Comparison of Buddhism and Hinduism

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Comparison of Buddhism and Hinduism

“Thank goodness for eastern religion, I’m going to yoga class now and I redid my room to improve like my Zen, it really works…” for many in the western world, this is the most that is understood about eastern religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. Although many would be interested to know that yoga is not just an exercise class; there are many more important details about Buddhism and Hinduism we are misinformed about, Especially, the differences of these two religions. Since Buddhism evolved from Hinduism, they are very similar, but they are two different faiths, with different sets of beliefs and interpretations on life and enlightenment (the ultimate objective of both).

It might be in our best interest to begin this discussion at the end, with enlightenment. This is the goal of both Hinduism and Buddhism. To be exact, enlightenment in its simplest definition, is the ultimate release from the cycle of samsara, or the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (Wagnu, 2001). In both faiths, every living spirit will eventually achieve this goal, even if it takes numerous reincarnations. In Hinduism, this goal is also called moksha , existence in the realm of the gods (Wagnu, 2001). However, in Buddhism enlightenment is called nirvana, and is a release from the cycle completely, not a deployment to the realm of gods. The sort of middle way between these two extremes is a belief held by Mahayana Buddhists, whom identify the Buddha in three bodies, one of which, the Ultimate Buddha underlies, the entire universe and is identified as nirvana itself (Wangu, 2002) (BUd).

On this journey to moksha or nirvana, one creates karma for himself. Karma as it is understood in the modern world “what goes around comes around” is a valid way to simplify this belief of Buddhist and Hindu religion. Both define it as “deeds that determine one’s position in rebirth, or samsara”. Evil deeds force one to pay a karmic price for their actions. In Hinduism, one who follows the dharma or social order of their caste builds good karma and one who does not, builds bad karma. With each new life, one’s karmic deeds are paid, and they are reborn. While in Hinduism, one who reaches the highest level on the caste system is said to have built good karma and is closest to enlightenment, Buddhism teaches that one’s caste is irrelevant and karma is dependent on obedience to religious law (the ultimate truth that will be discussed later).
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