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Buddhism and Hinduism

Hinduism and Buddhism are closely related religions that belong to the most ancient religions in the world. The relation of Christianity and Judaism is like that between Buddhism and Hinduism since one sacred philosophy inspired the other one. Before inventing his personal way of belief, Buddha was a prince of Hindu. Both religions have a variety of similarities, as well as differences, despite their close relations and common ancient origin. Actually, both beliefs regard identical religious issues, such as salvation, nirvana, karma, or sufferings. Both conceptions tend to make humans happy and free from eternal ordeals. Although, both religious doctrines have a variety of different teachings and rules, and they are mostly similar in their nature. Buddhism and Hinduism present their independent path for this absolute freedom, with the help of opposite domains of Atman and Anatman.


Buddhism is not only a religion, but it is also a philosophy of life and relation with the environment and sacred. Buddhism develops from the teaching of young Hindu prince Buddha. It is quite a broad spread conception, accepted in India, Korea, China, Japan, and many other different regions of Asia. Moreover, a spiritual understanding has attained the Western world. Buddhism arouses during the challenging period of complicated social disagreements. In the circumstances of depression, caused by the Brahmanic rituals and sacrifice, people intend to create a more personal religious conception, supporting the lowest caste. Northern India was less influenced by Hindu traditions, and a variety of new religious sects appeared. A troubled society wanted to be separated from religions, which support only the most favorable branch of society. The development of Buddhism was socially promoted and resulted in the formation not only of a sacred belief but of a particular philosophy. It is a way of life that is inspired by wisdom and love. In general, Buddhism can be explained as a religion that is based on several essential domains: to lead a moral life, to be my mind and body, and to extend knowledge and wisdom, derived from the Four Noble Truths (Der-Lan Yeh 98). In comparison with Buddhism, Hinduism has no founder.

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Hinduism is the world's oldest religion and the main sacred conception of India and Nepal. However, a variety of people outside the continent support this philosophy and belief. Unlike Buddhism, Hinduism has no single accepted conception, scripture, and philosophy. The history of the belief presents different essential figures, teaching personal ideas and writing their sacred books. It is a way of family, social and sacred life. The central holy scripture of Hinduism is Vedas. However, the followers also read Mahabharata, Upanishads, or Ramayana (Klostermaier 78). These texts contain different hymns, songs, rituals, legends, poems, and life philosophy. The religion supports ancient and primitive conceptions of polytheism. They accept more than a million different gods under the ruling of a supreme god Brahma. Brahma is an abstract notion, an impersonal and spiritual conception, which controls the entire Universe. Hinduism is a religion, which follows the idea of a universal balance of good and evil. Brahma is a truth, a creator of everything; Shiva is a destroyer of life and the symbol of evil, and Vishnu is a preserver (Chakravarti 90). The belief encloses different religious schools with their own philosophical variations. The system of philosophical conceptions directs the system of actions and rules for everyday practice and relations with the world and nature. Hinduism was a fundamental background for the formation of Buddhism. Therefore, these two religious norms have many differences and similarities.

Similarities and Differences

In reality, the conceptions of Hinduism and Buddhism have more similarities than differences because of their common origin. The subcontinent of India is a native land of both religions. From the first glance, it is even hard to find the differences between followers of Buddhism and Hinduism, since they both accept almost the same religious practices. The main practical norm for beliefs is meditation. Moreover, believers from India and Nepal commonly use the statues and pictures of their sacred things and gods for meditation. The goal of religion is to find balance in human existence. Both Hinduism and Buddhism have a strong belief that people can reincarnate and even become an animal in the next life or after rebirth. A highly religious person can attain a condition of Nirvana. It is a state of a human, who breaks the endless cycle of life. Nirvana associates both beliefs with the meaning of salvation, reaching the result of following certain rules (Aich 165). They have different names in Buddhism and Hinduism. However, it is an absolute path or philosophy that is based on the same system of rules and having the same essence. It is possible to conclude both religious philosophies, directed to the idea of achieving liberation and enlightenment. In addition to it, religions accept the personality of Buddha. The Buddhists believe that he was a holy man and the main teacher of Buddhism. However, the followers of Hinduism accept Buddha as the avatar of Vishnu. Although both religions have many similar domains and live by the same Dharma religious law, their beliefs have a variety of differences.

The majority of differences are quite fundamental and meaningful, making both religious conceptions separated. Hinduism believes in the universal eternal self, a soul, also known as an Atman. In opposition to Hinduism, Buddhism does not accept a domain of self or me. They do not believe in salvation, attained in the idea of understanding this concept. Buddhism makes religious norms simpler and even comfortable for ordinary people with the help of transforming the polytheistic cults into the monotheistic religion. However, Buddha is a person without any divine elements. He does not deny the existence of any other gods. Nevertheless, Buddha teaches a different and true way, which is a philosophy than a mystic religion. Hinduism believes that sufferings are the consequences of previous life karma, which can be broken with the help of Nirvana, as a result of God's presence and discovering the conception of Brahman or Atman (Nagaraj 171). This concept can be found everywhere, in all elements of live and dead nature. Therefore, the followers of Hinduism pray and worship all possible sources of nature like stones, water, trees, and other things. Buddhism neither accepts nor rejects the concept of Atman. They pray only to the holy personality of Buddha. The connection with gods in Hinduism is possible through meditation, while the Buddhists believe in the philosophy of life, as the primary path of knowledge and virtuous existence. Human suffering is normal for life, and there is no connection with some previous experiences. In other words, Buddhism rejects the existence of an eternal soul, like Atman. Moreover, the followers recognize the existence of an opposite conception of Anatman. It is also known as the non-self or the substance less domain.

