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An Intertwining Of Hinduism And Buddhism Essay

, Research Paper Religion, what is religion? Religion is a way of life, a life style, it should dictate how you live your life. However why follow a religious belief, to go to

, Research Paper

Religion, what is religion? Religion is a way of life, a life style, it should

dictate how you live your life. However why follow a religious belief, to go to

heaven, avoid the condemnation to hell, to live forever? We in western society

consider ourselves a not so religious society, we say “I am Christian” or “I am

Jew” or “I am an Atheist I don’t believe”. Keep in mind religion is a life style, it

should dictate how you live your life. Sadly in western society, money and our

compulsive cravings for material objects dictate our life. We are far from the

highly evolved forms of religions of Hinduism and Buddhism over in the east.

What are these religions? Buddhism is offshoot/reform of Hinduism. They

are looked at in the same way as Judaism and Christianity are looked at (very far

apart). Through this essay, I will prove – by using some of their differences as

similarities – that they are very much – if not essentially the same – alike.

“As an off shoot of Hinduism, Buddhism accepted the notions of karma,

dharma, samsara, and moksha. It differed in its understanding ot these terms and

how to achieve spiritual liberation. As Buddhism spread through south and east

Asia, these differences became greater.”

Samsara, the “upholstered hell” , it is known in Hinduism as the endless

cycle of death and rebirth, and Moksha being the supreme enlightenment, the

realization of Atman the one’s true self, and the liberation from samsara. Despite

the fact that Moksha means Something different in Buddhism, words are

meaningless but their meanings aren’t. Explanation: “The ultimate goal of the

Buddhist path is release from the round of phenomenal existence with its inherent

suffering. To achieve this goal is to attain nirvana an enlightened state in which the

fires of greed, hatred, and ignorance have been quenched.” This is the essence of

both religions, freedom from the ignorance of what I call “Blam”?.

The central core of Buddhist teachings is the Four Noble Truths, which are:

1. All life is suffering and pain.

This is more than a mere recognition of the presence of suffering in existence. It is a statement that, in its very nature, human existence is essentially painful from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Even death brings no relief.

1. Desire is the root of suffering.

“People become attached to relationships or things they have, and suffer when they experience their impermanence. This impermanence leads to disappointment, which in turn leads to new cravings.”

My interpretation of this Noble Truth is that we suffer not because we desire but because we desire the wrong things. Meaning that what we should desire is enlightenment.

2. “Suffering and desire can be extinguished with enlightenment.

The noble truth of cessation of suffering is this: It is the complete cessation of that very thirst , giving it up, renouncing it, emancipating oneself from it detaching oneself from it.

3. The way to enlightenment is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering is this: it is simply the Noble Eightfold path, namely right view; right thought; right speech; right action; right livelihood; right effort; right mindfulness; right concentration.”

These concepts are nothing pertaining to Buddhism alone, maybe they

haven’t listed and categorized as four noble truths but all the idea’s are

encompassed in Hinduism’s philosophy.

“Buddhism analyzes human existence as made up of five aggregates or

“bundles” (skandhas): the material body, feelings, perceptions, predispositions or

karmic tendencies, and consciousness. A person is only a temporary combination

of these aggregates, which are subject to continual change. No one remains the

same for any two consecutive moments. Buddhists deny that the aggregates

individually or in combination may be considered a permanent, independently

existing self or soul (atman). Indeed, they regard it as a mistake to conceive of any

lasting unity behind the elements that constitute an individual. The Buddha held

that belief in such a self results in egoism, craving, and hence in suffering. Thus he

taught the doctrine of anatman, or the denial of a permanent soul. He felt that all

existence is characterized by the three marks of anatman (no soul), anitya

(impermanence), and dukkha (suffering). The doctrine of anatman made it

necessary for the Buddha to reinterpret the Indian idea of repeated rebirth in the

cycle of phenomenal existence known as samsara.” “Atman: the one’s true self,

“the individual self, held by upanisic and Vedatin thought to be identical to

Brahman, the world soul”

After reading the above paragraph one could concur that the two terms

atman and anatman are two very different things – actually opposites. However

one must keep in mind they are different interpretations of one’s true self. Every

thing we do every thought or sight or touch, every calculation in our mind is

mathematical, therefor if you add these to concepts as if like 1+2 the two terms

similarities will become evident.

