The life of Buddha, like the biblical story of the Exodus is so firmly established in the minds of people that it is heresy to question whether Buddha1 ever lived or whether the Exodus really happened. That is because the Exodus is the very foundation of Jewish history and theology, just as Buddha is the foundation upon which all Buddhist doctrine, and especially reincarnation is built. It does not matter that the Exodus never happened, or that Buddha is a fiction, as "history" has become "the lies upon which eminent scholars agree."
The evidence for Buddha being a fiction is far more compelling than the traditions that surround him. Those traditions begin with his birth, which was claimed to have been anywhere from 2,420 BCE to 543 BCE. Yet there is no written mention of Buddha until 249 BCE, when the Indian Emperor Asoka, (304 - 273 BCE) erected an inscription at Lumbini (in modern Nepal).
This was one of 33 Edicts of Asoka, erected about 77 years after Alexander the Great2 invaded India in 326 BCE. The inscription is located in a grove near the village of Paeria in southern Nepal, which according to Buddhist legend, is where Gautama Buddha was born. It reads:
"Piyadaasi, [Asoka] after he had been consecrated 20 years, came in person and worshipped, because here was born Buddha Sakyamuni...."There is no further written mention of Buddha until the 29 BCE Pali Canon. However that Buddhist Canon gives a history that only has 5 kings after the death of Buddha in the 218 years before Asoka’s ascension as Emperor, and puts his reign 62-70 years before he actual ruled. As with other pious frauds, when confronted with obvious contradictions the Buddhists defenders simply adjusted the death of Buddha to a later date. Thus we find:
"If, as is now almost universally accepted by informed Indological scholarship, a re-examination of early Buddhist historical material, ..., necessitates a redating of the Buddha's death to between 411 and 400 BCE...."The most obvious problem this 400 BCE death of Buddha creates is, there can no death date for someone who never existed. This is compounded by the tradition that has the First Buddhist Council being held the year after Buddha's death, while the Second Buddhist Council took place about 100 years later - about 300 BCE - 26 years after Alexander the Great invaded India, and 4 years after the Greeks concluded a peace treaty with the Indian Emperor in 304 BCE.
Paul Dundas, The Jains, (Routledge, 1992) [Full quote: The Jain]
As with all pious frauds, when confronted with the truth, Buddhism simply ignores it, knowing Buddhism and its traditions cannot survive without pushing Buddha's death back more than 100 years.
Asoka's grandfather, Chandragupta Maurya (340 BCE – 298 BCE) was about 14-15 years old when Alexander The Great fought in India. When Ghandragupta was about 20 years old (c. 321 BCE) he founded the Maurya Dynasty and rebelled against Seleucus Nicator, the Macedonian general who had claimed India after the death of Alexander.
It is not clear whether Chandragupta Maurya rebelled against Seleucus Nicator before or after founding his Dynasty, but Maurya concluded a treaty with Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus Nicator, about 304-303 BCE. The treaty allowed the Macedonians to withdraw from India with dignity, while giving Seleucus Nicator 500 war elephants in exchange for all of India.
These elephants were the deciding factor in Seleucus Nicator's decisive victory against Antigonus in the battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE; and since that battle date is well established, it makes the 303-304 BCE date for withdrawal from India is also accurate.
Maurya had retaken the territories conquered by Alexander the Great by 298 BCE, then expanded his empire and conquered most of the sub continent. He abdicated his throne in 298 BCE, when he was about 42 year old and converted to Jainism [which had developed along side Buddhism from the same root] and, according to tradition, died fasting. Bindusara Maurya (c. 320–272 BCE)reigned from 298 BCE - 272 BCE and expanded the Empire further to the south, then consolidated the empire.
His grandson, Asoka, became king in 274 BCE, 24 years after the treaty with Seleucus, and became the most celebrated, if not the greatest ruler of India. The inscription of Asoka at the grove near Paeria was placed there in his 25th year as king (c. 250 BCE), 20 years after he had been consecrated a Buddhaist3 in the 5th year of his reign.
