Term paper on Hinduism and Buddhism

There are many differences and similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism. Thus, the main purpose of this project is to explore the most principal of them for the purpose to understand Buddhist and Hindu practices and their goals better.

It is a well-known fact that Buddhism and Hinduism are considered to be two different but closely related religions. Both Buddhism and Hinduism are similar in their technical language, because they were created many centuries ago, and have similar terms to explain the necessity of karma, mantras, etc. Of course, each religion uses its specific meaning of the above presented terms and realizes their goals and practices in different ways.

The first point of our discussion is connected with God, because the main attitude of these two religions is found exactly in the attitude to God. Buddhists believe and teach others that there is no God; they do not deny the presence or the existence of the popular gods, but they ignore this fact, while Hinduism presents its followers the idea that the development of relationships between the person and God is the main aim of supreme existence (Carrithers, 2001).

The second point is the roots of both religions. It is important to emphasize that Hinduism in itself does not have its own founder, it is not a single religion with a well-proportioned doctrine; it includes a number of religious tracts, with some Vedic roots, but sometimes with many conflicting points; while Buddhism considers Gautama Buddha as its creator. It is possible to say that Hinduism is a kind of religion because it is based on a belief in absolute truth of certain postulates, while Buddhism seems to be a kind of specific philosophy based on the internal, personal psychological experience of any person.

The third point is caste discrimination. Buddhism, in contrast to Hinduism, does not contain the idea of caste; it considers that all people are equal in terms of the same opportunities and possession. Hinduism in its turn is based on caste discrimination, explaining this by the fact that every Hindu belongs to a certain caste by birth, and cannot change the own caste identity. Buddhism presents the idea that life is an endless series of reincarnations, which takes place by changing the physical body, and in this context, Hinduism also believes that if the person is born in a certain caste then it depicts the previous style of life of the person in the better way.

Thinking about karma, we can mention that in Buddhism karma is the law of retribution. If a person wants to be a human in subsequent reincarnations, he / she should act well and do the right things in this life. The purpose of Hindu is to live the life in the best way for the purpose to be reborn in better conditions and improve the own karma, while Buddhist is trying to live the own life in the way to be never born again. Finally, the term nirvana is used exactly in Buddhism, because Hinduism understands it as a condition of the absence of temporary obscurations (they believe in moksha).

To sum up, we have explored the main similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. So, there are many significant differences between Buddhism and Hinduism both in terms of views and special practices such as meditations or mantra saying. In addition, we have proved that some of the rituals of Buddhism and Hinduism are very similar, like some gestures (mudras), mantras, and some deities, but the essential points of these systems are very different.

Work cited
Carrithers, Michael. The Buddha: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2001.

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