34 votes
Accepted

Why did people die for their religion in the 400s CE (or even now)?

Religion is a great cultural differentiator. People have been killing each other for many millenia, with a preference for targeting other people who belong to a distinct "culture", a rather loose term....
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25 votes
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Buddhists in ancient Alexandria and Rome

In terms of specific individuals, the Sramana gymnosophist known as Zarmarus or Zarmanochegas is usually identified as a Buddhist (though this is not definite - part of a greater confusion over ...
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  • 96.2k
10 votes
Accepted

Was Buddhism the dominant religion of India for 1 thousand years?

It is a broad statement, and difficult to prove in terms of population percentage practicing Buddhism in the whole subcontinent as opposed to being patronized by monarchs. In fact Amartya Sen makes it ...
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  • 3,314
8 votes
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Was Jawaharlal Nehru virtually a Buddhist?

I am currently reading Nehru's 'The Discovery of India' which is about Indian history as well as his experiences of Indian freedom struggle. I think you can download it legally from here. Although he ...
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  • 3,033
5 votes
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Why did Uesugi Kenshin never marry? Was it common practice for Japanese Buddhists of the time?

A lot of Buddhists got married in the Sengoku era- and in fact, quite a few daimyo were, like Kenshin, lay monks. Takeda Shingen and Otomo Sorin prior to his conversion to Christianity were two such ...
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5 votes

Buddhists in ancient Alexandria and Rome

The only evidence I can find of actual practicing Buddhists is that a ruler from somewhere in Greater India sent an embassy to Rome sometime around the turn of the era (year 0ish). It did make quite ...
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  • 110k
5 votes

What did Buddhism vs. Hinduism mean politically?

600 B.C. was roughly the beginning of the Mahajanapadas (Great States). It saw the beginning of not only small kingdoms, but also major urban centers. The era is marked by the transition from Painted ...
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  • 3,232
5 votes
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Is there any evidence that the fall of the Tibetan empire led to an increase in Buddhism?

I'm not really sure we can apply the concept of "state religion" to Imperial Tibet. While Buddhism thrived during this period, many court ministers and nobles remained faithful to their Bön beliefs ...
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4 votes
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Is there historical evidence that Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism?

Dipavamsa VI 18 states (see page 43 in Oldenburg's work) Asoko rajjam kâresi Pàțaliputte prurruttame, Abhisitto tîņi vassâni pasanno buddhasàsane Which roughly translates to, Ashoka ruled in ...
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  • 3,732
4 votes

Was Buddha well known by western Romans in Late Antiquity?

Perhaps not: this article by Alison Gopnik in The Atlantic suggests that Buddhism was barely known in Western Europe until the 1700s.
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  • 27.3k
3 votes
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How did the Graeco-Bactrian empire come to accept Buddhism?

The question, as is, covers a long period between Alexander (d. 323 BCE) and Mahmud of Ghazni (b. 975 CE) and the ethnic and religious influence changed extensively over the period of more than a 1000 ...
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  • 6,235
3 votes

Did the Indo-Greeks play a crucial role in promoting Buddhism?

You have the right idea, but it is a little off base. I can explain. You probably already know about Alexander the Great and his conquests. Throughout the Afro-Eurasian continent, Alexander set up ...
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3 votes
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Is there a Buddhist-Franciscan connection?

There were in fact several encounters between Fransiscan friars and Buddhists. Whether it resulted in transfer of "mysticism" can be questioned, but as with all religions, mixing and absorption of ...
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  • 3,314
2 votes

Were drugs used in early Buddhist traditions?

As @sempaiscuba points out in a comment, the source cited for that statement on Wikipedia is "The Religious and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet" by Mia Touw and the full text is ...
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  • 17.5k
2 votes

Is there any evidence that the fall of the Tibetan empire led to an increase in Buddhism?

Tantric Buddhism absorbed many of the Bon (shaman) concepts and the two religions co-existed in many ways. It was more an overlay of Buddist theology over Shaman practice and beliefs, than a total ...
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  • 1,131
1 vote

What did Buddhism vs. Hinduism mean politically?

The main limitation of Hinduism was that it was a "local" religion, to the Indian subcontinent. The term Hindu derives from "Sindu," a part of India. Over the two hundred years or so after 500 BCE, it ...
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  • 103k
1 vote

How can we explain the decline of Buddhism in India around the 12th century?

Buddhism declined in India, due to assimilation. Firstly, Buddhism had flourished in ancient India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but eventually, the Buddhist locals became subject to "hard" ...
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  • 111

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