Buddhism and Hinduism: A Comparison Essay

Introduction.

It’s known that India has two main religions which are so related to each other in some ways but they have different theories, and practice. If we trace the history of India we will find that in ancient India there were two philosophical thoughts, the Shramana religion and the Vedic religion. Buddhism and Jainism are considered as continuations of the Shramana traditions, while modern Hinduism is a continuation of the Vedic traditions.

Both of Hinduism and Buddhism have shared beliefs but they are different in the practice of duties, worshipped, the founders of the religions. It’s important to identify the similarities and differences between the two religions in some details because of the many similarities between them they may appear the same but in fact they are not.

Buddhism has two characteristics which distinguish it from the other religion. Buddhism as a religion refutes the ideas of eternal (Atman) and immortality in nature (Brahman) this is not found in Hinduism.

The following will discuss the similarities and difference between the two religions.

Both of them have common similarities as follows:

The two religions emphasize the illusory nature of the world. Both believes in the concept of karma role in keeping men bound to this world, the transmigration of souls and the circle of birth and death for each soul.

They assure the importance of human begins life and non- violence and compassion are necessary to them. Both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens. They also believe in gods which are existing on different planes.

Despite that both of them call for non- violence, peace and not to harm people and animals, they still believe that war is justifiable in certain cases to prevail justice.

Both of their beliefs and goals are so similar. They shared the concept of life that you should not act violently toward others.

Differences

The two related religions have some light differences:

Both of them are different only in the way they are presented or practiced.

Definite points are stressed in Buddhism , which are mentioned in the Hinduism but not emphasized by it. Also the teaching of the Buddhism neglects the other aspects of the Hindu teaching.

The comments below apply to the Buddha’s original teaching on the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. All the comments may not apply to the Mahayana and the Zen Buddhist traditions.

Both Hinduism and Buddhism have different range of extension. Hinduism had no real expansion over the years and basically remained stable where it originated despite the influence of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Hindus respected and were attracted by the stress on elaborate worship, which in turn turned others away from Hinduism. On the other hand Buddhist expansion was huge, making a noteworthy grip in India, hundreds of monasteries sprang up and from these centers, the message of the Buddha was spread “Buddhism increase speedily throughout the lands of its birth.

Gautama was a great “campaign manager” as he avoided the highly sublime ideals of the Upanishads. Many Hindus were changed easily. The acceptance by the great emperor in 3 B.C. helped to uphold growth and spread Buddhism into Ceylon and parts of Southeast Asia, also making headway in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. By the sixth century, it spread to Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan. Buddhism one could say “sprouted” out of Hinduism. Hinduism stayed the same for a long time while Buddhism grew rapidly all over the world.

One difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is their social order system. The caste system divides the Hindu people into four major classes, Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, and “untouchables,” or people outside of all the classes. Members of certain castes have certain duties. Class is determined by birth, allowing no social advancement, career choice, or individual freedom. There are high class and low class, the castes are socially ordered, forming an upper and lower social classes of people.

Hinduism against Buddhism from philosophical questions

Philosophical questions: The Buddha discouraged philosophical pursuits and questions regarding the nature of the Universe, the existence of God and the like. His position was that such pursuits do you no good at all. His message was simple. You are suffering today in this life – so walk the path to the end of suffering.

The Hindu scriptures however contained detailed descriptions of the Brahman or the experience of oneness with God. Hinduism also presents many philosophical arguments proving the existence of the Brahman.

Buddhism spread, Hinduism stayed in India.

The Buddhist faith has spread too many countries in North and East Asia and in recent years to the West.

Hinduism is not just a religion. It is a way of life, a culture that has several points making up the practice of Hinduism including language. It is a way of looking at life unusual to India and cannot be exported.

Hinduism in Canada

When the first group of Hindus arrived to Canada as part of the large immigration of South Asia in 1960, they have been positively received. At that time Canada suffered from a shortage of qualified professors in universities that needs professional masters because it expended rapidly. Also there were vacancies in areas such as teaching, engineering, and medicine. It’s observed that well qualified Hindus as they came to Canada filled the empty positions and therefore they greatly received into the Canadian life because of their contributions to Canada in lots of cultural fields.

There were many educated persons in this large group of Hindus, upper- middle class of them who spoke English fluently were be able to fit in the life and Canadian community. They indulged and interfere easily in the host country.They were appreciated by the Canadian culture. Bu later groups of Hindus immigrants didn’t receive such a good welcome or appreciation in Canada. About 100 years ago the first group of Hindus is consisted of Indian immigrants who began arriving in British Columbia.

