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← Hostility Towards Religious MovementsHinduism and Its Features →
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Hinduism and Buddhism are the most popular religions in Asia. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion while Buddhism is the fourth; Hinduism is common in India and among the Tamils of Sri Lanka. It is also said to be the oldest organized religion, It is believed to have been established at around 1500 B.C. This religion evolved over a long period of time because it was not established by one person. Buddhism on the other hand has a definite founder, Siddhartha Gautama who is commonly known as Buddha, these two religions originated from India. Buddha was originally a hind but later he founded Buddhism hence the two religions have a lot in common.

The two religions have numerous gods n follow same paths to help them reach the place where all the enlightened beings reside (Nirvana). Hindus have three main gods which are Vishnu who is the sustainer; Brahma who is the creator and Shiva who is the destroyer together they are referred to as Trimuti. Most of these gods are associated with animals hence Hindus feel being vegetarian is vital.

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Buddhism involves meditation and prayers and the concept of a god is almost void. One must understand the four noble truths which are the truth of suffering, the truth of origin of suffering, the truth of cessation and the truth of the path, all these  follow the eightfold path of which the ultimate goal is  becoming Nirvana. In both religions have restrictions for women, In Buddhism the woman’s position is an inferior one. This stems from traditional, cultural and social values of Asia, although ‘‘she’’ can accumulate good karma, she has a hard time achieving enlightment. In Hinduism the woman role is downgraded and nothing can be done according to her will; She must always be cheerful and cannot afford to be angry at her husband, she can only have one husband and cannot remarry even if he dies, all property acquired by a couple belongs to the husband. The Buddhist woman is restricted but can do things more freely than the Hindu woman.

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Both religions belief in non violence, for instance, In Buddhism they preach compassion, charity and non violence while the Hindus profess avoidance of harm to people and animals. The common concept is that you should not act violently towards others. The concept of reincarnation is common to both religions, Hindus believe in reincarnation and the transmigration of the soul of which is also taught in Buddhism.

These two religions differ on a number of issues

In Buddhism there is lack of an omnipotent god, despite the fact that there are many gods that are worshipped; none of these gods is considered the creator of the universe. This is unlike the Hindus who have a creator (Brahma). Also In Hinduism philosophies are classified as Astika (philosophies that affirm the authorities of the Vedas)   or Nastika (philosophies that reject the authorities of the Vedas) while Buddhism is considered a Nastika school since it rejects the authority of the Vedas. They call those who do not believe in Buddhism the “outer path-farers”.

When it comes to the issue of conversion to these religions they greatly differ since Hinduism is viewed as an ethnicity. Hindus do not really evangelize and there is a common belief that to be a Hindu one must be born a Hindu. However, there are those who are viewing Hinduism as a philosophy and as long as one can incorporate Hindu beliefs into their lives they become Hindu. On the other hand Buddhism has spread across Asia because of evangelism and conversion. Followers declare their support for Buddha and his teachings as Buddhism has not been associated with any specific ethnicity.

In Hinduism, the atman is considered ‘self’ of a person. The Buddhists link this self with is “I am” others hold that only the defiled individual will think of”this is I” or “this is mine”. Buddhists believe that one should be a universal self and not egocentric. The main philosophical difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is that the concept of atman was rejected by Buddha .Buddhists use terms like anatman (not-self) and shunyata (voidness).

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The two religions also differed greatly on the issue of caste, the Buddhist writer Ashvaghosa directly opposed the caste system of Hinduism by drawing upon anomalous episodes in Hindu scriptures. The notion of ritual purity also provided a conceptual foundation for the caste system, by identifying occupations and duties associated with impure or taboo objects as being themselves impure. Regulations imposing such a system of purity and taboos are absent from the Buddhist monastic code, and not generally regarded as being part of Buddhist teachings.

Hinduism and Buddhism have different speeds of expansion. Hinduism had no real expansion over the years and basically remained where it started. Buddhism expansion was massive, making a significant foothold in India, many Hindus were converted easily. Although Buddhism had a whole new meaning without any god and with these new ideals, one could argue that the backbone stems from its original mother Hinduism. No two religions are the exact same and bit is good to have diverse religions so that people have a choice of which religion suits them.  

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