How did Buddhism differ from Hinduism, and why did it fail to become a popular religion/philosophy in India?

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Hinduism and Buddhism have a few aspects in common, such as acceptance of the existence of reincarnation, dharma, karma and moksha. However, they also differ in that Buddhism does not embrace a caste system (though believing it to be innate because of karma), consider the existence of priests, or adhere...

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Hinduism and Buddhism have a few aspects in common, such as acceptance of the existence of reincarnation, dharma, karma and moksha. However, they also differ in that Buddhism does not embrace a caste system (though believing it to be innate because of karma), consider the existence of priests, or adhere to most of the rituals that Hindus hold sacred.

Historically, Hinduism and Buddhism co-existed as they both emerged in India around 500 BCE. During the Gupta era, Buddhism was the more prominent of the two. However, after the eleventh century CE, Buddhism had all but ceased to exist in India. Gautama Buddha did not espouse the idea of a creating deith, apparently because he ultimately found the idea divisive. Buddha believed that the focus should be on the alleviation of suffering through detachment. As Hinduism grew, it subsumed Buddha as an incarnation of the god Vishnu. Part of Hinduism's popularity is that it is aspirational; that is to say a person can rise into a higher caste in the next life by living correctly. Right thought and action are a way to rise socially and spiritually until one reaches his or her ultimate salvation.

Buddhism is arguably more difficult to live. It requires more capacity to intellectualize one's existence. Through the discipline of meditation and detachment, it holds that one can rise above earthly suffering. It may be that Hinduism became more appealing because it affirms humanity's inclination toward segregation and hierarchies. It also promotes the idea of a person being rewarded for what he/she does right through their actions.

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