A Discussion between a Hindu and a Buddhist.

Essay by LaurenKUniversity, Bachelor's May 2006

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(This was written as part of a take home final exam. The opening statement by the Hindu was given, and we had to respon to the rest. It is meant to compare and contrast the two practices.)

[Hindu] "Isn't it true that Buddhism comes from the same roots as Hinduism? Isn't Buddhism just a sub-set of Hinduism? I have now reached the age of 60 and am curious to know more about Buddhism. What can you tell me, my friend? Do you not think that you and I are really quite the same?"

[Buddhist] "We are as similar as we are different. While the Hindu religion does not have prophets, the Buddhists believe in the enlightenment of the Buddha, who was born into a Hindu family. The Buddha in an important figure in both religions; he is seen as the prophet for the Buddhists and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu for the Hindus."

[Hindu] "Therefore, both religions originated on Indian grounds; why did the Buddha refute his Hindu origin? "

[Buddhist] "Some have argued that the Buddha was born and died as a Hindu. This is not the way I perceive the Buddha. The Great One wanted to live a life based on the principal of moderation, and believed that this was available to everyone. He consequently countered the ideas of the cast system, and by doing so, was no longer considered a Hindu. The only societal order followed by Buddhist is that of the Samgha."

[Hindu] "How do samsara and dharma play into Buddhism, since there are no class divisions?"

[Buddhist] "Just as in Hinduism, the more good karma one receives, the closer this person comes to attaining nirvana, our version of liberation or moksa. One gains good karma through positive thoughts and actions. For Buddhists, dharma is...