According to tradition, Asoka converted to Buddhism after he had seen the suffering he had caused by his warfare. However, regardless of why he converted, as with many converts to any religion, he became an ardent adherent of the faith and at his instigation, the Great Council was held in Pataliputra (Patna) that established the tenets of Buddhism, created the Pali canon, and organized its members in India. Thus, we have not only the first written mention of Buddha, anywhere, 74 years after the death of Alexander The Great, but also the first historical Buddhist Council4 being held during the reign of Asoka. However, it should be noted that there is no written record of that Council.
That is very sketchy evidence--in fact it is no evidence at all--that Buddha had been born 314 years earlier (c 563 BCE), as tradition would later claim.
Despite the claims of tradition, any Buddhist influence in India (or anywhere else) prior to the reign of Asoka is completely lacking. His grandfather, Chandragupta Maurya’s conversion Jainism, which was virtually unknown at the time, undoubtedly brought that religion to light.
What we know of India at the time of Alexander the Great militates against the Buddhist and Hindu doctrines that would be espoused centuries later. For while there are no written Buddhist or Hindu documents predating Asoka, we do have the writings of Megasthenes, the Macedonian ambassador two decades after Alexander the Great. Of the Indian sages he states:
"They too say that the world is round like a ball, and transitory; the God who made and ordered it permeates everything.... They consider earthly life to be a conceiving, and death to be birth into the true life; therefore they constrain themselves to think of death calmly... They talk also -- like Plato -- of all kinds of myths about the immortality of the soul and about judgement in the underworld...."Obviously Megasthenes did not concern himself with all the religious beliefs of India. But it is significant that he made no mention of Buddha or Mahavira [the found of Jain]. Neither did he compare any Indian belief with those of Pythagoras, nor mention the doctrine of metempsychosis of which Megasthenes was well aware. Instead Megasthenes writes of, "earthly life [as being] a conceiving, and death to be birth into the true life," which Platonic and Aristotelian doctrines that are quite similar to Egyptian theology that also includes metempsychosis -- the rebirth as an immortal. He also writes of the immortality of the soul -- a soul that does not exist in Buddhism -- and of a judgement and underworld that are antagonistic to both Buddhism and Hinduism. There is no mention of reincarnation or karma, though Megasthenes had been a student of Aristotle, and his reference to Plato clearly indicates his understanding of Phaedrus (248 et. seq.) and the belief of the law of Destiny and a rebirth or reincarnation.
One would think that if Buddhism, Jainism and the Hindu doctrines of reincarnation were such dominant forces in India before Alexander the Great, the Greek ambassador would have written about them or contrasted Indian beliefs with those of the Greeks. Yet there is no mention of what others call the "gods of Buddhism" being the highly evolved forms of consciousness espoused by Buddhism; for in Buddhism the gods are not entities or beings, but only degrees of truth, in which "personality is illusion, universality the only truth," with nirvana being the end of illusion.
It is unlikely that any of this was told to Megasthenes, as he wrote nothing of it. Likewise, the numerous inscriptions of Asoka, three quarters of a century later, make it clear that the concept of nirvana was not part of Asoka's concept of Buddhism, and without evidence to the contrary, it is quite possible that nirvana had not yet become a part of Buddhism, either.
This lack of so-called Buddhist doctrine is confirmed by R. E. Bloch Les Inscriptions d'Asoka (Paris 1950) and A.L. Basham The Wonder That Was India who write:
"Although [Asoka] never mentions the Buddhist nirvana, he speaks frequently of heaven; and he seems to have held the naive belief that, as a result of the growth of morality through his reforms, the gods had manifested themselves on earth, a phenomenon which had not occurred for many years previously. For Asoka, Buddhism seems to have been a system of morals which led to peace and fellowship in this world and heaven in the next. His metaphysical presuppositions were not distinctly Buddhist, but were evidently those traditional in India at the time." (p.55)What Asoka wrote was most assuredly what he understood Buddhist doctrines to be. Asoka certainly was not ignorant of the Buddhist doctrines of his time, as his Buddhist detractors claim. He was a convert to the religion and his son took the religion to Ceylon, which today retains the oldest Buddhist doctrines, although Ceylon Buddhist doctrines may not have been established until the third or fourth century of the current era.
