buddhism gained ground but when it began to act against the Vedic
religion, which was the national religion of the majority, Buddhism lost
sympathy in India. The Vedic Hindus fought the Muslims bravely and did not flee
to any other country. But the Buddhists when attacked, having a center
nowhere, fled to different countries and even it is said acclaimed the invasion of
India by non-Hindus with the ringing of bells. Besides its godlessness, its
over-emphasis on redemption, its sad tone, its unconcern with the world &
neglect of family checked rather than fostered enterprise. Quote ends.
Books referred to :
1. Introduction to Comparative Philosophy by P T Raju.
2. History & Culture of Indian People by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.


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