Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India: Their History and Their Contribution to Indian Culture

By Sukumar Dutt | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

BUDDHISM, now extinct in India as a formal and institutional religion, has a history in this country spanning nearly seventeen centuries (fifth BC-twelfth AD). It is not the mere history of a faith, though it has been approached too often from this viewpoint only.

Taking Buddhism solely as an '-ism', just a form of faith or system of religion, its history has been sought to be traced through its doctrines and philosophies, its sects and schools, its affinities and inter-connections with other Indian systems of faith or philosophy. This, however, is an introvert view: what it fails to take in is that aspect of the religion which related it most closely to the life of the people--the aspect that is seen in the organization of its monkhood (Saṅgha) and the functioning of its monasteries (Vihāras). It is the cultural aspect of the religion which is perhaps historically and sociologically more significant.

Culture has been defined by scientists in various terms: over a hundred and sixty definitions are listed in a critical review by Kroeber and Kluckhohn. But the simplest, broadest and pithiest one is by the eminent American anthropologist, Henry S. Coon, who identifies culture with the 'sum-total of things people do as a result of having been so taught'.1

India had in the past a culture that took its 'teachings' from Buddhism--one extraordinarily long-lived and widespread, that endured over a millennium and a half, spread in its flourishing periods within that wide span of time from end to end of the country. It has left its vestiges scattered all over the land in what are now 'archaeological remains'.

Except for a struggling forlorn existence in a few obscure localities, the Buddhist religion, along with its monk-organization, the Saṅgha, was extinct in nearly all parts of India over eight hundred years ago. It had been before that in a state of lingering decline for several centuries. The causes of this decline are complex and obscure and still await exploration. What comes, however, into comparative clearness is that Hinduism in its various forms that displaced Buddhism had amalgamated with itself many of its later developments and finally accepted its divine Founder into its own pantheon.

____________________
1
Carlton S. Coon in The History of Man ( London, Jonathan Cape, 1955), p. 5. See also Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions, Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Vol. xlvii, No. I ( 1952).

-19-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India: Their History and Their Contribution to Indian Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 402

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.