Those who say that Asoka was not a true Buddhist because what he believed was contrary to later Buddhist doctrines, fail to understand the legends surrounding Asoka. One legend has a non-Buddhist draw a picture of Buddha bowing before the founder of Jain, for which Asoka had him killed along with about 18,000 like believers; and, there are other such legends. They may be pure fabrication, but it is still is unlikely that Asoka would have allowed any Buddhist in the Council he established to contradict his views of Buddhism, which, of course are contrary to later Buddhist doctrines. And it is more likely that it took decades for Buddhism to develop it roots.
That is shown in the invasion by Alexander the Great and the rule of Seleucus Nicator, which greatly influenced Indian thinking -- though not Indian thought. The knowledge the Greeks brought with them to India was no doubt an affirmation of something they had been taught in the distant past, but had rejected because it was not Aryan. However, that same Greek knowledge, including the transmigration of the soul, had been making its was into India for over 150 years before Alexander. But that transmigration of the soul had not come from the Brahmin, as it virtually unknown among the masses. This made India's past (before Alexander the Great) more fuzzy with each preceding decade.
For instance, we know that somewhere around 553 BCE Prasenajit was king of Kosala. This was during the same period when Buddha is supposed to have lived. But there is not only no written evidence, but no evidence whatsoever that a person called Buddha, or even his Gautama clan existed during that period. The only evidence of Buddha comes from the "traditions" of the various "schools;" schools that were not founded until after Buddha's death and which committed nothing to writing until nearly near the beginning of the Christian Era. And that raises the most logical question, "Why?"
Writing was not unknown during that period. The works of Homer and Hesiod had been committed to writing for at least 100 years, while the plays of Aeschylus (c. 525-456 BCE) were committed to writing and distributed widely during the same period. Herodotus, who had traveled to India, had become a noted historian less than 35 years after the traditional death of Buddha. At that time, India was a province of the Persian Empire, where scholars, both religious and secular, were greatly admired. And while Persian writers of the day wrote of many different religions, none wrote of any Indian religion resembling Buddhism. Why then, was there no mention of Buddha until Asoka, and no Buddhist literature until after Asoka?
There can only be three reasonable answers. Either Buddhists considered writing to be a heresy (writing being too profane for the doctrines of the Buddha), or they were completely illiterate, or there was no historical Buddha and no established religious doctrines until after the time of Alexander The Great.
Since Buddha is reputed to have come from a ruling family, and tradition makes his son and other relatives and members of the ruling family followers of the Buddha, Hindu illiteracy cannot be the answer. Despite the fact that the Aryan5 invaders were themselves completely illiterate and shunned any form of writing, the affairs of state dictated that nobility of the seventh century BCE employ scribes.
Nor can it be argued that writing was too profane for divine thought, as both Buddhist and Jain, as well as Hindu doctrines were committed to writing during and after the time of Asoka -- and repeatedly changed it might be noted. Even if Buddhism was similar to, or derived from the secret Greek Mysteries, there would have been some writing alluding to the existence of the Mystery. But, to repeat, Buddha did not exist in writing until Asoka. That leave us with the postulation that the historical Buddha did not exist.
The legend of Buddha being born from his mother's right side, under the Sala tree, and Indra, Hindu god of the air, receiving Buddha when born, are only interesting to show how legend attempted to bring myth into Buddha's birth. Yet in bringing this myth into his birth, it burdens him with the very Hindu cacodoxy Buddhism attempts to avoid.
The important events of the legend of Siddhartha (the birth name of the Buddha), center around his leaving the security of his opulent princely life at age 29 (534 BCE) to seek the meaning of life. After studying as a Brahman monk, he remained unsatisfied and embraced extreme ascetic practices for six years. That also failed, and it was only after having fasted for many weeks and finally asking for food that he gained enlightenment; this while sitting under the Bodhi Tree (Banyan), near Madras, while in concentrated meditation. Thus, Siddhartha became the Buddha, the Enlightened One in 518 BCE - but not just any Buddha, but the 29th Buddha -- making his religion so ancient that no one had previously heard of it.
