Buddhism in India today

  • Trevor Ling


In the previous chapter it was suggested that Brahmanical hostility was a principal cause of Buddhism’s disappearance from India. If not all Brahmans, then certainly a powerful section of that class evidently regarded Buddhism as objectionable, for whatever reason. It is not difficult to see that the close ties which could develop between the Sangha and the political ruler would have been a prime source of Brahmanical hostility. While a ruler might, as Ashoka did, try to extend patronage to both Brahmans and Buddhists, this was not an easily maintained stance. More often rulers perceived important differences between the two philosophies and favoured one at the expense of the other. If a ruler was ever in any doubt on the matter Brahmans as a class would usually have been able to bring powerful persuasion to bear. Some kings perceived the value of the Sangha as a possible aid to social control and the enhancement of attitudes of peaceableness among the people, an aid which was less costly than the service provided by large companies of Brahman priests. Buddhist monks did not claim to command supernatural forces, nor were they likely (as were Brahmans) to invoke supernatural sanctions. They relied on the goodwill of the people, the attractiveness and simplicity of their teaching and the uprightness of their own conduct.


Tribal People Supernatural Force Buddhist Monk State Religion INDIA Today 
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Copyright information

© Trevor Ling 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor Ling
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK

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