The other group is contained Canadian changes to the different sects of Hinduism through the efforts of the Hare Krishna, the Gurus during the last 50 years, and other organizations. The second major group of Hindus immigrated from SriLanka, goes back to the 1940s, when a few hundred SriLankans migrated to Canada.

The 1983 public riots in Sri Lanka precipitated the mass exodus of Tamils and Sinhalese with over 500,000 finding refuge in countries such as Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, France and Switzerland from then SriLankans have been immigrating to Canada in particular around Toronto and Greater Toronto Area. On the one hand, a war is being waged for a divide Tamil homeland within the small island currently named Sri Lanka. On the other side, efforts are being made throughout the world to make Sri Lankan a better known culture better, and understood by non-Tamil peoples, toward the end of establishing cross-cultural and cross-national union.

It’s known that Hindus don’t have a united set of beliefs and practices which are shared by all believers of that religion. Also this religion “Hinduism” has no holy place or temple for its believers to practice there worship. Their worship is centered to be practiced at home individually. This was especially the case with regard to orthodox Hindu practice in India.

The 2001 Census of Canada showed that, there were 297,200 practitioners of Hinduism. However, the non-profit organization Association for Canadian Studies estimates the Hindu population grew to 372,500 by 2006, or just under 1.2% of the population of Canada. The huge majority of Hindus reside in Ontario (primarily in Toronto, Scarborough, Brampton, Hamilton, Windsor & Ottawa), Quebec (primarily around the Montreal area) & British Columbia, (primarily around the Vancouver area).

Have major populations. The many organizations representing and working on behalf of the Hindu community are such as the Hindu Sabha, a religious society linked to temples and the World Maha Hindu Organization, a cultural organization. Indian Hindus also play a part in a number of non-sectarian organizations and networks representing the welfare of the Indo-Canadian community across religious lines. Hindu Youth Network – Canada is at this time the largest Hindu Youth movement in Canada with over 5000 registered members.

The Hindu Conference of Canada is an organization which emphasizes the political action – it is helpful to the traditional Party of Canada and the Bharatiya Janata Party in India and significant of the Congress Party.

Aiken, C.F. (1910). Hinduism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Alisimo, A. (2007). Buddha From a Hindu Perspective .

Gangoli, N. (2007). Hinduism And Buddhism A Comparison .

Harold Coward (Professor of History Director, Centre for Studies in Religion & Society University of Victoria Victoria, BC) 2002 , Hindus in Canada.

Willard G. Oxtoby, ed., World Religions: Eastern Traditions. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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Bibliography

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Hinduism vs Buddhism — 3 Major Similarities and 7 Major Differences

Hinduism vs Buddhism — 3 Major Similarities and 7 Major Differences

Hinduism and buddhism comparison overview, similarities between hinduism and buddhism, differences between hinduism and buddhism.

Hinduism, which emerged about 3,500 years ago, and Buddhism, which started around 2,800 years ago, are two of the world's main religions, both of which originated in India.

Hinduism worships Brahman — the supreme lifeforce from which atman (souls) and many other gods originate, however Buddhism worships incarnations of one god — Buddhas. Both believe in a continuing cycle of life, suffering, death, and rebirth , but for Buddhists the goal of enlightenment is call nirvana , while it is called moksha in Hinduism.

Hinduism and Buddhism are like twins sharing a lot of the same terminology and concepts, but each has its own distinguishing features.Let's learn the 3 major similarities and 7 major differences between Hinduism and Buddhism as below.

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It could be said that Buddhism emerged out of Hinduism because Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, grew up learning Hindu teachings before he became a traveling monk and gained enlightenment. Considering this overlapping background between Buddhism and Hinduism, it is natural that both share common ideas.

1. Similar Concepts

In both religions, you will come across similar vocabulary such as samsara (the cycle of rebirth), karma (cause and effect), or dharma (moral order).

Samsara refers to the endless cycle of birth and death. Both Hinduism and Buddhism see life as a cycle, which means that spirits are continually reincarnated into a new life after the end of their previous one. This cycle can only be broken by achieving enlightenment.

For Buddhists, enlightenment is referred to as attaining nirvana , while for Hindus this is referred to as moksha , or becoming one with Brahman, the supreme god. The concept of enlightenment is similar in the two religions, but they differ on the path towards achieving it.

Karma is the concept that any action or thought will directly result in a fitting consequence in the present or future life state. To put it plainly, if someone does bad things in this life, that person might be reborn in a less desirable state in the next life. Similarly, when good things happen to someone, karma states that it may be due to good deeds in a past life.

