Why Buddhism Deserted in India?

In the era of the Buddha, India was regarded as a pioneer in many fields. India had an economic surplus, political stability and more importantly, a history of spiritual and intellectual innovation. India was viewed as a superpower similar to 21st century America. Buddhism was received with open hearts in other countries in Asia because of its origin in India.

Then why such a formidable culture lost in India? 

Before the birth of the Buddha, Indian society had become self-centered (the intellectual class) and ritualistic (the masses). Buddhism provided a new organized form of religious Sangha, which preached a simple message of compassion in Päli, the language of laypeople. This ease and simplicity helped the extensive spread of Buddhism.

Causes of decline:

The decline of Buddhism has been attributed to various factors, especially the regionalisation of India after the end of the Gupta empire (320-650 CE), which lead to a competition with Hinduism and Jainism and the loss of patronage and donations; and the conquest and subsequent persecutions by Huns, Turks and Persians.

Patronage and religious dynamics:

Loss of patronage and donations:

In ancient India, regardless of the religious beliefs of their kings, states usually treated all the important sects relatively even-handedly. This consisted of building monasteries and religious monuments, donating property such as the income of villages for the support of monks, and exempting donated property from taxation. Donations were most often made by private persons such as wealthy merchants and female relatives of the royal family, but there were periods when the state also gave its support and protection. In the case of Buddhism, this support was particularly important because of its high level of organisation and the reliance of monks on donations from the laity. State patronage of Buddhism took the form of land grant foundations.

Religious convergence:

Buddhism’s distinctiveness diminished with the rise of Hindu sects. Though Mahayana writers were quite critical of Hinduism, the devotional cults of Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism likely seemed quite similar to laity, and the developing Tantrism of both religions were also similar. Buddhist ideas, and even the Buddha himself, were absorbed and adapted into orthodox Hindu thought, while the differences between the two systems of thought were emphasized.

Internal social-economic dynamics:

According to some scholars such as Lars Fogelin, the decline of Buddhism may be related to economic reasons, wherein the Buddhist monasteries with large land grants focussed on non-material pursuits, self-isolation of the monasteries, loss in internal discipline in the sangha, and a failure to efficiently operate the land they owned. With the growing support for Hindusim and Jainism, Buddhist monasteries also gradually lost control of land revenue.

Reform in Hinduism:

Buddhism had dealt a heavy blow to Brahminical faith. Threatened with extinction, Hinduism started to re-organize itself. Attempts were now made to give up the complex system of rites and rituals and make Hinduism simple and attractive. The Hindus even came to accept the Buddha as a Hindu incarnation and accepted the principle of non-violence. This helped revive Hinduism and made it popular again. This took away the fragrance out of the flower of Buddhism. The decline of Buddhism became inevitable.

Lose of Royal Patronage:

In course of time Buddhism came to lose royal patronage. No king, worthy of note, came forward to sponsor Buddhism after Asoka, Kaniska and Harsavardhan. Royal patronage works magically for the spread of any faith. Absence of any such patronage for Buddhism came to pave the way for its decline in the end.

Emergence of Rajputs:

Emergence of the Rajputs became an important reason for the decline of Buddhism. Kings of such dynasties as Bundela, Chahamana, Chauhan, Rathore etc. were militant rulers and loved warfare. They could not tolerate the Buddhists for their message of non-violence. The Buddhists feared persecution from these Rajput rulers and fled from India. Buddhism became weaker and faced decline.

Patronage of Brahmanism:

In course of time there was the rise of the Brahminical faith once again. Pushyamitra Sunga, the Brahmin commander of the last Maurya ruler Vrihadratha, assassinated the king and founded the Sunga dynasty replacing the Maurya dynasty.

Role of Hindu Preachers:

Harsavardhan drove away the Brahmins from the religious council held at Kanauj. These Brahmins, under Kumarila Bhatta, fled to the Deccan. Under Bhatta’s leadership, Brahmanism staged a come-back. Adi Sankaracharya also revived and strengthened Hinduism. He defeated Buddhist scholars in religious discourses which were held in many places in course of his tour of the whole of India.

Wars and persecution:

Hun Invasions:

Chinese scholars travelling through the region between the 5th and 8th centuries, such as Faxian, Xuanzang, Yijing, Hui-sheng, and Sung-Yun, began to speak of a decline of the Buddhist Sangha in the north-west parts of Indian subcontinent, especially in the wake of the Hun invasion from central Asia. Xuanzang wrote that numerous monasteries in north-western India had been reduced to ruins by the Huns.

