Hinduism and Buddhism
Buddhism is one of Southeast Asia's main religions. It is closely related to Hinduism and shares a very long history with it, similar to Christianity. ABSTRACT: Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the five major religions in our world today. Both have similarities and differences, as do all forms of religion. Hinduism and Buddhism, comparison, differences, similarities, tradition.
Both have traditional right-hand and unconventional left-hand ritual practices. Both originated and evolved in the Indian subcontinent. The founder of Buddhism was a Hindu prince who became the Buddha. Buddhism is the greatest gift of ancient India to the world. For nearly two millenniums, Buddhist teachings prevailed in half of the world and influenced the course of human civilization in many respects.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism recognize Death as an inevitable and inescapable aspect of life. Death as the devourer of all animate and inanimate things figures prominently in the Bhagavadgita and Upanishads, and so also in Buddhist texts, imagery and iconography. Both Hinduism and Buddhism believe that liberation, not rebirth or heavenly life, should be the highest goal for their followers since it is the best and permanent solution to the problem of suffering and bondage.
The cosmology of Buddhism and Hinduism have some common features. Both recognize a four-tier universe of multiple worlds and spheres. Hinduism recognizes a subterranean world, the earth or the mortal world, the mid-region or space antariksha which is inhabited by celestial beings, the heaven of Indra where immortal gods live, and the highest world of Brahman. Buddhism recognizes an underworld, the earth, the mid-region of devas consisting of many worlds of passions and desires, the higher region of devas consisting of many worlds of forms and perception, and the highest region of abstract worlds known as Brahma lokas which are inhabited by great beings.
Both religions recognize the earth as the center of the universe. It rests on Mount Meru, a cosmic wonder, surrounded by seven concentric rings of tall mountains and seven oceans, with the hells of asuras below and the worlds of devas above. Both recognize the Indian subcontinent, the land where the Buddha was born as Jambudvipa. Both hold that the whole of cosmos with all its planes is represented in the inner subtle realms of the human mind and can be visualized and entered in deep meditative states.
Both believe in the potential of humans to attain supernatural or divine powers and the retention and recollection of past life impressions.
Buddha's attitude towards Hindus Prior to his enlightenment, the Buddha grew up in a traditional Hindu family. His parents were deeply religious people. Before finding his own path, he went to Hindu gurus and practiced under their guidance to find answers to the problem of suffering. He followed the meditation techniques and ascetic practices as prescribed by the Hindu scriptures and followed by the Hindu yogis of his time. It is said that after becoming the Buddha, he showed special consideration to the higher caste Hindus, especially the Brahmins priests and Kshatriyas warriors since he believed that due to their learning, past karma and higher birth they possessed refined intelligence to grasp his teachings and were ripe for liberation.
Accordingly, he advised his disciples to treat them with respect and consideration and seek their company. It is said that certain categories of Brahmins had free access to the Buddha, and some of the Brahmana ascetics were directly admitted into the monastic discipline without having to go through the rigors of initiation and probation, which were otherwise compulsory for all classes of people.
The Buddha converted many Brahmins to Buddhism and considered their involvement a sure sign of progress and popularity of his fledgling movement. Two or three hundred years after him, we find the echo of similar sentiment in the inscriptions of King Ashoka in which he urged his subjects to show respect to learned Brahmanas. A review of Buddha's contribution The Buddha was not the first teacher in ancient India to contemplate upon suffering and find spiritual solutions to resolve it.
It has been the part of a continuing tradition in the Indian subcontinent for a long time, starting with the Vedic sages and the Jain Tirthankaras who lived at least a thousand years or so before him. The growth of cities along the river banks, the devastation caused by famines, floods, pandemics, epidemics and other natural calamities, and frequent warfare among neighboring kingdoms, which resulted in large-scale bloodshed and disruption of normal life must have made people acutely aware of the nature of suffering and attracted the minds of scholars and philosophers to contemplate upon it and find solutions.