However, the idea of karma for Hindus and Buddhists is slightly different. Hindus see karma as fitting behavior according to the role of the person, often this includes religious rituals, while Buddhists see it as correct intent and ethical actions.

Dharma is a difficult word to translate and it vaguely means natural law, duty, moral order, right conduct, or role in the universe. This concept is central to both Hinduism and Buddhism, but the interpretations in the two religions are different. In Hinduism, it is tied closely with the duty of a person, or how a person is supposed to conduct oneself according to their caste. In Buddhism, it often refers to the teachings of Buddha.

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2. Similar Symbolism

Apart from similar concepts, there are similar symbols that occur in both Hinduism and Buddhism, including mudra and dharmachakra .

Mudra is a system of symbolic hand gestures with meanings, often used during meditation. Buddha is often portrayed using these hand gestures in statues or paintings. Mudra is commonly practiced in both Hinduism and Buddhism but the positions, meanings, and uses are different.

Dharmachakra is a symbol common to Hinduism and Buddhism that looks like a ship's steering wheel. The wheel appears in India's national flag as well as the Thai royal family's flag. It is also called the Wheel of Law. The number of spokes varies, but eight is most common , representing the Eightfold Path teaching for Buddhists. Dharmachakra commonly appears on Hindu temple walls as well, particularly in temples of the sun god, Surya.

3. Similar Practices

On the surface, you may notice that Hindus and Buddhists share a few common practices such as meditation and the use of mantras .

A mantra is the utterance of syllables or words in a melodic way, which is believed to have spiritual power and can bring the person to a higher spiritual awareness.

Hindus use mantras during rituals while worshiping gods. They also use it while praying. In Buddhism, mantra is more used as a meditation exercise to help the mind focus on certain things and let go of attachments.

Another shared practice between Hinduism and Buddhism is meditation . But again, the two religions have different perspectives on how to go about it and why you should practice it. Buddhists see meditation as a means of self-edification and attaining nirvana, while Hindus have varying purposes for meditation including physical, mental, and spiritual enhancement.

Both religions also have an inclination towards vegetarianism . In India, 33% of Hindus are vegetarians. While becoming vegetarian is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged in both Hinduism and Buddhism as an expression of non-violence.

Clearly, there are overlapping concepts and practices between these two religions, but while there are clear similarities there are even more differences. Some of Buddha's teachings were influenced by his disapproval of the Hindu practices at the time, especially regarding the caste system.

1. Different Perspective on God(s)

One of the most fundamental differences between Buddhism and Hinduism is their view on the existence of god.

Hindus worship numerous deities . A few of the most important include Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu , Ganesh, and Lakshmi . Even though there are many gods in Hinduism, they are believed to all come from Brahman, the universal soul.

Hindus recognize that there is an individual soul inside each person, called an atman. Some Hindus believe that the atman and Brahman are ultimately the same, an idea that resonates with pantheism. However, views on this vary greatly.

On the other hand, Buddhists deny the existence of many gods . Instead, they believe in the existence of one god, but they do not believe it is necessary to seek god. This is reflected in their teachings which mainly talk about ethical behavior rather than worship towards a god.

Worshiping various different gods is very deeply ingrained in Hindu culture, but in Buddhism, followers are instead encouraged to focus more on self-discipline.

2. Different Morality

One of the most important teachings of Buddhism is the Eightfold Path . The eight practices are right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (meditative union). This is believed to help a person achieve nirvana and release him/her from the cycle of rebirth, which is the ultimate goal in Buddhism.

Hinduism's view on morality goes hand in hand with their view of dharma. Hindus do not just focus on a person's moral behavior, but instead emphasize the fulfillment of duties and rituals expected for the person's particular lifestyle and socio-economic status.

3. Different Views on the Caste System

Although it is currently illegal in India, traditionally Hindus believe in the caste system which divides people into four hierarchical groups , or five if including the untouchables. Each caste has its own dharma, or expected behavior and actions. Historically, the caste system has been very prevalent in Hindu culture and determined many decisions such as who to marry.

Marriage with a different caste was highly discouraged throughout India and although older generations still may not approve, today, many young people participate in intercaste relationships and marriages.

The caste system benefits the upper castes but suppresses the lower castes. In fact, Hindus have to be of the Brahmin caste in order to achieve moksha, or enlightenment. The lowest caste, which is known as the untouchables, gets the worst end of it.

Disapproval of the caste system was one of the things that triggered some of Gautama Buddha's teachings. Instead of dividing the society into hierarchical categories, he taught that all people are of equal value , therefore there is no caste system recognized in Buddhism.

