Buddismhindhism Essay

This essay has a total of 3885 words and 17 pages.


Hinduism and Buddhism
Hinduism and Buddhism have different similarities and are in some ways connected to each
other. Some of the practices of the two religions are similar in various ways and there
are several examples to show this.

Hinduism first started in India around 1500 BC. The word Hindu comes from the Sanskrit
word sindhu, or river. The Hindu community define themselves as "those who believe in the
Vedas", or also "those who follow the way, or dharma, of the four classes and the stages
of life. The four classes being the varnas and the stages of life being the ashramas.

Like Hinduism, Buddhism also started in India. It is based on the teachings of Siddhartha
Gautama, who is called the Buddha or the Enlightened One. Buddhism started a monastic
movement in the Brahman tradition.

It is generally agreed that the Buddha was born in 563 BC in Kapilavastu to the ruler of a
small kingdom. He grew up with luxuries and had a sheltered life. When he was 29 he came
to realize that hi life up to this point had been so empty. He let go any earthly
attachments and soon set out to find peace and enlightenment trying to steer away from the
cycles of rebirths. He started practicing Yoga and "adopted a life of radical
asceticism." He soon gave up this way of thinking and focused on "a middle path between
the life of indulgence and that of self-denial." After a time of great inner struggle, he
began to wander to different places and preach and organized a monastic community know as
the sangha.

The Buddha started the movement for all different peoples and denied that a person's
spiritual worth is a matter of birth. The Buddha left no written word. His ideas have
been put into writings though but his followers. The Cannon for the Buddhist religion is
known as the Tripitaka, or Three Baskets, because is has three writings. These are the
Sutra Pitaka, which is a collection of discourses, the Vinaya Pitaka, which is the code of
the monastic discipline, and the Abhidharma Pitaka, which contains all different
philosophical, psychological, and doctrinal discussions and different classifications.

The Sutra Pitaka is made up of dialogues between the Buddha and his people and consists of
five different texts. The first is the Digha Nikaya, then the Mijjhima Nikaya, the
Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya and the Khuddaka Nikaya.

The Vinaya Pitaka has over 225 rules of conduct for the Buddhist monks and nuns, each
which ha a story to explain. The Abhidharma Pitaka has seven separate works, which include
"detailed classifications of the psychological phenomena, metaphysical analysis, and a
thesaurus of technical vocabulary."

Hinduism also has many texts but the most important of all is the Vedas. The oldest is
the Rig-Veda, which was developed in an ancient form of the Sanskrit language in northeast
India. It consists of 1028 hymns to many gods. Two other Vedas were added to the
Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda which is a book for sacrifice, and the Sama-Veda which I the
hymnal. A fourth book added around 900 BC, which is a collection of magic spells, is
called the Atharva-Veda. The Brahmans, long Sanskrit texts, were also composed around
this time and the Upanishads were composed around 600 BC. These Vedas and writings are
considered revealed canon or shruti, meaning, "what has been heard from the gods", and no
syllable is allowed to be changed though most Hindus are unaware of the contents of these
writings. Most know of the Smriti, or "what is remembered."

Hinduism is defined by what the people do instead of what they think. Few beliefs are
shared by all Hindus, but some are reverence for Brahmans and cows, abstention from meat,
especially beef, and marriage within the caste in the hope of producing male heirs. Some
others are that most Hindus chant the gayatri hymn to the sun at dawn. Most Hindus worship
Shiva, Vishnu or the goddess, Devi as well as hundreds of smaller deities depending on the
village one lives in or even a particular family.

The Buddhists worship the Buddha and follow the four noble truths. These are (1) Life is
suffering; meaning that human existence is really painful from the minute of birth to the
time of death. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the
craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be
ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of
suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention,
right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right
contemplation. These eight are divided into three categories: morality, wisdom, and
samadhi or concentration.

Buddhism also sees human existence as made up of 5 bundles or skandhas. These are the
material body, feelings, perceptions, predispositions or karmic tendencies, and
consciousness. Buddhists deny that these five bundles are considered an "independently
existing self or soul or atman, which is taught by the doctrine of anatman, or the denial
of a permanent soul. The Buddha felt that all existence is characterized by the three

of anatman (no soul), anitya (impermanence) and dukkha (suffering). To get rid of the
Idea of the rebirth cycle of existence known as samsara, the Buddha taught the doctrine of
pratityasamutpada, or dependent origination.

Close to this belief is the doctrine of karma, which is a person's acts and their
consequences. He believed that people's actions lead to rebirth, where good deeds are
rewarded and evil deeds are punished. The process that goes along with the idea of karma
is through a kind of natural moral law rather then than the idea of divine judgement. It
is believed that a person's karma determines things like one's species, beauty,
intelligence, wealth, and also social status and that different types of karma determine
rebirth as animal, human, a hungry ghost, a "denizen of hell", of even a Hindu god.

