Reflections on Hindu and Buddhist Relations


As a person who was brought up in Buddhism, I have learned that there are parallels to Hinduism. Practicing Buddhism, I know that we cannot deny Hinduism as both faiths seemed to be interconnected with each other in more ways than just one way. Both faiths have originated in India. For a moment, I thought Buddhism came first and then Hinduism. But I couldn’t put my finger on the origins of the Hindu gods and goddesses.

In theory and practice, both faiths are pretty similar. Buddhism had a powerful influence on the Hindu religion and Indian culture as well which I had found interesting. My grandmother went on a two week trip to India several years ago and met many Hindus that were open about Buddhism. On a side note, my grandmother had met the Dalai Lama.

The original Buddha himself took things and beliefs from Hinduism into his doctrine.

While Buddhism and Hinduism have interesting similarities there is one major difference: Buddhism is a nontheistic religion while Hinduism is one of the only two existing polytheistic religions in the world. Yet, the two faiths seem to be interconnected with each other in many ways and forms. In a sense, I could apply the teachings of Hinduism into how I live my life as a Buddhist. I can combine the teachings of both faiths into everyday life.

My English IV Honors teacher back in high school was a former Catholic nun from Ireland though we weren’t that brave to ask why she left the nunnery. I doubt there are others who were brave enough to attempt to ask such a question. One of the things we talked about the most in class was religious faith. Like it or not, religious faith is the basis of all civilization. That holds true and it doesn’t just apply to all the major religions. It applied to just religion in general. But it didn’t mean organized religion played a basis in civilization.

From a former Catholic nun, it meant a lot coming from her. She had found many things interesting in Buddhism and explained to the class that a lot of the Christian faiths have plenty to learn from Buddhism. Luckily, she wasn’t a religious fanatic. The same thing could be applied to Hinduism. Buddhists and Hindus definitely have learned a lot from one another. There are things Buddhists can take from Hinduism and there are things Hindus can take from Buddhism.

The Hindu philosophy has a counterpart in the Buddhist lexicon.

Buddha had already adopted most of the terms of his era which were present in Hinduism.

Most common is that of “ahimsa” which advocates non-violence instead of using violence. Intentional killing will lead to no good. Gandhi one of the foremost religious leaders in the world let alone in Hinduism used the means of ahimsa. The ancient ruler of India used that same means after he felt ashamed of the destruction and bloodshed that he had caused.

There are many images present in Hinduism. While Buddhism is a nontheistic religion, almost anybody can be dubbed Buddha. Kuan Yin and Kuan Ti of the Chinese religions are considered as “enlightened ones” when Buddhism spread out to China. The same can be said about the gods and goddesses of the Shinto religion. The numerous deities in Hinduism can also be dubbed as a Buddha.

Karma plays an important role in both Buddhism and Hinduism where there are a cause and effect for everything you do. What you do in this life will have an effect on the afterlife and the next life. Along with the belief of karma, there is the possibility of reincarnation. What you do in this present life can affect who or what you are reborn in the next life.

Both faiths also use yoga which I have found interesting. As a practicing Buddhist that sees the relation, I can possibly look into Hinduism. Shinto is also a good possibility as well.

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