4. Different Views on Buddha

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is a historical figure who was born a prince of India and lived in the 4th century BC. Buddhists see him as an admirable teacher who achieved enlightenment and founded the Buddhist religion.

Some denominations of Hinduism also recognized the figure of Buddha, but they perceive him as the 9th avatar of the god Vishnu , one of the three most important gods in Hinduism. They believe that Vishnu incarnated as Buddha in order to restore dharma, or moral order, in the world. Buddhists, however, do not share this view.

5. Different Architecture/Function of Temples

The differences in architecture between Hinduism and Buddhism can be found mainly in their temples. Hindu temples are architecturally dedicated to the worship a certain god: Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesh, or Lakshmi , etc., while Buddhist temples or stupas are used to honor (incarnations of) Buddha and for meditation.

Hinduism architecture can be found in simple shrine structures by the side of roads or in large temple complexes like Swaminarayan Akshardham (the largest) in Delhi.

The famous originally Hindu-style temples Angkor Wat and Bagan in Cambodia and Burma respectively were later converted to Buddhist-style temples!

Buddhism temples are designed to represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. The largest Buddhist temple in the world is Borobudur in Indonesia.

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6. Different Distribution "Homelands" for Hindus and Buddhists

Buddhism and Hinduism are the third and fourth-largest religions in the world after Christianity and Islam. In fact, 15% of the world's population is Hindu and 7% is Buddhist.

Hinduism is mainly focused in India . 92% of all Hindus come from India , which makes it an ethnic religion. The second largest populations of Hindus outside India are in Nepal and Mauritius. Less than 1% of Hindus live outside Asia and the Pacific.

Buddhism originated in northern India, but it is a religion that is distributed more widely. China has 18% of the world's Buddhists, the largest percentage. Thailand and the neighboring countries of Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia and other East Asian countries have the greatest numbers of Buddhists. Small numbers of Buddhists are found outside Asia.

7. Different Religious Festivals

All festivals in Hinduism are predominantly worshipful in character and significance. They usually combine with religious ceremonies of sacrifice and washing, semi-ritual spectacles, deity worship and prayer, and processions. The main festivals for Hindus include Diwali , Holi , Onam, Maha Shivaratri, and Ganesh Chaturthi. See The 12 Most Popular Festivals in India .

Festivals are also an important aspect of Buddhist practice . At festivals, Buddhist will go the local temple or monastery and offer food to the monks, honor Buddha, concentrate on the Five Precepts (refraining from killing, stealing, sensuality/fornication, wrong speech, and intoxicants), listen to a Dharma talk or chant of the Buddha's teachings, and meditate. The major Buddhist festivals are Vesak (Buddha Day), Nirvana Day, Magha Puja, and Dharma Day.

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Home / Essay Samples / Religion / World Religions / Hinduism

Comparison of Hinduism and Buddhism

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Course: ap®︎/college art history   >   unit 2, hinduism and buddhism, an introduction.

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Hindu gods and worship of the gods, hindu worship, the hindu world, buddhism and the buddha, the middle way, the buddha’s teachings.

Life is suffering: it is suffering because we are not perfect nor is the world in which we live perfect. The origin of suffering is attachment or desire: attachment to transient things and ignorance thereof. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a “self” which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call “self” is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe. The cessation of suffering can be attained through the detachment of desire and craving. The end of suffering is achieved by seeking the middle path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence and excessive self-mortification, leading to the end of the cycle of rebirth.
Right or Perfect View: is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truths. Right Intention: can be described as a commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Right Speech: is abstaining from the use of false, slanderous, and harmful words which hurt others. Right Action: means to abstain from harming others, abstain from taking what is not given to you, and avoid sexual misconduct. Right livelihood: means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. Right Effort: is the prerequisite for the other principles of the path as one needs the will to act or else nothing will be achieved. Right Mindfulness: the ability to contemplate actively one’s mind, body, and soul. Right Concentration: the ability to focus on the right thoughts and actions through meditation.

Buddhist practice

Theravada buddhism, mahayana buddhism, differences, decline of buddhism in india, want to join the conversation.

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Difference between Buddhism and Hinduism

Difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is explained here in detail. Buddhism has a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices based on teachings of Buddha. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to it as “the eternal way”. The differences between Buddhism vs Hinduism given here can help in understanding the basics better, and know their comparisons and similarities thoroughly.

Aspirants would find this article helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam .

Differences between Buddhism and Hinduism

The major differences between Buddhism and Hinduism are:

As per Buddhism, one can reach Nirvana or enlightenment by following the Noble eightfold path. As per Hinduism, one can reach enlightenment by following the path of good deeds, path of devotion and path of knowledge.

