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Comparison Study of Jainism and Buddhism

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Comparison Study of Jainism and Buddhism

When searching for the meaning of the term religion one most go a long way in making an extensive search to actually form a definition that can fit such a broad word. There is no one definition that can satisfy all religions and remain true to all religions throughout its answer. There are many different views and definitions of the word and it is very hard to come up with a reasonable definition that sums such a massive expression. The same expression goes when one is comparing two different religions which are defined by their beliefs and cultures, and this is where our discussion begins as we look to compare and contrast the differences that both of the religions have and despite the difference to look at how they are very similar to each other in a sense that both of the religions lead its followers to achieve only one thing in life which is Moksa. In our argument we will also look at how both of the religions have used the Vedic traditions as a basic source to build a religion of their own and to have beliefs which are very different and also very similar from the Vedic traditions.

To begin we first define Moksha and Veda. Moksa is the liberation from the ”stream of current life.” Moksa is a positive state of completeness; it is the fullness of being free from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Moksa can be attained through three ways, and they include the path of knowledge, devotion, and ritual works. Moksa can be attained at death but the real meaning of Moksa is to achieve it well in advance as most of the guru’s or teachers do.

Vedas are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, composed in Sanskrit and gathered into four collections which are the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda and the Atharva-Veda. The Vedas are not a revelation from a person God like the scriptures in Western religions. They are, instead, understandings of the nature of life and existence derived from a relationship with the general and impersonal spiritual forces of the universe. The Vedas are written in a very early form of Sanskrit, a language closely related to the ancient Iranian language used in the Avesta, the holy text of Zoroastrianism. Indeed, there are a number of common words and concepts shared by the Avesta and the Vedas. In Sanskrit, Veda literally means sacred lore or knowledge.    

Jainism is one of the oldest practicing religions, although, today Jainism appears in its present day form in the areas of Northeastern India, just as it did thousands of years ago. It's a religion composed in arrangement so that its characteristic are associated with the religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. In the beginning, however, the Jains prayed to the Hindu gods mainly for earthly support like a male heir, long life, and prosperity. Jainism can trace its beginnings to the Indus river valley civilization of three thousands B.C. Due to the reaction and demands of the Indian religion by the Hindu Brahmans and its Brahman priesthood, there arose two independent religions with who rejected the materialistic goals and bloody sacrifices of the Vedic rituals. Jainism, which was 20 years senior to contemporary Buddhism, during the time of the Buddha in India in the sixth century B.C., hinged on soul-theory and self mortification and extreme Ahimsa.

Buddhism is one of the biggest religions founded in India in the 6th and 5th century BC by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. This great Asian religion teaches the practice of the observance of moral precepts. The basic doctrines include the four noble truths taught by the Buddha. Since it was first introduced into China from India, Buddhism has had a history that has been characterized by periods of sometimes awkward and irregular development. This has mainly been the result of the clash of two cultures, each with a long history of tradition. Most of the difficulties have arisen due to the transplanting of an Indian philosophical system onto a culture strongly dominated by original and worldly, philosophical systems. In spite of these difficulties, Chinese Buddhism has come to have an important influence on the growth and development of Buddhism. In general this has occurred largely because of its own innovatory contributions. The spread of Buddhism into China began in Central Asia and was facilitated by the efforts of the Indo-Scythian king Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty which ruled in northern India, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia in the 1st and 2nd centuries.

        Buddhism has recently experience substantial growth in Canada as it has in many western countries. In the early days in the west, Buddhism was considered an alien religion. However in the following years Buddhist practices in Canada has started to grow as more followers are starting to know of the great teaching of the Buddha. Buddhism in Canada has had an interesting and distinguished history, as it has been considered a major religion in Canada only in the 60s, and due to the increase of the Buddha followers there has also been an increase in the converters as there are thousands of Canadians who have been admitted to the Buddhist faith.

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