Compare Buddhism Hinduism Essay

Compare and Contrast Hinduism and Buddhism Essay

674 WordsAug 15th, 20083 Pages

Hinduism and Buddhism

Some people may think that Hinduism and Buddhism are the same religions with just two different names. They aren’t, Buddhism and Hinduism both have different types of rituals, holidays, founders, and so-on. The two extensive religions of Hinduism and Buddhism have lots of information behind themselves. They are made up of cultures, rituals, practices, and many other things.

“Hinduism is a collection of religious beliefs that developed slowly over a long period of time.” (World History Patterns of Interaction, 2005) Hinduism has been made up of so many different cultures and beliefs that unlike Christianity and Islam it is unable to be traced back. Hindus believe in karma and reincarnation. Karma is good and…show more content…

Also, Buddhism was a more peaceful and calm religion. Unlike in Buddhism, in Hinduism there was a caste system. It was a group from a social system. Hindus had gone by using a caste system, but it was rejected in the Buddhism community which resulted in many Buddhist being laborers and craftspeople. Hindus and Buddha both had different beliefs. For example, “Hindus saw religion as a way of liberating the soul from illusions, disappointments, and mistakes of everyday existence.” (World History Patterns of Interaction, 2005)

There were also a few similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism. For example, they both believed in reincarnation after death and karma, which means to keep people bound to the world through the cycle of life and death. Also they each had final goals. For example, in Buddhism the final goal was called nirvana and in Hinduism the final goal was called moksha. Each would happen after reincarnation was finished and the spirit and soul had a perfect understanding. Both Buddhism and Hinduism were helped spread by people. For example, Ashoka spread Hinduism by adopting it in a way after war, and missionaries helped spread Buddhism. Also, both religions promote non-violent beliefs toward all living things.

To conclude this essay I would say that Hinduism is more or less a group rather than a religion because it was made up of other religions and Buddhism is like a subcategory that would branch off of Hinduism. Hinduism and

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Comparison of Buddhism and Hinduism

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Comparison of Buddhism and Hinduism

“Thank goodness for eastern religion, I’m going to yoga class now and I redid my room to improve like my Zen, it really works…” for many in the western world, this is the most that is understood about eastern religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. Although many would be interested to know that yoga is not just an exercise class; there are many more important details about Buddhism and Hinduism we are misinformed about, Especially, the differences of these two religions. Since Buddhism evolved from Hinduism, they are very similar, but they are two different faiths, with different sets of beliefs and interpretations on life and enlightenment (the ultimate objective of both).

It might be in our best interest to begin this discussion at the end, with enlightenment. This is the goal of both Hinduism and Buddhism. To be exact, enlightenment in its simplest definition, is the ultimate release from the cycle of samsara, or the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (Wagnu, 2001). In both faiths, every living spirit will eventually achieve this goal, even if it takes numerous reincarnations. In Hinduism, this goal is also called moksha , existence in the realm of the gods (Wagnu, 2001). However, in Buddhism enlightenment is called nirvana, and is a release from the cycle completely, not a deployment to the realm of gods. The sort of middle way between these two extremes is a belief held by Mahayana Buddhists, whom identify the Buddha in three bodies, one of which, the Ultimate Buddha underlies, the entire universe and is identified as nirvana itself (Wangu, 2002) (BUd).

On this journey to moksha or nirvana, one creates karma for himself. Karma as it is understood in the modern world “what goes around comes around” is a valid way to simplify this belief of Buddhist and Hindu religion. Both define it as “deeds that determine one’s position in rebirth, or samsara”. Evil deeds force one to pay a karmic price for their actions. In Hinduism, one who follows the dharma or social order of their caste builds good karma and one who does not, builds bad karma. With each new life, one’s karmic deeds are paid, and they are reborn. While in Hinduism, one who reaches the highest level on the caste system is said to have built good karma and is closest to enlightenment, Buddhism teaches that one’s caste is irrelevant and karma is dependent on obedience to religious law (the ultimate truth that will be discussed later).

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As mentioned previously, samsara, is the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth, or reincarnation. When one’s body dies, they do not ascend into heaven, or descend into hell, as is widely believed by most monotheistic religions. Instead, one is born into a different life in which they must continue on their journey to enlightenment. Both Buddhism and Hinduism claim that the life in which one is born into depends on one’s own karma.

India’s caste system plays a strong role in Hinduism. Therefore it is believed one is reborn into a higher caste if they have good karma from a previous life, or down if they have bad karma. It is important to note that one can only move up the caste system once they are reborn. To be specific, it is the Atman or soul and consciousness that are reborn (Wagnu, 2001). This remains the same with any living in passes on through each reincarnation. It is said that the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, the first enlightened one according to beliefs, was most interested in this area of Buddhism (Wangu, 2002). However, he rejected the idea of the Atman, according to his teachings; there is no personal soul or permanent self. He said “I am like a cart with separate parts, together, I work, but separately, I will not” (Wangu, 2002). Instead of a single permanent self, Buddhism teaches there are five elements which are ever changing with birth and rebirth, they are; form, matter, idea, emotion and consciousness.

The caste system, as previously discussed pertaining to karma, samsara and enlightenment, is supported by the Hindu religious law, or dharma. Particular caste have duties to society, for humans to live peacefully, everyone must fulfill the duties designated by their caste (Wagnu, 2001). Dharma is thought to be responsible for the order of the Hindu world. In Buddhism, the dharma is also the ultimate law, although it varies greatly. The Buddha’s teachings of the 4 Noble Truths and the 8 Fold Path are the ultimate law and they provide specific action while stressing individual effort (Wangu, 2002), unlike Hindu dharma that pertains to society as a whole. The caste system is greatly challenged here, the Buddha has been said to have preached “my doctrine makes no distinction between high and low, rich and poor; it is like the sky, it has room for all; like water it washes away all”. The Buddha also rejected the authority of the Brahmin caste (one of the upper levels) especially in terms of the Brahmin being the only valid interpreters of religious truth. He preached that anyone who followed the 8 fold path could interpret their own truth. Buddhism basically declares that no matter what caste one is from, following the dharma will lead to enlightenment.

Conclusively, Hinduism and Buddhism have as many similarities as they have differences. Dharma, Karma and Samsara are present and important in both faiths, it is each faiths interpretation of these areas that make the difference, and that lead the followers of these religions on different paths to their own enlightenment.


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Buddhism World Religions- revised edition [Book] / auth. Wangu Madhu Bazaz. - New York, Ny : Facts on File, 2002.

Differences Between Buddhism and Hinduism [Online] / auth. request *omitted on site by. - 10 24, 2007. -

Hinduism [Book] / auth. Wagnu Mahdu Bazaz. - New York : Facts on File, 2001.

Oneness [Online]. - 10 19, 2007. -

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