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Hinduism & Buddism

            In this essay my goal is to compare and contrast the origin, the writings, the rituals or festivals, and present day practices of two religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. I am neither of these religions so this assignment is going to give me the opportunity to learn about both these religions. I don't even know anyone that are of these religions so I am very glad that I have this chance to learn about something that I never thought I would have to learn about. I hope that by the end of this essay I am able to fully understand and gain a certain knowledge of these two religions.
             First subject that I would like to touch upon is the origin of these two religions. Hinduism is a religion that is followed by more than 650 million people in India and 100 million in the rest of the world. The word Hindu' was the name that was given to the people who lived east of the river Indus; it was not used to refer to the religion until later. Many Hindu's still refer to their religious tradition as dharma. Dharma refers to the laws, duties, ideas of truth, and ethics. It is the equivalent word for religion. Hinduism believes in Karma, which is the idea of reincarnation. The only way to break the cycle of Karma is to carry out your religious duties and behave righteously in life. When a Hindu has performed all of these acts only then can a Hindu's atman or soul can achieve moksha, which is a release. Hindu's believe in one ultimate being that can appear in unlimited forms. There are both male and female counterparts and some have both human and animalistic qualities.
             Buddhism is different from Hinduism. Buddha means awakened or enlightened one. The one true Buddha is Siddhartha Gautama who is the founder of Buddhism. The story of his life is that he was born into a wealthy family and his father when he was born went and saw a fortune teller who had told him that his son would either become a world known hero or become a spiritual icon.

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