Mihirakula:

Mihirakula who ruled from 515 CE in north-western region (modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north India), suppressed Buddhism as well. He did this by destroying monasteries as far away as modern-day Allahabad.

Turk-Mongol raids:

The image, in the chapter on India in Hutchison’s Story of the Nations edited by James Meston, depicts the Turkish general Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji’s massacre of Buddhist monks in Bihar. Khaliji destroyed the Nalanda and Vikramshila universities during his raids across North Indian plains, massacring many Buddhist and Brahmin scholars.

In the Gangetic plains, Orissa, north-east and the southern regions of India, Buddhism survived through the early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE. According to William Johnston, hundreds of Buddhist monasteries and shrines were destroyed, Buddhist texts were burnt by the Muslim armies, monks and nuns killed during the 12th and 13th centuries in the Gangetic plains region. The Islamic invasion plundered wealth and destroyed Buddhist images:

From 986 CE, the Muslim Turks started raiding northwest India from Afghanistan, plundering western India early in the eleventh century. Force conversions to Islam were made, and Buddhist images smashed, due to the Islamic dislike of idolarty. Indeed in India, the Islamic term for an ‘idol’ became ‘budd’.

— Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism

The north-west parts of South Asia fell to Islamic control, and the consequent take over of land holdings of Buddhist monasteries removed one source of necessary support for the Buddhists, while the economic upheaval and new taxes on laity sapped the laity support of Buddhist monks.

In the north-western parts of medieval India, the Himalayan regions, as well regions bordering central Asia, Buddhism once facilitated trade relations, states Lars Fogelin. With the Islamic invasion and expansion, and central Asians adopting Islam, the trade route-derived financial support sources and the economic foundations of Buddhist monasteries declined, on which the survival and growth of Buddhism was based. The arrival of Islam removed the royal patronage to the monastic tradition of Buddhism, and the replacement of Buddhists in long-distance trade by the Muslims eroded the related sources of patronage.

Islamic invasion and rule:

Ruins of Vikramashila

Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji:

Vikramashila was destroyed by the forces of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1200. Many Buddhist monks fled to Nepal, Tibet, and South India to avoid the consequences of war. Tibetan pilgrim Chöjepal had to flee advancing Muslim troops multiple times, as they were sacking Buddhist sites.

Fall of Pala Dynasty by Muslim Invaders:

A major empire to support Buddhism, the Pala dynasty, fell in the 12th century, and Muslim invaders destroyed monasteries and monuments. According to Randall Collins, Buddhism was already declining in India by the 12th century, but with the pillage by Muslim invaders it nearly became extinct in India in the 1200s. In the 13th century, states Craig Lockard, Buddhist monks in India escaped to Tibet to escape Islamic persecution; while the monks in western India, states Peter Harvey, escaped persecution by moving to south Indian Hindu kingdoms that were able to resist the Muslim power.

Conquest of Turk Shah:

Brief Muslim accounts and the one eye witness account of Dharmasmavim in wake of the conquest during the 1230s talks about abandoned viharas being used as camps by the Turukshahs. Later historical traditions such as Taranathas are mixed with legendary materials and summarised as “the Turukshah conquered the whole of Magadha and destroyed many monasteries and did much damage at Nalanda, such that many monks fled abroad” thereby bringing about a demise of Buddhism with their destruction of the Viharas.

Shoyeido from Japan

Some people have trouble with allergies and asthma when burning incense. If that is the case, try switching to a high-quality, Japanese incense like Shoyeido, which leaves almost no ash behind and has a very clean smoke. You might also try diffusing essential oils. Experiment with different formulations to achieve the right influence in your life.

Colombo,Buddhism and Elephant

Colombo fascinated me by simplicity of the people, and the roads cleanliness…even a stray piece of trash will surprise you, serene beaches, local boys playing football so passionately, Buddhist temples and their architecture is a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese.

I went to Colombo as a Business Development manager from my ex-company, though my ever wayfarer soul didn’t left any chance to explore the city even it was a two days trip.

1st day: 5 Am (IST) I still have 4 hours to meet the client. I was craving for my morning tea. But, hotel restaurants were not opened yet. Then I remembered Dilmah a very famous Ceylon brand. Bingoo!! I found it in my hotel room kitchen.

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football paying on beaches, colombo

Finishing my exotic Dilmah cup of tea, went to the beach which is facing my hotel room. Local boys are laid back, some playing football, few kids learning scuba diving. Realized, despite being poorer county than India, Colombians (Srilanka) have no lack of zeal and finding out all opportunities that mother nature provided!