After learning about the major differences between Buddhism and Hinduism, also learn about some of the similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism.

The major Similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism are:

  • There is idol worship in both Buddhism (Mahayana) and Hinduism.
  • Both Buddhism and Hinduism give equal rights to men and women. There is no discrimination against women in either religion.
  • Atheists can take part in religious activities, there will be no restrictions.
  • Both the religions originated from Indian Subcontinent.

These are the main similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. The differences given in the above table can help the UPSC Civil Service Exam aspirants to answer any related questions easily in the exams.

After learning about the Buddhism and Hinduism differences, as well their similarities, it is better to know the details of Teachings of Buddha: Noble 8 fold paths, 3 jewels and 4 noble truths of Buddhism; refer the list of Buddhist Councils, Buddhists Texts, and the history of Buddha and Buddhism. Also refer the below given links for NCERT Notes on Ancient, Medieval and Modern  Indian History. Visit the below given link for comprehensive information on NCERT Notes for Art, Culture, Literature and Architecture. The below given links will also help in better understanding the differences between History and Prehistory; and differences between History and Mythology.

  • NCERT Ancient Indian History Notes: Teachings of Buddha – Noble 8 fold Paths, 3 Jewels, 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism
  • List of Buddhist Councils and Buddhist Texts (Pitakas)
  • History about Buddha and Buddhism
  • NCERT Ancient Indian History Notes: Jainism in India
  • Difference between Art and Culture
  • Difference between History and Prehistory
  • Difference between History and Mythology
  • NCERT Notes – Ancient Indian History
  • NCERT Notes – Modern Indian History
  • NCERT Notes – Medieval Indian History  
  • NCERT Notes – Art, Culture, Literature and Architecture
  • Comprehensive List of Difference between Articles – Economics, Polity, History & more

Difference between Buddhism and Hinduism – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions on Differences and Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism

Q 1. what is the key similarity between buddhism and hinduism, q 2. what are the places of worship of hindus and buddhists called.

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Key differences between Hinduism & Buddhism

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

While Hinduism and Buddhism have various similarities and shared origin, given that Buddhism was an offshoot of Hinduism, there are several fundamental differences between these two religions. Similarly, while Buddhism is divided into two main religious groups Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism, with various fundamental similarities, they also have some differences between them. There are various forms Mahayana Buddhism including Tibetan Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism among others that are unique in various ways and have the specific origin. This research seeks to evaluate and explain the key differences between Buddhism and Hinduism as well as the differences between Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. Moreover, the research will also involve identification of two forms of Mahayana Buddhism examining their origins, unique features and recognizing the most appealing form with reasons.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

In Hinduism, there are different ways of seeking God including meditation or Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, where the righteous conduct all the duties in accordance with human demand as long as they are in the world. Moreover, Hindus perform Bhakti, devotions, prayers as well as Jnana Yoga, which is believed to be the path of knowledge (Cawley, 2015). Alternatively, Buddhism emphases on the eight fold path and four cardinal truths as ways to achieve Nirvana. The four cardinal truths entail acknowledging the existence of sufferings in the universe and that the sufferings are caused by the deceptive desires of the world, which is ever changing. Moreover, Buddhism subscribes to the conviction that the search for eternity aggravates human suffering and that for one to overcome the sorrows and attain Nirvana, they ought to adhere to the eight-fold path and suppress false desires (Ross, 2013). Buddhist emphasis on the fundamental philosophy of suffering and that the individuals need to practice meditation so that they can escape from the sorrow of the world. Consequently, dedicated mediation breaks the cycle of suffering and enable the individual to attain the level of nothingness, the Nirvana. Buddhism holds that suffering increases when individuals’ attachment to people and things increases and that suffering is an integral part of the body as well as the physical plane (Warner, 2017). In nothingness, there is true reality. On the other hand, Hindus subscribe to the belief that life is full of joy.

