Buddaism Vs. Hindu Essay, Research Paper
September 25. 2K
Buddhism & Hinduism
As mentioned at the first meeting of our seminar, I originally took this class to fulfill a requirement set forth by the Hutchins School. However upon a little investigation and contemplation of my own, I have begun to think that I might find myself truly enjoying this class.
Never having been much of a religious person, I suppose I’ve shied away from the ideas of organized religion. Though this may always be the case for me, I have recently developed a craving to learn why so many people, perhaps the majority, flock to one categorization or another. I feel that I have a little bit of an upper hand in these investigations of religion; this is due to the fact that I do not have any current preferences, including bias’s to a particular denomination or faith. Perhaps my own indifference will make the acceptance of others’ more easy to digest.
Of the religions reviewed thus, Hinduism and Buddhism, I have found Buddhism to be the most meaningful to me. I think what attracted me the most was the qualities of inner peace that are required steps in becoming a Buddha.
What first intrigued to the ideas of Buddhism was the story of Sayamuni Gautauma Siddhartha. Being the son of a ruler in India must have been quite a large weight on the back of the young Buddha. For his father to alter reality in such a way as to promote the idea that the world, as it existed, was a perfect thing, was a terrible farce. It was Buddha’s father, whom hid the sick, weak and dead from his sheltered son’s eyes. I am not sure whom I would be angrier with; my father for hiding the truth from me, or the state of reality that would be so dreadfully new to me. I suppose that if it weren’t for his father the initial shock of reality might not have been there, had life’s disappointments been available to him his whole life. Perhaps it was because of this shock that these images made such an impact. It was at this time that the young Buddha got the idea that life was a transient thing. Something that was ever changing and cyclical.
I think that in our own way we all turn away from things we do not wish to see. Maybe it is this reaction by default that helps us get through the “day by days.” For some, it is enough to ignore these misfortunes for others such as Buddha, finding personal guidance in his own life helps him recognize these upsets. For this, he made personal sacrifice in the “Six years that followed, during which his energies were directed to this end.” He began his teachings, seeking the guidance of others when he left for enlightenment in the forest. What he found there was others seeking the truth. It was then that the realization came that he needed to find his inner peace on his own.
It was at this time that the notion of a “middle way” became apparent to the young Buddha. “Was his body holding him back? He would crush its interference.” Having tried both extremes; living a material life and indulging himself as a young ruler, and then to shift to the extreme opposite by starving himself for devotion. Finding this “Middle Way” was only possible for Buddha after having tried both existences. I am appalled and envious of the discipline that Buddha found within himself. After learning about the teachings of Buddha I am again reassured as to why I find more belief in this faith rather than those of the Hindu.
Upon learning more about the Hindu religion, I cant help but feel that like many other modern day religions, Hindu is too restrictive in dictating to who is important inside this faith. Though reaching Buddha may require a certain mind frame and many levels of discipline, it is unlike Buddha in that it discriminates over your caste. I think that this idea of separatism is what really draws me away from organized religion. Why should a Priest, a Brahmin, Pastor or Pope be any closer to God then I?
With Hinduism, like Buddhism, there are official sets of “rules to live by.” In Christianity there are the “Ten Commandments,” in Hinduism there are the “Eight Limbs of Yoga,” and in Buddhism there are the “Four Noble Truths” which eventually describe the “Eight Fold Path.” All of which describe the ideal path of enlightenment. The former truly represents how these religions are alike. It seems that the more I interpret different faiths, the more I find that almost each and everyone thus far has had the same moral beliefs, including truth, loyalty and compassion.
All in all, I have discovered that though Buddhism and Hinduism might have many different beliefs and origins there are many similarities as well. I have found that a continuous theme through out the faiths is the notion of enlightening ones self. This enlightenment is a byproduct of searching your inner self. I am looking forward to duelving into the beliefs that so many others hold, and dissecting them if need be. Perhaps it will be me who finds a new faith by the end of the semester; or at the very least a stronger understanding of why I have chosen to remain with out a particular one.