Buddhism and Hinduism Essay

The Hinduism and Buddhism religions showed a lot of similarities and differences in how they ran. Religion is a set of believes concerning the cause and purpose of the universe. Even though Buddhism and Hinduism showed a lot of similarities and differences between their religions, Hinduism and Buddhism had more differences than similarities because of the belief in the cast system, the disagreement between polytheism and no god, and the idea of women in a religion. The Buddhist and Hindus had a different idea about the caste system.

The Buddhist rejected the cast system while the Hindus believed in it. The caste system is an important part of Hinduism. Castes are social groups into which people are born and out of which they cannot move during a lifetime. A person may, however, by acquiring good karma, be born into a higher caste in the next life. The three basic caste groups during Aryan times were priests (Brahmins), warriors (Kshatriyas), and a group that included herders, farmers, artisans, and merchants (Vaisyas). Later a non-Aryan group was created called Sudras, which included farm workers and servants.

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The lowest-ranked people were called Untouchables who were at the bottom of the social system. Because of the rejection of the caste system, many of the Buddha’s early followers included laborers and craftspeople. Buddha also gained a large following in northeast India. The Buddhist and Hindus had a different idea about their religious ideas. The Hindus were Polytheistic while the Buddhist didn’t believe in a god. Polytheism is the belief in many gods. The Hindus believed in 3 different gods; Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the protector; and Shiva, the destroyer. Vishnu also took on many forms of personalities.

Over the centuries, Brahma gradually faded into the background, while the many forms of a great Mother Goddess grew into importance. Hindus today are free to choose the deity they worship or to choose not at all. The Buddhist believed in the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path was like a staircase. For the Buddhist that were seeking enlightenment had to master one step at a time. Most often, this mastery would occur over many lifetimes. By following the Eightfold Path, anyone could reach nirvana, which was the Buddha’s word fir release from selfishness and pain.

The Buddhist and Hindus differed when it came to the women in their religion. In the Hinduism religion the women were treated equal to the men and sometimes even superior to them. The position of women in Hinduism is widely dependent on the specific text and the context. Positive references are made to the ideal woman in texts such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, while some texts such as the Manu Smriti advocate a restriction of women’s rights. In Buddhism, women were considered to be a burden to the family because the males had the responsibility of looking after her.

Women also didn’t have educational freedom in Buddhism. Education was considered not to be of any importance to women. They also didn’t have any religious freedom. Even though Buddhism and Hinduism showed a lot of similarities and differences between their religions, Hinduism and Buddhism had more differences than similarities because of the belief in the cast system, the disagreement between polytheism and no god, and the idea of women in a religion. These two religions are centuries old and are still two of the most famous religions today.