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Difference Between Buddhism and Hinduism

Buddhism vs Hinduism

With the exception of a few, people are born to religion. We grow up with the religion that our parents are practicing and are guided by the moral standards that it has set for us. There are several religions that teach different things, the largest being Christianity, Islam and Judaism.  A lot of people also practice Buddhism and Hinduism, two interrelated religions that originated in India.

Both religions are based on three beliefs: maya, karma, and dharma.  Maya is the belief that everything on earth is just an illusion, a product of how man perceives himself. Karma is the belief that everything you do has consequences, blessings for the good and curses for the bad. Dharma is a belief in man’s obligation, thus everyone must abide by their obligations and duties. Although they have a lot of similarities, they differ in a lot of things.

Belief in Gods

Hindus believe in Gods, they are made in people’s images and stories were created about them and their roles on earth.  In fact, they believe that Buddha is the reincarnation of the Hindu God, Vishnu.  Buddhism, on the other hand, does not teach about a God or Gods, although he did not teach that there is no God either.  He taught that it is futile to search for one.

Creation

For Hindus, the earth was created by the Gods in the beginning of time. For Buddhists, the earth was created with man’s desire to produces many beings from his body and from his thoughts created the earth and everything in it.

Soul

Hinduism teaches about a soul (atman) and that a Hindu must do his dharma well in order to be reincarnated to a higher form during rebirth and eventually escape the cycle of rebirths (moksha).  Buddhism does not teach about a soul, it does not focus on ideas about soul, life after death or the origins of the world as we see it.  Buddha taught about achieving enlightenment through meditation and that nothing on earth lasts.

Equality

For Hindus, a woman can only achieve spiritual salvation through the deeds of her husband and her devotion to him.  Buddhists are taught that everyone, man or woman, can attain enlightenment.  Buddhism teaches equality among everyone, stating that the idea of self is the root of all evils in the world and that everything is a part of a whole.

Ultimate Goal

Hindus wish for unity with Brahma, Buddhists wish to achieve Nirvana.

Summary:

1. Hinduism teaches about Gods, Buddhism does not.
2. For Hindus, the earth was created by the Gods, for Buddhists, the earth was created by man’s thoughts.
3. Hinduism teaches about a soul and how we are reincarnated into other forms of life until achieving moksha.  Buddhism focuses about life on earth and how to achieve full enlightenment through meditation.
4. Hindus believe in the caste system, Buddhists do not because for them everyone and everything is equal parts of a whole.
5. Hindus want to achieve unity with Brahma, while Buddhists want to achieve Nirvana.


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8 Comments

  1. Just to clarify, Judaism (to which I was born) is actually among the SMALLEST religions in the world, at least in terms of the number of adherents.

    # Christianity: 2.1 billion
    # Islam: 1.5 billion
    # Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
    # Hinduism: 900 million
    # Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
    # Buddhism: 376 million
    # primal-indigenous: 300 million
    # African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
    # Sikhism: 23 million
    # Juche: 19 million
    # Spiritism: 15 million
    # Judaism: 14 million
    # Baha’i: 7 million
    # Jainism: 4.2 million
    # Shinto: 4 million
    # Cao Dai: 4 million
    # Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
    # Tenrikyo: 2 million
    # Neo-Paganism: 1 million
    # Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
    # Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
    # Scientology: 500 thousand

    • Dude, you’ve listed a swathe of religions including ‘nonreligious’ – how is that a religion?? Same goes for ‘African Traditional’ – that’s an aggregation of throusands of religions.

      Judaism is clearly a major religion in the world, and every bit as destructive as many others.

  2. Hello sir, Everything produced is quite true, expect one-Equality of man and women. Not only does Hinduism believe in equality of both genders, it even places women above man.

    You may study Hinduism in detail, for any clarifications. Yes, the present societal conditions show a different thing, Hinduism as a religion teaches that woman is Shakti(power) from which everything is created.

  3. In the column pertaining to belief in Gods, your article is NOT ABSOLUTELY correct. Infact in hinduism, you have got two choices either to follow gods or not to follow them. Even if you don’t worship idols and believe in gods, you’re considered a hindu. Hinduism also allows to deny existence of all avatars of god and to worship the soul itself. HINDUISM IS NOT DEFINED BY WORSHIP ONLY, ITS A WAY OF LIFE.

  4. Incorrect information given for Hinduism.

    1. Hinduism informs not only women, even animals and insentient beings can get Mukti/Nirvana/realizing-the-brahmam.

    2. Hinduism is “against” birth based superiority/inferiority. The caste system is mostly due to Buddhist insistence on birth based qualifications. Only the Hindu “society” currently follows the caste system (since and due to Colonial insistence), whereas its scriptures and saints are always against such qualifications.

    3. Buddhism is part of Hinduism. All religions and philosophies of India put together is called Hinduism.

    4. Hinduism also accepts atheism.

    In short, Hinduism is the only “open source religion”.

    .

    • Hindavatatva (tatva means a philosophy) is a philosophy of life…here even a Mahatma is a god, a shiridi Sai can be god. A more better concept is to be a god – you have to be born on this planet and not an external source. You would not believe but most Indian Christians think and pray to Jesus over the god. If you have extra-ordinary capabilities and ideas especially of Dharma, prema, Satya and Shathi – and you can influence people to decide between good and bad – you are treated a god. The actually “termed” gods like rama, krishna, Jain, Buddha to sai baba and Mahatma (I saw some homes praying Gandhi) are basically people who have drived society and setup certain moral scales. I really dont know if Rama and Krishna existed but those charecters have influenced the civilisation differentiation good and bad.

      Hinduism – is a philosophy with thousands of gods all who lived and experienced death. They have beaten mortality only through their ideas. So you cannot club india to a religion. I hope religion is better left to Individual choice and not a public display.

    • Ganapati sounds like a hindu extremist.
      Buddhism is a great complete teaching, and it is not a part of hinduism by any means.
      Please study and try to understand the topics deep before you comment on them.
      May all be well and happy…!

  5. The problem with every single article I have read about religions on this site is that the person writing them knows one of the religions in fairly intricate detail, presumably because he or she practices it, but does not fully know or understand the religion with which he or she compares his own. The quality of the texts suffer for that reason. Hopefully people who read the articles have enough understanding of source bias to seek out other sources as well, and finally make up their own mind.

    This particular text is fairly clear on Buddhism, but seems to leave something left to desire(pun unintentional) as regards Hinduism.

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