Decline of Buddhism in India

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File:Nalanda University India ruins.jpg
Ruins of Nalanda University, considered a milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India

A steady decline of Buddhism in India set in during the 1st millennium CE in the wake of the White Hun invasion followed by Turk-Mongol raids.,[1] though it continued to attract financial and institutional support during the Gupta era (4th to 6th century) and the Pala Empire (8th to 12th century).[2][3]

The decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent has been attributed to various factors, especially the regionalisation of ancient 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, then Muslim Turks and Persians particularly from the 10th century onwards.[1][4][5][6]

Buddhism largely disappeared from most of India with the Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent, surviving in the Himalayan regions and south India.[1][4][7]

The total Buddhist population in 2010 in the Indian subcontinent – exclusive of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan – was about 10 million of which about 7.2% lived in Bangladesh, 92.5% in India and 0.2% in Pakistan.[8]


n Defense of Buddhism: The Threat of Islam to the Buddhist World, the History of Jihad against Buddhists and Why Buddhist Resistance Matters! _________________________________________________________

Following is a brief history of Muslim violence, crime and Genocide perpetrated against the Buddhist world throughout the history. It is an article we've found in the "Transcultural Buddhism" Blog which gives an excellent explanation about the violent nature of Asia's islamization and put an end to the myth of the "peaceful nature of Asia's Islam and its non-violent spread across the Buddhists world.

It is the first article in a series in which we will try to raise the awareness of the danger of Islam to the Buddhist culture, values, world and religion showing that the creeping Islam in Asia incorporates an existential danger for the Buddhist world and under the deceitful façade of kindness has the aim of cleaning Asia from its Buddhist heritage.

It is the more important as for the mainstream Media it remains silent on the ongoing crimes of Islam against Buddhists while in the next posts we will give examples of Jihad and the war waged against Buddhist countries in Asia by Islamic Militants. The next is an excerpt from the article from the "Transcultural Buddhism" which gives us an historical perspective and view over the crimes perpetrated by Islam against Buddhists.

Destruction of Nalanda

"After the second battle of Tarain in 1192 when the forces of Islam were victorious there was nothing to keep them from invading the so-called Middle Land where Nalanda was located. In 1193 Mohammad Bakhtyar and his armies swept across the Gangetic Plain destroying all Buddhist temples and institution he found and killing all Buddhist monks who fell into his hands. Nalanda was almost completely plundered, but a few monks who had managed to survive the onslaught returned and attempted to revive the institution. A second attack by the Moslems followed and this time Nalanda was destroyed for good. The abandoned ruins of the once great monastery slowly crumbled into dust, only to be restored, at least in part, in the twentieth century."More on the destruction of Nalanda HERE

The Buddha Meets Holger Danske

" Almost all the harm inflicted upon Buddhism throughout history has been caused by Islam, says Ole Nydahl. He finds it embarrassing that Buddhists never defended themselves. Muslim extremists now threaten Buddhists with renewed violence.

"...According to a report dated April 4th. 2007 from the internet portal Asia News the Islamic extremist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, located in the Pakistan-dominated part of Kashmir, issued threats against expatriate leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama. Lashkar-e-Toiba is among the most powerful Islamic groups in Southeast Asia. It has been connected with several deadly onslaughts throughout India and is allegedly connected to Al-Qaeda. The threats against the Dalai Lama were surprising because the prominent Buddhist leader on several occasions praised Islam as being a peaceful religion. The Dharamsala Police in Northern India, where the Dalai Lama lives, take the threats seriously and have enhanced their security precautions.

Those threats are in accordance with the anti-Buddhist campaign mentioned by Osama bin Laden in his speech on the Arabic TV network Al-Jazeera on April 23, 2006. Besides the usual threats against “crusaders”, countries supporting Denmark in its conflict over the Mohammed cartoons, the United Nations, etc., his message contained a specific reference to Buddhists. It was delivered when he spoke about the UN Security Council which Osama bin Laden accused of excluding Islamic nations all the while granting the rights of veto to “Crusaders of the world and Buddhist pagans.”

