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Social and Economic Factors in the Rise of Buddhism

Jean C. Darian
Sociological Analysis
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Autumn, 1977), pp. 226-238
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/3709803
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3709803
Page Count: 13
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Social and Economic Factors in the Rise of Buddhism
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Abstract

This paper examines the non-religious factors contributing to the growth and acceptance of Buddhism in India. The rise of Buddhism occurred during a period of expanding bureaucratic empires. This article analyzes why the values and practices of Buddhism, in contrast to Hinduism, were well suited to the needs of expanding empires. In particular, Buddhism better satisfied the political and economic needs of the rulers and the economic and status needs of the merchants. This encouraged the adoption of Buddhism by the two social groups who served as the chief agents of change in the growing empires.

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