The Buddhist religion emanated from India. At one time during the reign of Asoka the Great, it was the state religion. After the passing away of the great emperor, Buddhism slowly died in India and spread towards the East to SE Asia, China and Japan, where it thrived. One wonders why Buddhism died in India. The answer is fairly simple as the Buddhist religion had nothing new to offer than what was already stated in Hinduism.
As a star let us examine the life of Gautama Buddha. The first thing that needs emphasis is the Gautama was born a high castHindu and was a prince, till his inner conscience required him to leave the worldly life and seek solace in meditation. This is a Hindu principle “renunciation of worldly” pleasure in an attempt to reach God through meditation.
During his childhood the Buddha was taught the basic concepts of Hinduism namely rebirth, transmigration of soul, immortality of soul, reincarnation and meditation. He also studied the Vedas and was fully aware of the caste system and the hierarchal structure with the Brahmin caste at the top. The Buddha also learnt about Ahimsa (penance) and later he incorporated all these concepts in Buddhism with a slight refinement. Most people are not aware that the basic concepts of Buddhism are derived from Hindu philosophy. No Buddhist has ever denied that these principles of Hinduism form the corner stone of Buddhist beliefs.
The Buddha thus preached nothing new. He stated everything within the ambit of Hindu thought. Another important point worth pondering over is that the two pillars of Hinduism namely the Vedas and the Brahmin cult were never condemned by the Buddha. Nowheredid the Buddha in his sermons ever say against any theory of Hinduism, but he incorporated and accepted vegetarianism and Ahimsa which are core ideas of Hinduism. He wrote in the Pali script, a language in vogue in the 4/5 century in India and a known fact is that this language was the vehicle of communication of the educated Hindu elite.
What does Hinduism think of the Buddha? The Buddha is recognized in Hindu philosophy as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, the omnipotent Hindu God; Nowhere the Buddha denied this. The Buddha who was born a Hindu never renounced Hinduism. There is not a single verse or sermon by him condemning any Hindu practice. He went a step further and incorporated various Hindu goddesses and gods as part of his beliefs. Thus the goddess Hariti known as an ogre whom the Buddha tamed and gave enlightenment is derived from Vedic thought.
The Buddha thus in my view stated nothing new, from what is already stated in Hinduism. He did refine some thoughts, but these are accepted in Hinduism like his philosophy of the “right path”.
Perhaps the one difference that stands out is that there are no castes in Buddhism like in Hinduism, but the Buddha never condemned the caste system or wrote anything against the Vedas.
The Buddha was a great prophet and most Hindus regard him as an Avatar of Vishnu. The fact remains that Buddhism has nothing new to offer and as such it slowly ebbed away from India, the bastion of Vedic thought.