Difference Between Catholicism and Buddhism
Catholicism vs Buddhism
Nowadays, open-mindedness includes being considerate of other people’s religious inclinations. Two major religions, Catholicism and Buddhism, have always been compared, because even though they have many differences, many people have tried combining their ideals. The religious leader of Catholicism is the Roman Catholic Pope, while the head of Buddhism is the Dalai Lama. Despite the differences in doctrine, both leaders have acknowledged each other’s presence with respect, unlike other religious leaders who tend to discredit or lambast opposing religious. In fact, the Pope has gone so far as to declare that Buddhism has permeated into Western culture with positive effects.
In order to see whether or not one religion is compatible with each other, it’s important to compare and contrast them first. In terms of similarities, Catholicism and Buddhism both employ monks, or priests, to practice and spread the faith among the masses. Catholicism encourages the use of religious equipment such as the scapular and the rosary, while Buddhism would not be complete without the traditional prayer beads. Both religions value peace, meditation, and the propagation of good deeds to further one’s spiritual enlightenment.
The similarities end there, however. One encounters some differences when Catholicism and Buddhism are put side by side. The first difference is that Catholicism believes in one God, the Almighty Father, while Buddhism does not. Siddharta Gautama, who eventually became the first Buddha, is the closest figure in Buddhism which resembles the Catholic God. However, unlike God, who is considered omnipresent, Siddharta Gautama is merely the first in a long line of Buddhas. Each Buddha is said to be a reincarnation of the previous, however, they are still named differently.
The second difference lies in what people face in the afterlife. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, while Catholicism declares that people can go to three different places: Purgatory, Heaven, and Hell. In the Buddhism concept of reincarnation, people are reborn either as an animal or another person. One can only be prosperous in one’s present life if one cultivated enough good deeds in his or her past lives. Catholicism, on the other hand, declares that the sinful are thrown into Hell, the not-so-sinful end up in Purgatory to repent for their sins before ascending to Heaven, which is considered as the best place to end up in.
In terms of religious texts, Catholicism has a common reference, the Bible. Texts regarding Buddhism are not compiled in one major book; rather, they were taught and passed down either by word of mouth, by the Pali Canon, or by the sutras. The Pali Canon is a book collection which contains many of Buddha’s teachings. Although it bears the closest resemblance to the Bible, it is not considered as standard-issue among the followers of Buddhism. The sutras are written records which came from the current Buddha. In terms of clarity, however, the sutras can be as enigmatic as the Bible. Both the Pali Canon and the sutras nevertheless serve as food for thought which help Buddhists achieve spiritual enlightenment.
1. Catholicism and Buddhism are both popular, and many people have attempted to combine their teachings.
2. The Roman Catholic Pope is the head of Catholicism, while the Buddha is the symbol of Buddhist faith.
3. Both Catholicism and Buddhism employ religious props. Catholicism has the rosary and scapular, while Buddhism has prayer beads.
4. The first major difference between the two religions is the belief in God. Catholicism believes in an omnipresent, omnipotent God the Almighty Father, while Buddhism does not. The closest thing to God would be Siddharta Gautama, the first Buddha to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
5. The second major difference pertains to the afterlife. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, while Catholicism does not.
6. The third major difference pertains to religious texts. Catholicism has a standard-issue text, the Bible, while Buddhism relies on word of mouth, the Pali Cannon, and sutras as references.
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