Extermination of 10 million Buddhists along the Silk Road

"The first Western Buddhists were the Greeks descended from Alexander the Great’s army in what is now Afghanistan. Jihad destroyed all Buddhism along the silk route. About 10 million Buddhists died. The conquest of Buddhism is the practical result of pacifism.

Zoroasterianism was eliminated from Persia. The Jews became permanent dhimmis through hout Islam. In Africa over 120 million Christians and animists have died over the last 1400 years of jihad. Approximately 270 million nonbelievers died over the last 1400 years in the jihad of political Islam. These are the Tears of Jihad, a subject which is not taught in any school."

History of the Jihad against Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines "The clash of the gentle ancestors of the Malays and Indonesians with the violent Muslims is a clash of contrasts. This is so as there is no greater contrast than that between Buddhism and Islam. While Buddhism is intrinsically and universally non-violent, Islam is a violent, cruel and murderous paranoia as we witnessed in 9/11, 7/7, 3/11 and numerous other events in recent history.

The 14 century long history of Islam has been equally violent and bloodied and cruel.

When attacked and massacred by the Muslims, the Buddhists initially did not make any attempt to escape from their murderers. They accepted death with an air of fatalism and destiny. And hence they are not around today to tell their story."

Beheaded for Being Buddhist

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - A militant Iraqi group said it had killed 12 Nepali hostages and showed pictures of one being beheaded and others being gunned down in the worst violence against captives since a wave of kidnappings erupted in April. The announcement of the killings, made in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site Tuesday, came as France intensified its efforts to save two French reporters held hostage in Iraq by a separate militant Islamic group.

The Nepalis were kidnapped earlier this month when they entered Iraq to work as cooks and cleaners for a Jordanian firm. The killing of men from a tiny country that had nothing to do with the invasion or occupation of Iraq will send shockwaves through foreign companies doing business here. "We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalis who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God," said the statement by the military committee of the Army of Ansar al-Sunna.

The group posted a series of photographs showing the killing as well as a video. The recording showed two masked men, one in camouflage, holding down a hostage. One of the men then used a knife to behead the hostage and then hold his head aloft. The video then showed a group of hostages lying face down and being shot by a man using an automatic rifle. It then showed bodies splattered with blood and bullet wounds. "

Nirvana versus Jihad

"If there is one conflict that truly shows up Muslims for the intolerant, violent and oppressive fanatics they really are it is the Islamic jihad being waged in Southern Thailand against the Buddhists. Yes, you read that correctly, Buddhists. Those people who believe strictly in non-violence and peace, who believe no living creature should be harmed and who have pretty much caused no harm to any other people are now being treated to the delights of "The Religion of Peace." Over 3,300 Buddhists have been slaughtered to date by fanatical Islamic jihadists who fight in Allah's cause. And yet once again, the media give little coverage to this conflict, focusing attention instead on the sham "Palestinian" cause conveniently ignoring the fact that Muslims are oppressing and slaughtering thousands upon thousands of non-believers around the world all to the cry of "Allahu Akhbar!" as they devoutly follow the perfect example of their faith, the insane paedophile, murderer and enslaver Mohammed."

Fatwa on Dalai Lama

"Lumbini (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s three million Buddhists are alarmed over death threats made against the Dalai Lama, allegedly by Islamic extremist group Lashkar-e-Toiba. In Lumbini, Buddha’s birth place in southern Nepal, monks and lay people are praying for him. A local monk, Bhante Jaydeo, told AsiaNews that the Dalai Lama “is an apostle of non violence and peace. In spite of being a victim of Chinese Communist violence he has never preached for a violent uprising in Tibet and has always called for reconciliation” with Beijing. “Here in town monks and the faithful have prepared special prayers for his safety.”

When an Indian paper reported the threat on April 1, police in Dharamsala (India) where the Dalai Lama lives in exile stepped up security arrangements. Lashkar-e-Toiba is based in Pakistani-held Kashmir and is among the most powerful Islamic terrorist groups in South Asia. It is thought to be tied to al-Qaeda and it has been held responsible for many attacks in India. For experts, the threat made against the Buddhist leader is probably connected to a recent statement attributed to Osama bin Laden against all religions other than Islam, including “pagan Buddhism.” The Dalai Lama’s secretary Tanzin Tekla has refused any comment."