The Buddha continued the same tradition at a time when India was going through a period of intense spiritual and intellectual churning, with scores of ascetic movements and teacher traditions who were engaged in the exploration of knowledge and truths to find solutions to the problems of mortality and impermanence.
He was also not the first teacher to discern the link between desire and suffering. Many ascetic and renunciant traditions that preceded him also considered desire to be the root cause of suffering. It is also difficult to believe that the Buddha witnessed suffering for the first time only when he went out into the streets. Probably, what he saw during those visits must have triggered the discontent or the despair that was already taking shape in him.
All that knowledge and wisdom and refinement of character and conduct, and his own observation of human nature, worldly life and relationships must have thoroughly prepared him for the arduous spiritual journey which he subsequently undertook to mitigate human suffering. However, in establishing the basic tenets of Dharma the Buddha made a radical departure from the commonly held belief that all living beings possessed an eternal and indestructible and omniscient soul.
He declared that beings did not possess eternal souls. Instead they embodied an unstable, impermanent reality or not-self, which was a formation or an aggregation like the body itself and which was subject to desires, attachments, karma, bondage and transmigration. It disappeared when desires and attachments were suppressed, and karma was fully resolved on the Eightfold Path. Unlike the other renunciant traditions, which admitted only qualified members, the Buddha had admitted all classes of people from all backgrounds since he felt that everyone was bound and subject to suffering and rebirth.
He ignored the caste barriers and the social injunctions imposed upon certain classes of people by the Vedic laws, which prevented them from seeking liberation. Most importantly, he advised people to focus upon experiential reality with mindfulness to understand the source of suffering and states of consciousness rather than upon transcendental reality that could not be verified by any physical or mental means.
Thus, you may regard the Buddha not only as a teacher and proponent of the Buddhist doctrine but also as a social and religious reformer within the Vedic fold who challenged the basic principles and practices of the Vedic religion and freed people from the shackles of a discriminatory and unfair social structure.
He suggested a practical philosophy of liberation which could be practiced and verified by anyone. You may also regard him as the founder of a new religion, which was organized and systematic and claimed no divine source, but the common wisdom which was within the mental and intellectual realm of the human mind. In these undertakings his purpose was not to propagate a new religion or undermine the Vedic religion, but to help people find relief from ignorance, delusion and suffering.
Hindus attitude towards Buddhists in ancient times Since the early days of Buddhism, Hinduism or its various sects had a checkered relationship with it. Many Vedic texts such as the Puranas and the Shastras betray subtle animosity towards Buddhism and the Buddha.
Buddhism and Hinduism - Wikipedia
Over time, the chasm between the two traditions grew in depth, as Buddhism capitalized on the vulnerabilities of Vedic beliefs and offered a practical and verifiable alternative, forcing the latter to respond with justifiable negativity. The differences between the two continued, despite halfhearted attempts to recognize the Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
On a closer examination, it becomes evident that it was done for all for all the wrong reasons to undermine the Buddha and his teachings rather than elevate them. The Puranas abundantly make it clear that Buddha Dharma was an aberration or perversion to distract people from the path of liberation rather than liberate them.
They narrate that Lord Siva and Vishnu manifested as a Jina and Buddha respectively to mislead the demons through their teachings and sow the seeds of their destruction. By following their false teachings, when the demons ceased to be the true devotees of gods, the gods had little moral or spiritual compunction to attack them and destroy them.
Thus, the purpose of including the Buddha and some Jinas in the Hindu pantheon was intentionally parochial. This line of thought is well illustrated in a story which is mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad 8. According to the story, Vairochana, the leader of the demons went to Brahma along with Indra to know about the Self.
He returned with the deluded conviction that the physical self was the true Self. Indra on the other hand spent a long time with Brahma and eventually learned that the eternal Self was his true Self.
