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    Similarites And Difference Of Hinduism And Buddhism Essay

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    Introduction-Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the five major religions in our worldtoday. They are widely practiced, and have survived for centuries. Both havesimilarities and differences, as do all forms of religion.

    Hopefully, in thispaper I will show you the basic structure of each religion. I would also like toshow how they compare and contrast. Hinduism: FoundationNo one is completely sure of where Hinduism was started and by whom. Their oldest written documents, the Vedas, were written down in 1000 B.

    C. butthey had existed orally long before. The Vedas are where Hinduism originated. Today, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion. Many changes have comeupon Hinduism since they practiced it first. Hinduism includes many differentsects, or denominations, and beliefs that have arisen.

    Though, there are manythings in common with all of the Hindu sects. Their basic beliefs are what tiesthem together. Basic Beliefs-The religion of Hinduism teaches us that each living body, includinganimals, is filled with an eternal soul. Hindus say that the individual soul wasa part of the creator spirit, Brahma.

    It is each soul’s job and wish eventuallyto return to Brahma. It is not possible though because by a soul’s sins, andimpurities from the world, they are no longer pure and holy to return. Instead,a soul must become pure before returning to Brahma, who is absolutely pure. The process of becoming pure is so hard that no soul can become pure inonly one lifetime. The soul is forced to live life after life until it is pureenough to return to Brahma.

    The cycles of rebirths are called samsara, or theWheel of Life, by the Hindus. When a soul is finally cleansed enough to breakfree of samsara it is called moksha. The soul returns to Brahma for an eternityof contentment and ecstasy. There is no one incorporating creed in Hinduism.

    A follower may chooseany god as their personal god, or may worship several of them. Though to be aHindu there are certain things that a follower must believe in and live by. Their main beliefs are:1. A belief in karma, the result of one’s good and bad deeds in a lifetime. 2.

    A belief in dharma, Hindu traditions. 3. A belief in the three main gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. 4.

    A belief in reincarnation after death. 5. Honor for the sacred Vedas. 6. A belief that, if lived a religious life, the Wheel of Life can end and achieve moksha. 7.

    An honor for an ascetic religious life, to be an orthodox Hindu. Hindus worship many gods, but they are truly monotheistic by believingin a single god. The reason behind this is that everything comes from Brahman. It does not matter who the worship is for because it is ultimately Brahman. Brahman does not reward or punish those for their deeds in life. Every soulcreates their own rewards and punishments through karma.

    Karma rules what eachsoul will be in its next life, and it is formed from a soul’s good and bad deedsin each life. If a soul has had more good deeds than bad deeds, then they havegood karma. Or vice versa if they have had more bad deeds than good. Dharma is the ultimate meritorious balance of all things living.

    Itbelongs to everything, including the universe. Every soul is responsible forbalancing their dharma. The areas to balance in dharma are religious, social,and within the family. They must keep promises, and remain faithful to religiousrituals, while also taking care of their family. If a soul loses this balance,then it will affect their karma.

    Dharma has been called tradition, duty, and acustom, but to a Hindu it is spiritually more than that. Hindus also follow acaste system, resulted from dharma, which I will discuss later. Gods-There are three main gods in Hinduism. Many others exist in the religion,but these are the most noteworthy.

    Brahma is the creator of life. Vishnu isknown as the preserver of life. You might pray to Vishnu if someone you knew wasgoing in for surgery so that they’ll come through it with no problems. Finally,Siva, or Shiva is the destroyer of life. All three of these gods are portrayedas female and male. Vishnu is more often a male, and Shiva is more often afemale.

    The Caste System-The society of Hinduism is strictly divided. The different levels,called castes, do not mingle. The division is largely due to the practices ofdharma and karma. Both practices express the idea that if someone is born into aspecific lifestyle, they must stay there.

    It would be bad karma to attempt toleave that lifestyle. In the caste system, there are four levels along with two groups thatare apart from the castes. Every caste comes from Brahma, but each is from adifferent body part. The highest level is the Brahmin.