Buddha is supposed to have spent the next 20 years teaching others before returning home where his religion was embraced by his clansmen and the neighboring tribes. His father also accepted his son as the Buddha and asked him to teach Buddha's own son, Rahula, who was about 27 years old at the time. His father, Suddhodana, would have been over 100 years old at the time.7 A warrior king would never have lived to be 100, but even if he had, he, or someone would certainly have left some written record. Yet there is none.
Buddha continued teaching for another 24 years, until his death at the age of 80 in 483 BCE.8 This made Maya's, (Buddha's mother) death at age 44 (in her 45th year) the same as Buddha's tenure as a teacher of enlightenment -- which is too coincidental to be anything but fable.
Tradition has three other notable followers of Buddha being his two cousins, Devadatta and Ananda, (one of whom may have been a brother), and Kasyapa, the disciple whom his followers claim is the only one who understood what Buddha meant when explaining his doctrines, turned a flower in his hand and smiled in silence. Ananda was known as the "beloved disciple", and according to the Vinaya texts, (written in the second century of the current era) persuaded the Buddha to allow women to become nuns. (Tradition makes Prajapati the first woman admitted to the Order, even though it was against Buddha's own feelings.) Ananda only attain enlightenment after Buddha died, and presented his discourses at the "first council" (480 BCE) three years after Buddha died. However, there is no record of this fictional "first council", even though many discourses were supposed to have been presented there.
Tradition has Devadatta, like Ananda, join Buddha in his 20th year of teaching. However, after 15 years Devadatta attempted to take over the leadership of the group and made several abortive attempts at having Buddha killed -- which certainly is a refutation of the Law of Karma. Failing this, he started his own community, which is known to have been in existence in 325 CE. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the writings of that community that tells anything about Devadatta's life or death, and no writings of the community that pre date the Christian Era. And interestingly, Buddha is supposed to have died after a well-meaning convert to the Order gave him some tainted food.
The remains of Buddha were said to have been cremated the day after his death and the ashes placed in seven urns and taken to different parts of Asia. However, none of the urns, which are credited with holding the ashes of Buddha, date before Alexander the Great. Although unlikely, this may be due to the fact that Asoka is said to have unearthed the remains and placed them in urns to be taken to religious centers in India.
Because the doctrine of samsara (the of transmigration of the soul and karma) was considered to have originated with Buddha, historians and religionists calculated history to conform with that view. That, however, proved to be a bad choice, as the Greeks were also teaching the transmigration of the soul, which they called "metempsychosis"9 and "metensomatosis"10 during this same period. But unlike the Buddhists, the Greeks were writing about those doctrines.
Pythagoras, was the most famous of those espousing metempsychosis (the transmigration of the soul), and is best known for the "Pythagorean theore", (although they may have been those of a disciple. None of Pythagoras' writings have survived, but his doctrines were well known during his life.
Unlike Buddha, who was not mentioned until long after he is supposed to have died,between 410 and 385 BCE, the Greek philosopher, Xenophanes (c. 570 – c. 475 BCE) who lived at the same time as Pythagoras, mentions him in his writings, while another contemporary philosopher, Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BCE) criticized Pythagoras for lacking understanding.
Thus we have Greek philosophers writing about Pythagoras long before 480 BCE, when Buddha is supposed to have been born. And contemporary with the supposed time of Buddha, the famous Greek wrestler, Milo of Croton, was a disciple of Pythagoras. Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC) wrote of Pythagoras and what would millennia later become known as reincarnation (The Histories 2:123). The Greek Pythagorean Philolaus (c. 470 – c. 385 BCE) wrote two and possibly three books that were quoted by numerous later philosophers. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the tutor of Alexander The Great, all wrote of Pythagoras, as did Aristoxenus of Tarentum, who was also a pupil of Aristotle.
The dates given for the birth of Pythagorus, rang from when some claim Numa Pythagoras,753–673 BCE, was a disciple, to 564 BCE. But these dates were given by writers who lived 500 years or more after Pythagoras died. However, the philosopher Aristoxenus of Tarentum, who was a pupil Aristotle, wrote c. 335 BCE, that Pythagoras was 40 years old when he was on the Isle of Samos when it was ruled by Polycrates (538 BCE to 522 BCE); and that he went to Italy at that time. That would put the birth of Pythagorus between 578 and 566 BCE. However, with Aristoxenus being the earliest writer on the life of Pythagoras, it is now generally believed that Pythagoras was born in 570 BCE or a few years earlier.
