The following text reviews the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism to understand the relationship between the two unique religions. The study findings show that Buddhism and Hinduism are the two most dominant and thoughtful religions worldwide, which might have similarities, but are very different in terms of their beliefs and practices. Therefore, it seems incredible how two dissimilar religions can share many beliefs and differ in several other beliefs.
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This paper shows that Buddhism progressed from Hinduism, with the main difference being that they do not share similar beliefs. These two religions classically show how a religion that originates from the same part of the world can grow in different ways and appeal to different people.
All over the world, different countries have various religions and beliefs that either progress from others or blend with them. Religion is a way of life that dictates how people should behave, thereby making it a lifestyle. Buddhism and Hinduism are the two main religions of ancient India, which have distinct features and some parallel beliefs (Stein 2010, p. 23). Despite their religious affiliations, evidence supports that all Indian leaders previously supported Buddhism and Hinduism.
Still, Buddhism progressed from Hinduism, with the main difference being that they do not share similar beliefs. Although they all began in the Indian subcontinent, both religions have parallel philosophies and major variations in a social structure. To understand the fundamental concepts and values of Buddhism and Classical Hinduism, this paper will conduct a comparative study of the two religions.
Among the many similarities of Buddhism and Hinduism, the most notable is that both religions equally believe in karma, and in keeping people bound to this world. Both religions also believe in the series of births and deaths for every soul (The Dhammapada: A Translation 1997, p. n.d). These two religions believe in certain spiritual practices such as concentration and meditation and they both recognize that passing away is unavoidable and inevitable in life.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism agree with the idea of the samsara that the cycle of death is inescapable and hence leads to imprisonment. Another similarity of the two religions is that for bondage and suffering to end, one has to end desire and act without desiring any fruit that can bring about liberation. It is on this ground that both Buddhists and Hindus encourage non-violent behavior and compassion towards all living beings, thereby influencing each other in many ways.
Regardless of the basic similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism, they have several distinctions in their principles and practices. Hinduism believes in the effectiveness and superiority of the Vedas while Buddhism does not (Charles 2009, p. 17).
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Another fact that adds to my argument on the similarities of these two religions is that neither the Buddhist scriptures nor the Buddha has ever rejected the Vedas. Technically, Buddhist Vedic texts are similar. In addition, Buddhism recognizes Hindu gods, despite affording them inferior statuses. Although both religions strive for salvation, they approach this goal differently. Hinduism believes in Vedas’ power and in caste systems. Contrastingly, Buddhism denies Vedas’ power over them and disregards caste systems.
Buddha, a prophet, established Buddhism while no particular prophet established Hinduism. Hinduism recognizes that the Siddhartha manifests himself as a Hindu trinity god. However, Buddhism fails to acknowledge Hindu gods as equals to theirs. Further, Buddha educates that Hinayana Buddhism is the original Buddhism, and supporters of its teachings do not worship images of the Buddha or practice Bodhisattvas (Charles 2009, p. 17).
Similarly, sects such as the Mahayana believe that Buddha is a Supreme Being. To them, Buddha is analogous to the Hindu Brahman. Thus, they worship him as an image. Principally, Hinduism is a religion while Buddhists categorize themselves as a monastic order, creating a variation in how they function and the way they influence human beings.
Still, there are more followers of Hinduism than Buddhism across the world, particularly in India (Masih 2000, p. 43). Regardless of their differences and similarities, Hinduism and Buddhism are among the oldest religions worldwide. They classically show how a religion that originates from the same part of the world can grow in different ways and appeal to different people. The major similarities and differences of Buddhism and Hinduism are in aspects of both religions, particularly, the worship, beliefs, and practices, that each religion holds on reincarnation and Karma (Masih 2000, p. 43).
However, despite all the differences, Buddhism and Hinduism are very similar and their beliefs exaggerate their supposed differences. Both religions have greatly influenced each other throughout the centuries and have grown so close yet so distinct in their practices.
Throughout history, many societies had some belief systems or religions that affected every part of their culture and provided guidelines on how to live. This effect took place despite the principles, languages, place of origin that these regions had in common. Both religions have values that they share in their quest to achieve universal goals. This text has reviewed the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism to understand the relationship between the two unique religions. The study findings show that Indians practice Buddhism and Hinduism with the sole aim of attaining a perfect state of being.
Both religions subscribe to being good and acting kindly towards others. Buddhism and Hinduism are the two most dominant and thoughtful religions worldwide, which have similarities but are very different religions in terms of their beliefs and practices. Therefore, it seems incredible how two dissimilar religions with a similar basis can differ in so many beliefs.
Goodman, Ch. (2006). Consequences of Compassion: An interpretation and Defense of Budhist ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Masih. Y. (2000). A comparative study of religions. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Stein, B. (2010). A History of India (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
The Dhammapada: A Translation (1997). Web.