What is the Contribution of Buddhism to the Indian Culture?



The progress of Buddhism exercised considerable influence in shaping various aspects of Indian life - cultural, social, religious and political.

Buddhism gave a popular religion, without any complicated, elaborate and unintelligible rituals such as could be performed only by a priestly class. The doctrine of ahimsa, so strongly stressed, devoutly preached and sincerely practised by the Buddhist, was incorporated bodily in their teach­ings by the Brahmins of later days. The practice of worshipping personal gods, making their images and erecting temples in their honour was adopted by the Hindus in imitation of the Mahayana Bud­dhists.

The finest contribution of Buddhism to Indian life was made in the realm of architecture and sculpture. The stiipas at Sanchi, Bharhut and Am- ravati, the stone pillars of Asoka and the cave temples of Kanheri (Bombay), Karle (Pune) and Nasik are considered the best specimens of Bud­dhist art. The stupa at Sanchi is world-renowned for its gateways, and railings which are profusely covered with sculpture.

The most important fact is that Buddhism proved to be one of the greatest civilising forces which India gave to the neighbouring countries. Buddhism broke the isolation of India and estab­lished an intimate contact between India and foreign countries.

It was India's greatest gift to the outer world. Indian culture and civilisation was carried by the Buddhist missionaries into China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, Japah, Burma, Java, Sumatra and other countries from the time of Asoka.