Hinduism and Buddhism are two major religions, widely practiced and existing on the earth for centuries. Both religions have various similarities and differences in terms of their development, emergence, central idea, and philosophies. This paper discusses various similarities and differences of both religions.
Hinduism, 3rd largest religion after Christianity & Islam, follows by majority of people living in India. Hinduism is followed by around one billion people mainly located in India. The founder of Hindu religion, place of origin and when the religion was started is not known. Vedas, oldest Hindu’s documents were first time copied on paper during 1000 B.C., however, there were orally existing long time before 1000 B.C. therefore, it can be said that Hinduism originated from Vedas. On other hand, Buddhism was originated by Buddha around 25 centuries ago in Indian subcontinent. Gautama Buddha was born in India and was a follower of Hinduism before he discovered Buddhism. Buddhism is followed by around 400 to 500 million people mainly living in Asian countries such as Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (Nandan and Jangubhai 27-28).
Central idea of the Hinduism is that all souls of human bodies and animals are part of the spirit of Lord Brahma, and they return to Brahma. However, only clean and pure souls can be returned to Brahma. Hinduism believes in reincarnation and call rebirth cycle as Wheel of life of Samsara. Reincarnation is essential in order to get a clean and pure soul. Impure Atma or Spirit is forced to take rebirth till it gets pure to return to the Lord Brahma. When a pure soul reached to Brahma, it is called Moksha. Buddhism, on other hand, does not believe in any specific god or creator god like Hinduism. All Buddhists follow Dharma, Buddha’s teachings.
Hinduism emphasises on three things: first, Karma; second, Dharma or Hindu traditions; and third, three gods i.e. Brahma, Vishnu, & Shiva. All Hindus should respect Vedas and perform good deeds or Karma. Hinduism, despite of worshiping different gods, believe that the Brahma created the whole world. One should live a religious life with good Karmas in order to achieve Moksha. People do not receive rewards or punishments from Brahma, it is controlled by their own good and bad deeds. Therefore, Hindu can chose any god they want to worship.
Buddhism believes that life has sufferings and one can get away from these sufferings by practicing eightfold path and dismissing once craving & ignorance. Like Hinduism, Buddhism does not believe in “Salvation”. Their primary objective is to achieve Nirvana by letting off all the desires, physical & emotional attachments and ignorance. Buddhism informs that cycle of death and reincarnation in 31 realms, is governed by the Karma. Good deeds can take people to reborn in 26 realms, also known as happiness realms; while bad deeds can take people to reborn in remaining 5 realms of pain and sufferings. Until Nirvana, people get reborn in any 31 realms depending upon their Karma (Nandan and Jangubhai 29-30).
Hinduism and Buddhism both religions have various similarities and differences, but both religions emphasizes on good karma and believe that good karma can relieve people from all sufferings and pain. Both religions also believe in re-birth. Use of statue and scriptures is common in both religions. However, Hinduism has four Vedas and Buddhism has Tripitaka. Both religions also respect other religions.
Nandan, G. B. and Jangubhai, Nasir Ahmed M. "The Comparative study between Hinduism and Buddhism." International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention 2.51 (2013): 27-31.