Hinduism and Buddhism essay

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Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the most popular religions in the world, especially in Asia and specifically India.

I think that the most positive aspects of Hinduism are that Hinduism does not have a concept of holy wars, crusades, martyrdom or Jihad on its behalf, and, therefore, its members do not clash with other religions or even non-believers for the sake of religious righteousness; also Hinduism promotes love and care for other human beings and everything living in the world, in that by understanding our own spiritual nature, and by also being able to comprehend that same nature in all other living beings, By nature, Hindus are concerned about and care for all others (Knapp). On the other side, the most negative aspect of Hinduism is that Hinduism uses a unique caste system, whereby the Indian society has been divided based on occupation and family lineage (Jayaram V). This has been majorly responsible for the ever-increasing poverty levels in India, I spite of the country having one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Hinduism is tolerant of other religions mostly because the Vedic path of Hinduism views all the world’s religions as truth, or parts of the One Truth, as well as ways of salvation. The Hinduism culture does not demonstrate God as a Sikh, Christian, Hindu or Muslim God. Thus, this is why Hinduism followers can live while being at peace with those members of other religions. If I had to worship one of the Hindu deities, I would pick Vishnu, because he is the Sustainer or Preserver of life due to his firm principles of truth, order and righteousness.

The Hindu attitude towards the world is that we must be humble and work hard, but live righteously, for we will be reborn in accordance to the way we live our lives. Important people might be reborn as mere insects, and poor people might be reborn as great animals. The Parade of Ants illustrates this in the following way. Indra might be symbolic of the important people in society – the wealthy, and the people who are in power – as he is portrayed as being above humans and even going as far as commanding an architect to build him a palace that is splendid enough for him. This symbolizes the egos most of these people of power and wealth often have. When the god Indra is shown humbleness by a young boy, this means that in the afterlife, wealth and power mean nothing, and only the pure of heart and the righteous will be reborn as a splendid creature. The Parade of Ants, therefore, asks that people of impure hearts, whether or not they are wealthy, should stop seeking vain desires in life and instead seek humility and redemption. I believe that Hinduism has an economically bleak future, as the poor Hindus will keep on getting poorer, but will be spiritually rich for centuries to come as its philosophies are truly inspirational and motivational.

Dharma means Law or Natural Law. It designates the behaviors it considers necessary for the sustenance of the natural order of things. It encompasses ideas like religion, duty and vocation as well as everything that is considered proper, correct or decent behavior. Karma decides the state of a person in the next life, meaning the actions taken by the person’s body and mind. In order to attain good karma it’s necessary to live one’s life according to dharma. In the four stages of life, the first three make sense, as they represent the normal lives everyone goes through becoming a student, getting married and having children and then retiring. The fourth stage, however, is one of the reasons why many Hindus live in poverty, as they seek moksha. I believe that all humans are reborn, therefore, I believe in reincarnation.

Buddha engaged in deep, running meditation. This enabled him to view clearly how life actually manifested in the world. He discovered three things about human beings: they are impermanent; all living beings experience "dukkha"; and that there is no "self" because nothing is ever permanent, not even for a moment. The basic point of Buddha’s teaching was that the inner self was the root of all evil, and he characterized the attachments it generated as disparagers from an individual's attainment of nirvana. I prefer the Mahayana school over the Hinayana, because of their differing concepts of Bodhicitta, whereby in the Hinayana, the main emphasis is on self-liberation, and hence there is a complete reliance on one-self in order to eradicate all defilements. On the other hand, the in Mahayana, besides self-liberation, it is also important for the Mahayana followers to assist other sentient beings.

Bahm described nirvana as the difference between craving and desire. To achieve nirvana, Bahm states that one should practice nishkama yoga, or proceeding without desire. Then one will embody the action that is in inaction as well as the inaction which is in action. This was viewed contentiously by the Mahayana, as they viewed Nirvana as being attainable by only a few people in life. I can illustrate this by discussing one of the steps of the eight-fold path. Namely, the second step, of Right Intention. This is the step that can be best described as the commitment to an individual’s mental and ethical self-improvement. Buddha distinguished three types of right intentions. The first is the intention of renunciation, which meant the resistance to the pull of desire. The second is the intent of good wills which meant resistance to feelings of aversion and anger. And the third  is the intention of harmlessness, which meant not to think or act violently, aggressively or cruelly, and also to develop compassion. Buddha felt that the word “right” is wrong because it holds a much deeper meaning, as he showed in the eight-fold path.

In the noble eightfold path, the eight and last step is the step of Right Concentration, which refers to refers to the growth of a mental force that takes place in a person’s natural consciousness, albeit at a relatively low degree of intensity, and namely concentration. The method of choice of Buddhists is to develop this right concentration through the practice of meditation. One of the ideas that can be grasped from this final step is that any individual in the world can achieve nirvana, at any time, and at anywhere. This will enable a person to achieve a state of mind that is free from anger, craving as well as other afflicting states. I am not in nirvana in writing this paper, as even though I am free from anger, sadness and most other afflicting states, I am still experiencing craving.

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