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Additional resources for Buddhist Revival in India: Aspects of the sociology of Buddhism

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Buddhist monks did not claim to command supernatural forces, nor were they likely (as were Brahmans) to invoke supernatural sanctions. They relied on the goodwill of the people, the attractiveness and simplicity of their teaching and the uprightness of their own conduct. Of course there were exceptions, but these were the broad general characteristics of Buddhist monks compared with Brahman priests. If the essence of the disability which Buddhism suffered in India was the hostility of the Brahmans, concerned as the latter were for the preservation of the Brahmanical type of state, then the disappearance of the latter in the modern period beyond any apparent possibility of its revival should, it seems, mean the removal of 47 BUDDHIST REVIVAL IN INDIA Buddhism's disability in India.

28 It had certainly been prospering in the seventh century, as Hiuen Tsang's evidence shows, and there seems no good reason why it should be thought to have declined in the intervening century. Indeed, the accusation against Buddhism in the Pala period appears to be that it became too popular-it approximated too closely to the popular culture of Bengal. Such a view of things accounts satisfactorily for the general nature of Taranatha 's account of Pala Buddhism also, namely that it was popularly oriented and received patronage from friendly kings and rich merchants.

We have already noted the Buddha's attitude towards the popular beliefs and practices of the average man-the putthujana-as having been mainly one of his tolerant forbearance; his strictures were reserved for what he regarded as the absurdity, cruelty and wastefulness of the Brahmanical sacrificial system. 29 The same attitude has been transmitted in the Sangha down the centuries and still characterises the traditional 37 BUDDHIST REVIVAL IN INDIA Buddhism of Ceylon and South-East Asia. 30 There is an inherent contradiction in saying that Buddhism declined because it had accommodated itself too much to popular cults on the one hand, and that it relied solely on royal patronage and not on popular support on the other.

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