Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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BUDDHISM         Buddha was the son of an Indian warrior who expected his wealth to provide a life of pleasure for his offspring, Siddhartha Gautama. At the child's birth in 563 B. C. E. it was predicted that Gautama would become either a world emperor or one who would offer the world salvation. For the first twenty - nine years of his life he was secluded from the sufferings of the world. Then he left his home, all of his earthly possessions, his wife, and his children to seek enlightenment about life and death. He became a hermit in the Hindu fashion and tried yoga and starving. He realized this was not the right way to find true enlightenment, that starving himself was stupid, and that he need nourishment to protect his brain. "A healthy spiritual life depends on a healthy physical life." (1) He devoted himself to meditation. Sitting under a fig tree he decided he had found his life's path.

"As a result he became known as the Buddha, a title that means the enlightened one." (2) He needed to pass his message on to others so that they too could attain nirvana. He found five friends who became his first disciples. Monasteries were founded and the religious creed written down in the " Pali, the local dialect of the common people". (3) "On his death the body of Gautama was cremated, as was the custom, the remains being preserved as relics." (4)         Hinduism is the religion of the Brahmin caste. Hindus believe that salvation is the ultimate goal. They wonder about the nature of the world and the relation between self and god.

Buddha rejected the caste system and concentrated on the inner soul and peace of mind. He also rejected heaven and hell. Both religions believe in the reincarnation, samsara, the wheel of rebirth. Time is eternal. The universe is eternal. An individual is...