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Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Introduction

Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the five major religions in our world. They are widely practiced, and have survived for centuries. Both have similarities and differences, as do all forms of religion, and I will discuss the practices and theological aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism. No one is completely sure of where Hinduism was started and by whom. Today, it is the world's third largest religion. Many changes have come upon Hinduism since they practiced it first. Hinduism includes many different denominations and beliefs that have arisen. Though there are many things in common with all of the Hindu sects, their basic beliefs are what tie them together. Their oldest written documents, the Vedas, were written down in 1000 B.C. but had existed orally long before. The religion of Hinduism teaches us that each living body is filled with an eternal soul. Hindus say that the individual soul was a part of the creator spirit, Brahma. It is each soul's job and wish to eventually return to Brahma. It is not possible because of sins and impurities from the world; they are no longer pure and holy to return. The process of becoming pure is so difficult that no soul can accomplish it in one lifetime. The soul is forced to live life after life until it is pure enough to return to Brahma. The Hindus call the cycles of rebirths samsara, or the Wheel of Life. ...read more.

Middle

For years he listened to and studied with the Indian wise men; he then turned to meditation. Discouraged by not finding the answer he desired, he sat under a fig tree for 49 days. When the answer finally came to him, he became Buddha. Therefore, Buddhism was founded. Buddhism is a reformed version of Hinduism. Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths, which are the foundation for all forms of Buddhist philosophy. There is suffering, suffering is caused, eliminating the causes of suffering can extinguish suffering and the way to extinguish the causes of suffering is to follow the Middle Way stated in the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path also comes from Buddha; it teaches to practice moderation. If followed, one may achieve true enlightenment, or nirvana. Nirvana is reaching Brahma in one lifetime. Buddha believed that you could live a perfect life and not have to continue in the samsara. The basic way to this is the Eightfold Path, which says to practice moderation by having the right mind set, actively wanting to eliminate suffering, not lying, insulting or causing suffering with words. Also, to have the right conduct, means of livelihood, endeavors, mindfulness and meditation. Buddhists believe that if you follow this you will be enlightened. Many Buddhist beliefs are almost the same as a Hindu's. Buddhists do not practice the caste system. One of the only ways to achieve nirvana in one lifetime is to be a monk or a nun. ...read more.

Conclusion

Buddhism is found mostly in East Asia, inside China and Mongolia. These areas prefer having small gods, as opposed to the Hindus only having three major ones and then smaller, less important gods. Buddhism was founded by Suddartha Gautama, or the Buddha. Hinduism was started gradually; no one knows for sure who founded it; most likely, it was many people. Both practice meditation, but they practice it in different forms. A Hindu will meditate obtaining inner peace through the charkras of the body. Once all of the charkras have been balanced, a white light is said to be above the person's head, and they are enlightened. Buddhists meditate similarity, but have different variations of how it is preformed; their main goal is to end suffering. The two religions of Buddhism and Hinduism are very alike, and yet very different. To accept their way of thinking, one must put aside their own religion. They strive for an inner peace, and finally to reach heaven through either moksha or nirvana. I being a Christian, have found in some ways it hard to understand the process of reincarnation, and Brahma. Though, I can see how that for people of another culture, these religions are very supportive, and soothing. Culture plays a big part in determining your beliefs. Obviously, they are very deep-rooted for surviving longer than Christianity. I admire their strong faith and their desire to become pure and unblemished. Hinduism and Buddhism are two major religions, firmly planted in their cultures, and I am sure that they will remain for a long time to come. 2 ...read more.

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