    It means Brahman, but isspelled in another way to resist confusion of Brahman, the creator spirit. Brahmin comes from his head, and they are to be the voice of Brahma. They arethe priestly caste, but many are also teachers and keepers of the religion. Today, many Brahmins are also involved in business and government.

    The second level of castes is the Kshatriyas (warrior) caste. They werethe kings and soldiers, and come from Brahma’s arms. The third level is theVaisyas. They come from the thighs of Brahma, and occupy the jobs of merchants,artisans, and farmers. The fourth and final caste is Sudras.

    These people arethe manual workers, represented by Brahma’s feet. It is considered a sin toassociate with people of a lower caste than you. So each caste is made up of adifferent level of the society. There are also two groups outside the caste system.

    One group is forforeigners. They might be a nonbeliever or anyone who receives special treatmentfrom the Hindu society. The second “outcaste” group is the “Untouchables. ” Thesepeople are considered nonhuman and cannot participate in any Hindu practices. They do the work no one wants to do and do not associate with anyone that is ofa higher caste.

    Buddhism: Foundation-Buddhism was founded by Siddartha Gautama, and he became the Buddha. Hisintentions were not to form a new religion, only to modify an older one. Brahmanism, or Hinduism, had become very orthodox. Siddartha was a minor king ofnorthern India. One day, he ventured outside the palace walls and saw how lifereally was.

    Inspired, Siddartha left his home, and family to look for themeaning of life. For years he listened to and studied with the Indian wise men;then he turned to meditation. Discouraged from not finding the answer he wanted,he sat under a fig tree. Siddartha determined that he sat there until he foundthe answer, this lasted 49 days. It finally came to him, and he became Buddha. Buddhism was founded.

    Basic Beliefs-Buddhism is a reformed version of Hinduism. Buddha discovered the FourNoble Truths. The Four Noble Truths are the foundation for all forms of Buddhistphilosophy. 1. There is suffering. 2.

    Suffering is caused. 3. Eliminating the causes of suffering can extinguish suffering. 4. The way to extinguish the causes of suffering is to follow the Middle Way stated in the Eightfold Path.

    The Eightfold Path also comes from Buddha. It teaches to practicemoderation. It is the practical side of Buddhism. If followed, one may achievetrue enlightenment, or nirvana. Nirvana is reaching Brahma in one lifetime.

    Buddha believed that you could live a perfect life and not have to continue inthe samsara. The basic way to this is the Eightfold Path, which says to practicemoderation in these areas:1. Right views. You must have the right mind set. 2. Right intent (or right resolution) A person must want actively to eliminate suffering.

    3. Right speech. You must not lie, slander others, or insult. You’re not to cause suffering with words.

    4. Right conduct (or right action). To behave in a way that does not cause suffering. 5.

    Right means of livelihood. Not to live in a way or hold a job that causes suffering. 6. Right endeavor (or right effort) To prevent unclean states of mind from happening. 7.

    Right mindfulness. To be aware of body activities, the senses, perceptions, and thoughts. 8. Right meditation. The specific concentration to improve oneself.

    Buddhists believe that if you follow this you will be enlightened. ManyBuddhist beliefs are almost the same as a Hindu’s. Buddhists do not practice thecaste system. One of the only ways to achieve nirvana in one lifetime is to be amonk or a nun.

    If you break an area in the Eightfold Path, then you cannotachieve nirvana. Also in order to follow the 4th part of The Eightfold Path, allBuddhists are vegetarians. Killing of an animal is seen as causing suffering. Like the Hindus, an animal has a soul. Despite all the talk about suffering, Buddhism is really about theabsence of suffering. Buddhism is a way to develop the ability to love theentire universe, simply because it is.

    It is understanding that the universeexits inside a blade of grass, just as the blade of grass resides within theuniverse. All things are inter-connected. Comparisons Between Hinduism and Buddhism-Both Hinduism and Buddhism accept and believe that there is one creatorspirit. Each of them recognizes Brahma or a version of Brahma as the creatorspirit.

