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Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism Essay (Critical Writing)

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Hinduism forms one of the oldest religions mostly predominant in India. Just as sharia laws guide Islamic religion, eternal laws guides Hinduism. It accommodates different traditions and beliefs that should be based on societal norms. The word Hindu has its origin from Sanskrit, where it is used to trace the origin of Indus River in India. There are several categories of Hinduism religion based on different pillars of the religion. For example, there are categories based on devotions, morality, and philosophy and traditionalist beliefs. It is also essential to state that Hinduism does not entail a unified system of belief, but it comprises of many religious practices based on Vedic traditions. It is believed that Hinduism evolved and later spread to other areas in India (Eliot).

Hinduism believers should uphold various tenets. Meditations, scripture reading, worshipping, and offering prayers are the basic tenets that Hindu believers should observe. Their emphasis on reading the scriptures (devas) can be depicted in various works of life, among the Indians. This can be seen in Hindu cultures as represented in architecture, arts, and mythology that relates to scriptures, especially in Indian poetry. Other pillars are karma (action and reaction), dharma (supernatural power), samsara (reincarnation), yogas (Hindu practices), moksha (liberation) and others that uphold Hinduism.

The concept of God among Hindus believers is complex, as individuals choose their own philosophy or tradition that they want to worship. It is a religion, which involves devotion to one god and accommodates other gods. According to Hindu scriptures, God should not be questioned about creation; instead, individuals should seek the answers themselves. In addition, Hindus build shrines in their homes; thus, visiting the temples is not compulsory. This is because Hindus can worship and offer prayers to their supreme deities in their homes (Flood).

There are various pillars, which describe the Hindu religion. They are described as the integral part of the religion that believers should observe them during their religious lives. Many Hinduism believers perform rituals in their homes. These rituals are essential in promoting personal purity. Some of these rituals include lighting lamps around family shrines, meditations, reciting scriptures, and singing devotional hymn songs. Purification is always the center of performing rituals. It is believed that ritual process always neutralize any sins that a believer might have committed. Pilgrimage is another ritual that Hinduism upholds. It is not obligatory though many Hindus devotees take part in it. In addition, Hindu calendar prescribes dates for various festivals that Hindus celebrate, for example, diwali festivals (Eliot).

Buddhism is a philosophical religion that encompasses several traditions, beliefs, and practices that are based on Buddha’s teachings. Buddha was believed to be the most enlightened teacher to have ever existed in the 5th century. His teachings are still depicted in the current Buddhism scriptures and are regarded as the best teachings. Buddhism is divided into two categories; namely, Theravada (elder’s school) and Mahayana (The great vehicle). Theravada is found in Sri Lanka and South Asia while Mahayana is found in East Asia, Tibet, Mongolia and other parts of the world. The basic tenets of Buddhism are meditation, offering prayers, devotion, and baptism (Eliot).

Other basic tenets are karma (action and reaction) and samsara (rebirth). Buddhists also believe that suffering is part of life and strengthens believers to reaching their ultimate truth. Buddhism is based on ethics that ensure that Buddhist adhere to them. For example, they should avoid non-violence, theft, sexual misconduct, drug abuse, and lies. The most common practices that Buddhists perform are offering prayers, pilgrimage, chanting, and devotion to Buddha.

Buddhists do not perform rituals, as they believe that Buddha discourages rites and rituals. Buddhism is a polytheist religion, as belief in other gods apart from Buddha is permitted. In conclusion, the objectives and practices of Hinduism and Buddhism are similar in many ways. They all stress on rituals, pilgrimage devotion, offering prayers and overall dedication to their gods. In addition, Buddhism promotes fairness and equity among all Buddhists while Hinduism is discriminatory, as the caste system promotes inequality among members of different castes.

Works Cited

Flood, Gavin. Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.Print.

Eliot, Charles. Hinduism and Buddhism. London: Routledge, 1954. Print.

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"Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism." IvyPanda, 28 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/religious-studies-discussion-hinduism-and-buddhism/.

1. IvyPanda. "Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/religious-studies-discussion-hinduism-and-buddhism/.


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IvyPanda. "Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/religious-studies-discussion-hinduism-and-buddhism/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/religious-studies-discussion-hinduism-and-buddhism/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Religious Studies Discussion: Hinduism and Buddhism'. 28 May.

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