By juxtaposing him with Indra in the same story, the Upanishad aims to establish the superiority of the Vedic belief regarding souls to the Buddhist belief in the not-self. Therefore, although religious tolerance was the hallmark of ancient Indian society, the relationship between Buddhists and Hindus was at times less than cordial as they tried to outsmart each other.
When Buddhism was on decline, many caves, monasteries and sacred places of Buddhists were either occupied or converted by rival groups into places of Hindu worship removing or replacing the Buddhist deities with Hindu counterparts. It is possible that the opposite might have happened in areas ruled by Buddhism, when Hinduism waned and Buddhism gained ascendance. Differences The following are some of the differences, which we can see in the principles and practice of these two religions.
Hinduism is not founded by any prophet seer or guru.
Hinduism and Buddhism
Buddhism was founded by the Buddha. Hinduism is not an organized religion. In many respects, Buddhism is well organized into three divisions namely the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma. Hinduism believes in the inviolability and supremacy of the Vedas in validating metaphysical truths. The Buddhist do not believe in the Vedas or for that matter in any Hindu scripture. Buddhism does not believe in the existence of souls as well in the first cause, or the creator God. Hinduism believe in the existence of Atman, the individual self, and Brahman, the Supreme Self.
The Buddhists do not accept any Hindu god as an equal or superior to the Buddha. In Buddhism all gods who go by the same name as in Hinduism are considered mortal and subject to gradual decay and impermanence. Its followers do not worship the images of the Buddha nor do they believe in the idea of the Bodhisattvas. The Mahayana sect considers the Buddha as the Supreme Soul or the Highest Being, akin to the Brahman of Hinduism and worship him in the form of images and icons.
However, it is doubtful if they consider the primal Buddha eternal or unchanging. Hinduism recognizes four chief aims of human life, namely dharma religious dutyartha wealth or material possessionskama desires and passions and moksha salvation.
Buddhism considers the world full of suffering and resolving it as the chief purpose of human life. Therefore, it recognizes only two aims, namely the practice of Dharma Buddha's teachings and liberation Nirvana. Hindus also believe in the four ashramas or stages in life. This is not followed in Buddhism. People can join the Order any time depending upon their spiritual preparedness. However, in both traditions people have a choice to become renunciants according to their inclination or at the behest of their parents or teachers.
Buddhists who take vows and enter monastic life organize themselves into an Order Sangha of monks. They live in groups and abide in strict monastic discipline according to a set of rules that are well codified to the last detail. Hinduism is not a monastic religion as Buddhism. It does not have an organized Sangha or a set of rules that can universally be applied.
Individuals have a lot of choice and freedom to choose their paths and follow their own discretion. Buddhism believes in the concept of Bodhisattvas, who are highly evolved beings and who postpone their own salvation to help others. Hinduism does not have a similar concept.
Buddhism acknowledges the existence of some gods and goddesses of Hinduism. However it does not consider them to be immortal or indestructible.
It also accords to them a rather subordinate status. Refuge in the Buddha, the Sangha and Dhamma are the three cardinal requirements on the Eightfold Path. In Hinduism you do not find a similar approach. It offers many choices and alternatives to the followers to practice their faith and work for their salvation.
Yoga in Hinduism also known as being 'complex', based on yoking integrating. Yoga defines a specific process: The technique of the different forms of yoga is what makes the practice meaningful. Yoga is not an easy or simple practice, viyoga is what is described as simple. Yoga is difficult in the fact of displaying the faith and meaning of Hinduism. Many Hindus tend to pick and choose between the five forms of yoga because of the way they live their life and how they want to practice it in the form they are most connected to.
In the early translation phase of the Sutrayana and Tantrayana from India, China and other regions to Tibet, along with the practice lineages of sadhanacodified in the Nyingmapa canon, the most subtle 'conveyance' Sanskrit: A contemporary scholar with a focus on Tibetan BuddhismRobert Thurman writes that Patanjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered orthodox.
