India/China Comparative Essay
Hinduism and Buddhism were two very different religions that arose on the subcontinent of India. They were the building blocks of the most populated country in the world and still have lasting impacts today. India’s Hindu and Buddhist roots play a major role in their actions today as a world super power. By extension, Hinduism and Buddhism played very different but equally vital roles in the beginnings of India’s modern societal and cultural values. The influences on society of Hinduism and Buddhism differed in Hinduism’s implementation of a strict rigid caste system and the Buddhist idea of having a single leader that influenced the people (a Bodhisattva), while they were similar in both giving the people who followed them a goal in life because both religions promoted right living to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Hinduism and Buddhism differed in the societal impact of caste implementation; the Hindus strongly forced this stratified class system while the Buddhists discouraged it. This is one of the largest differences between these two religions and played a major role in the history of India. In India, before the life of Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha), the caste system was a way of life. Its strict and rigid implementation into the daily lives of all changed the society through such varying social classes. The caste system divided people into very strict social classes, and relationships/intermarriage between castes was not allowed. This meant that the classes in India stayed the same, and moving up or down in caste was impossible. When Buddhism was introduced, the Buddha believed the caste system was not needed for enlightenment and as his followers accumulated, the impact of the caste system dimished, allowing for the eventual banning of it altogether. Both of these religions’ beliefs pertaining to caste regulation and social stratification forever changed the ideals of India and continue to today....
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