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Hinduism and Buddhism

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Essay title: Hinduism and Buddhism

Hinduism and Buddhism Hinduism and Buddhism have different similarities and are in some ways connected to each other. Some of the practices of the two religions are similar in various ways and there are several examples to show this. Hinduism first started in India around 1500 BC. The word Hindu comes from the Sanskrit word sindhu, or river. The Hindu community define themselves as those who believe in the Vedas, or also those who follow the way, or dharma, of the four classes and the stages of life. The four classes being the varnas and the stages of life being the ashramas. Like Hinduism, Buddhism also started in India. It is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who is called the Buddha or the Enlightened One. Buddhism started a monastic movement in the Brahman tradition. It is generally agreed that the Buddha was born in 563 BC in Kapilavastu to the ruler of a small kingdom. He grew up with luxuries and had a sheltered life. When he was 29 he came to realize that hi life up to this point had been so empty. He let go any earthly attachments and soon set out to find peace and enlightenment trying to steer away from the cycles of rebirths. He started practicing Yoga and adopted a life of radical asceticism. He soon gave up this way of thinking and focused on a middle path between the life of indulgence and that of self-denial. After a time of great inner struggle, he began to wander to different places and preach and organized a monastic community know as the sangha. The Buddha started the movement for all different peoples and denied that a person's spiritual worth is a matter of birth. The Buddha left no written word. His ideas Tillotson 2 have been put into writings though but his followers. The Cannon for the Buddhist religion is known as the Tripitaka, or Three Baskets, because is has three writings. These are the Sutra Pitaka, which is a collection of discourses, the Vinaya Pitaka, which is the code of the monastic discipline, and the Abhidharma Pitaka, which contains all different philosophical, psychological, and doctrinal discussions and different classifications. The Sutra Pitaka is made up of dialogues between the Buddha and his people and consists of five different texts. The first is the Digha Nikaya, then the Mijjhima Nikaya, the Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya and the Khuddaka Nikaya. The Vinaya Pitaka has over 225 rules of conduct for the Buddhist monks and nuns, each which ha a story to explain. The Abhidharma Pitaka has seven separate works, which include detailed classifications of the psychological phenomena, metaphysical analysis, and a thesaurus of technical vocabulary. Hinduism also has many texts but the most important of all is the Vedas. The oldest is the Rig-Veda, which was developed in an ancient form of the Sanskrit language in northeast India. It consists of 1028 hymns to many gods. Two other Vedas were added to the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda which is a book for sacrifice, and the Sama-Veda which I the hymnal. A fourth book added around 900 BC, which is a collection of magic spells, is called the Atharva-Veda. The Brahmans, long Sanskrit texts, were also composed around this time and the Upanishads were composed around 600 BC. These Vedas and writings are considered revealed canon or shruti, meaning, what has been heard from the gods, and no syllable is allowed to be changed though most Hindus are unaware of the contents of these writings. Most know of the Smriti, or what is remembered. Tillotson 3 Hinduism is defined by what the people do instead of what they think. Few beliefs are shared by all Hindus, but some are reverence for Brahmans and cows, abstention from meat, especially beef, and marriage within the caste in the hope of producing male heirs. Some others are that most Hindus chant the gayatri hymn to the sun at dawn. Most Hindus worship Shiva, Vishnu or the goddess, Devi as well as hundreds of smaller deities depending on the village one lives in or even a particular family. The Buddhists worship the Buddha and follow the four noble truths. These are (1) Life is suffering; meaning that human existence is really painful from the minute of birth to the time of death. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are divided into three categories: morality, wisdom, and samadhi or concentration. Buddhism also sees human existence as made up of 5 bundles or skandhas. These are the material body, feelings, perceptions, predispositions or karmic tendencies, and consciousness. Buddhists deny that these five bundles are considered an independently existing self or soul

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