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Hinduism vs. Buddhism

The relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism is comparable to the one between Judaism and Christianity. Buddha was born into the Hindu tradition, in the same way that Jesus was born into the Jewish faith. The goal of both Hinduism and Buddhism is to reach happiness, and both religions stem from similar cultural beliefs and backgrounds. While some argue that Buddhism is simply an offshoot or extension of Hinduism, others disagree with this viewpoint. It is largely acknowledged that Buddhism became popular in India in response to those seeking happiness and success in a society dominated by caste system, which afforded them little hope or freedom. Either way, Buddhism and Hinduism are two separate religions, despite their commonalities, just like Christianity and Judaism.

Buddhism and Hinduism are the two most popular polytheistic religions, meaning that their followers believe in more than one god. Buddhism and Hinduism come from the same region, India. Both of them are very focused on nature, and both believe in karma and reincarnation. Peace and non-violence towards living things is important, as is compassion. They also both share spiritual practices like meditation, yoga, and concentration. Controlling your feelings is a key element, and out of control desire is the cause of suffering. Both religions are more spiritual and philosophical, than they are traditionally religious.

Hinduism and Buddhism are defined in different ways. Buddhism was founded by Buddha, while Hinduism doesn’t claim to be founded by any kind of prophet. Hindus do not credit any particular human founder with the creation of Hinduism. Hindus believe in the Vedas, a holy Hindu book, but Buddhists do not believe in any Hindu texts. As previously mentioned, Hinduism is based on a caste system, but Buddhists believe anyone can achieve Nirvana, and reject the hierarchy and exclusivity of the caste system. Buddhists also don’t have priests or religious rituals like Hindus do. Hindus acknowledge Buddha as a reincarnation of one of their gods, but Buddhists don’t view any Hindu god as being equivalent to, or better than Buddha.

Buddhism is a much younger religion than Hinduism, and in terms of popularity and number of adherents, Hinduism is the most popular by far, at least in India, with approximately 80% of the country’s huge population adhering to Hinduism. Buddhism on the other hand is only practiced by about 1% of India’s population, but it has more of a global impact and varied following outside of India, particularly with those that are not interested in traditional, more organized religions, but are spiritual and mindful. The shared concepts and practices of karma, yoga, and meditation, have been popularized around the world.

Buddhism and Hinduism share many similarities, but they also have several differences. They share a common history, having originated from the same region and cultural circumstances. Mindfulness, respect for nature, self-control, and bettering yourself are common elements found at the heart of both. They are definitely two separate and distinct religions though, with different defining elements and different beliefs and impacts.