Goals In Hinduism And Buddhism

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In traditional western thought, most people would agree that there are common religious goals that followers of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam strive for: to follow and obey the laws and teachings of their respective holy texts (Torah, Bible, Koran), and to obey the will of their ?one and only? God (Jehovah, Christ, Allah). In doing so, one could attain eternal salvation in heaven, free of the misery and pain that would plague our world. Following the laws and teachings also spares one?s soul from the torments of eternal damnation in hell.

It has already been established that the religions of the west all share common goals and principles pertaining to belief system as well as individual goals. However, if one would examine the religions of the eastern tradition, you will not see close similarities like one would in the west. Some eastern systems have beliefs and individual goals that in some, if not many ways, contrast one another.

In the following summary of two eastern religions, Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan) and Hinduism, the reviewer hopes to give the reader an introductory look at these systems as well as the individual goals that followers of each particular faith would strive for.

Buddhism rejected many of the ideas and practices of traditional Hindus. Buddhists rejected the authority of the Brahmins, as well as the caste system and the Hindu pantheon of gods; none can ensure/bestow salvation. According to the Buddha, each person is responsible for his or her own enlightenment (non-attachment, all-knowing) through one?s own effort. Buddhists are not interested in metaphysics. What one believes is not important; rather it is the actions of one that is emphasized, such as discipline and meditation. To a Buddhist, the nature of the soul and the afterlife will not solve the problem of suffering in...