The early writers on Pythagoras also had him in Egypt for 20-22 years before being captured by Cambyses II and taken captive to Babylon for 8 years. That, of course, would be impossible by Aristoxenus' account, as Cambyses conquered Egypt in 525 BCE, 4-6 years after Pythagoras established his school in Italy.
I believe that Pythagoras he was born on Samos c. 572 BCE, and that he died about 80 years later c. 492 BCE.
The Isle of Samos was famous for its shipping ports, and it is believed Pythagoras' father was a merchant who traveled widely with his son. Greeks were despised by many people, and Greeks were not allowed in Egypt until about 100 years before Pythagoras, when the Egyptian Pharaohs began to employ Greeks as mercenaries.
The Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar II had captured and held many Greeks for ransoms, and Pythagoras was one of those. Fortunately, that policy ended when Nebuchadnezzar died October 7, 562 BCE, and his son Amel-Marduk took the throne. Amel-Marduk died two years later (560 BCE, and was succeeded by his brother-in-law (son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar) Neriglissar (other various spellings) who reigned from 560 to 556 BCE.
Captivity for Pythagoras was neither slavery nor imprisonment. His captors recognized his brilliant young mind, and treated him like a Chaldean. He was a seeker of truth and learned Babylonian mathematics, and not only studied the Babylonian and Assyrian religions, but understood their myths better than his teachers. Babylon, like Egypt, was considered to be a great seat of learning and religious power; and, Pythagoras was recognized by the priest of Marduk and Sin as someone favored of the gods. He was not someone they wanted to offend, and persuaded Nabonidus to set him free the year before the King left Babylon for Tayma c. 552 BCE.
Neriglissar was succeeded by his son Labashi-Marduk, on May ( Arah Simanu) 22, 556 BCE and was put to death two months later (July - Arah Dumuzu) by Nabu-naid (Nabonidus) who then took throne.
Nabonidus reigned for 17 years (556–539 BCE) and was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.
Pythagoras then went to Egypt where he became priest of Osiris, God of the Dead, and was "enlightened"11 in his 35th year (c. 537 BCE). No Egyptian priest of Osiris had gained that understanding so early in life, and one could not become a Priest until he was forty years old. This brought Pythagoras to the attention of Pharaoh Amasis II (570 BCE - 526 BCE). After meeting Pythagoras, Pharaoh Amasis, the Living God of Egypt, decreed that Pythagoras be ordained Priest of Osiris, and put in his personal service.
The Median Empire had been a threat to both Egypt and the Babylonian Empire for over 100 years, and Persia was one of the countries of that Empire. In 553 BCE the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, rebelled and after conquering the Medes and taking the Median crown in 546 BCE, proclaimed himself King of Persia. [Pythagoras had gone to Egypt in 552 BCE, and Cyrus the great invaded Babylonia 13 years later in 539 and captured Babylon that October.]
The following year (538 BCE) Polycrates took Samos by force and became tyrant and ruled until 522 BCE. With over 100 penteconter ships and 1,000 archers he was one of the most formidable pirates along the Mediterranean coasts.
Pharaoh Amasis saw the danger posed by Cyrus and made an alliance with Polycrates. Then after Pythagoras participated in the 61st Olympiad, 536 BCE, Amasis sent him to Samos to help temper the tyranny of Polycrates.
This was a move that would cause future philosophers to criticize Pythagoras because a true philosopher, by his very nature, would not participate in tyranny to any degree.
What they failed to understand (which raises questions as to whether they were indeed philosophers) is that Pythagoras was a Priest of Osiris while on Samos, and not a Philosopher. That was made clear (to a true philosopher at least) when Aristoxenus wrote:
One could not claim to be a philosopher until he was 40 years old, and when Pythagoras had attained that age, he could not only take the philosopher's cloak, but he was also released from his service to Pharaoh Amasis.
"On reaching the age of forty and seeing that the tyranny of Polycrates was too severe for a free man to endure this despotic rule, he therefore went away to Italy".