1. If Hindus believe in Brahman as the supreme and ultimate God or reality (because communion or oneness with Brahman is the main goal) and according to Hinduism our true self is thought to be like Brahman.

2. If Buddhist believe in the impermanence of all things including the soul(as stated above), then if everything is impermanent the only thing that is permanent is the impermanence of everything or better stated ” The Nothing” is permanent. This means that “The Nothing” is the impermanence in all things.

3. Concept 1+ Concept 2 = Concept 3. One must take into consideration that neither concept is wrong, simply fuse both concepts together and what seems opposite will become the same. Therefor Brahman is “The Nothing”, therefor making atman, anatman.

The caste system now almost non-existent in Hindu society but it was part of

Hindu society and therefor it sticks out as something that separates Hinduism from

Buddhism. However, what happens if we delve into the history of the caste system.

Throughout my research I was unable to find any information regarding the origin

of the caste system only finding the knowledge of what it is. But I came up with a

hypothesis of how the caste system came about. Thousands of years ago near the

beginning of Hinduism I am sure that just like today people were probably

complaining with regards to why they where born – doomed – into the life they

where in, and so by using karmic they developed the caste system to explained it.

Over the years, people in – higher ranks – probably took advantage of this system

and doomed people to a specific caste using this mere explanation as their defense.

Over the years it grew name to what it is known as today. What does this have to

do with Buddhism? Like Hinduism, Buddhism holds the belief of karma and also

understands why certain people are born into certain levels of society.

What about Dharma? According to the texts I have studied on Hinduism and

Buddhism, I have been taught that they both share the word Dharma but it has a

different meaning in each religion. In Hinduism, it is our life purpose, in Buddhism

it is the path of the Buddha, which is enlightenment. I can see these two as if they

have the same meaning. Explanation: one of the major things Hinduism and

Buddhism share a like is their goal, which is enlightenment. Also as previously

stated they share the same concept of the endless cycles of death and rebirth, which

both religions believe is part of soul’s development to eventually in – some life or

other – gain enlightenment. Therefor you could say that in both Hinduism and

Buddhism the purpose of life or our “Dharma” is the “Dharma”, the path to

enlightenment.”

Religion, what is religion? Religion is a way of life, a life style, it should

dictate how you live your life. However why follow a religious belief, to go to

heaven, avoid the condemnation to hell, to live for ever? We in western society

consider ourselves a not so religious society, we say “I am Christian” or “I am

Jew” or “I am an Atheist I don’t believe”. Keep in mind religion is a life style, it

should dictate how you live your life.

“The diverse religions are like the many branches of Thy one immeasurable tree of truth.”

Canadian Bible Society, The. Good News Bible, The. Toronto: Canadian Bible Society. ? 1971.

Giselle’s Handouts on Hinduism.

Giselle’s Handouts on Buddhism.

Hesse,Hermann. Siddhartha. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation and Bantom Books. 4th Edition, ? 1951-1971.

Kapleau, Philip. Wheel of Life and Death, The. New York: Bantam Doubley Dell PublishingGroup, Inc. ? 1989.

McDermot, P, James. “Buddhism.” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 97. Redmond, WA: Microsoft. ? 1993-1996.

O’Flaherty, D, Wendy. “Hinduism.” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 97. Redmond, WA: Microsoft. ? 1993-1996.

Tannahill, Ray. Sex In History. Scarborough House/Publishers. ? 1980,

Revised ?1992.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. A Man’s Eternal Quest. Los Angeles: International

Publication Congress of Self-Realization. ?1975.

——————————-. Journey to Self Realization; Discovering the Gifts of the Soul. Los Angeles: International Publication Congress of Self Realization. ? 1997.

——————————-. “Faith of the Wise, Faith of the Worldly, Faith of the Ignorant.” Self Realization: aMagazine Devoted to Healing of Body, Mind and Soul. Vol. 67, No2 (Spring 1996), 0037-1564.

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