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Atman (Hinduism)

Atman is a conception of Hinduism, which regards the immortal aspect of mortal human existence. Every object of the highest power creation possesses an immortal element an individual self. Personal representation of the universe is hidden in the individual microcosm. This issue associates with the divine part of the eternal form of existence, which provides the consciousness, giving the person the goals for life (Klostermaier 93). Hindu people believe that the existence of an individual is like a long journey to unknown destinations when a human forgets about the origin and native land and identities. However, nature creates a person, as a single unit of the body and a spirit, cherishing its internal microcosm. The self is a silent supporter and a partner of a person, reminding a human about its highest origin and reason. Nevertheless, the conception of this highest Self or Atman cannot be adequately explained or understood, since the conception is divine. Moreover, the human language cannot find the most appropriate definition for it, because the issue is hidden beyond the possibilities of people to realize and understand. However, the essence of Atman can be experienced, when the mind of the human is separated from mortal issues. It is a condition of absolute wisdom and stillness. In other words, it is a condition of meditation. There is no single idea concerning the Atman in Hinduism because the philosophy of the schools of religion is different. Some follow the belief that the self is the servant of God, while the others regard Atman as the element of the highest divinity. Reincarnation is the element of this conception. The divine particle can transfer from one existence into the other one. Atman claims the domain of self, as the spiritual and identical with god, which is rather divine than a human, with the possibility to inherit a mortal body. The religion of Buddhism presents an opposite conception an Anatman.

Anatman (Buddhism)

Anatman or anatta is a doctrine or an ideology that is based on the main teachings of Buddhism. According to it, there is no atman or divine self in the sense of eternal and integral essence within a human body. Buddhists consider that the Hindu conception of self is a wrong idea, because the divine spirit, inhabiting the body, is only a transient practice. Thus, the conception of the Anatman makes Buddhism quite different from other religious traditions. The way to understand the teachings of Buddha is related to the essence of Anatman. It is one of the most complicated teachings. Even though Buddhism rejects atman, the followers of Buddha still believe in life after death. It can be some one-sided conception. The rejection of the self does not deny the existence of karma, reincarnation, and life after death. Thus, the conception of Anatman is not only a rejection of doctrines of atman but also a characteristic of real existence. It includes the notions of human consciousness and personal sufferings, as one of the key aspects of human life. Suffering is the absence of happiness in life or harmony in the physical body with its mind. An individual intends to change the duration of life and make it happy. However, all the changes lead further to future suffering. Thus, Buddhism considers that there is no self, but a connection of several different issues. Additionally, the idea of Anatman includes five domains, like perceptions, volitions, sensations, or consciousness (Reigle 2). A person experiences the world and sufferings through these concepts, as the units of the Anatman. The theory of Anatman is presented brightly in the philosophy of monks, who believe in interdependence and impermanence.

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Salvation and Sacred

Despite a common origin and a variety of common religious laws, Hinduism and Buddhism have significant distinctions in the conceptions of sacred and salvation. Both beliefs admit the necessity of salvation that is attained as a result of good deeds. Salvation for Buddhism is possible only in the condition of Nirvana and freedom from suffering. It can be possible only if a human leads good and noble life, serving, helping people, and having a virtuous life. The idea of Anatman reflects the way to freedom from ordeals and karma, my body and mind. In opposition to Buddhism, Hinduism includes not only virtuous life and good deeds but also the fate of the person. However, salvation is possible only with the help of atman. Hindu performs meditations, as a way to relate body and soul and make them be in accordance (Chakravarti 64). It is possible with the help of Yoga. Thus, it is necessary to conclude that both conceptions of Anatman and atman have significant meanings for both religions. Moreover, understanding and realization of the notion of Atman in Hinduism and Anatman in Buddhism lead to salvation and sacred issues of religions.


Buddhism and Hinduism have closely related to the most ancient religions in the world today because of the place of origin and the goals of religion. Both conceptions have the same religious laws and tend to the same sacred destination, based on a conception of Nirvana and a path to it. Buddhism has the most important teacher Buddha, who is not a divine personality, but rather a teacher and creator of philosophy for a perfect life. Hinduism has no single teaching, but a variety of different gods and spiritual things. Both religions differentiate the main essence of humans life salvation. Although both philosophies present different paths to it, they are equal and similar in their root. Hinduism regards an immortal self - Atman, as a connection with sacred and divine issues. Buddhism has an opposite notion of Anatman, rejecting immortal and spiritual parts of a human. Both Anatman and Atman are the ways to salvation and present the most sacred issues in the two religions.

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