Jihad against Buddhism in 20th century Tibet

As if the Marxists' attempts to obliterate Buddhism weren't bad enough, the Tibetans had also previously suffered an Islamic Jihad:"The Muslim Warlord Ma Qi waged war in the name of the Republic of China against the Labrang monastery and Ngoloks. After ethnic rioting between Muslims and Tibetans emerged in 1918, Ma Qi defeated the Tibetans. He heavily taxed the town for 8 years. In 1925, a Tibetan rebellion broke out, with thousands of Tibetans driving out the Muslims. Ma Qi responded with 3,000 Chinese Muslim troops, who retook Labrang and machine gunned thousands of Tibetan monks as they tried to flee.[16][17] Ma Qi besieged Labrang numerous times, the Tibetans and Mongols fought against his Muslim forces for control of Labrang, until Ma Qi gave it up in 1927.[18] Ma Qi defeated the Tibetan forces with his Muslim troops.[19] His forces were praised by foreigners who traveled through Qinghai for their fighting abilities.[20] However, that was not the last Labrang saw of General Ma. Ma Qi launched a genocidal war against the Tibetan Ngoloks, in 1928, inflicting a defeat upon them and seizing the Labrang Buddhist monastery.[21] The Muslim forces looted and ravaged the monastery again

In the 1930s, the Muslim warlord Ma Bufang seized the northeast corner of Amdo which had been ruled by the Hui Muslims, in the name of Chiang Kai-shek's weak central government and incorporated it into the Chinese province of Qinghai.[22] Amdo was officially incorporated into the Chinese provincial system, with the major portion of it becoming part of Qinghai province in 1928.[23] Most of the communities of the borderland regions of Kham and Amdo remained under their own local lay and monastic leaders into the 1950s. Tibetan region of Lho-Jang and Gyarong in Kham, and Ngapa (Chinese Aba) and Golok people in Amdo, were still independent of Chinese hegemony, despite the creation on paper of Qinghai Province in 1927.[24] In May 1949, Ma Bufang was appointed Military Governor of Northwest China, making him the highest-ranked administrator of the Amdo region."

Bangladesh and Pakistan - the destruction of Buddhism and Hinduism

"To make matters worse both Bangladesh and Pakistan would witness the gradual Islamization of their societies, notably Pakistan, and massive corruption and persecution of women would continue. The Islamization of both nations was especially traumatic for Hindus in Pakistan and Buddhists in Bangladesh; and not surprisingly Islamic persecution of minorities in both nations re-awakened anti-Islamic feelings in India.

For unlike the destruction of Buddhism in Afghanistan, which happened centuries earlier because of Islamic conquests, persecution and controlling all leverages of power; the Islamization of Bangladesh and Pakistan took place in the twentieth century and continues today. Yet why were Buddhism and Hinduism being allowed to be destroyed in both nations? After all, Buddhists in Bangladesh were a small minority and they could never threaten Islam; the same applies to Hindus in Pakistan. "

Anti-Buddhist Propaganda

"When we consider Buddhism's appearance, its scriptures, general beliefs, style of worship in the light of the Qur'an, we begin to see that its basic philosophy is founded on very deviant doctrines. Indeed, its worship contains strange practices leading its devotees to worship idols of stone and clay. As a belief, Buddhism is contrary to logic and intelligence. Countries where it has been adopted have mixed it with their own idolatrous ideas, traditions and local customs, joining it with myths and deviant ideas until it has evolved into a totally godless philosophy."

Destruction of Buddhist Monuments "Of course in the mists of time, when no one was looking, Muslims destroyed monuments, churches, temples, cemeteries, statuary and artifacts of every kind. But that was then, you think to yourself. And this is now. And now, in the full light of history, knowing that they are being watched, surely they will not do such things. Surely, in this new 21st century, Muslims everywhere will watch their steps, and not desecrate, vandalize, destroy as before.