Most notable in this context is the relationship between the system of four Buddhist dhyana states Pali: Differences[ edit ] Despite the similarities in terminology there exist differences between the two religions. There is no evidence to show that Buddhism ever subscribed to vedic sacrifices, vedic deities or caste. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Various sources from the Pali Cannon and others suggest that the Buddha taught that belief in a Creator deity was not essential to attaining liberation from suffering, and perhaps chose to ignore theological questions because they were "fascinating to discuss," and frequently brought about more conflict and anger than peace. The Buddha did not deny the existence of the popular gods of the Vedic pantheon, but rather argued that these devaswho may be in a more exalted state than humans, are still nevertheless trapped in the same samsaric cycle of suffering as other beings and are not necessarily worthy of veneration and worship.
The focus of the Noble Eightfold Pathwhile inheriting many practices and ideologies from the previous Hindu yogic tradition, deviates from the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and earlier works of the Dharmic Religions in that liberation Nirvana or Moksha is not attained via unity with Brahman the GodheadSelf-realization or worship. Rather, the Buddha's teaching centers around what Eknath Easwaran described as a "psychology of desire," that is attaining liberation from suffering by extermination of self-will, selfish desire and passions.
This is not to say that such teachings are absent from the previous Hindu tradition, rather they are singled out and separated from Vedic Theology. According to Buddhologist Richard Hayesthe early Buddhist Nikaya literature treats the question of the existence of a creator god "primarily from either an epistemological point of view or a moral point of view".
In these texts the Buddha is portrayed not as a creator-denying atheist who claims to be able to prove such a God's nonexistence, but rather his focus is other teachers' claims that their teachings lead to the highest good. Buddhist cosmology recognizes various levels and types of gods, but none of these gods is considered the creator of the world or of the human race.
Hinduism though proposes detachment from fruits of action  and stresses on performance of duty or dharma, it is not solely focused on it. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva explains 'death' to be journey of the immortal soul in pursuit of 'Moksha' and therefore a fact of life.
While Buddhism says retirement into forest was open to everyone regardless of caste, and although according to the vinaya the code of conduct for the Sangha it is not possible to take ordination as a Buddhist mendicant a Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni under the age of 20 or adulthood, this is still viewed as escapism by Hinduism. Pre-Buddhist, non-brahman forest mendicants are criticised in the earliest group of Upanishads. Buddhism by contrast emphasises realisation by the middle way avoiding extremes of luxury or austeritiesseeing limited value in the rituals and tapas and the danger of their mis-application.
Buddhism explained that attachment is the cause of sorrow in society. Therefore, Buddhism's cure for sorrow was detachment and non-involvement non-action or negative action. Hinduism on the other hand explained that both sorrow or happiness is due to 'Karma' or past actions and bad karma can be overcome and good karma can be obtained by following dharma or righteous duty pro-action or positive action which will ultimately provide 'Moksha' i.
Buddhist canonical views about God and the priests are: Scholar-monk Walpola Rahula writes that man depends on God "for his own protection, safety, and security, just as a child depends on his parent. He writes that man does not wish to hear or understand teachings against this belief, and that the Buddha described his teachings as "against the current" for this reason. In some Mahayana texts, such a principle is occasionally presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, Amitabha and Adi-Buddha, among others.
Ullambana derives from Hindu traditions. Both Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism share common rites, such as the purification rite of Homa Havan, Yagna in Sanskritprayers for the ancestors and deceased Ullambana in Sanskrit, Urabon in Japanese. Caste[ edit ] The Buddha repudiated the caste distinctions of the Brahmanical religion,  by offering ordination to all regardless of caste. They will even get into trouble from their own deeds, whatever their caste Brahmin, Khattiya, Vessa, and Sudda might be.
July Main article: Buddhist Cosmology In Buddhist cosmologythere are 31 planes of existence within samsara. Therefore, most of these places are not the goal of the holy life in the Buddha's dispensation.