Dharma, a concept referring to the way of life, is common to Hindus and Buddhist. Buddhists mostly use the concept of Dharma to mean the collective Buddha’s teachings. Buddha continuously used the concept to refer to the way in which the universe works or the cosmic law as well as the order. Likewise, Dharma refers to the ultimate reality of truth. Conversely, Hindu still use the concept of Dharma in their worship but with a different meaning. The concept of Dharma, according to Hindu, refers to refer to the duties bestowed upon the individual in the universe (Ross, 2013). According to Hinduism, the concept of Dharma entails not only the routine performance of one’s religious acts but their family responsibilities and the way in which they carry out their duties in the community. However, according to Hindu religion, the individual’s dharma may change depending on the caste as well as the stage of life. For instance, a young man, who comes from the lower caste, might have different Dharma from an older man, who comes from a specific higher caste (Warner, 2017). Consequently, the concept of Dharma may be applicable in the two religions it finds intensive application in Hinduism compared to Buddhism.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

Hindus worship numerous goddesses and gods. While Hinduism advocate for worshiping many goddesses and gods, the religion is largely monotheistic because each god is perceived as a manifestation of a particular Supreme God. For instance, in a particular Hindu family, a particular deity is worshiped. Most of the Hindus exercise devotion or bhakti to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu (Cawley, 2015). Although Buddhism does not repudiate the existence of such Supreme god, they subscribe to the belief that the followers should not bother themselves with devoting or worshiping one particular God. They argue that human beings are responsible for their enlightenment and that believe in a specific supreme being may not help them to address various issues that they have or which they may encounter (Ross, 2013).  However, they preach and advocate the fact that it is in vain seek or worship an entity in which the individual may not be aware of its existence. The idea behind the belief was derived from Buddha, who after experiencing the world challenges, became disappointed and started preaching that life has sorrows and that the solution to reduce suffering is for individuals to seek nirvana. While Hinduism admits that there are sorrows and suffering that human may encounter, they attribute these sorrows and sufferings to previous human actions or karma (Cawley, 2015). Hindus also argue that individuals may attain divine happiness and ecstasy by discovering the Brahman and Atman.

Another difference arises for the entity in which the religious group pays tribute. The followers of Hinduism pay tribute to natural resources including stones, water and other things in the universe including the sun while Buddhist pay tribute to Buddha. Hinduism tribute is attributed to the belief that the ultimate reality is derived from all things, which are united as one magnificent divinity. Buddhism subscribe to the belief that the ultimate reality is derived from nothingness (Warner, 2017). Accordingly, although Hindus gain Moksha become united all things in the universe, the Buddhists achieve Nirvana, where they are detached from all things until they attain nothingness.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

Buddhism has two major religious groups namely Hinayana Buddhism (Theravada) and Mahayana Buddhism. Although the groups share many similarities, they have various differences. Among them include the fact that the Mahayana Buddhists subscribe to the belief that Buddha, also referred to as the Siddhartha Gautama was indeed a God (Batchelor, 2015). However, the Hinayana Buddhists hold to the belief that Buddha was an ordinary human being. According to followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha is regarded as a God because he descended to earth so that he can assist the believers to cross the sea of life (Lama & Chodron (2017). Alternatively, Hinayana Buddhists believe that Buddha was a human being and not a God because he only conceived the idea of the Nirvana. According to Hinayana Buddhists, Siddhartha Gautama was an ordinary individual since his characteristics marched that one of a human being including birth, living, and how he thought and operated. Besides, the Hinayana Buddhists argue that if he was a God, he would have been born as mediation master and discovered many human secrets such as the death, diseases and the fate of the people after they depart from the earthly life (Walpola, 2014). To Hinayana Buddhists, Siddhartha Gautama devoted his time to finding the truth and reaching enlightenment but he was ordinary human beings, who ought to be treated as such.

Followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that it is recommendable to assist others individuals to reach Nirvana before one who is assisting could reach such a state. On the other hand, followers of Hinayana Buddhism belief that each individual should struggle to attain Nirvana on their own. Fundamentally, Mahayana Buddhists do all their best to assist other individuals to attain Nirvana before one could attain such state because it is interpreted as a noble mission (Batchelor, 2015). According to Hinayana Buddhists the act of reaching Nirvana ought to be the ultimate objective or every Buddhists and thus it should be an individual effort.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

Followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that the individuals, who trust in Buddha, have the opportunity to reach Nirvana. Essentially, all individuals, who have faith in Buddha, irrespective of the fact that they may pass through different paths, will eventually reach Nirvana (Sørensen, 2017). Nevertheless, they hold to the belief that it is much easier to reach Nirvana through Mahayana Buddhists’ way or through the big vehicle than through all the other ways. The followers argue that instead of focusing on self-actualization only, individuals should be inspiring and compassionate to others because it is only through such interventions that one can comprehensively change humanity. Simultaneously, the progress achieved through self-realization may be achieved faster because collective effort and compassion lead to more achievements.

