Compare and Contrast Buddhism and Hinduism

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The Beliefs and Relations of

Hinduism & Buddhism

Mr. Valor Pickett
Robert Truett
5/1/13

The Beliefs and Relations of Hinduism and Buddhism

The two major religions that have dominated the country of India are known as Hinduism and Buddhism. Unlike the majority of religions known to man, these two religions are more followed as a way to live rather to gain enlightenment than a dualistic battle between deities trying to claim the souls of the world before the apocalypse as scribed in the scriptures of the Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Zoroastrian beliefs only to name a few. Hinduism and Buddhism more or less describe the pursuit of enlightenment. I initially thought that Buddhism would be nearly identical in the belief structure seeing how it is stemmed from Hinduism. There are actually many differences in the two religions and how each individual theistic system of gaining enlightenment varies. First we must cover the basics of both Hinduism and Buddhism and then we will compare and contrast with one another. “Truth is one, though the wise refer to it by various names.” This phrase written in the Sanskrit’s Rig Veda 1.164.46 pretty much summarizes my perception of Hinduism in a nutshell. Even though Hinduism is considered Monotheistic, there are over 330 million individual deities. This is described by Indic religious expert Graham M. Schweig as a “polymorphic bi-monotheism.” This is because even though there are millions of deities in Hinduism, they are considered many forms of the one dual-gendered divinity. The Vishnu is the primordial being, which is the source of Lord Brahma. The teachings of Hinduism have not been prescribed a date or origin of beginning but researchers have traced back as far as the 15th century or 1500 BCE. The origins of the teachings have been traced even farther than before scripture was invented and prior to the Aryan invasion. This would conclude that Hinduism is not native to India and has migrated and evolved along with population no inhabiting the country. The term Hindu was prescribed due to the villages located in the Indus valley. Hinduism is merely a collection of religious traditions. The Sacred texts known as the Vedas and Vedanta of the Vedic religion are the bases of the Hindu beliefs. The Vedas are believed to be not human compositions but eternal truth revealed to the world through rishis, “those who see.” It is understood that there is no unified belief system but Hinduism is an umbrella term based on the complexities and number of Gods and traditions based on each avatar or manifestation. Hinduism is a congregation of religions such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and that is just to name a few. Hinduism can be seen as having a freedom to believe and worship as you see fit. Although there is not a strict belief system of worship, there are four beliefs that I recognized because they are more dominant throughout the Hindu religion. The first is the concept of god. There is one supreme deity but in three forms called Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva but there are many manifestations of these deities. Which manifestation the follower worships and how they worship is based on their traditions. Brahman represents creation, Vishnu represents maintenance and Shiva destruction. These manifestations can be symbolic towards the elements of the environment, wealth, happiness and even anger and war.

The second belief is that if Karma. Karma comes from the Sanskrit root kri, meaning “action.” Normally when I hear someone state Karma into a phrase, it is normally in terms that they wish a negative situation on to a person of interest. We may see Karma then as a punishment when it is more of a consequence. If we were to do something bad, then we would suffer a negative consequence, but if we were to commit to a positive act, therefore we will have a positive consequence displaying positive Karma.

Another belief of Hinduism is the Samsara. Samsara is described as the...
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