Buddhism and Hinduism are some of the most ancient religions in the world today. Incredibly, Hinduism has been able to maintain it’s culture for over 3,500 years, Buddhism for 2,800.
Of course, there are many similarities between the two; after all, Buddhism sprang from the culture and surroundings of India.
But Buddhism was afforded the opportunity to look at the state of Hinduism at the time and offer a critique…an alternative that many people saw as an answer to some injustices being done in the name of religion. This was not unlike the division of the Christian church in the middle ages; except this was much nicer, thankfully.
SEE ALSO: 10 Interesting Facts About Buddha
- Both Buddhism and Hinduism share a strong belief in reincarnation; an endless cycle of births and deaths that must be broken.
- Attachment to people, places, things, or even ideas can lead to suffering; therefore, it’s best to practice non-attachment in the sense that you’re more anchored in your center than in outer circumstances.
- Meditation is highly regarded in both religions, because they believe real truth and spirituality is inward, not outward.
- Both believe that everything on the planet will eventually achieve enlightenment and liberation.
- Buddhism has no “rituals” in the traditional sense. They don’t do elaborate prostrations or pujas (prayer rituals). There are not even priests, really; though they do have senior monastics.
- Hinduism has an entrenched caste system (though it can be argued it was never meant to be that way), where as Buddhism does not. Buddhists believe that anyone can achieve enlightenment, where Hindus believe you must be of the Brahmin caste.
- In many sects of Hinduism, it’s believed extreme asceticism is the ideal spiritual life. In Buddhism, the middle path is best. Neither extreme poverty nor extreme wealth are considered to be ideal.
- Traditional Buddhism has no gods, where as Hinduism has literally endless variations and incarnations of gods and goddesses. Although many Hindus believe Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu, Buddhists do not usually share that view.
- Buddha taught that the original Vedas (ancient religious texts) were originally sacred until animal sacrifice was introduced.
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