But then you look only at what has happened since the new century began, since 2000. And here is a tentative list off the top of my head: Bamiyan Buddhas, 1,500 years old, in Afghanistan, destroyed by Taliban with explosives and technical help from Saudi and Pakistani engineers..."

Jihad in China

"After the defeat of the Chinese in the Battle of the Talas river, the Arabs rounded up tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners and their non-Qarluq Turkish allies and took them to Samarqand from where Abu Muslim sent them to Baghdad and Damascus to be sold as slaves, each worth a dirham. One Chinese survivor mentions being kept as cattle in the Arab prison camps. Abu Muslim and Ziyad made huge financial gains out of this slave trade and used it to pay their armies. More importantly the Arabs forced the Turkish and Chinese prisoners to teach them the art of making siege trains and catapult machines, which later the Islamized Turks were to use successfully in their attacks on the Byzantine cities.

Growth of Buddhism[edit]

File:Asoka Kaart.gif
Buddhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260–218 BCE).

Buddhism expanded in South Asia in the centuries after the death of the Buddha, particularly after receiving the endorsement and royal support of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. It spread even beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and China.

The Buddha's period saw not only urbanisation, but also the beginnings of centralised states.[9] The successful expansion of Buddhism depended on the growing economy of the time, together with increased centralised political organisation capable of change.[10]

Buddhism spread across ancient India and state support by various regional regimes continued through the 1st millennium BCE.[11] The consolidation of monastic organisation made Buddhism the centre of religious and intellectual life in India.[12] Pushyamitra the first ruler of the Shunga Dynasty built great Buddhist topes at Sanchi in 188 BCE.[13] The succeeding Kanva Dynasty had four Buddhist Kanva Kings.[13]

Causes of decline[edit]

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[edit]

Loss of patronage and donations[edit]

In ancient India, regardless of the religious beliefs of their kings, states usually treated all the important sects relatively even-handedly.[11] 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.[14]

Numerous copper plate inscriptions from India as well as Tibetan and Chinese texts suggest that the patronage of Buddhism and Buddhist monasteries in medieval India was interrupted in periods of war and political change, but broadly continued in Hindu kingdoms from the start of the common era through early 2nd millennium CE.[15][16][17] The Gupta kings built Buddhist temples such as the one at Kushinagara,[18][19] and monastic universities such as those at Nalanda, as evidenced by records left by three Chinese visitors to India.[20][21][22]

After the end of the Gupta Empire (c. 320–650 CE), power became decentralised in India, and Buddhism started to lose financial support from the seventh century onward.[23] The disintegration of central power also led to regionalisation of religiosity, and religious rivalry.[24] Rural and devotional movements arose within Hinduism, along with Shaivism, Vaisnavism, Bhakti and Tantra,[24] that competed with each other, as well as with numerous sects of Buddhism and Jainism.[24][25] This fragmentarisation of power into feudal kingdoms was detrimental for Buddhism, with royal support shifting toward Hindu an Jain communities.[23][26][27][28][29] Vaishnavism, Shaivism and other Hindu traditions became increasingly popular, and Brahmins developed a new relationship with the state,[30] gaining influence in socio-political process, which contributed to the decline of Buddhism.[31]

Religious convergence[edit]

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.[32] Buddhist ideas, and even the Buddha himself,[33] were absorbed and adapted into orthodox Hindu thought,[34][32][35] while the differences between the two systems of thought were emphasized.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

Internal social-economic dynamics[edit]

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.[17][42] With the growing support for Hindusim and Jainism, Buddhist monasteries also gradually lost control of land revenue.

