Lars Fogelin

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Lars Fogelin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.


  • The decline of Buddhism in India was not a singular event, with a singular cause; it was a centuries-long process that unfolded in a patchwork. The seeds of Buddhism’s decline began in the mid-first millennium ce, when the sangha began withdrawing into their monasteries and divorcing them-selves from day-to-day interactions with the laity. Into this spiritual void stepped Hindu and Jain sects, who revamped their ritual practices and religious architecture to more closely resemble traditional Buddhist practices. In the South and West of India, Hindu and Jain sects increasingly earned the support of the political and economic elite. In the Western Ghats, the last major Buddhist temples were constructed at Ellora in the seventh and eighth centuries CE. Across South India, the sangha aban-doned Buddhist sites, many of which were later reoccupied by Hindus and Jains. While some small Buddhist centers still persisted in South and West India in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, for the most part, both monastic and lay Buddhism had been eclipsed and replaced by Hinduism and Jainism by the end of the first millennium CE.

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