Many wonder why Buddhism disappeared from the Subcontinent but thrives in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and in Sri Lanka. Many Hindus claim that Buddha was a Hindu God. Of course Buddhists in China, Thailand and other countries and in India do not accept that doctrine. In fact Buddhism was hounded out of its birthplace.
Various theories have been put forward which seek to explain the tragic eclipse of Buddhism from India. According to one view, corruption in the Buddhist sangha or priesthood precipitated Buddhism’s ultimate decline. While it is true that with time the Buddhist priests became increasingly lax in the observance of religious rules, corruption alone cannot explain the death of Buddhism. After all, Buddhism was replaced by an even more corrupt Brahminism. Another theory is that Buddhism disappeared from India in the wake of the Arab and Turkish invasions in which many Buddhists were said to have been killed. However, this theory, too, seems not to be convincing as a complete explanation of the extinction of Buddhism in India .
After all, in places such as Bengal and Sind, which were ruled by Brahminical dynasties but had Buddhist majorities, Buddhists are said to have welcomed the Muslims as saviours who had freed them from the tyranny of ‘upper’ caste rule. This explains why most of the ‘lower-caste’ people in Eastern Bengal and Sind embraced Islam. Few, if any, among the ‘upper’ castes of these regions did the same.
Since Buddhism was replaced by triumphant Brahminism, the eclipse of Buddhism in India was obviously primarily a result of the Brahminical revival. The Buddha was a true revolutionaryâ€”and his crusade against Brahminical supremacy won him his most ardent followers from among the oppressed castes. The Buddha challenged the divinity of the Vedas, the bedrock of Brahminism. He held that all men are equal and that the caste system or varnashramadharma, to which the Vedas and Other Brah’minical’ books had given religious sanction, was completely false. Thus, in the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha is said to have exhorted the Bhikkus, saying, Just, O brethren, as the great rivers, when they have emptied themselves into the Great Ocean, lose their different names and are known as the Great Ocean Just so, O brethren, do the four varnasâ “Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya and Sudraâ”when they begin to follow the doctrine and discipline propounded by the Tathagata [i.e. the Buddha], renounce the different names of caste and rank and become the members of one and the same society.
Note: This article is only a historical artifact and has no bearing on the current Brahmans or Hindus who should be judged as individuals on their own merit. A religion does not make a human being good or bad. Hindus like any other religion may be good peace-loving people. However it is a fact that religious extremists among the Brahmans and the ruling class brought about problems for the Buddhists and eliminated them in South Asia. This article is not a religious article or written to defame any religion, and should not be used to refute any religion.