Wars and persecution[edit]

Hun Invasions[edit]

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.[1] Xuanzang wrote that numerous monasteries in north-western India had been reduced to ruins by the Huns.[1][43]

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.[44]

Turk-Mongol raids[edit]

File:The end of Buddhist Monks, A.D. 1193.jpg
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.[45]

The Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent was the first great iconoclastic invasion into South Asia.[46] The Persian traveller Al Biruni's memoirs suggest Buddhism had vanished from Ghazni (Afghanistan) and medieval Panjab region (northern Pakistan) by early 11th century.[47] By the end of twelfth century, Buddhism had further disappeared,[1][48] with the destruction of monasteries and stupas in medieval north-west and western India (now Pakistan and north India).[49]

The Chach Nama records many instances of conversion of stupas to mosques such as at Nerun.[50]

In the Gangetic plains, Orissa, north-east and the southern regions of India, Buddhism survived through the early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE.[42] 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.[5] The Islamic invasion plundered wealth and destroyed Buddhist images:[4]

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[4]

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.[42]

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.[42][51] 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.[49][51]

Islamic conquest and rule[edit]

Muslim forces attacked the north-western regions of the Indian subcontinent many times.[52] Many places were destroyed and renamed. For example, Udantpur's monasteries were destroyed in 1197 by Mohammed-bin-Bakhtiyar and the town was renamed.[53] Taranatha in his History of Buddhism in India (dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i chos bskor gyi byung khungs nyer mkho) of 1608,[54] gives an account of the last few centuries of Buddhism, mainly in Eastern India. Mahayana Buddhism reached its zenith during the Pala dynasty period, a dynasty that ended with the Islamic invasion of the Gangetic plains.[3]

Vikramashila was destroyed by the forces of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji around 1200.[55] Many Buddhist monks fled to Nepal, Tibet, and South India to avoid the consequences of war.[56] Tibetan pilgrim Chöjepal had to flee advancing Muslim troops multiple times, as they were sacking Buddhist sites.[57]

A major empire to support Buddhism, the Pala dynasty, fell in the 12th century, and Muslim invaders destroyed monasteries and monuments.[1] 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.[58] In the 13th century, states Craig Lockard, Buddhist monks in India escaped to Tibet to escape Islamic persecution;[59] 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.[60]

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.[61] 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.[61]

Survival of Buddhism in India[edit]

Buddhist institutions flourished in eastern India right until the Islamic invasion. Buddhism still survives among the Barua (though practising Vaishnavite elements[62][63]), a community of Bengali Magadh descent who migrated to Chittagong region. Indian Buddhism also survives among Newars of Nepal.

Lama Taranatha (1575–1634) mentions Buddhism as having survived in some pockets of India, even though it had greatly declined and had disappeared on many regions.

Inscriptions at Bodh Gaya mention Buddhist pilgrims visiting it throughout the period of Buddhist decline:[64]

  • 1302-1331: Several groups from Sindh
  • 15th or 16th century: a pilgrim from Multan
  • 2nd half of the 15th century, monk Budhagupta from South India
  • 16th century Abhayaraj from Nepal
  • 1773 Trung Rampa, a representative of the Panchen Lama from Tibet, welcomed by Maharaja of Varanasi
  • 1877, Burmese mission sent by king Mindon Min

Buddhism was virtually extinct in British India by the end of the 19th century, except from its Himalayan region, east and some niche locations. According to the 1901 census of British India, which included modern Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan, the total population was 294.4 million, of which total Buddhists were 9.5 million. Excluding Myanmar's nearly 9.2 million Buddhists in 1901, this colonial era census reported 0.3 million Buddhists in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in the provinces, states and agencies of the British India, or about 0.1% of the total reported population.[65]

The 1911 census reported a combined Buddhist population in British India, exclusive of Myanmar, of about 336,000 or about 0.1%.[66]


File:Diksha Bhumi.jpg
Deekshabhoomi Stupa in Nagpur, a replica of the Sanchi stupa, where Ambedkar became a Buddhist.

In 1891, the Sri Lankan native Don David Hewavitarna who left Christianity and became known as Anagarika Dharmapala visited India. His campaign, in cooperation with European Theosophists such as Madamme Blavatsky, led to the revival of Buddhist pilgrimage sites along with the formation of Maha Bodhi society and Maha Bodhi Journal. His efforts increased awareness and raised funds to recover Buddhist holy sites in British India, such as the Bodh Gaya in India and those in Myanmar.[67]

In the 1950s Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar pioneered the Dalit Buddhist movement in India for the Dalits. Dr. Ambedkar, on 14 October 1956 in Nagpur converted to Buddhism along with his 365,000 followers. Many other such mass-conversion ceremonies followed.[68] Many converted employ the term "Ambedkar(ite) Buddhism" to designate the Dalit Buddhist movement, which started with Ambedkar's conversion.[69]

in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, escaped from Tibet to India along with numerous Tibetan refugees, and set up the government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamsala, India,[70] which is often referred to as "Little Lhasa", after the Tibetan capital city. Tibetan exiles numbering several thousand have since settled in the town. Most of these exiles live in Upper Dharamsala, or McLeod Ganj, where they established monasteries, temples and schools. The town has become one of the centres of Buddhism in the world.

