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Buddhism Confronted With Brahmanism

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Chapter Summary

The attitude of both Brahmanism and Buddhism toward the sciences was complex. This chapter offers a first analysis, taking as point of departure the attitude toward the sciences in the Christian Middle Ages. Sometime during the early centuries ce, the Buddhists of northwestern India adopted Sanskrit. The present chapter argues that this transformation cannot be dissociated from the confrontation with Brahmanism that Buddhism underwent, and will propose an explanation as to why it happened. It also concentrates on the cultural "ballast" that inexorably accompanied this linguistic change for the Buddhists of the Indian subcontinent. The investigations, in this chapter, suggest that either Buddhism had to modify itself in such a way as to be able to provide ideological and practical support to the agents of political power; alternatively, it had to conclude a pact with a tradition that could provide such support.

Keywords: Brahmanism; Buddhism; Buddhists; Christian Middle Ages; cultural ballast; Indian subcontinent; Sanskrit



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