Hinduism is a loosely used term referring to the religious traditions of Southern Asia, beginning in the second millennium b.c.e. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism does not advocate the worship of one particular deity. Rather, it represents a hugely diverse group of traditions, all based primarily on the Upanishads (ca 800-500 b.c.e.). From the Upanishads came two other religious traditions, both of which share the basic fundamental beliefs of what is commonly referred to as Hinduism; these are Jainism and Buddhism. .
Buddhism evolved as an offshoot of Hinduism, with the same basic fundamental belief structure. There are strong lines of similarity between Buddhism and the basic teachings of Hinduism, one of which is the principle or the law of impermanence. According to this, everything is subject to change, although some things may last longer than others. The other basic principle of Buddhism is the law of causation, according to which nothing occurs due to pure chance. .
At the same time as the development of Buddhism, yet another religious tradition based upon Hindu began to emerge; Jainism. Like Buddhism, Jainism rose against the corruption in the interpretation of Hinduism prevalent at the time. The underlying .
philosophy of Jainism is that renunciation of worldly desires and self-conquest leads to perfect wisdom. This faith believes in total abstinence and ascetism. Though much more extreme in approach, the fundamental belief system of Jainism also follows that of Hinduism. .
These three religious traditions of India, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, all share fundamental views on the universe and our place within it. First is the Upanishad view on the nature of life. In this view, it is knowledge, not ritual, that gives the ultimate source of truth and the way to enlightenment. Rather than focusing on how one can best live a life aimed at spending eternity among the gods, the Upanishad views of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism focus more "on the nature of the individual self (the atman) and its relation to the ultimate reality (the Brahman)" (Craig, The Heritage of World Civilizations, Page 50).