Being at peace with one’s inner self sounds inviting but some aspects of many different religions can be hard to grasp at times. While most religions influence others, some have ideas and beliefs from sources unknown. Hinduism and Budhism are two of many religions. Having many similarities, their differences are what make them unique. Hindus have many gods, polytheism, and Buddhist believe in finding one’s inner peace. They both focus more on one’s inner self rather than on religion it’s self.
The word Hinduism came from a Persian word “Sindhu” that relates to the Indus River that is located in northwest India.
Arabs, Persians, and Afghans were the first to use the word Hindu to describe those coming from the area around this river. (Tillman and Cason 09) Some historians say that Hinduism can be traced back to the ancient Indus Valley civilization which would make Hinduism over 4,000 years old, which makes it extremely hard to say when it actually began.
Most historians divide Hinduism into many overlapping periods in history. The first period is pre-Hindu. Pre-Hindu dates around 2000 B. C. and not much is known other than evidence says that is religion was centered on fertility gods and water quality.
Between 2000 and 1500 B. C. , a new religion began to emerge in India, Vedas. This religion was sacrificed-based and centered around fire. They gave up animals as sacrifice for in turn their gods, devas, and would give good crops and wealth. The next era of Hinduism is called classical Hinduism and began sometime around 500 B. C. During this period is when many new gods, goddesses, and rituals emerge that are based on earlier practices. At this time is when being devoted to the god or goddess of ones liking started. (patheos. com, Hinduism Beginnings) Hindus believe in multiple gods and reincarnation.
With that said, a god can be any living organism. A god can be even a fire or storm. It is said, that in the Hindu religion there are 330 million gods (Tillman and Cason 09). There is no one that can worship all these gods at once, so the individual choose just one god to serve. Triune godhead is the name given to the three aspect of the Supreme Reality. The Supreme Reality is the Brahma, Vishnu and the Shiva. The Triune godhead is also known as the Trimurti or the trinity. The Trimurti godhead is the head of all the gods because of what it represents.
The Brahma is the creator god, Lord and Father of all things and represents birth. Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and represents life and the Siva is the creator of power and represents destruction and death. Reincarnation means rebirth or how the soul leaves the body and begins a new life in another body. The Samsara, the cycle of life is said to be the core religion belief of the Hindu religion. Under the cycle of life there are four ways that you can reap the Samsara. There are the Dharma, Artha, Kama and the Moksha.
Dharma is the moral code that sustains the Hindu ociety. The Dharma is thought to be a duty and righteousness and observes the caste which is the social group of one’s’ birth. The Dharma is the natural universe of law that enable human to be happy and to save one self from suffering and degradation. It is also known as the Law of being that things cannot exist without. Artha is the life cycle of material profit or possession. This cycle of life have to do with politics and commerce which is the means to sustain human activity. In the Hindu society they do not believe that the pursuit of wealth corrupt the soul.
A ouse holder requires wealth, because he has to perform many duties for his family. The life cycle of Artha includes achieving widespread fame and elevates social standing for the individual. Kama is the life cycle of desire; it is understood to also mean sexual desire. Kama can mean liberation and happiness in life or it can lead to great hindrance for the individual. Sexual activity is an obligatory duty and not to be use for just enjoyment. The sensual nature of human is important to the Hindus for they do not believe that sex is bad.
Sexual relationship outside of arriage is not permitted. Kama is not only for desire but it can also be for other pleasure in your life such as culture art (Jayaram 09-10). Moksha is the spiritual release of life. Moksha is the end of death and rebirth. Hindus believe that the soul passes through this cycle and how you live the previous life will determined your incarnation. Moksha can be achieve through many lifetimes, this process require a loss of life and things in life. Karma is also needed for this cycle to balance the fulfillment of a person duty (Tillman and Cason 09).
Buddhism, however, beliefs are enlightenment, personal peace, and love and compassion without attachment. Buddhism evolved from the beliefs and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha Gautama, who was originally a Hindu, was born a prince in 623 B. C. in Lumbini, India and became “the Buddha”. He began to see that his only obstacle was his own self. His first sermon was in deer park near Benares, now called Varanasi (Tillman and Cason 09). There are 2 main expressions of Buddhism; Theravada expression and Mahayana expression which represent the north and south’s adaption to Buddhism.
Theravada expression, the lesser vehicle, is the southern viewpoint. This expression comes directly from Buddha and his original followers. Theravada Buddhist’s main goal is to reach arhat. Arhat means perfect saint. Theravadas do not believe in a god. They believe that the universe creates and recreates itself a million times a second (Tillman and Cason 09). Theravada expression also teaches that not every one can practice Buddhism. Mahayana expression, on the other hand, believes anyone can reach enlightenment and reach it in one lifetime unlike many as the Theravadas believe.
Mahayana help people become bodhisattva, living saints. Both Theravadas and Mahayanas accept the Pali canon and Tripitaka as scripture. One of the core beliefs of Buddhism is the belief in the Four Noble Truths. These truths, laid out by Siddhartha, are the beginning of understanding. According the the Four Noble Truths, life is suffering. Suffering begins at birth, illness is suffered through life, and fear of death also brings suffering. The cause of human suffering is desire, or “tanha. ” Our desires cause us suffering because we want what we cannot have.
In order to remove suffering, one must remove desire. The way to remove desire is another doctrine of Buddhism – the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path provides a eioght parts that allow a human to remove their misery. The eight parts are as follows: right understanding, mindedness, speech, action, livelihood, effort, meditation, and emancipation. Another doctrine of Buddhism is the Golden Mean, a philosophy expressed by Siddhartha. It is the middle of the path of no extremes, and focuses on moderation. Hinduism and Buddhism have many similarities, having both originated in India.
Hinduism and Buddhism are more philosophical than religious, and describe an all encompassing philosophy and define existence itself. Both religions have their own versions of Tantra, and believe in certain spiritual practices like meditation, concentration, cultivation of certain bhavas or states of mind. The cycle of death and rebirth, governed by Karma, is referred to as samsara. According to Hinduism, the soul is immortal, while the body is subject to birth, decay, old age and death The Buddhist definition of right conduct and personal obligations, dharma is the path which must be taken to escape the suffering of worldly life.
Dharma defines correct living for a Hindu. The practice of Yoga is intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of both Buddhism and Hinduism. They both emphasize compassion and non violence towards all living beings. Alike and different all at one time; the main point is to find one’s true self and find inner peace. Hinduism dates back thousands of years and Buddhism can be pin pointed. Yet, each religion has a very similar message. Doesn’t every religion have a similar message when it comes to life? Live in peace and harmony, and find happiness in whatever you do.