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Hinduism And Buddhism

            Hinduism and Buddhism are two very old and sacred religions. Although they are very similar in many ways, the differences are distinct enough to separate them completely. One significant difference is the idea of a god or supreme being. While Hinduism believes and puts faith in a god, Buddhism does not. Hinduism teaches of an ultimate reality called Brahman. It is without qualities and limiting attributes, transcending this universe. (pg. 101, A) The Brahman is the center of all reality and the force that controls life. It is beyond understanding to any man but is very personal to the Hindus and highly reverenced. In fact, it is every Hindu's goal to know the Brahman better, but it takes much dedication and spiritual insight. (pg. 102, A) Every person possesses a true nature or self called an Atman. In western views, it is similar to a soul without carrying any personal characteristics. (B) Everyone's Atman is what makes up the ultimate Brahman. So, in a sense, by learning more about the Brahman, Hindus are in turn learning more about themselves and the unity around them. Because the Atman keeps no record of personality of other traits, the reincarnation cycle continues through a person's karma- which is the actions or deeds that one committed during their past life. By building good karma, one can draw closer to ending the cycle and release his Atman. Buddhism also believes in this Hindu concept but has several differences as well. Buddhists believe that everyone is suffering. Nothing in the world is permanent and because of this, life is unsatisfactory. The only way to be free of this suffering is realize the impermanence of life, overcome all worldly desires, and become free from the law of karma. (C) Buddhists do not believe in a god, but they reverence the Buddha and his teachings as though he were one. According to the Buddha, there are no gods, no Atmans, nor is there a Brahman or supreme being because all is impermanent.

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