Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 886 times

Dukka "He who sparkles in your eyes, who light the heavens and hide in the souls of all creatures is god, you're self" (Unknown).

In life, too many things are taken for granted. We take for granted the most valuable things in our life; the love from our families and friends, the roof over our heads, and even the air we breathe. Unfortunately, most people don't appreciate what they have until it's gone. So many people have become victims of depression, aggression, loneliness and selfishness. All around the world, especially in America, people are suffering so bad that they will turn to drugs for relief from the pain and even hurt and kill one another for empowerment. If we could only appreciate what we have instead of just dwelling on everything we don't have in our lives then we can start enjoying life and be completely happy.

Dharma, the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, is just that.

The Dharma is a living knowledge that is neither a collection of discourses, nor just a system of belief. It is a way of living in peace and happiness. Tan Chade Meng, who teaches Vipassana Meditation, refers to Dharma as, "The code to life" (Meng). Although Hinduism and Buddhism are both based on the practice of Dharma, they also have several different beliefs. In this essay, I plan to show the similarities and differences between these two religions and how they differ from Western religions and beliefs.

In both Hinduism and Buddhism, the main focus is to overcome life's sufferings and eventually live in peace and harmony. However, while Hinduism is the existence of a single god that manifest in hundreds of forms, Buddhism is there is no self. Vedanta, the basis of Hinduism, asserts that Brahman, the impersonal god and the universal soul, is the Ultimate Truth. Brahman is considered the creator, maintainer, and the destroyer all in one. What we call reality is, in Hinduism, called Maya and consists of mere illusions and appearance. This is exactly what we call virtual reality, which is how Buddhism ties in. Buddhism teaches the correct perception of reality. Everything is changing and therefore, nothing last. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form, meaning nothing last. Richmond West, a Philosophy Professor at UCCS, refers to reality as "I am a collection of physical and mental parts in a constant state of flux." The problem is that people get attached to material things that don't last and are left with suffering. Fortunately, there is an end to this suffering if one has the right; views, intentions, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. This is called Nirvana or Enlightenment, distinction from desires. In Hindu beliefs, you have to go through four stages of life and obtain enlightenment through what you have experienced and get a better life through reincarnation. This is called motisa meaning liberation. Although these two religions vary on some issues, their underlying emphasis is to understand the Ultimate Reality and to be enlightened.

The ideas of god vary from religion to religion and from culture to culture. Hinduism and Buddhism are quite different from Christianity. However, one aspect that these two religions have in common is that you must look within yourself for strength in your daily life and your eternal life. Christians also believe in one Supreme Being, whom they refer to as God. However, they believe in the Holy Trinity, the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit as three in one. In the Bible, Jesus explained to the Samaritan women why she should worship God as spirit and in truth. God is spirit (John 4:24). As spirit, God is invisible. No one has ever seen God or even will (1 Tim. 6:16). A spirit does not have flesh or bone (Luke 24:39). Unlike Hindu and Buddha beliefs, Christianity focuses on living life in such a way that in the end we can go to Heaven and obtain salvation.

Also, Christians believe that when life is over, we are judged according to the way we lived our lives and from that we go to heaven or hell.

One of the major strengths of Hinduism and Buddhism is the practice of meditation. One of the most powerful effects of meditating is its power to deal with distress. When something happens, or somebody says or does something we don't like, we tend to react with anger or hatred. Practicing meditation helps one to understand that they are fully responsible for how they feel or react. In other words, to say he makes me angry would be your problem for being angry because not everyone in the same situation would be angry. Thanissaro Bhikku, who is the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in California, states, "These teachings were aimed at getting people to loosen all attachments to views, stories, and assumptions, leaving the mind empty of suffering and stress" (Bhikku 54).

If we were constantly appreciative of what we have, we will become much happier. The most important lesson about happiness is that everyone is responsible for how they feel. If only we could work on our reactions, we would stop feeling all the pain and suffering. Buddhism and Hinduism are religions that focus on creating a spiritual life that will somehow allow us to be masters of our lives and eventually be free from all the pain and sorrow.