Comparison of Hindu and Buddhist Conceptions of self and reality
Hinduism religion has its origin in India and has an estimated one billion followers. Hinduism is more than a religion and functions as a way of life among believers (Gavin 4). There are a number of religions that have linked up to form the Hinduism. Hinduism is a conglomeration of different religious views, cultural believes and practices (Gavin 4). Hinduism as a religion is characterized by belief in reincarnation, law of cause and effect and the quest for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. Hinduism is a culture with advanced ethics system, beliefs philosophy and rituals (Gavin 8). On the other hand Buddhism is classified as a religion with about 360,000 followers. The religion was founded in India however the religion is more prevalent in Southeast Asia, china and Japan (Harvey 1). Unlike other religions Buddhism does not have the belief in a supreme deity. In fact most people have argued that it is not a religion because it does not impose religious believes on its followers. Therefore Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its followers. A Buddhist does not seek salvation in Buddha. Buddha is a teacher, who guides and instructs adherents into finding their own path of deliverance (Harvey 6). A Buddhist is granted freedom to exercise his own freewill as well as developing his own knowledge.
Buddhism conceptions of self and nature of reality
The wheel of life symbol is shared by both Buddhist and Hindus. A complete revolution of the wheel symbolizes birth, life and death (Harvey 2). After a single revolution life begins again through rebirth. Both Hinduism and Buddhism use the word átman to refer to self or ego. In Buddhism the existence of an unchanging self results from ignorance. It is believed that everyone has the capacity to discern what is good and bad. The ability to differentiate the good from bad depends on the individual’s development of the mind. A person with a highly developed mental self is not influenced by outside stimuli or moods when carrying out his actions (Harvey, 10). Buddhists believe that one can transform his átman from being insignificant to being great. This can be done through practices which will lead to development of a better personality.
Hinduism conceptions of nature and reality
In Hinduism the concept of ultimate reality is referred to as Brahman while the universal self is referred to as átman (Gavin 20). In Hindu it is believed that atman is Brahman. Hinduism strives to make the normal human being that he is not a separate entity but rather dwells in the ultimate reality of greater self (Gavin 22). Therefore Hindus strive to detach themselves from desires and wants and become part of Brahman. Therefore individuals engage in spiritual exercises with an aim to gain freedom from desires and wants so that they becomes one with the universal self.
Comparison of the two religions
Buddhists share the concepts of karma and dharma with the Hindus. Karma is the belief of law of consequences whereas dharma refers to the duty of an individual. In Hinduism the concept of dharma is actualized through the caste system whereas in Buddhism dharma relates to carrying out duties and actions within ones personal believes (Harvey 5). In Hinduism universal self is achieved when one carries out his duties within the caste effectively while detaching himself from personal desires and wants. In Buddhism universal self is achieved when one attains mental development which enables him/her discern the good from the bad.
Buddhism and Hinduism have a lot of similarities and share some basic religious concepts. Hinduism is a way of life which is a conglomeration of a variety of cultures and religious beliefs. On the other hand Buddhism uses a philosophical approach whereby the individual develops mentally through guidance from Buddha.
Flood, Gavin. An introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge university press, 1996.
Harvey, Brian, Peter. An introduction to Buddhism: teachings history and practices. Cambridge: Cambridge university press, 1990.