“Buddhism grew rapidly both during the lifetime of the Buddha and after his death.” Justify the statement with suitable arguments.

Gautam Buddha founded Buddhism in the 6th century BCE. The religion became popular during the lifetime of Buddha and continue to spread beyond India after his death. The reason for the popularity and propagation of Buddhism was its message and its simplicity.

People did not find its teachings difficult to understand. Local language was used by the Sangh to spread it. In fact, Gautam Buddha used to speak in the Prakrit language rather than in Sanskrit. Buddha was against any rituals so he did away with them. People found it easy to follow this philosophy. Asoka and later on other kings accepted Buddhism as their religion, because it was a powerful creed at that time.

Buddha did not believe in caste system and treated everyone equally which meant the people of the lower caste were happy. Buddhism attached importance to conduct and values rather than claims of superiority based on birth. They emphasised on ‘meta’ (fellow felling) and ‘karuna’ (compassion) especially for those who were younger and weaker than oneself. These ideas drew men and women to the fold of Buddhism. A body of followers of Buddha was founded in an organisation known as `Sangha.’ Followers came from many social groups which included kings, wealthy men gahapatis and humbler folk.

The teachings of Buddha were written in Tripitakas, or the Three Baskets. Buddhist Sangha was quick to spread the message of Buddha to different parts of India and abroad. Buddhism was opposed to customs and rituals as was done in Brahmanism.

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