Buddhism does not actually deny the existence of gods but denies them any special role.
They are not to be believed in control of human destiny or to have been the creators of
the universe and Buddhism also denies the value of prayer and sacrifice to them.

All Hindus acknowledge the existence and importance of a number of gods and demigods, but
he three most popular are Shiva, Vishnu, and the Goddess. Shiva is the deity of
renounces, especially of the many Shiava sects that imitate him. These are Kapalikas,
Pashupatas, and Aghoris. Shiva is also the deity that is said to have appeared on earth
in various human, animal and vegetable forms.

Vishnu, to his worshipers, is all-powerful and supreme. He is believed to be the god from
whose navel a lotus sprang giving birth to Brahma, the creator. Vishnu created the
universe by separating the heavens and the earth and has rescued it on a number of
Occasions. He is also worshiped as a number of incarnations, some being, the fish, the
tortoise, and the boar. Others are the dwarf, the man-lion, Rama-with-an-Axe, Kalki,
Rama, Krishnu, and Buddha, who became incarnate in order to teach a false doctrine to the
pious demons.

Then there is the goddess Devi, who is believed to command the male gods to do the work of
creati0n and destruction. She is also known as Durga and Kali, the Black and she is
worshiped by the Shaktas, those devoted to Shakti, the female power. She is also seen as
wives of great gods. She is known as Lakshmi, the meek wife of Vishnu and Parvati, the
wife of Shiva.

The different gods are worshiped in different ways. The most fundamental ceremonies for
every Hindu involve the rites of passage or samakaras. These rites begin with birth and
then the first time that the child eats solid food, usually rice. Other rites are the
first haircutting, for a young boy, and for a girl, the purification after the first
menstruation. Marriage, the blessings upon pregnancy to produce a male child and a
successful delivery, and the funeral ceremonies, which is usually cremation and, if
possible, the sprinkling of the ashes in a holy river, and offerings to ancestors are
among others.

The daily ritual of a Hindu usually consists of making an offering, or puja, of fruit or
flowers before a small shrine in the house. This is usually done by the wife because he
is believed to have more power to intercede with the gods. She also makes offerings to
snakes, trees, or obscure spirits in her garden or at a crossroad in the village.

Many villages have small temples where priests perform ceremonies Throughout the day.
Sunrise prayers are said to awake the gods. The god is bathed, clothed, and fanned and
even fed while the remains are fed to the worshipers. Songs are also sung, holy texts are
read aloud and sunset rituals are performed.

There are also thousands of local temples in existence. These can be anything from a
small stone box enclosing a "formless effigy swathed in cloth", to a "slightly more
imposing edifice with a small tank in which to bathe". India also has many large temples
as well as "complex temple cities". There are many holy shrines that many people from all
over India take pilgrimages to. Some shrines are local and others are only visited on
yearly special festive occasions.

In Buddhism, worship and everyday ritual is a little different. Since the beginning, the
followers of Buddha were organized into the monastic sangha. Their shaved heads and robes
of unsewn orange cloth could identify the members. The bhikkus, the early Buddhist monks
wandered from place to place staying in one place for a while only during the rainy
season. They believe enlightenment is only possible for humans.

The goal of the Buddhist path is to get released from the existence with its suffering and
to attain nirvana, which is an enlightened state in which "the fires of greed, hatred, and
ignorance have been quenched." Nirvana is a state of consciousness beyond that which has
a definition.

Buddhism had spread rapidly throughout India, as did Hinduism. Mahayana, a form of the
Buddhist religion, and Hinduism began to influence Cambodia by the end of the 2nd century
AD. Buddhism was carried to central Asia and spread especially in China then carried into
Japan and Korea and flourishes in Tibet. New sects of Buddhism developed over the years
including, Ch'an, or Zen, and the Pure Land, or Amidism.

By the 6th century BC, Buddhism began to make its mark in India and what was to be more
than a millennium of interaction with Hinduism. Classical Hinduism found an expression
under the Gupta Empire. In the 16th century in Bengal, a sect of erotic mysticism was
founded. This celebrated the union of Krishna and Radha in a Tantric theology heavily
influenced by Tantric Buddhism.

In the 19th century many reforms have taken place to bring traditional Hinduism to
reconcile with the social reforms and political ideals of the day. Leaders of these
reforms are greats such as Mohandas Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo Ghose. Bhimrau Ramji
Ambedkar even revived the myth of the Brahmans who fell from their caste and the tradition
that Buddhism and Hinduism were once one in order to "enable Untouchables to gain
self-respect by 'reconverting' to Buddhism."

Today both religions are still greatly worshiped and have millions of followers. Buddhism
and Hinduism are connected in many ways and still continue to flourish after many, many
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