Hinduism vs Buddhism

Topics: Buddhism, Hinduism, Gautama Buddha Pages: 5 (781 words) Published: May 1, 2008
Hinduism vs Buddhism

The world has many different religions. Asia has had many religions spring up.

Out of these, Buddhism and Hinduism are the most popular beliefs in the general

population. Hinduism is the oldest known religion and is very rich with literally

hundreds of gods, symbolistic rituals and beliefs. It is believed to have been

established around 1500 B.C. but one person never founded Hinduism, as it

evolved over a long period of time. Buddhism on the other hand has a definite

founder, Siddhartha Gautama who is otherwise known as the Buddha or

Enlightened One who lived from 565 to 483 B.C. Both these religions originated

in India. Siddhartha Gautama was a Hindu who found Hindu theology lacking and

after years of searching for truth created a religion now known as Buddhism.

Because of these basic similarities, the two religions have much in common, but

in the same light they differ immensely.

Hinduism and Buddhism both have numerous gods and both follow the same

paths to ultimately achieve Nirvana (a place where all the enlightened beings

reside). "He set himself forty-eight vows to fulfill, which, he proclaimed, would

allow him to reach Nirvana." (Encarta 98, "Amitabha,") This is about one man

who makes rules for himself so that he can get into Nirvana. The concept of a

god or gods in Buddhism is almost void and therefore in the eyes of some not

even a religion. Hindus have many gods governing different aspects of Hindu life.

The three main gods in Hinduism are Vishnu who is the sustainer; Brahma is the

creator and Shiva the destroyer. They are referred as Trimuti. Most Hindu gods

are associated with animals and therefore Hindus feel that being a vegetarian is

vital. Cows are sacred in Hinduism and are worshipped as the divine mother,

making eating beef taboo. Buddhism involves meditation and prayer. In

Buddhism, one must understand the four noble truths which are the truth of

suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of cessation, and the truth of

the path. These all follow the Eightfold Path, which describes the ways in which

one must live. Hindu scriptures advocate the pursuit of many goals in ones life

including righteous living, wealth, prosperity, love and happiness. The ultimate

goal is to achieve Nirvana. Following these steps and pleasing all these gods

ensures ones ticket to achieving Nirvana.

Both religions believe that during life nonviolence is essential to reaching

Nirvana. Buddhists preach compassion, charity and nonviolence and while

Hindus profess pacifism and ahimsa, which is the avoidance of harm to people

and animals, they still believe war is justifiable in certain cases. They see it as

their duty to fight in a just war. Harming others is wrong but if the war will cause

undo suffering to others, then violent acts are justifiable. "There is no greater

good for a warrior than to fight in a righteous war." (Bhagavad-Gita, Gita, 2:31)

Many Buddhist beliefs and goals are similar if not the same as Hindu beliefs and

goals. The concept in life that you should not act violently towards others is

common to both religions, although they have some slight differences.

The concept of suffering and reincarnation is common in both religions. In

Buddhism there is the concept of two extremes, one devoted to pleasure and lust

and one devoted to mortification. Both are considered profitless and therefore

one should take the middle path, which leads to insight. This means that people

should not seek Nirvana too hard but should not seek it too little either. Hindus

believe that life has no ultimate significance and is but a small part in a vast

unending, and essentially meaningless cycle of life and death, and that

everything has a soul or atman. Hindus believe in reincarnation and the...
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