The Buddhist population in the modern era nation of India grew at a decadal rate of 22.5% between 1901 and 1981, due to birth rates and conversions, or about the same rate as Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, but faster than Christianity (16.8%), and slower than Islam (30.7%).[71]

According to a 2010 Pew estimate, the total Buddhist population had increased to about 10 million in the nations created from British India. Of these, about 7.2% lived in Bangladesh, 92.5% in India and 0.2% in Pakistan.[8]

See also[edit]


It may be added that the Buddhist complex at Sarnath was sacked at this time, and the Bhikshus were slaughtered. Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.

A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries. Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.

  • There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans. Islam came out as the enemy of the 'But'. The word 'But' as everybody knows, is the Arabic word and means an idol. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went. Before Islam came into being Buddhism was the religion of Bactria, Parthia, Afghanistan, Gandhar, and Chinese Turkestan, as it was of the whole of Asia.
    • B. R. Ambedkar, "The decline and fall of Buddhism," Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. III, Government of Maharashtra. 1987, p. 229
  • The Mussalman invaders sacked the Buddhist universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri to name only a few. They razed to the ground Buddhist monasteries with which the country was studded. The monks fled away in thousands to Nepal, Tibet and other places outside India. A very large number were killed outright by the Muslim commanders. How the Buddhist priesthood perished by the sword of the Muslim invaders has been recorded by the Muslim historians themselves. Summarizing the evidence relating to the slaughter of the Buddhist Monks perpetrated by the Musalman General in the course of his invasion of Bihar in 1197 AD, Mr. Vincent Smith says, "....Great quantities of plunder were obtained, and the slaughter of the 'shaven headed Brahmans', that is to say the Buddhist monks, was so thoroughly completed, that when the victor sought for someone capable of explaining the contents of the books in the libraries of the monasteries, not a living man could be found who was able to read them. 'It was discovered,' we are told, 'that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindi tongue they call a college Bihar.' "Such was the slaughter of the Buddhist priesthood perpetrated by the Islamic invaders. The axe was struck at the very root. For by killing the Buddhist priesthood, Islam killed Buddhism. This was the greatest disaster that befell the religion of the Buddha in India....
    • B. R. Ambedkar, "The decline and fall of Buddhism," Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. III, Government of Maharashtra. 1987, p. 238
  • For example, after summing up some discriminations imposed by the Muslim state and district authorities on the Buddhists of Kargil (in Jammu & Kashmir), representatives of the Ladakh Buddhist Association complain: "As if this is not enough, there is a deliberate and organised design to convert Kargil's Buddhists to Islam. In the last four years, about 50 girls and married women with children were allured and converted from village Wakha alone. If this continues unchecked, we fear that Buddhists will be wiped out from Kargil in the next two decades or so. Anyone objecting to such allurement and conversions is harassed." They suggest: "Therefore, to protect the religious and cultural identity of the Ladakhi people, an anti-conversion law must be enacted for Kargil as is presently in force in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh."
    • Tundup Tsering and Tsewang Nurboo, quoted in: Koenraad Elst: Bharatiya Janata Party vis-à-vis Hindu resurgence, also quoted in K. Elst (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism.
  • When you consider that the establishment of Islam in the entire area from Iran to Ningxia and from Kazakhstan to Malaysia, including India, was followed by the complete disappearance of living Buddhism in each of these regions, you may wonder what Prof. Thapar’s definition of "dialogue" could be. Even Moghul Emperor Akbar, who invited representatives of many religions to his court for discussion, did not invite any Buddhist representative simply because Buddhism did not exist in India at that time.
    • Koenraad Elst (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism.
  • A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries.
