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Relationship Between Hinduism and Buddhism

November 24, 2011  by: Paulose  Points: 20   Category: Inspirational Stories    Views: 654

Hinduism and Buddhism are ancient religions which have a lot in common.They are like mother and daughter.It is quite interesting to study their relationships.


There are still disputes going on whence came Hinduism to India or rather the origin of Hinduism. But Hinduism existed in India from which came the offshoots, three major religions of the world, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Hinduism has the maternal relationship with Buddhism, which dwindled its motherland but flourished outside the country.

Buddhism is prevalent in China, Japan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Korea, Nepal, Thailand, Sikkim, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Buddhism one could say "sprouted out of Hinduism". Hinduism stayed the same for a long time whereas Buddhism grew rapidly throughout the world.

Beginning within Hindu culture, Buddhism developed its own focus, sought converts, successfully spread across Asia, and accommodated itself to condition in the different regions it entered. The philosophy of both these religions tend to be the same. Both of them aim at the goal of liberation. Then why did Buddha start a new religion?

The Birth of Buddhism in The Hindu Land

Why? Why? Why all these sufferings in life? Siddhartha (the name of Buddha before his enlightenment) wanted to find out the answers for the sufferings in human life. His religion Hinduism could not give him the answer he expected. Hinduism said it is the Karma that lead man to sufferings. In order to find out the reasons for sufferings of man Siddhartha, the king of Kabilavasthu (a place in the present Bihar state), set out leaving his kingdom and family. He sat in meditation for forty nine days after which he got an enlightenment. The name Buddha means "enlightened" or "one who is awake". He indicated how people were suffering in the darkness of ignorance. He pointed out how the "Varnashrama" caste system, the dominance of the Brahmins, the meaningless rituals, merciless killing of animals in sacrifices, etc. made people more and more oppressed and caused unnecessary sufferings. Buddha assured a Successful Eight-fold Path which would redeem them from their sufferings. So began the march of Buddhism in 560 B.C. and Siddhartha got the new name Gautama Buddha, the Enlightened one.

Concept of Suffering in Both Religions

Hinduism believes that life has no ultimate significance and is but a small part in a vast unending, and essentially meaningless cycle of life and death and everything has a soul or atman. It believes in reincarnation and the transmigration of the soul end the concept of successive rebirths until one dwells in Brahman forever after the quest for the realization of Truth. "The cycle of rebirth, Samsara, is the very condition of all life.' Buddhism says the same rebirth and "No existence escapes it, unless it gets to Nirvana". Buddhism insisted that by following the Path many man-made sufferings can be avoided.

Basic Teachings About Karma In Both

Karma (ones actions) plays an important role both religions. Actions and their subsequent results lead to the nature of the next rebirth. Both believe in the concept of Karma, transmigration of soul, and the cycle of birth and death for each soul. Hinduism gives importance to Karma as it decides the next birth-if one leads a good life a better reincarnation. Buddhism teaches that until a soul attains Nirvana, it can be reborn but does not have the Karmic burdens of a previous existence.

Dharma and Karma Are Interlinked

According to these religions, Dharma and Karma are interlinked and Dharma is a means of redemption. Dharma upholds both this-worldly and the other-worldly affairs. Rig Veda defines Dharma as the right way of life in the Path of Rta(rhythm of life) which it calls Sanadana Dharma. Buddhism teaches the six supreme qualities of Dharma(Buddhism calls it Damma). By practicing Dharma one can reach enlightenment.

Philosophical Relations

The philosophical foundations of both of these two religions are the same. Buddhism had been influenced by the Vedic tradition and Buddha's teachings in turn had a profound effect on later teachings of Hindu Vedanta such as the teachings of Sankara. Even in the Hindu classics such as Mahabharata we can find some Buddhist teachings. Both admit an overall acceptance of Spiritual Ultimate Reality as the origin and the final destination of all human beings as well as of all living and other material things.

Hinduism is an ocean in which Buddhism is a vast sea. Although Buddhism had a whole new meaning without any god and with so many new ideals, one can argue that the backbone stems from its original "Mother" Hinduism.


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