Influence of Buddhism on Indian Culture

Buddhism exerted great influence on the culture of India.

Popular Religion: Buddhism was a simple, intelligible, and popular religion that appealed to people due to its emotional elements, easy ethical code, and the use of vernacular language.

Moral Teachings: Buddhism preached good qualities such as compassion, nonviolence, and truth. These qualities shaped human personality and character-building.

Monastic System: Buddhist monks obeyed a common head and lived together under a common code of discipline. Gradually this monastic system was adopted into Hinduism.

Development of Language and Literature: Buddha preached his message in the Pali language, which was the language of the common people. During Kaniska’s time the Buddhist monks preached the message of Buddha in Sanskrit. Buddhism enriched these languages and their literatures.

Art, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting: Buddhism contributed stone sculpture and architecture to India. Numerous specimens of Buddhist art are reflected in the construction of stupas, chaityas, and pillars. Sculptures of Buddha and Bodhisattavas were built according to the Gandhara and Mathura school of art. The Buddhists dedicated cave temples, a practice followed by the Hindus and Jains.

Contact between India and Foreign Countries: Buddhist monks carried the gospel of the Buddha to foreign countries from the third century B.C. onwards. Foreign Buddhist pilgrims came to India in search of knowledge. The foreigners who came to India often gave up their names and creeds and adopted Hindu names and the Hindu faith. Thus Buddhism contributed to the synthesis underlying the modern Hindu society.

Development of University: Buddhist monasteries were used for educational purposes. Buddhism promoted education through famous residential universities.

Respect for Animal Life: Buddhism emphasized non-violence and the sanctity of animal life. Buddhism pleads for the protection of cattle. The Hindus became vegetarian due to the influence of Buddhism.

Buddhism exercised a tremendous influence on India culture, enriching religion, art, sculpture, language, and the literature of India.

Source: Influence of Buddhism on Indian Culture

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