Decline of Buddhism in India - Ideological and Financial Causes - Islam

Islam

See also: Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques

By the time of the Muslim conquests in India, there were only glimpses of Buddhism nor any evidence of a provincial government in control of the Buddhists. During the seventh to 13th centuries when Islam arrived it replaced Buddhism as the great cosmopolitan trading religion in many places accompanied by a consolidation of the communal peasant religions of Hinduism. The Tibetan scholar of the 17th century Taranatha writes that during the time of the Sena king Stag-gzigs (Turks) had begun to appear on horses and that monasteries had been fortified with troops stationed in them; however, they were overrun and monks at Uddandapura were massacred, the monastery razed and replaced by a new fort and further north-east Vikramshila was destroyed as well. Hardly any contemporary evidence however exists on the destruction of Buddhist monasteries.

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. Later historical traditions such as Taranathas are mixed with legendary materials and summarized 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 sudden demise of Buddhism with their destruction of the Viharas. Buddhism lingered longer in Iran than South Asia and was officially professed under fifty years of Mongol conquest. With the conversion of Ghazan to Islam in 1295, the backlash resulted in the destruction of many Buddhist places of worship and the further migration of monks into Kashmir.

Many places were destroyed and renamed. For example, Udantpur's monasteries were destroyed in 1197 by Mohammed-bin-Bakhtiyar and the town was renamed. Taranatha in his History of Buddhism in India (dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i chos bskor gyi byung khungs nyer mkho) of 1608 C.E., gives an account of the last few centuries of Buddhism, mainly in Eastern India. His account suggests aconsiderable decline but not an extinction of Buddhism in India in his time.

Read more about this topic:  Decline Of Buddhism In India, Ideological and Financial Causes

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