Impact of Buddhism on Indian Society
Buddhism was a protest movement against Brahmanism. Professor Yogendra Singh termed the rise of Buddhism as the process of orthogenetic change. It has brought about many changes in Indian society.
Many foreigners started arriving in India around 300 B.C. Because of the rigidity in Hinduism, foreigners attracted towards Buddhism. In the course of time, they were absorbed into the Indian population. Foreign trade increases. This increased the prosperity of merchants and craftsmen. Now, the social status of these classes rose, and money lending was no longer looked down upon.
Buddhism set up monasteries. These monasteries were providing education to all people irrespective of their caste, religion and social status. Thus the monopoly of Brahmanism over education weakened to some extent.
Buddhism used vernacular language for writing their literature. So, it led to the development of vernacular languages. Buddhism also introduced image worship. This established the practice of worshipping anthropomorphic gods.
The Upanishads had the idea of non-violence. Buddhism further emphasised on it. Even food habits underwent changes. Vegetarianism came to be regarded as superior to non-vegetarianism. Buddhism had immensely contributed to art and architecture.
To conclude, Buddhism had a manifold impact on Indian society which created rich traditions.