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Auto-rickshaw, Colombo

Winding up the client meeting at 4 PM, first thing galloping for a cold shower since it was little humid in mid November. Thought to visit Gangaramaya Vihara Temple which was just 7 Km away. A ride on auto-rickshaw to remember!!

colombo

colobo

This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises.

Gangaramaya serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship; it is also a centre of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions. It has also been instrumental in establishing the Buddhist temple on Staten Island (U.S.A.) the Buddhist Center in New York and the Buddhist Centre in Tanzania, thereby helping to propagate the Dhamma in other countries.

Elephant:

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Elephant Orphanage, Colombo

The Sri Lankan elephant is the largest of all the Asian elephant.  Sri Lankan elephants are highly intelligent, self-aware, social, emotional as well as strong. It is reported that they move to safer places when natural disasters occur. A classic example is that in 2004 when the tsunami hit the island, elephants that were roaming in the coastal areas at the time had moved inland moments before the tsunami reached after sensing the looming calamity.

I know the best way to observe them in wild! But, just had to visit an Elephant orphanage in post haste.

Shopping and Food: Day 2: Post meeting

Tranquilness on Mt Lavinia Beach: 

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Lavinia beach, Colombo
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Lavinia beach, Colombo

Mt Lavinia is one of Colombo’s more laidback suburbs filled with great restaurants on the golden beach and is named after Lovinia, the gypsy dancing girl who had a secret romance with one of Sri Lanka’s governors.

Some Last Minute Shopping : One of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets is the shopping opportunities in Colombo –sleek department stores and cool shopping malls are filled with designer clothing, shoes and handbags, plus handicrafts, home furnishings and more.

 

Banayan Tree, Cosmology and Spirituality

                           “Cosmic Tree of Life”

Apart from the Hometree of the Na’vi, James Cameron’s Avatar used this exact Dravidian Banyan Tree of Ancestors as the “Tree of Voices” and “Tree of Souls” both sacred sites, where one can hear ancestors’ voices and connect with ancestors’ souls and access the cultural memories of the entire Pandora

Vedic Hymns of Bhagwat Geeta:

                                             sri-bhagavan uvaca
                                  urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham
                                     asvattham prahur avyayam
                                       chandamsi yasya parnani
                                       yas tam veda sa veda-vit

śrī bhagavān uvācathe Supreme Personality of Godhead said; ūrdhva-mūlamwith roots above; adhaḥdownwards; śākhambranches; aśvatthambanyan tree; prāhuḥsaid; avyayameternal; chandāṁsiVedic hymns; yasyaof which; parṇānithe leaves; yaḥanyone; tamthat; vedaknows; saḥhe;veda-vitthe knower of the Vedas.

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Tree of Immortality

The Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) is mysterious looking with widespread, aerial roots that give the appearance of numerous trunks when they reach the ground. It grows up to 100 feet tall and can cover many acres of land in its native regions of India and Asia.

Facts:

  • Indian banyan (Ficus benghalensis), which is the national tree of the Republic of India.
  • There is a differece between Peepal tree and Banyan Tree.

In ancient times, among many communities and among the four classical civilizations: Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and Mesopotamian, tree worship is first recorded in the Harappan civilization or otherwise called the Indus valley or Indian civilization, which could possibly be a Dravidian orProto-Dravidian culture.

Trees are sacred in India, and often associated with God and Goddess. The Indian name of the Banyan tree is Vat Vriksha.

Why this tree called Banyan?

When the British came to India, they noticed that members of the trading or Bania community used to gather under a large shady fig tree, which they named the Banyan, from Bania. Technically, Ficus benghalensis, the Banyan belongs to the Fig family. There are various types of fig trees all over the world, some of these are sacred. The most popular one is the Ficus religiosa or the Pipal which became especially popular in Buddhist times because it was under this tree that Gautama Siddhartha of the Sakya clan attained enlightenment. It was the leaves of a fig tree that Adam and Eve used to cover their nakedness in Eden after they were tempted to eat the Forbidden Fruit by Satan.

Spirituality:

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Water reflection of Banyan Treee

The meaning of upside down tree can be found in the reflection of the Banyan tree in water. The refeclection symbolize the Brahma to be the root of this material tree, and from the root, according to Sankhya philosophy, come prakrti, purusa, then the three gunas, then the five gross elements (panca-maha-bhuta), then the ten senses (dasendriya), mind, etc. In this way they divide up the whole material world into twenty-four elements. If Brahma is the center of all manifestations, then this material world is a manifestation of the center by 180 degrees, and the other 180 degrees constitute the spiritual world. 

