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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 314Book's First Page
a multitude of worlds, and the bod-hisattvas with him became filled with compassion for all beings. Other important sutras are (a) the Sukhavativyuha, dealing with the subject of salvation through faith in Amitabha; (b) the Vajrachhedika or the Diamond Sutra, which expounds the doctrine of sunyata and clarifies several other concepts central to Mahayana, (c) the Mahapari-nirvana, delivered by Buddha just as he was about to enter nirvana, (d) the Lankavatara (400 AD), supposedly written by Vasubandhu, teaches the ultimate reality of Mind alone; and (e) the Surangama outlines the means of attaining enlightenment by concentration, meditation, and super conscious intuition. The surangama is written partly in the form of a dialogue between Buddha and the errant Ananda who had been lured by the harlot Chitta. Causes for the Popularity of Buddhism • Non-indulgence in metaphysical discussions and its original simplicity appealed to the masses. • It did not attach any importance to the existing varna system and hence appealed to the lower classes. • Admission of women to the Sangha also swelled its ranks (Gautami, the widowed step-mother of Buddha, was the first Buddhist nun). • The use of Pali, the language of the people, in the early phase helped it further. • Its adoption by the monarchies of Magadha, Kosala, Kausambi and several republican states in the initial period, and by Asoka, the Indo- Greeks, Kushanas, Harsha and Palas in the later period. Causes for the Decline of Buddhism • Reform of Brahmanism and the rise of Bhagavatism. • Giving up the use of Pali and taking up the use of Sanskrit by the Buddhists from the first century AD. • Practising idol-worship and receiving offerings and huge donations, leading to deterioration in moral standards. • Attacks by the Hunas (fifth and sixth centuries AD) and Turkish invaders (12th century AD ).