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I think you undervalue the significance of Buddhism being "embraced" as you put it by China and then becoming the dominant religion of China and of South East Asia. It suggests Indian cultural domination. If China and South East India had a strong culture, then Buddhism would not have been embraced so strongly. China and South East Asian countries did in fact have their own culture and religions. China had Taoism. The fact this was supplanted by a foreign culture does not suggest an "embrace" but a domination by a stronger power.
Christianity did not spread through "embrace" It spead through domination by the Roman empire. Islam did not spread through "embrace" it spread through domination by the Islamic empire. Religions that did not have the support of an empire hardly spread beyond their locality: Sikhism, Paganism, Shintoism, Native American religion are good examples of this. Thus I have to strongly doubt that Buddhism's rapid spread through China and South East Asia was any diferent. It too must have had the support of a powerful empire. And I would be right:
•3rd century BCE: Buddhism is brought into Sri Lanka by Mahendra, son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka; it might have found its way into Thailand about the same time
edit on 8-1-2013 by minnow because: (no reason given)
The Role of India
In most examinations of lost civilizations, there has been a surprising tendency to leave India out of the picture. While the wonders of Egypt or Sumeria are often discussed, the equally great wonders of ancient India are seldom mentioned. This is strange because India is the main country that has preserved our ancient human heritage, both materially and spiritually. For example, in India today one can observe the same type of temple worship still being practiced like that which once occurred in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Greece or Mexico, along with the same emphasis on the spiritual and the sacred as the focus of life.
India has extensive archaeological remains that are among the largest and oldest in the world. Harappan India or India of the so-called ’Indus Valley Civilization’ was the largest urban civilization in the world of its times in the third millennium BC (3100-1900 BCE), with major sites extending from the Ganges river in the east to Afghanistan in the west, from the border of Iran to near Bombay. However, India’s role in ancient civilization has been largely ignored in favor of more culturally comfortable, though geographically much smaller cultures in the Near East, in spite of the fact that such ancient cultures frequently lauded the greatness of India themselves. How many of us know that the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia would fit easily into Harappan India with much room to spare, so much larger was the Indian civilization. There has been an even greater ignoring of the Vedic literature of India, which is by far the largest that has been preserved from the ancient world.
The many thousands of pages of this mantric literature dwarf all that the rest of the world has managed to save from such early eras. Yet instead of putting Vedic literature on par with the Pyramids of Egypt in terms of civilizational achievements, scholars reduce the Vedas to the rantings of illiterate nomads from Central Asia, who by all accounts should have left no literature anyway. The spiritual wisdom of the Vedic mantras is ignored according to a view that the Vedas are only a nature poetry of barbarian invaders. This is in spite of the fact that the Vedas were the foundation for the great yogic and mystical traditions of Asia through Hindu and Buddhist traditions and the whole science of Yoga, which frequently refer to them.
Not only has Vedic literature been ignored, there has been an additional effort to keep the Vedic literature separate from the great archaeological remains in the country of the various Harappan sites. We are told that the great urban civilization of ancient India and the great Vedic literature that India preserved as its ancient heritage are not connected to each other at all. We are left with ’a civilization without a literature’ and a ’literature without a civilization’, though both a great literature and a great civilization came from ancient India and often use the same symbols.
This is in evidence in the many Vedic images found in Harappan sites and on Harappan seals like the Brahma bull, figures in yoga postures, Shiva-like Gods, fire altars and swastikas. Here the new geology and marine archaeology has ruled in favor of the ancients. Vedic literature describes its homeland on a long lost river called the Sarasvati, which according to Vedic descriptions flowed east of the Indus from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. Modern satellite photography has clearly indicated the existence of this great river, as have numerous geological and ground water studies conducted over the last few decades, which show that the Sarasvati was once over ten kilometers in width and flowed from the mountains to the sea, dwarfing the nearby Indus. As the Vedas say, the Sarasvati was the largest river of the region at the time. It was the center of a great civilization and the vast majority of ancient Indian and Harappan ruins have been found on the now dried banks of the Sarasvati. As the Sarasvati River dried up around 1900 BCE, the Vedic civilization which describes the river as its immemorial homeland must be much older.
Originally posted by insightout
Also, has anyone heard any updates on the ruins found in Gulf of Cambay in India? They're saying it dates "supposedly" back 9,500 years.
Originally posted by insightout
reply to post by Harte
Any credible source for this info, by any chance? Wish I could take your statement at face value, but you never know, ya know?