Hinduism and Buddhism

Greg Bailey

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:
Hinduism and Buddhism


Buddhism and Hinduism were never discrete religio-cultural systems, even if they are often taken as such. Most people and scholars tend to use the names as catch phrases for the two religions—one reflecting the overwhelming importance of the Buddha, the other taking up a Persian word—to encompass a set of cultural religious ideas and practices extending back to the 2nd millennium bce. Buddhism and Hinduism have always overlapped in ideas and practice, and they have always interacted. And though Brahmanism (the name given to Hinduism’s precursor) existed earlier than Buddhism, the rise of Buddhism and Jainism as intellectual systems, and their success as recipients of patronage, forced the Brahmanical intellectuals to consolidate their religious practices and teachings and reify their existing systems. Brahmanism as a name indicates the strong input into the intellectual culture from the Brāhmaṇa class, whose emergence as a powerful and successful social group espousing a distinct view of culture associated with the Sanskrit language, the performance of the śrauta ritual, and a particular metaphysics of the person, is manifested most fully in the Mahābhārata (200 bce–200 ce). Subsequently, Buddhism and Hinduism, in their multiplicity of forms, arose on South Asian soil and coexisted in various forms of peacefulness and antagonism for many centuries, until Buddhism entered a state of decline in numerical terms around 600–700 ce, only to continue to thrive in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and many other parts of Asia.

Article.  10897 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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