Comparison Of Hinduism And Buddhism Essay Examples
Reincarnation is the process in which the soul, or some the ethereal entity of a living being moves from the dead body, to another body that is either being created or is born. Although many religions have some concept of reincarnation, this paper specifically focuses on Hinduism and Buddhism. Both these religions were born out of India and therefore share many similarities. As such, this paper will address compare and contrast the two religions and how they are both different and similar at the same time.
The Buddhists believe that reincarnation, or rebirth as most Buddhists call it, is more than just being reborn in another body. It is the process that all beings move throughout different lifetimes. The Buddhist rejects the idea of a soul, as whatever being actually has different lives that start when the being is born, and ends when the being dies, thus creating another being. The main difference between Buddhist and Hindu reincarnation is the realms. In Buddhism, reincarnation takes place in different reals or worlds. In fact, there are 31 planes of existence in the Buddhist faith. This would explain why there would be no overpopulation issues as the beings are transferred into different planes of existence. Between the different planes there are higher levels of existence. As a being moves up, it becomes harder and harder to achieve these higher heavens.
Reincarnation in Hinduism is treated rather interestingly. Although the Buddhists believe in Karma, Hinduism and karma are more interlinked than the Buddhists. As with both religions, Karma is a system of good and bad. Good deeds lead to good, and bad deeds lead to bad. In order to achieve higher existence in the sense of Hindus, one must do good deeds. But, the reality is that people tend to do bad things during their lifetimes, and it becomes increasingly difficult to become higher beings if this is the case. So, both regions have mitigation methods that help reduce the impact of bad karma with good Karma. Good deeds, yoga, and making treks to sacred places make this easier.
The religions are similar in many ways. Firstly, the religions were born out of India and naturally they have the tendency to be similar. Sanskrit, the ancient and now somewhat archaic form of language is integrated with both religions. The Theravada Buddhists monks learn to chant in Sanskrit during mediation periods.
Secondly the religions treat Karma and reincarnation very similarly. Good deeds means that good things will happen whereas bad deeds lead to bad things in happen. This makes for a very caste driven society, especially in India where everyone is seen to have their place. As for the Buddhists, this is the same as well although not to that extent. The Buddhists although charitable, will see the beggars and dredges of society as being their because of their bad Karma, and may not help them.
The differences between the regions are not as vast as the similarities but there are some key ones. Firstly, Hinduism allows for polytheism. There are many many gods in Hinduism. This is because the Hindus believe that the concept of god is quite dynamic and can take many forms. The Buddhists on the other hand have no gods or do not follow a higher being. Although it is a common belief that Buddha is god, this is untrue. In fact, Buddha means teacher. He was just the first of the mortal realm to achieve enlightenment; Buddhists just follow his teachings so that they too can achieve enlightenment. Lastly, in Hinduism there is no clergy, whereas in Buddhism there are. The Buddhists have many monks and nuns which act as stewards and teachers of the religion.