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Banyan Tree reflection of life

Even today, in South India, where Dravidian culture is largely observed, where much is not destroyed by insanely brutal conquerors and much somehow survived the test of time, tree worship plays an important role in everyday life. Tree worship, mainly a fig species like banyan or Pipalsacred fig – tree, is an integral part of ancestral worship (Not to be confused with veneration of dead, where all the dead ancestors’ spirits are included. Whereas, in Dravidian ancestral worship, only the rightful ancestors’ spirits are considered.). In these mighty trees dwell in the spirits of ancestors, it is said. At the time of worship a liquor, mainly arrack, is offered along with other sacrifices.

Married Women and Banyan Tree:    

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Banyan tree worshiping by married women in India

In the tale of Satyavan and Savitri.  Satyavan lost his life beneath the branches of a banyan. Savitri courageously entered into a debate with Yama (the God of Death), and won his life back. In memory of this couple, in the month of Jyestha during May and June, the tree is celebrated. Married women visit a banyan and pray for the long life of their husbands.

Banyan Tree and Bhagwat-Geeta: Banyan tree at Jyotisar in Kurukshetra is believed to beplace where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita 5000 years back to Arjuna. There is a board placed on the tree in which is written “The immortal banyan tree witness of the celestial song Bhagavad-Gita”. In fact this place is named as the “Gitopadesh sthal – place where the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken”.

Trimurti:

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Symbol of Trimurti(Three Idols -Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva)

The Vat Vrisksh , Bargad or Banyan tree is one of the most venerated trees in India. It has the ability to survive and grow for centuries and is often compared to the shelter given by God to his devotees In Hindu mythology, the tree is called Kalpavriksha, the tree that provides fulfilment of wishes and other material gains. It symbolizes Trimurti – Lord Vishnu is believed to be the bark, Lord Brahma the roots, and Lord Shiva the branches.

The Banyan tree also symbolizes Trimurti – Lord Vishnu is believed to be the bark, Lord Brahma the roots, and Lord Shiva the branches. That is the reason, banyan tree is worshiped by those who are childless and this tree should never be cut. The tree can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. The Great Banyan in the Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, is considered to be the largest tree in the world. Lord Dakshinamurthy, who is worshiped as the “ultimate guru”, is usually depicted beneath a banyan tree. He symbolizes Lord Shiva and is seen as the the destroyer of ignorance and embodiment of knowledge.

Buddhism:

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Lord Buddha  meditating under Banyan tree

This tree is also sacred to the Buddhists. After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha is believed to have sat under a Banyan tree for seven days, absorbed in his new-found realization.  Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment in Bodhgaya in India while meditating under a banyan tree. The worship of the tree is also represented in a Buddhist sculpture with its long hanging roots dropping gold pieces in vessels placed below.

Health Benefits of Banyan Tree According to Ayurveda: 

  •  The bark and leaf buds of the tree are useful in arresting secretion or bleeding.
  • The fruit exercises a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes, alleviates swelling and pain, and serves as a mild purgative. It is also nutritious.
  •  The leaf buds of Banyan are beneficial in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea and dysentery. The buds should be soaked in water’ overnight and taken as infusion in the treatment of these diseases. The latex is also useful in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery.
  • A few drops of the latex of the banyan tree mixed in milk and taken daily helps cure bleeding piles. With this treatment, the diet of the patient should contain liberal quantities of green vegetables especially fenugreek and manattakkali or black nightshade leaves.
  •  Tender roots of Banyan are considered beneficial in the treatment of female sterility. These roots should be dried in the shade and finely powdered. This powder should be mixed 5 times its weight with milk and taken at night for three consecutive nights after menstruation cycle every month till the conception takes place. No other food should be taken with this.
  •  A regular douching of the genital tract with a decoction of the bark of the Banyan tree and the fig tree is helpful in leucorrhoea. A tablespoon each of the powders of the bark of the two trees should be boiled in a litre of water till it is reduced to about half. Douching with the lukewarm decoction will keep the tissues of vaginal tract healthy.
  •  Cleaning the teeth with the aerial roots of the Banyan is beneficial in preventing teeth and gum disorders. As one chews the stick and brushes, the astringent secretion from the root-stick cleanses and strengthens the teeth and gums.
  • The latex is commonly used locally for rheumatism, pain and lumbago.
  •  A hot poultice of the leaves can be applied with beneficial results to abscesses to promote suppuration and to hasten their breaking. The milky juice from the fresh green leaves is useful in destroying warts. The latex is commonly used locally for sores, ulcers and bruises.
  •  An infusion of the bark is a specific medicine for diabetes. The tender ends of the aerial roots can be taken to stop vomiting.

