Essay by viviviviHigh School, 10th grade May 2008

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Hinduism is the oldest known religion and is very rich with literally hundreds of gods, symbolistic rituals and beliefs. It is believed to have been established around 1500 B.C. but no one person founded Hinduism as it evolved over a long period of time. Buddhism on the other hand has a definite founder, Siddhartha Gautama who is otherwise known as the Buddha or Enlightened One who lived from 565 to 483 B.C. Both these religions originated in India. Siddhartha Gautama was a Hindu who found Hindu theology lacking and after years of searching for truth created a religion now known as Buddhism.

Because of these basic similarities, the two religions have much in common, but in the same light they differ immensely. The concepts of a god or gods in Buddhism are almost void and therefore in the eyes of some not even a religion. Hindus have many gods governing different aspects of Hindu life.

The three main gods in Hinduism are Vishnu who is the sustainer, Brahma is the creator and Shiva the destroyer. Collectively referred to as Trimuti. Most Hindu gods are associated with animals and therefore Hindus feel that being a vegetarian is vital. Cows are sacred in Hinduism and are worshipped as the divine mother, making eating beef taboo. Buddhism involves meditation and prayer. In Buddhism, one must understand the four noble truths and accordingly follow the Eightfold path which describes the ways in which one must live. Hindu scriptures advocate the pursuit of many goals in one’s life including righteous living, wealth, prosperity, love and happiness. The ultimate goal is to achieve Nirvana.

There are numerous rudimentary similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism. In Buddhism the place of women is an inferior one which stems from traditional, cultural, and social values of Asia. Although...