Reincarnation is a central belief among Hindus and Buddhists. This is the belief that a person will be reborn into a new body over and over again. Being born into a human body is considered a “precious and rare opportunity for the soul to advance toward its ultimate goal of liberation from rebirth and merging with absolute reality.” The ultimate goal is to escape this cycle through good deeds (Fisher 75). For Hinduism this is called moksha, and for Buddhism this is called nirvana.
When Western ideas came along, they set out guidelines for what a religion should be. In some ways, Hinduism did conform to Western Ideology and made central ideas for the religion that Westerners had given them a name for (Fisher 69). However, Hinduism could be understood as a family of religions with central beliefs that also make it a religion on its own. Their beliefs stem from the main ideas of moksha and samsara that keep Hinduism one. However, the history of Hinduism being a conglomeration of different indigenous religions makes it understandable to see Hinduism as a family of religions that is made one by central beliefs.
Hindutva was a term made to identify who is a Hindu, and what the characteristics of Hinduism are. The characteristics of a Hindu as V.D. Savarkar says is “one who (1) regard...
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...thus far, and even disqualifies it as the Merriam Webster definition of a “religion.”
Buddhism is very different than any religion that we have studied because of it does not fit the Western definition of a religion. There is no god worshipped in Buddhism, however there is one in Hinduism, which makes Hinduism. Hinduism differs from the religions that we have studied because of its diversity. However, they both share a common belief of reincarnation. Because these religions are so different than the others, there are disputes about whether Hinduism is a family of religions, a religion, or a way of life and whether or not Buddhism is a religion are what makes them different from other religions that we have studied. Although Buddhism is not defined as a religion by our dictionary, the significance it has on the way people live should not be demeaned by other religions.
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