- Monotheistic nature – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam state the existence of the only one God;
- The holy scripture – the Bible in Christianity, the Torah in Judaism, the Koran in Islam;
- Presence of a prophet – all the three major Abrahamic religions are based on the teachings of their prophets (Jesus Christ in Christianity and Judaism, Mohammad in Islam);
- Eschatology – the concept of the divine creation of the world and the coming of the Doomsday, death, and afterlife;
- Ethical nature – the three religions teach the basics of good and bad presenting the believers with the choice between Good and Evil.
- Names of Holy Scriptures;
- Uniformity – Christianity has two major (Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity) and numerous minor branches, while Judaism and Islam are uniform;
- The person of the God – the Holy Trinity in Christianity, the Supreme Deity in Islam, and an only God in Judaism;
- Origin – Christianity and Judaism are of the Semitic origin, while Islam is an Arabic religion;
- Tradition – Christianity is the most liberal religion allowing people to have numerous freedoms, while Judaism and Islam are rather conservative.
- The oldest school of Buddhism translated as “The Teaching of the Elders”;
- Often contrasted to Mahayana;
- The concept of the Four Noble Truths – suffering, cause of suffering, the stopping of suffering, and the way to the freedom from suffering;
- Three states condition all the phenomena of reality – impermanence, suffering, and being not a complete self as such;
- Five phenomena that make objects physical and bound to the material world – physical form, feeling, perception, thinking and consciousness;
- Meditation is the way to leave the physical body and the material world.
- One of the two greatest Buddhist schools (alongside with Theravada) in India;
- Means “The Great Vehicle” in translation from the Sanskrit;
- It is not only a religion but the whole guide of everyday life;
- Compassion and universal liberation instead of Nirvana and elimination of one’s self-promoted by Theravada.
- Close to Mahayana in its search of enlightenment and the universal possibility of becoming a Buddha for every person;
- Oral transmission of the divine revelations instead of written texts as in Abrahamic religions;
- The tradition of monasticism and meditation practices.
- All the forms of Buddhism are similar in the sense of their being based on the teaching of Gautama Buddha. The principal concepts of Buddhism, including Nirvana, meditation, enlightenment, etc., are preserved in all its branches.
- Moreover, all the forms of Buddhism are based on the principles of equality. The division into castes is eliminated from the religion, while all people are given the possibility of becoming a Buddha through reaching enlightenment in Nirvana.
- However, there are several differences in the forms of Buddhism worshipped in India and numerous other countries of the world. One of them is the contrast of Mahayana and Theravada based on the concept of universal liberation observed in the former and the central role of suffering present in the latter.
- Finally, the difference between Tibetan Buddhism and its other forms lies in the fact that Tibetan holy texts are transmitted orally, while other scriptures of Buddhism are written and represented in Veda.
Buddhism and Hinduism
- Buddhism and Hinduism are similar in the sense of their originating from India. They are considered nowadays to be the most influential religions in India. There are considerable similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism.
- The major similarities in the traditions and religious concepts of Buddhism and Hinduism lie in the principles of enlightenment, nirvana, karma. Meditation is viewed as one of the basics of enlightenment. Both religions encourage monasticism.
- The differences are substantial. The first one is the non-theism of Buddhism and polytheism of Hinduism. Moreover, the distinction into castes exists in Hinduism only, while Buddhism presents equal rights to all social classes of people.
- Finally, Buddhism is founded on the Shramana traditions, while Hinduism is the religion based upon the principles of virtuous life expressed in the Veda, i. e. on the Vedic tradition.
Buddhism and the Abrahamic Religions
- The major similarity between the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism lies in the fact that they are the most numerous religions in the world. All other religious cults are minor in comparison to the millions of people worshipping Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism.
- Moreover, another similarity between them is their monotheistic character. All four religions recognize the existence of the only Divine Being that guides people in their deeds through their earthly lives.
- The major difference between the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism can be observed in the fact that Buddhism can also be interpreted as a non-theistic religion as Buddha is a person who reached enlightenment but not a Divine Being that created the world.
- Finally, another difference between them lies in the fact that Abrahamic religions have uniform Holy Scriptures while Buddhism either has numerous different texts or orally transmitted traditions.
Hopfe, L. & Woodward, M. (2008). Religions of the World. Prentice-Hall; 11 edition.
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