Pythagoras had presented himself as a Priest of Osiris while on Samos and had gained a small following, and when he arrived at Dorian colony in Crotona (Italy) c. 532 BCE, he was received as a god. It was there that he established his school and brotherhood, which was as much a religion as it was a philosophy.
The brotherhood lived under strict rules, held no personal possessions, did not eat meat, because souls transmigrated (reincarnated) into other creatures, and were influential in the government. Their influence, especially with regard to money and trade created tension and eventually open hostility with the business class of Crotona. Pythagoras was forced to flee to Metapontion, also in Southern Italy, where his brotherhood went underground, becoming a secret society, as members began to take the brotherhood to other areas. After Pythagorus’ death at the age of 80 in 492 BCE, the society split into at least two factions, which gained followers throughout the region.
Thus, with the death of Buddha now being revised to 400 BCE ± 10 years, making his birth 80 years earlier (480 BCE), we have Pythagoras having established a school and teaching the principles of transmigration of the soul, and many of the other principles attributed to Buddha, more than 50 years before Buddha was born.
Obviously (obvious that is to the eminent scholars who want to believe in Buddha) reincarnation must have been taught "in secret" among the elite Brahman priests of India for at least 100 years before Buddha. Their teachings were so secret that no one knew of them for nearly 400 years, and it was from those "secret" Brahmans, who only taught other Brahmans, that Pythagoras, a barbarian, an untouchable, is supposed to have somehow learned his doctrine of transmigration of the soul. However, the eminent scholars are unable to explain how it is that Pythagoras learned the secret doctrines of the Brahmans without also learning the outward doctrines of Hinduism.
To add validity to this claim, later historians would invent legend which would have Pythagoras traveling to India where he learned his doctrines. This is as ridiculous as the claims Pythagoras won the heavyweight boxing match in the 48th Olympiad. If he did, it would have to have in another life, as the 48th Olympiad was held in 588 BCE, 8 years before Pythagoras was born. However, Pythagoras did enter an Olympiad, and as Plutarch states in Plutarch, Lives, Numa Pompilius:
"For it is said of Pythagoras, that he had taught an eagle to come at his call, and stoop down to him in his flight; and that, as he passed among the people assembled at the Olympic games, he showed them his golden thigh; besides many other strange and miraculous seeming practices, on which Timon the Philasian wrote the distich - "Who, of the glory of a juggler proud With solemn talk imposed upon the crowd.""The most compelling reason for rejecting India as the fountain of Pythagoras' knowledge is found with his students. When Pythagoras died in 498 BCE at the age of 80, his followers sought wisdom from the schools where Pythagoras had studied. Some went to Babylon and others to Egypt to study where Pythagoras had studied. None went to India. One hundred years later, Plato travel to Italy to study under the Pythagoreans. From there he went to Cyrene where he studied geometry and then to Egypt where he studied in the same school where Pythagoras had studied. Plato never considered going to India -- obviously he knew more than the modern pundits about where Pythagoras learned his philosophy.
Thus we have reincarnation not only being taught by Pythagoras long before Buddha could possibly have been enlightened, but the doctrine was being written about during the same time. On the other hand, there is not a single Indian inscription, document or engraving that even mentions Buddha or the doctrine of reincarnation for nearly 250 years.
We can speculate with the same authority of Buddhist tradition, (that is with no authority what-so-ever) that after Pythagoras fled to Metapontion, some of his students traveled to India, not to learn from an Indian master, because Pythagoras was never referred to by his name, but only as "The Master," or "That Man," but to teach Pythagorean doctrines. They most likely attracted a following. However to be Brahma, one must be born Brahman, and a foreigner can never convert or become Brahman. Thus the followers of these unknown Pythagorean teacher, these "enlightened ones," would have reached some of the heretic of the various Brahman cults, who would have seen the appeal of these new doctrines, and being chagrin at the prospect of foreigners having brought the doctrine into their country, changed the Pythagorean master into a Northern Indian prince, a Brahman who had studied with the masters and rejected them. And while the Pythagorean teachers themselves were rejected by the Brahmans, Pythagoras, would become the model for the Indian prince who was created as the Buddha. This legendary India prince, this Buddha, who came from an unknown remote northern kingdom, was given many of the attributes of Pythagoras, among them being enlightened in his 35th year, not eating meat, holding no personal possessions, and dying at 80 years of age.
