Top down or bottom up?


I came across a view recently that Buddhism grew as a ‘top down’ rather than ‘bottom up’ phenomenon, meaning it was due to the Buddha’s interactions with upper level -kings, merchants etc- people rather than the lower level- peasants beggars etc- that was the driving factor in it’s growth as a religion, it made me wonder from all the interactions we have recorded in the Pāḷi canon what percentages are with 1). Kings/Merchants 2) Ascetics/Brahmins & 3) labourers/beggers? Do you have any data?


It shouldnt be hard to come up with the stats provided one knows how to create scripts that could crawl through either the original Pali texts or Bhante @sujato’s translations to count how many times the terms and names of key Kings/Merchants and Ascetics/Brahmins come up.
Unfortunately I dont have that skill!


From this paper by John Kelly