34

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. From the outside, the god(s) people worship are quite easy to work out; if they are not the same as yours, then these people are "foreigners". Historically, ...


24

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 whether the Sramana mentioned in classical sources referred to Buddhists or not). He was dispatched by an Indian ruler to meet with Augustus, and killed himself by ...


13

There were a multitude of complex factors that led to the decline of Buddhism around the 12th Century. But first some caveats: Buddhism is/was not a monolithic entity- there are many "Buddhisms". No religion, culture, social custom has ever died out completely in India, right from the times of Mohenjodaro- they have lived on in new forms in new homes....


10

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 amply clear in his book that he refers to the fact that everyone, including Chinese travelers, referred to the subcontinent as a "Buddhist Kingdom". However, ...


8

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 has substantially praised Buddhism in the book, that is equally true about Hinduism as well. Actually, what he seems to be interested in is the sociological ...


6

The figure is Bringhi, who refused to worship Parvati/Gauri and is an important part in the legend of Ardhanarishvara, and is often depicted with Shiva:


5

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 an impression, due to one of its number self-immolating in Greece. There seems to be a bit more familiarity with people of that faith in Greek circles. However,...


4

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 throughout. Even at the height of Buddhist power, powerful court ministers were still Bon believers. This would prove instrumental. As you noted Buddhism reached ...


4

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 lay monks, and they were both married and had children. And then, the leader of the Honganji sect, who was always a Buddhist monk, was also an inherited position-...


4

Perhaps not: this article by Alison Gopnik in The Atlantic suggests that Buddhism was barely known in Western Europe until the 1700s.


4

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 Pataliputra, best of towns, Three years after his coronation, he converted to Budhhism So, yes there is a source.


3

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 ideas is quite likely. Willem van Ruysbroeck, a Flemish Franciscan friar, spent six months in 1254 in Karakorum. In his "Itinirarium" he describes accurately ...


3

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 Greyware to Northern Black Polished Ware. NBPW was a luxury item used by the new urban elites. Parallel with the growth of cities was a major increase in long ...


3

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 garrisons, or small military towns, to rule over a certain area and claim it for Macedonia. The soldiers in these areas set up their own societies, with Greek ...


3

The Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English reached Japan during the 1500s. And many Jesuit priests were sent there to spread Catholic doctrine. The two historically most important things they imported to Japan were gunpowder and Christianity, in the form of Roman Catholicism. —Wikipedia The Japanese daimyo on Kyūshū welcomed foreign trade because of the ...


3

The Jataka Tales are moral tales, probably written down in this form in the 4th century, ie probably a 50 to 150 years after the life of Gautama Buddha. Yes, many of these stories predate Buddha. Some of the stories are variants of stories believed to have been told by Aesop in the 7th century BC, for example. I don't think Gautama Buddha added anything ...


3

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 years. So, I will focus on Gandhara during the early stages, immediately post-Alexander, and with particular emphasis on Buddhism (Gandhara was in the ...


2

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 available. Here is the relevant quote: Though little has been written on the use of cannabis in the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau, no doubt due to the ...


2

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 ousting of one by the other. On the other hand with respect to the previously warlike Tibetan Empire which the Chinese had feared, with the adoption of Buddhist ...


2

In his book Charles Allen argues that with the fall of Ashokan Empire, Buddhism, the then official religion of the king started to decline. Also the decline in Buddhism started the revival of Hinduism by Pusyamitra Sunga who was a Brahmin from Bhardwaj Gotra, one of the highest castes in Hinduism.I'd also like to add that from 6/7th Century onwards India ...


1

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 was formed by a "fusion" of various Indian traditions. It may be considered the Indian version of China's Confucianism, oriented toward ethics, rituals, and ...


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