Spring Course: Comparing

Hinduism and Buddhism comparison

Hinduism and Buddhism are both religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent. For centuries they have grown side by side, like a brother and a sister, sharing a history. But, as with all siblings, there has historically been some rivalry between them.

One of the interesting things to note about these two religions is that Buddha was born, and raised as a Hindu. Hinduism is a much older religion. It dates back to 2, 000 B.C.. Siddhartha Gautama, born to a princely life as a member of a Hindu family, reached enlightenment and began teaching Buddhism around 500 B.C.

Even though the Hindu religion teaches religious tolerance, in the early days there were instances where Hindus persecuted the followers of Buddha. One Hindu leader known as Sasank went so far as to vandalize Buddhist monuments and to burn the tree under which Buddha claimed to have attained enlightenment.

In spite of the difference that existed between Hindus and those who followed Buddha, the two religions have also had great influence on one another. For example: the Buddhist teaching of compassion and respect for all sentient life was drawn from the culture of India. In return Hindus took from Buddhism the act of meditation and breathing.

These two religions share similarities other than the continent on which they originated. For example, both the Hindu and the Buddhist religions emphasize the idea that life is an illusion. Both religions also espouse the role of karma in binding people to the earth in a cycle of births and deaths.

Though these religions share some tenets, they have differences as well. For example, Buddha taught his followers that life is equal to suffering. Buddhism places an emphasis on suffering and urges followers to find their way down the pathway to the place where suffering ends. On the other hand, Hindu teaching recognize suffering as part of the human condition, but emphasizes the state of Bliss as a reward that is worth working toward. These ideas may seem similar, and they are. The difference is on the emphasis. Buddhism tends to emphasize suffering while Hinduism tends to emphasize bliss.

Both Buddhism and Hinduism teach the principle of compassion and non-violence to all sentient forms of life. Followers of both religions have been known to carry insects outside and release them rather than to destroy them.

Both religions practice meditation, but they have different philosophies about meditation. Buddha taught that meditation was the primary road to enlightenment. However, in the Hindu culture, meditation is just one road out of many that will lead to enlightenment. Other paths include the path of knowledge, the path of actions, and the path of prayer and devotion. In Hinduism following any of these roads will lead to enlightenment.

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Memories of perfect harmony  — Free Malaysia Today
We respected one another's values and beliefs, so much so that I filled my chest with teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism and so on, in addition to the compulsory Islamic classes for all Muslim girls.

The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions: Part II: Extracts, Summaries and Comparisons of Scriptures in Indic Religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism)
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