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Religion Research: Hinduism and Buddhism


Hinduism is a significant religion with rich history, a considerable amount of followers, and the Bhagavad Gita as one of the most important sacred texts. Hinduism originated from Hindu, which is one of the most ancient religions mainly spread among South Asia. Today there are approximately 800 million adherents to Hinduism, with 80% of them living in India (Farhadian, 2021). Hinduism may not be a religion in a way as the term is understood. It represents a set of life concepts, values, and traditions, and it may not always be linked to religious life. Hinduism does not have a particular founder and represents a combination of a wide variety of Indian religious beliefs and cultural traditions. It may not provide a concrete theological trajectory, and hence it may be complicated to study Hinduism as a religion.

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The earliest recordings of Hinduism are related to the Indus River Valle and are estimated to be almost five thousand years old. These recordings are not represented by written sources but by Hinduism-related cities such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. A wide variety of archeological findings is used to study the history of Hinduism. However, the historical evidence may not play such a significant role in exploring Hinduism concepts as they do in researching Christianity or Buddhism. Therefore, sacred scriptures are an essential part of studying Hinduism, and some of them date back to approximately 1500 years BCE (Farhadian, 2021). These scriptures are called the Vedas and provide valuable knowledge in terms of both Hinduism and the history of South Asia. Hinduism did not propose a particular God or Gods before the first millennium CE when Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva were introduced. Conclusively, Hinduism does not provide a specific set of beliefs or doctrines, and hence it may be described as a combination of South Asian spiritual traditions.


Buddhism is another widely spread religious movement that originated in South Asia centuries ago. It started as a shamanic movement, which means its concepts are primarily spread by monks and nuns called shamans. Buddhism is believed to be approximately twenty-five centuries old, with first recordings dating back to the sixth century BCE (Farhadian, 2021). The fundamental concepts of Buddhism include meditation, insight, and rigorous asceticism. Buddhism consists of two major directions, which are Theravada and Mahayana (Farhadian, 2021). These two branches differ in their distribution areas, views on Buddha, script languages, and religious paths. Moreover, numerous subdivisions derive from Theravada and Mahayana. However, Lord Buddha is the central character that unites the variety of religious beliefs and concepts in Buddhism. Buddha is believed to be the founder of Buddhism covered in mystery and associated with controversial historical and theological theories. Through learning, meditation, and spirituous training, Prince Siddhartha became Buddha and achieved the “Final Nirvana.”

Buddhism is closely linked with rethinking suffering and understanding its nature. One of the fundamental concepts of Buddhism is represented by the Four Noble Truths. These principles state that suffering is an inseparable part of life, which is caused by desire, and it may be prevented by following the Eightfold Path (Farhadian, 2021). As already mentioned, there are two main divisions in Buddhism. Theravada is believed to be one of the most ancient branches, which dates back to Lord Buddha. Mahayana is the most widespread branch with a wide variety of concepts and a large number of followers. Nonetheless, there are also other significant branches, including Zen, Tibetan, Tendai, and Nichiren Buddhism (Farhadian, 2021). Conclusively, Buddhism is one of the major South Asian religions, which has significant global influence.


Farhadian, C. E. (2021). Introducing world religions: a Christian engagement. Baker Academic.

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