    Though they also recognize other gods, Brahma is the ultimate god. Allpraise goes to him, no matter which god you are praising. This is a significantsimilarity between the two religions. The two religions of Hinduism and Buddhism believe in the process ofreincarnation. Reincarnation is being reborn again with one soul.

    Inside thisbelief, they also believe that your deeds, or activities, during your life willdetermine where you will end up. If you have lived a good life, you will berewarded by another good life, or you might be allowed finally to rejoin withBrahma. If you’ve led a bad life, you will remain on earth longer, and mostlikely have a bad life when you are reborn. Another similarity is that both Hinduism and Buddhism are very kind toanimals.

    They believe every living creature has a soul, and throughreincarnation, you might one day end up as one. Most Hindus and Buddhists thatstrictly follow the religion are vegetarians of one sort or another. It’simpossible to tell whether or not that hamburger you ate at Burger King was arelative of yours. Eating them would bring you bad karma, and break one of theEightfold Paths. Contrasts Between Hinduism and Buddhism-In the religion of Hinduism there are castes, or social classes. Theydecide what your lifestyle will be like in that lifetime.

    If you are born aslave, you must stay a slave your whole life. Or, if you are born a wealthy manor woman, that is what you must be all of your life. To the Hindus, it is a sinto try to change what caste you belong to. As well as to associate with a personfrom a caste that is lower than yours. On the other hand, the teachings of the Buddha did away with the castesystem. A person is allowed to change their social class.

    They can go from aslave to an emperor or a president, if that is their calling. If they follow theEightfold Path, then this is permissible. It is an honor to be a monk or a nun,for they are the ones who can achieve nirvana. Buddhists also will mingle withthose of less importance then themselves. Hinduism teaches that you must go through samsara in order to finallyreach moksha. They do not believe that a soul can totally cleanse itself of allimpurities in just one life.

    It is a gradual process involving dharma, balancingone’s life, and karma, weighing the deeds of a lifetime. Meanwhile, the Buddha again went and brought question to samsara. Hefound that it is possible to cleanse oneself in one lifetime and return toBrahma. He called it nirvana. In order to achieve nirvana, a Buddhist mustfollow and accept The Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path. The EightfoldPath serves as an instructional guide as how to keep yourself on the right pathto nirvana.

    Hinduism and Buddhism also have several smaller differences. The area ofgreatest concentration for Hinduism is India. India is where Buddhism originated,but Hinduism eventually was a more appealing religion and it died out. Buddhismis found mostly in East Asia, inside China and Mongolia. These areas preferhaving many, many small gods, as opposed to the Hindus only having three majorones and then smaller, less important gods.

    Buddhism was founded by SuddarthaGautama, or the Buddha. Hinduism was started gradually; no one knows for surewho founded it; most likely, it was many people. Both practice meditation, butthey practice it in different forms. A Hindu will meditate obtaining inner peacethrough the charkras of the body. Once all of the centers, charkras, have beenbalanced, a white light is said to be above the person’s head, and they areenlightened. Buddhists meditate similarity, but have different variations of howit is preformed.

    Their main goal is to end suffering. Conclusion-The two religions of Buddhism and Hinduism are very alike, and yet verydifferent. To accept their way of thinking, one must put aside their religion ifthey aren’t Hindu or a Buddhist. They strive for an inner peace, and finally toreach heaven through either moksha or nirvana. I being a Christian, have foundin some ways it hard to understand the process of reincarnation, and Brahma. Though, I can see how that for people of another culture, these religions arevery supportive, and soothing.

    Culture plays a big part in determining yourbeliefs. Obviously, they are very deep-rooted for surviving for longer thanChristianity’s been around. Through this paper, I learned a lot about acceptingdifferent beliefs, and gained a sense of what it really means to be a Hindu or aBuddhist. I admire their strong faith and their desire to become pure andunblemished. Hinduism and Buddhism are two major religions, firmly planted intheir cultures, and I am sure that they will remain for a long time to come.Category: Religion

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