Thus the Buddha rose from the misty past of fable to become the Indian prince of enlightenment. We need only look at the legends that arose after the death of George Washington to realize how quickly fiction becomes reality. In a similar manner, the "enlightened" Pythagorean teachers would have been transformed into the legendary Buddha. And then Alexander the Great invaded India.
Alexander had more in mind than capturing the India. He was out to Hellenize of the world. However, Alexander's dream was cut short by Atropos when he was 33 years of age. Seleucus Nicator took Persia and India and the Hellenization continued. The learned Greek scholars who came to India brought the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, under whom both Alexander and Seleucus had studied. They also brought with them the doctrines of Pythagoras and the ancient Greek Mysteries.
But the doctrines of Pythagoras which Alexander's scholars and troops brought with them were not new to some in Indian. Their own Buddha had taught the same doctrines hundreds of years earlier, or so they would believe. And to combat the influence of the Hellenes, the Hindus of the Buddha cult, possible for the first time, put their fables and legends into a loose doctrine. Much later they would be put in writing--writings that contained little of what we now know as Buddhist doctrine.
The only viable alternative to the Pythagoras origin, is an invented Buddha of the same period, whose doctrines of reincarnation and were borrowed from the Greeks after the time of Alexander the Great, as would be evident by the fact that they did not exist at the time of Asoka.
Despite reason, some claim that there were Buddhist writings and inscriptions before Asoka, but they were destroyed in the anti Buddhist era which came two generations later. But such selective destruction of Buddhist inscriptions would be impossible. The anti Buddhist movement began ninety years after Asoka, when the Maurya dynasty came to an end and a Hindu, Pushyamitra, founded the Sunga dynasty. Pushyamitra was staunchly anti-Buddhist, and the hostility between Brahmanism and Buddhism dates from this period. But Pushyamitra made no attempt to destroy the Buddhist writings of his own period let alone those of Asoka, so it is unlikely that he, or anyone else, selectively destroyed the more ancient inscriptions--inscriptions which would have been written in some unknown ancient languages, they could neither read nor understand.
After falling into disfavor, Buddhism was driven from India. The Hindus would fall to Islamic invaders 500 years later, and by the time of Genghis Kahn, India, Hinduism and Buddha had been forgotten in the ignorance of Christian Europe. When British explorers came to India in the 16th century of the current era, they were amazed to find Greek speaking Indians.
The Greeks had come to disfavor in Roman Catholic Europe with the split between the Greek and Roman churches. And while Greek philosophy and myth may have been popular among the educated classes of Europe, the doctrines of Pythagoras were misty memories hidden on the dusty shelves of European seats of higher learning. The British, who first entered India, found a nation with strange beliefs, beliefs that included reincarnation. And while there were some who reminded the scholars that Pythagoras had taught similar doctrines, the Greek concepts of transmigration were viewed as childish remnants of the Pagan worship of Zeus and the gods of the Greek pantheon. This new, eastern, transmigration of the soul, which would come to be called reincarnation by Madam Blavatsky, was an original concept of those "noble savages" of India, China and Japan. Or so eighteenth century European scholars chose to believe.
It would be two hundred years before scholars were willing to admit that neither the Hindus nor Buddha, nor even Pythagoras originated the concept of the transmigration of the soul, but that Pythagoras was teaching the theory or reincarnation before Buddha was born, and that it did not appear in any written form until centuries after Asoka; and much less, that Buddhism is a pious fraud.
Buddha, means enlightened one. Through Buddhist tradition, the family name of "the enlightened one" was Gautama, but since few people recognize the name separate form Buddha, it is common practice to refer to Gautama as Buddha, just as it is common practice to refer to Jesus the "anointed one" (christ) as Christ.
Asoka was the first of his line to embrace Buddhism, as his Brahmin grandfather, Chandragupta, turned to Jainism in the last years of his life, and abdicated the throne and died fasting because of the suffering of his people.
Asoka's father, Bindusara, was an Ajivika Brahmin