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
  • In Central Asia, Islam had wiped out Buddhism together with Nestorianism, Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, and whatever other religion it encountered. The Persian word for idol is but, from Buddha, because the Buddhists with their Buddha-status were considered as the idol-worshippers par excellence. The Buddhists drew the wrath of every Muslim but-shikan (idol-breaker), even where they had not offered resistance aganinst the Muslim armies because of their doctrine of non-violence. As a reminder of the Buddhist past of Central Asia, the city name Bukhara is nothing but a corruption of vihara, i.e. a Buddhist monastery; other Indian names include Samarkhand and Takshakhand, i.e. Tashkent.
    • Sita Ram Goel: Hindu Temples - What Happened to Them? Vol. II.
  • ... Khalji’s military exploits in the east also resulted in conversions to Islam. About the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century, he marched into Bihar and attacked the University centres of Nalanda, Vikramshila and Uddandapur, erecting a fortress at the site of Uddandapur or Odantapuri. The Buddhist monks in these places were massacred and the common people, deprived of their priests and teachers, turned some to Brahmanism and some to Islam. Buddhism did not die out immediately or completely in Bihar. But Bakhtiyar’s raid on Bihar did deliver a shattering blow to Buddhism and its lost followers were gained mainly by Islam. Muslim sway extended from Varanasi through the strip of Shahabad, Patna, Monghyr and Bhagalpur district, and the presence of Muslims in this tract from early times indicates that conversions by the Khalji’s warriors were common in this region. Bakhtiyar converted some tribes in the Himalayan foothills also, and one chieftain, known after his conversion as Ali the Mech, had exchanged his native beliefs for the religion of Islam.
    • Lal, K. S. (2012). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • During the sixth and early seventh centuries AD the whole tract was controlled by Turkish rulers, but in the course of the seventh, with increasing strength of the T'ang Emperors, China gained control. Finally, however, under the onslaught of Islam, from the eighth century to the tenth, both Buddhist and Manichaean as well as the Nestorian Christian culture and monuments of the region were destroyed.... In the north very little survives of the ancient edifices that were there prior to the Muslim conquest: only a few mutilated religious sites remain2' It is clear from Indian literature that both temples and images must have existed in the second century BC and perhaps earlier. Very little architectural evidence remains, however, antedating the epoch of the Gupta dynasty (C. AD 320-650), for it was precisely in the Ganges Valley, the central and chief area of the Gupta empire, that the Muslim empire flourished a millennium later and most of the monuments above ground were destroyed by the sectarian zeal of Islam. The oldest stone ruins that have been found represent not the beginnings of a style, but fully developed forms.... Since the earliest important body of Indian art surviving to us,' he says, ' stems from the century of A'oka, it is predominantly Buddhist. During subsequent periods, however, Buddhist and Hindu (Brahmanical) themes alternate in rich profusion. The two traditions flourished side by side, even sharing colleges and monasteries, for nearly two millenniums, until about the height of the Muslim conquest (C. AD 1200), Buddhism disappeared from the land of its birth.
    • Heinrich Zimmer, Art of Indian Asia, Princeton, Paperback Edition, 1983, Vol. I, quoted in Sita Ram Goel, Hindu Temples - What Happened to them


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  • A report in the Times of India datelined New Delhi 14 August 1989 says: “When Pakistan zindabad slogans were raised first time on the streets of Leh recently, it came as a shock to the Buddhist people of Ladakh. Said Mr. P. Stobdan, a scholar from Ladakh now working in Delhi: ‘For centuries, the Ladakhi Buddhists and Muslims lived together in harmony. Even inter-marriages were common among them. What had destroyed the secular tradition of Ladakh was the systematic attempt at conversion of Buddhists to Islam.’ Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8

Wikipedia bias and censorship[edit] [archive] [archive]


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External links[edit] [archive] [archive] Did Buddhism succumb to a Brahminical 'Jihad'? | Dr. Koenraad Elst | #SangamTalks - YouTube [archive]