Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/86

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82 BUDDHISM. Monastery of Nalanda. — The vast Buddhist monastery of Nalanda, near Gaya, formed a seat of learning which recalls the Christian abbeys and universities of mediaeval Europe. Ten thousand monks and novices of the eighteen Buddhist schools here studied theology, philosophy, law, science, especially medi- cine, and practised their devotions. They lived in learned ease, fed by the royal bounty. But even this stronghold of Buddhism is a proof that Buddhism was only one of two hostile creeds in India. During one short period (about 640 a.d.) it was three times destroyed by the enemies of the Buddhist faith. Victory of Srahmanism, 700 to 900 A.D. — Between 700 and 900 a.d. there arose various great reformers of the Brahman faith. After 800 a.d. Brahmanism gradually became the ruling religion. Legends dimly tell of persecutions stirred up by Brah- man reformers. But although there were severe local persecu- tions of Buddhists, the downfall of Buddhism seems to have resulted partly from its own decay, and from new movements of religious thought, rather than from any general suppression by the sword. In the tenth century, only outlying states, such as Kashmir and Orissa, remained faithful ; and before the Muham- madans fairly came upon the scene, Buddhism as a popular faith had almost disappeared from India. Buddhism an Exiled Religion, 900 A.D. — Dunng the last thousand years Buddhism has been a banished religion from its native Indian home. But it has won greater triumphs in its exile than it could have ever achieved in the land of its birth. It created a literature and a religion for nearly one-half of the human race ; and it is supposed, by its influence on early Christianity, to have affected the beliefs of a large part of the other half. Five hundred millions of men, or forty per cent, of the inhabitants of the world, still follow the teaching of Buddha. Afghanistan, Nepal, Eastern Turkistan, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, China, Japan, the Eastern Archipelago, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, and India, at one time or another marked the magnificent circle of its conquests. Its shrines and monasteries stretched from what are now provinces of the Russian empire, to Japan and the islands of the Malay Sea. During twenty-four centuries, Bud- dhism has encountered and outlived a series of rival faiths. At