In a bit of uninformed ignorance worthy of the Internet, I have often thought that Buddhism sprang up in Hinduism's ornate and ritualistic wake much as Christianity sprang from the womb of a legalistic Judaism. Not that the new growth was necessarily conscious ... just that the earth was ripe.
As I say, this is really a bit of lazy, beer-swilling supposition on my part. I haven't looked into it in any depth and really don't care enough to do so: I am content with half-assed speculation... that both Buddhism and Christianity found fertile soil both in the social matrix and the human breast ... Buddhism with its common sense, Christianity with its snuggle and hug.
Isn't it strange how great big designations like "Buddhism" or "Christianity" seem to sweep like tsunamis into the mind. They are so big, so important, so historical, so mythic ... and suddenly the onlooker is overwhelmed, whether in awe or disgust ... and forgets utterly about him- or herself and the fact that it's people who do such things. Just plain Joes and Janes who find or impute meaning ... you know, the guys and gals in the bathroom mirror.
I guess it's comforting, finding something bigger, better or wiser than yourself. Intellectuals do it, dyed-in-the-wool bigots do it ... seeking out some bigger and better something-or-other, mewling about "wisdom" or "certainty" or "vast importance" or "God" or "patriotism" or ... well, just something really, really important. The earth is fertile -- rich with uncertainty that longs for some certainty ... sort of like the ignoramus speculation about Buddhism and Christianity.
Human ... but how smart in the end?
It's not a matter of good or bad, better or worse. It is a matter of what works -- what actually squares up with the facts. And when it comes to the facts, there is no more reliable an indicator than the bathroom mirror. It's just a place to begin -- a little fertile earth in which to grow all the other stuff.
Stuff like my idjit universe.