Discuss the contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture. Despite bringing the social and religious revolution, why did Buddhism decline in India?

Discuss the contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture. Despite bringing the social and religious revolution, why did Buddhism decline in India?

Approach

  • Introduce with Buddhism
  • Point out contributions of Buddhism to Indian Culture.
  • Discuss the reasons for the decline of Buddhism in India.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Buddhism propounded by Gautam Buddha was a remarkable social and religious movement started in the 6th century BC. It concentrated on the worldly problems faced by a people and prescribed the path through which these problems can be conquered and one can attend nirvana.

Contributions:

  • The concept of “ahimsa” was the chief contribution of Buddhism which became the cherished value of our nation.
  • It tried to uplift position of women and shudras in the society.
  • Buddhism had a remarkable contribution towards art and culture of the country. Stupas like in Sanchi and rock cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora are primary examples.
  • The residential universities like Nalanda and Taxila were the epicentre of education and knowledge which were promoted by Buddhism.
  • Buddhism contributed to the development of literature in Pali and other local languages.
  • Buddhism has a key role in spreading Indian cultural values to other parts of the world, majorly in countries in Asia.

Despite these remarkable contributions the Buddhism declined due to following reasons:

  • The revival of Brahmanism and rise of Bhagvatism led to falling in popularity of Buddhism.
  • The local languages, primarily Pali, were used by masses. After 1st century AD, the Buddhists began using Sanskrit which was languages of elite and it alienated masses from Buddhism.
  • After Mahayana Buddhism gained popularity, the idol worship and making offerings became prevalent, and this led to declining in moral standards.
  • By 7th century AD, Buddhist monasteries were dominated by ease loving people and materialistic distractions. They started overlooking Buddha’s principles of a monk’s life.
  • Some Kings like Shashanka of Gauda also persecuted followers of Buddhism. During medieval times in southern India, Vaishnavites and Shaivites were bitterly against the buddhism resulting into the weakening of Buddhism.
  • Huna invaders in the 5th-6th century AD and Turkish invaders in the 12th century AD destroyed the Buddhist monasteries.

Despite the decline of Buddhism in India, it left an abiding mark on the ethos of Indian culture. It is still very popular in many Asian countries and serves as a mascot of the Indian soft power.

Subjects : History and Culture

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