Religon Essay

This essay has a total of 877 words and 4 pages.


Hinduism and Buddhism The idea of “religare” or binding oneself back to one’s religion is
key to many religions. In Christianity, we bind our selves back to the truth unveiled
through scripture, myths, tradition, and the church’s teachings. Hinduism, however has a
much different interpretation of the idea of binding oneself back. There really is not a
whom or what that I can put my finger on. We all came from one God and we must get back to
God. But how can one go about doing that? A Hindu would say to free ourselves from the
desires and illusions present here on Earth. To free ourselves from the material
possessions and pleasures would be to obtain Moksha. Moksha, for Hindus, would be the
point of freedom and the attachment to Brahman. In a way this is extremely ironic, for in
the act of binding oneself back, a Hindu would obtain liberation. To me, these terms seem
directly contradictory, however, this is proof to the fact that our minds cannot
understand certain aspects of religion, and that we are limited. The goal of a Hindu is to
release themselves, but also to gain a complete understanding of life. By doing this, they
are freed from the continuous cycle of reincarnation. There are, as Huston Smith tells us,
four paths to the goal. The yogas are the specific direction taken to unleash the human
potential of Moksha. The goal of the yogas is to come in to and remain in touch with
Brahman. The first way to God is through knowledge. The three steps taken on this path is
learning, thinking, and the third, a little more complex, consists of separating one’s
material ego form one’s Atman. The second way to God is through love. The love we show to
others can be translated into a love for God. The third path to God is though work.
Through a devotion to one’s work, God can be seen through the highest rewards if done so
wisely. The final Hindu path to God is through Psychophysical Exercises. In this way, a
Hindu experiments with mental exercises and observing their effects. Not all Hindus take
the same path to God, but the goal is identical. The Buddha made much reform to the path
to God. Well, not so much a reform as perhaps an alternate route. He called this the
Middle Path. A way between sensuality and asceticism, the Middle Path lay through
intelligence. The main revolutionary idea behind the Buddha’s teachings was that he
rejected asceticism, which at that time had been a popular belief and a socially approved
route to salvation. Not only did he reject self-denial, but the worship of gods. In his
renowned Eightfold Path, there is never any mention of worship. Also, he refuted the idea
that one had to pass through countless rebirths to reach the Brahmin caste before being
able to obtain salvation. For this very reason, Buddhism ultimately failed in India,
because of the widespread control by the Brahmins. The most challenging concept for the
Hindus to except was that the Buddha taught that the soul did not exist. Hindus thought
that the Atman, or soul, was actually God. The Buddha reasoned that if the soul is purely
God, the it is not individual and therefore is an An-Atman, or no soul. The achievement of
liberation then for Buddhist takes form in Nirvana. Nirvana occurs when people release
their yearning for a false selfhood, which is similar to Hinduism. Paradoxically, as with
Hinduism, the act of extinguishing this yearning occurs simultaneously with an
enlightenment. Studying Hinduism and Buddhism has been surely an enlightenment for me. To
my amazement, Hinduism actually addresses a few questions I have had before. I’ve wondered
Continues for 2 more pages >>