Buddhism and Hinduism

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 31, 2022, 5:48

Both Hinduism and Buddhism are prominent religions with a common cultural origin in Ancient India. Both have some similarities, while you cannot ignore the striking differences that they have in terms of beliefs and principles. There are common concepts and terminologies, but at the core, they are different.

Similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism

  • Both religions believe that one has to reach the ultimate goal of enlightenment to end the cycle of rebirth and gain freedom from worldly attachments. In Buddhism, the final stage of enlightenment is Nirvana, whereas, in Hinduism, it is referred to as Moksha.
  • Both religions have their deep-rooted beliefs in the system of rebirth after death. Only after the attainment of enlightenment can you free yourself from this cycle.
  • According to both religions, karma plays a decisive role in the process of reincarnation. The action of living beings generates results that cannot be escaped, whether good or bad.
  • There are common concepts of Karma, Dharma, and Samsara in both religions.
  • There are also many similarities between the two dominant religions of the world in terms of symbolism and practices followed by the disciples. Some common practices between Hindusim and Buddhism are meditation, recitation of mantras, and observance of vegetarianism.
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Differences between Buddhism and Hinduism

  • In Hinduism, dharma constitutes the Dharma-sutras that govern individual conduct. In addition to the moral laws of truthfulness, non-injury, and generosity that apply to all individuals, there is the trace of svadharma that is decided by one's class and status. But in Buddhism, Dharma stands for the universal doctrine that is common for all at all times.
  • Both religions have their respective sacred texts.
  • Buddhism emerged as a religion that propagated high life values like peace and equality. Looking back into the history of Hinduism gives the impression of a Brahminical patriarchy system that established the unequal and oppressive caste system.
  • Buddhism worldwide is known to stand for peace, tranquillity, and wisdom. On the other hand, Hinduism has built its beliefs and practices around the dominating caste system.
  • Hindus believe in the system of worship of many Gods, while in Buddhism, self-discipline is the main focus with denial of the existence of many gods. Rather, Buddhism does not believe that seeking God is necessary.
  • Hinduism permits the worship of deities and gods in different forms and capacities, while in Buddhism, worshipping of deities is not encouraged.
  • Thus, going by the above discussion, although there are some common religious foundations, some striking differences set them apart in terms of beliefs and practices.
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FAQs on Buddhism and Hinduism

Q.1. Is Buddhism a Part of Hinduism?

It is often heard that Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism. Also, Buddha himself was a Hindu prince who later founded Buddhism. So, it depends on one opinion and perception, although both have their difference.

Q.2. What is the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism?

Buddhism and Hinduism agree on karma, dharma, moksha and reincarnation. They are different in that Buddhism rejects the priests of Hinduism, the formal rituals, and the caste system.

Q.3. Which came first, Hinduism or Buddhism?

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions, and its traces can be found in the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC in the Indus valley civilization, although the term was coined later. At the same time, Buddhism was founded by Buddha, born in 563B.C. So, Hinduism came before Buddhism as per the facts about both religions.

Q.4. What are Buddhism and Hinduism?

Buddhism is a dominant religion that saw its spread through the ideas and teaching of Buddha. Hinduism is one of the oldest and most dominant religions. Hinduism is the outcome of overlapping beliefs that were brought by diverse groups to India.