I think the most important reason for the popularity of Hinduism and Buddhism in the West is because there are many Indians and East Asians in Europe and America. And many westerners travel to India and East Asia. So there is a lot of cultural exchange.
Few if any westerners want to visit Iran since the current government in the country don't welcome them. And Iranians living abroad are far too quiet about their culture and tradition. Perhaps also because Iranian migrants don't know that much about Iranian philosophy and history.
Many young Iranians in Europe are so ashmed about being Iranian that they try to present themselves as Italians or other Latinos. It's all quite pathetic. But it is the truth.
2010/1/17 Bahman Noruziaan
Among the eastern religions and faiths, apparently Hinduism and Buddhism have found a good number of followers among the western people. I wonder whether such appreciation and acceptance is based on the philosophical and intellectual ideas and concepts of these religions or their ritualistic and spiritual appeals.
Are people looking for new schools of thought to find peace and meaning in their lives, or perhaps a sense of belonging to the universe and connection to it and finding spiritual solace?
Are they finding prayers, rituals and communal/religious congregations and festivals soothing their spirits and fulfilling their needs or, they find the intellectual and philosophical concepts of these great religions enough for satisfying their mental and emotional needs and challenges?