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Religion remains one of society's most critical facets. Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the oldest religions on the planet. Both sects originated in India, which explains why they are related in several ways. According to some Hindus, Lord Buddha was one of Lord Vishnu's ten reincarnations. This paper compares and contrasts the two faiths, describing their rituals, history, holidays, Gods, values, and icons. It also allows comparisons and distinctions between Hinduism and Buddhism.
Hinduism's origins are dated to around 1400 B.C. and it is the farthest back the holy texts can be traced. It is one of the most diverse religions in the world because they have millions of gods. It is the third largest religion but only exists in a few regions, precisely in India and Nepal (Jacobs 137). However, Hindus who migrate to other places in the world do not leave their religion behind. They carry with them their gods or curve others to maintain prayer. Hinduism is not limited to a single place of worship. Thus it allows people to make altars in their houses, place their god on it and pray. Therefore, it is one of the easiest religions to maintain regardless of what part of the world one has gone.
The most important texts of Hinduism are the Vedas. Others include Ramayana, Upanishads, and the Mahabharata. Each religion has a sacred text with stories, philosophies, hymns, and rituals and these are the same elements contained in the main texts of Hinduism. The Hindus are polytheistic (Jacobs 139). They believe in multiple gods, but they have a supreme one, whose name is Brahma. He exists in three states namely; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, which refer to the creator, preserver, and destroyer respectively. Their supreme God is believed to exist in a portion of every entity in the face of the earth.
Different Hindus have a different theological system which is either monistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, or theistic, making it difficult to come up with a brief of Hindu theology because each of them believes in a different concept (Sato 347). For instance, Sankara’s school believes in the monistic system whereby only one thing exists. The pantheistic system believes that there is only one divine being and God is identical to the world. They belong to the school of Brahmanism. Ramanuja’s school believes in panentheistic concept whereby the world is a portion of God. The Bhakti Hinduism believe in the theistic system that believes in a single God who has never changed from creation (Mann 267). Hindus still have more diverse schools for their religion believing in different concepts which are under the Hinduism religion. It is, therefore, difficult to determine what specific factor makes one Hindu. They have a divine view of mankind and have an end goal of becoming one with the God Brahma.
Buddhism is a religion that originated from India. It developed from the teachings of the prophet Buddha. It spread from India to Asia and later on found its way to Japan, Korea, and China. It has had a major influence on the culture of the people especially in Asia, and in the 20th century, it spread to the western countries (Jacobs 140). At the time of the Historical Buddha, the Northeastern India had developed a disconnection from the Vedic culture, and this gave room for new sects of religion. It was a time of doubt and experimentation hence people tried out whichever religion they could connect with and find faith in (Kennedy 155). Religion had not taken deep roots as it has in the present. While other Hindus stuck to Brahmanism, others sought to follow a more personal and spiritual religion which was Buddhism.
Buddhism had a charismatic teacher whose teachings were followed by the supporters of the reincarnated beings and members of the society. They believe in the three jewels; the teacher, the teaching, and the community (Kennedy 147). Over time, Buddhism has had the three beliefs reinterpreted forming different variations of the doctrines. This also led to the development of a body of literature texts that guide the believers (Jacobs 138). It constitutes the Pali Tipitaka (Three Baskets). The three baskets are Sutta Pitaka which is the Basket of Discourse and hassermons, the Vinaya Pitaka also called the Basket of Discipline and had the rules, and the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the Basket of Special Doctrine, containing the doctrine briefs.
The two religions have a similarity because they hail from the same religion. Despite this, they also have major differences. For instance, Hinduism believes in Atman and Brahman which is the soul and the eternity of self respectively. However, Buddhism has no such concepts, and no salvation is involved. Buddhism believed in the prophet Lord Buddha who is believed to hail from the Hindu family (Mann 269). Also, while Hindus believe in millions of gods, Buddhists think searching for an inexistent being is futile. Buddhists only pray Buddha while Hindus believe in natural sources such as the earth and the sun. Hindus believe that it is rightful to enjoy the bliss of life while Buddhists preach about the suffering of human beings.
Much as the two religions have many differences, they both preach human righteousness and encourage faith in being spiritual. They have had a massive influence on faith and religion generally, in different regions of the world.
Jacobs, Stephen. "Communicating Hinduism in a Changing Media Context." Religion Compass, vol 6, no. 2, 2012, pp. 136-151. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/j.1749-8171.2011.00333.x.
Kennedy, Andrew. "Reflections on Buddhism in Leeds: Identity, Practice and Experience." Contemporary Buddhism, vol 5, no. 2, 2004, pp. 143-156. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/1463994042000291565.
Mann, Richard D. "Material Culture and the Study of Hinduism and Buddhism." Religion Compass, vol 8, no. 8, 2014, pp. 264-273. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/rec3.12116.
Sato, Michio. "An Example of the Intercourse between Buddhism and Hinduism: Matsendranatha." JOURNAL OF INDIAN AND BUDDHIST STUDIES (INDOGAKU BUKKYOGAKU KENKYU), vol 35, no. 1, 1986, pp. 346-342. Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies, doi:10.4259/ibk.35.346.
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