According to Batchelor (2015), the subscribers of Mahayana Buddhist believe that collective effort leads to a better liberation because the individual is liberated not only from their personal predispositions but from the other individual’s predispositions. The bigger vehicle is not only progressive but inclusive and thus followers see themselves as more open-minded and liberal in approach compared to the Hinayana Buddhists. In contrast, followers of Hinayana Buddhist hold to the conviction that the only followers of Hinayana Buddhists will attain Nirvana (Lama & Chodron (2017). Consequently, the followers of Hinayana Buddhist are fully convinced that the only assured way that one can use to reach Nirvana is through the Hinayana way or the way of the small vehicle. This view is highly debatable because the Hinayana Buddhist disregards any other ways that one can use to reach Nirvana, arguing that they are not only wrong but are pointless and ineffective. While all versions of Buddhism started with Siddhartha Gautama they have different beliefs (Batchelor, 2015). Hinayana Buddhist are narrow in focus and are less impactful to the life of the other independent individuals or fellow followers because the vehicle is small to an extent that it cannot accommodate other individuals or have considerable impact to their lives.

Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism differ in the way they treat the characteristic four immeasurable attitudes. The four immeasurable attitudes include love, joy, compassion as well as the equanimity. According to Walpola (2014), Hinayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism agree on definitions of compassion and love. Nevertheless, they differ in how they should treat or define the immeasurable attitudes of equanimity and joy. Mahayana Buddhism delineates the immeasurable attitude of joy as the aspiration that others individuals experience happiness or joy that leads to continuous enlightenment. Moreover, Mahayana Buddhism defines equanimity as the particular state of mind that is deprived of the attachment, repulsion, and indifference (Batchelor, 2015). Although Hinayana Buddhism also teaches the four immeasurable attitudes, they differ from the Mahayana Buddhism regarding how the immeasurable attitudes joy and equanimity should be defined. Hinayana Buddhism defines the immeasurable attitude joy as the practice of rejoicing in the delight of other individuals without jealousy (Sørensen, 2017). Hinayana Buddhism delineates equanimity as the consequence of rejoicing, love as well as the compassion.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

According to Mahayana Buddhism, Bodhisattvas alone accomplished the ten comprehensive attitudes. The ten comprehensive attitudes include generosity, mental stability, patience, skill in means, ethical self-discipline, joyful perseverance, deep awareness, strengthening, aspiration-filled prayer as well as the discriminating awareness (Batchelor, 2015). Contrariwise, Hinayana Buddhism does not subscribe to the belief that only Bodhisattvas practiced the ten comprehensive attitudes. Correspondingly, Hinayana Buddhism has slightly different constructs of the far-reaching attitudes. These attitudes include mental stability, aspiration-filled prayer, and skill in means, renunciation, and remaining faithful to one’s word, resolution, equanimity, and love (Lama & Chodron, 2017). Additionally, Mahayana Buddhism goes into details regarding the nature of factors as held by Buddha by subscribing to the belief that everybody can indeed become a Buddha. Alternatively, Hinayana Buddhism does not adhere to the miniature details into the nature of factors as held by Buddha.

There are different forms of Mahayana Buddhism including Zen Buddhism and the Tibetan Buddhism. Zen Buddhism first originated in China in 6th century CE before spreading to other parts of the world including Japan, Korea as well as other Western parts of the globe during the Tang dynasty (Sørensen, 2017). It was originally referred to as the Chan Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is unique in various ways. For instance, the Zen Buddhism is driven by the attempt to comprehend and appreciate the real meaning of life without undertaking misleading rational language or thought. The tenets of Zen Buddhism are consistent with other faiths including Christianity and thus the tenets of their beliefs are quoted as an example of the approaches of pursuing the mystical understanding of faith. This form of Buddhism requires a passionate discipline such that when consistently practiced it leads to ultimate freedom and total genuineness (Walpola, 2014). This form of Buddhism subscribes to various fundamental tenets. For instance, according to Zen Buddhism, all humans are Buddha and thus they should seek to discover the truth on their own. Zen Buddhism holds to the belief that individuals should not seek truths that are outside their own understanding. The reason is that they are able to understand the truth by ardently adhering to the tenets of Zen Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhism became a major religion in Tibet close to the end of the eighth century CE. It was later introduced to India when one of the Tibetan kings named Trisong Detsen was invited to India. The King came with two Buddhist masters from Tibet with significant and extensive Buddhist texts that contained specific practices of the Tibetan Buddhist (Sørensen, 2017). Tibet Buddhism combines various essential traditions of Mahayana Buddhism with those of Shamanic and Tantric that contains materials from antique Tibetan religious tenets referred to as Bon. According to Tibetan Buddhist, when one ought to struggle to reach the state of Buddhahood, where they are freed from entire mental obscurations. At this state, individuals are said to have achieved the state of uninterrupted happiness, which is mixed with an instantaneous cognition of emptiness. After attaining this state, an individual is said to have reached the correct nature of reality. Individuals who have reached this level should help others as well (Sørensen, 2017). Nevertheless, there are certain influences or actions that could limit individual’s ability to reach the state of happiness including individuals limitations derived from individuals’ former actions and karma’s limit each time Buddha are willing to help.

buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

Zen Buddhism is the most appealing form of Buddhism. The reason is that it continuously seeks to comprehend and appreciate the real meaning of life without undertaking misleading rational language or thought. Moreover, the values held by Zen Buddhism are consistent with other faiths including Christianity or other major religions and thus it can enhance unity and bridge of boundaries between major religious groups. The fact that it requires a passionate discipline and always seeks to discover the truth, it can serve as a valuable construct of enhancing values and responsibility among the followers and other interested members of the community. Besides, it advocates purity and truth and thus enables the followers to preserve their values at all times.

Conclusively, there are various key differences between Hinduism & Buddhism. Among them include Hindus worship numerous goddesses and gods. Alternatively, although Buddhist do not repudiate the existence of such Supreme god, they subscribe to the believe followers should not bother themselves with devoting or worshiping one particular God. The followers of Hinduism pay tribute to natural resources including stones, water and other things in the universe including the sun while Buddhist pay tribute to Buddha. Hinduism tribute is attributed to the belief that the ultimate reality is derived from all things, which are united as one magnificent divinity. Buddhism subscribe to the belief that the ultimate reality is derived from nothingness. Accordingly, although Hindus gain Moksha become united all things in the universe, the Buddhists achieve Nirvana, where they are detached from all things until they attain nothingness.

There are various differences between Hinayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Among them include the fact that the Mahayana Buddhists subscribe to the belief that Buddha, also referred to as the Siddhartha Gautama was indeed a God. However, the Hinayana Buddhists hold to the belief that Buddha was an ordinary human being. According to followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha is regarded as a God because he descended to earth so that he can assist the believers to cross the sea of life. Alternatively, Hinayana Buddhists believe that Buddha was a human being and not a God because he only conceived the idea of the Nirvana. Followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that it is recommendable to assist others individuals to reach Nirvana before one could reach such a state. Alternatively, followers of Hinayana Buddhism belief that each individual should struggle to attain Nirvana on their own.

There are different forms of Mahayana Buddhism including Zen Buddhism and the Tibetan Buddhism. Zen Buddhism first originated in China in the 6th century CE. Zen Buddhism is unique in various ways. For instance, the Zen Buddhism is driven by the attempt to comprehend and appreciate the real meaning of life without undertaking misleading rational language or thought. The tenets of Zen Buddhism are consistent with other faiths including Christianity and thus it is quoted as an example of the approaches of pursuing the mystical understanding of faith. Tibetan Buddhism became a major religion in Tibet close to the end of the eighth century CE. Tibet Buddhism combines various essential traditions of Mahayana Buddhism with those of Shamanic and Tantric that contains materials from antique Tibetan religious tenets referred to as Bon.

Zen Buddhism is the most appealing form of Buddhism. The reason is that it continuously seeks to comprehend and appreciate the real meaning of life without undertaking misleading rational language or thought. Moreover, the values held by Zen Buddhism are consistent with other faiths including Christianity or other major religion and thus it can enhance unity and bridge of boundaries between major religious groups.

  • Batchelor, S. (2015). The Faith to Doubt: Glimpses of Buddhist Uncertainty . Pan American.
  • Cawley, J. (2015). Beliefs: and the world they have created . Leicestershire, Troubador Publishing.
  • Lama, Dalai, & Chodron, T. (2017). Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions . Somerville M.A, Simon and Schuster Publishers.
  • Ross, F. H. (2013). The Meaning of Life in Hinduism and Buddhism . New York; London, Taylor and Francis. Routledge.
  • Sørensen, H. H. (2017). Spells and Magical Practices as Reflected in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sources (c. 300–600 CE) and Their Implications for the Rise and Development of Esoteric Buddhism. Journal of Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism , 41.
  • Walpola, R. (2014). What the Buddha taught . London: Oneworld Publications.
  • Warner, C. D. (2017). On the Road from Hinduism to Buddhism: Global Buddhism, the Conversion of Nepali Hindus, and What Comes Between. Eastspirit: Journal of Transnational Spirituality and Religious Circulation in East and West , 234.
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buddhism and hinduism comparison essay

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