Hinduism and Buddhism are extremely similar and extremely different if that were possible. Both Hinduism and Buddhism developed in the Indian subcontinent. Though both religions disagree on how to attain enlightenment, they do both agree that enlightenment is attainable. Both religions profess to the existence of karma, reincarnation, and nirvana. Buddhism developed mainly as a response to Hindu non-egoism and self-denigration. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) tried the Hindu methods of poverty and selflessness and found them to be lacking. Hinduism holds that the Atman (inner self) and Brahman (the Ultimate Reality) are one and that through that realization enlightenment is attained. However, Buddha held that the problem of suffering was a purely human problem. He believed that only once we have let go of everything, even our will to let go of everything, can we find the end to human suffering.Shop Amazon – Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%
Additionally, Hinduism can be thought of as theistic and Buddhism as non-theistic. Hindus worship a plethora of gods and goddesses that are manifestations of the Ultimate Reality; whereas, Buddha was under the impression that there is no greater reality beyond ourselves. Hinduism seems to advocate the putting away of self and the acknowledgment of being a part of something greater, namely Brahman. But Buddhism appears to be concerned more with escaping the cycle of reincarnation and karma and reaching a state of eternal enlightenment in and of ourselves.
If I were to takes sides between Hinduism and Buddhism I would undoubtedly choose Hinduism. It is difficult for me to relate to a religion that is non-theistic. Not that it is difficult for me to relate to a religion that says we are God or everything is God, but that it is difficult for me to relate to a religion that says nothing is God (i.e. Ultimate Reality). If Buddha’s path to enlightenment exists then there has to be a reason for it existing. There has to be some higher force that put the process in place outside of Buddha; whether that force is nature, the Ultimate Reality, or God. My reasoning behind this line of thinking is the simple fact that we did not create the universe. If we did not create the universe then we did not create the way the universe behaves. If we did not create the way the universe behaves, then how could we create the way for universal enlightenment?Get up to 80% Off Textbooks at Barnes & Noble
Bruder, K., & Moore, B. N. (2002). Philosophy: The power of ideas (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.