I will start with the greeting of each religion since it gives a good first impression about you if you greet them in their own way. “Namaste” is the common greeting or salutation in Hinduism, it is usually said with body gestures where they bend their arms upward from the elbow then they put their palms together in front of their chest with a slight bow. The literal meaning of “Namaste” is “I bow to you, “it expresses a belief that unites all atmans “souls,” and shows equality of the other. The Buddhism greeting is much simpler than Hinduism, it is completely silent. Since Buddha “the founder of Buddhism” was originally Hindu, he still used the traditional Hinduism body gestures of greeting but without saying the word “Namaste”. Buddhists believe that the silent massage of the bow is “a flower for you, Buddha to be”.
For a deeper understanding of each religion you should recognize their origins and how they began. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and it can be described in three periods of time which are Pre-Vedic, Vedic, and Upanishadic. The Pre-Vedic period took place during (2500-1500 BCE), during that time most Hindus lived in complex cities and worshipped “Parvati” a mother goddess and the wife of “Shiva” the destroyer God. The Vedic period (1500-600 BCE) is the time when Hindus collected the first sacred writings “the Vedas” during this period they focused on prayers, and nature. During the Upanishadic period (began 600 BCE) Hindus added to the Vedas “the Upanishads”, then they began worshiping in their first temple and focused more on the inner self rather than the materialistic world, for example, they stopped sacrificing animals. Therefore, Hinduism does not have a one founder but it is multiple people who wrote the Vedas and the Upanishads. In Buddhism, there is only one founder which is Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha was born as a prince in a Hindu family, he lived in a palace where he was never exposed to suffering. After he got married at the age of twenty-nine and left the palace he saw a dead body, a sick man, and poverty all around the city. he started travelling to meet up with teachers that could explain the reason of suffering and a way to end but no one gave him the answer that convinced him. He realized that Hinduism did not stop people from suffering so he developed his own idea about life that could prevent him from suffering which is giving up desire; he believed that desire was the main reason why people suffered. He meditated for fourty-nine days until he attained enlightenment after fighting with the evil God “Mara” then he became known as “Buddha”. The Buddha decided to stay on earth and share his knowledge about ending suffering instead of immediately entering into the complete peace “Nirvana”, he continued teaching for fourty-five years until he died. The Buddha’s teachings were written down by his followers four hundred years later. In conclusion, Buddhism has a one known founder “Buddha” while Hinduism have multiple unknown people who wrote the Vedas and Upanishadic.
Hindus have an endless number of Gods, while Buddhists do not believe in the existence of God. In Hinduism, “Puja” is the act of worshipping one or more Hindu deities (Murti). Puja is usually done at home but it could take a place in a Mandir (temple) and led by a priest who will perform puja by chanting verses from the sacred scriptures. Worshipers offer fruit, light, flowers and sweets to the Murti. Hindus have three main deities, each Murti represents a symbol, for example, Brahma is the creator and the energy source of the world, Vishnu is the preserver who saves the world from danger, and Shiva is the destroyer who destroys the sins of the believers and lead them to redemption. Buddhists do not have a God as I mentioned earlier but they look up to Buddha and worship him as a form of respect. The most important aspect about Buddhism is meditating. While meditating Buddhists focus on the act of breathing to quiet their mind and give up all desire so they can enter the spiritual world and be aware of the present moment only. Meditators usually use visual objects “mandalas”, or recite sacred words and phrases” mantra” to help them meditate better. Just like Hinduism, Buddhists can worship at home or at a temple “Stupa” led by monks, where the “Stupa” has a broad base that symbolizes earth, and a point at the top to symbolize sky. Buddhist offer food, flowers, and lightning candles in the temple the same way Hindus do. Therefore, Hindus and Buddhists have a similar way of worshipping but deferent ideas about God.
Hindus and Buddhists have similar worldviews. They both believe in the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation “samsara”. The ultimate goal for Buddhists is to break the cycle of life and achieve “nirvana” which is like heaven where they are freed from having desires. In order to achieve nirvana, Buddhists believe that you should have a good “Karma” which means having good intensions and mindset. There are four sets of Buddha’s teachings “dharma” which are believed to lead to having good intensions and mindset. The first set of teachings is called “The three jewels” which are Buddha, the dharma (Buddha’s teachings), and the sangha (the community). The second set of teachings is about Buddhists view on the material world and it is called “the three marks of existence” which is described in three understandings, “anicca” means that nothing in this life is permeant, “dukkha” means that all life involves suffering, and “anatta” which explains that there is no permanent identity or existence. The third set of teachings is called “the four noble truths” the truths are people suffer, the cause of suffering is desire, greed, ignorance, and attachment, to stop this suffering, we must stop desire, ignorance, greed, and attachment, to end suffering and achieve enlightenment and freedom we must follow the noble eightfold path. “The noble eightfold path” is a way to think, behave, and meditate such as choosing the right view, right action, right effort, right speech, etc. therefore, Buddhists view life as a suffering cycle caused by desire and to end the suffering you must follow the Buddha’s dharma. On the other hand, Hindus believe in the caste system which is what the Buddha was strongly against. The caste system is social positions determined by which level each person was born in. the caste system is created of five castes. The highest caste is called “Brahmins” which only includes priests, and their role is to study and teach the faith. The second caste is the “Kshatriyas” which includes warriors, where their role is to protect the country and run a fair government. The third caste is the “viashyas” which includes treders, farmers, and business people and their role is to help the economy grow to meet the needs of the community. The fourth caste is the “sudras” which is conserved the lowest caste, the people in this caste serve the higher castes, they are servants, and unskilled workers. The last caste is called the untouchables, they are not allowed to live I the city and may not interact with any of the higher castes, these people did the dirtiest work in the society. In order to reach “moksha” or permanent freedom you must in the highest caste or have achieved enlightenment. Hindus believe that based on your “karma” you can be reincarnated as a better person in the higher castes or a worse person as an animal or a plant. In conclusion, Buddhists and Hindus have the same cycle of life but have different beliefs and ways to achieve “nirvana” or “moksha”.
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