*(Note: Please check with Some Ayurveda Doctor before any treatment from Banyan tree)

In my garden, the rose opened. But I was in too much of a hurry, and passed it by. Love remembered me and said, I will make a rose bloom in your heart.

My Balcony garden                                                                                Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every
telephone, stop every motor and halt all activity for an hour some day
to give people a chance to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all
about, why they are living, and what they really want –
James Truslow Adams

“No Hurry!”  “Take your time!”  “Relax!”  

“I am a laid back person” every second person says this famous phrase. But, does it really mean what it says?

We are doing everything in hurry, without enjoying so much of the nature’s own process. We want the result in high percentage, in sales, in marketing, in so called corporate world mechanism, WE CAN’T STAND LONG IN A QUEUE,  we are hurry in sports to reach the goal, in education, in constructing world’s longest sea tunnels and skyscrapers. We are in hurry to see our garden flowers are blooming in short time, crops are full of new seeds and growing faster than the time, fruits are ripe before it reaches marketplace. And, most of the road accidents? Argument with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend? Because you have no time to listen. Managers, you are more pathetic in this case! SIGH! There are no shortcuts in life. You can’t be in such a hurry and hope to succeed. You have to care enough about people to serve them the right way; you have to make them the focus. If you’ll do that the rewards will astounding.

Now “SLOW DOWN”!

  • Live your life valuing and estimating the count of your own breathing.
  • Your are not a part of mechanism of corporate culture.
  • You are not a slave of monthly sales target.
  • Don’t forget about the everyday car collisions too!
  • You have no time to look around to see a child’s smile.
  • You have not been to any live cultural show for years.
  • You have no time to make children.
  • You have not given priority to your own body and soul mechanism.
  • You are busy texting and sending reports to Marketing Head, when in wedding party.
  • You think your old parents don’t have to feel your presence; because, you send them money when in need.
  • You do Online shopping to save your time. that’s good! But, are you not losing your own freedom to go and look up and touch the real product you want to purchase?
  • Your friends are more real on Social networking site, but not in front.
  • You look more to your the screens of your window PC, tablet and mobile than the roses of your garden, than changing of the leaves of the big tree in front of your house.
  • You are plugging headphone into your ears for a conference call in the early morning than to listen to the hoots, songs, chatter, trill and tweets.

How can you liberate yourself?  Are you ready for living for your own Mechanism? Will you give an opportunity to take few conscious deep breathe to yours lungs? Will you give some love to your slow pumping heart? Will you give some rest to your beautiful eyes? will Listen to the birds songs, nature and the whole universe want to talk to you?

For “Prana-Healing” Please visit my Facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/keyayogaandhealing

Skype: keya.redorchids

Feeling of Limitless

eb56d8d5af97e85bdcf32d2d447dcd48There is no greater feeling than living true to your soul.

It comes from purpose. From meaning. From a deep sense of conviction and clarity about your mission in life.

When you’re able to connect with this level of your being, things begin to change for you in incredible ways.

You feel tapped into life. Guided by intuition. Living through inspiration. Driven by something bigger than yourself.

People around you begin to really feel your presence and passion… and you may just experience a phenomenon where it seems the universe itself seems to have your back and support you.

This feeling is difficult to describe using words, but Vishencalls it the state of ” Limitless.”

Want to learn and master: How to be limitless?

https://www.facebook.com/keyayogaandhealing

  • A powerful framework that will allow you to accelerate your evolution in consciousness.
  • A surprising daily practice that removes negative charges from your system and leaves youfeeling calm, compassionate, creative and limitlessly powerful to fulfill your mission.
  • How to know, with conviction, what your highest calling is, by tapping into your intuition to always keep you pointing in the right direction.
  • The secret to feeling an indescribable sense of connectedness and unity with the world around and inside you.
  • A glimpse of what is possible when you operate at a higher state of consciousness.

Zen Habits

~ Aum Mani Padme Hum ~

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  1. Do One thing at a time.
  2. Do it gently and deliberately.
  3. Do it completely.
  4. Do less or to your capacity.
  5. Put space between things.
  6. Develop rituals.
  7. Designate time for certain things.
  8. Devote time to sitting.
  9. Smile and serve others.
  10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation.
  11. Think about what is necessary.
  12. Live simply.