Comparison of Hinduisma nd Buddhism for Kids
Today, both Hinduism and Buddhism are major world religions. Both religions began in ancient India. Although these two major world religions have some beliefs in common, they are different in many ways. Let's take a quick look at some of the similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism.
Hinduism has no central figure. Unlike Buddhism, which is based on the holy text, the Tripitiki, which is a collection of teachings from one man, the Buddha, Hinduism combines the religious ideas of many people from many eras in history. These ideas are written down in many religious texts, myths, and stories, including the Vedas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata.
Since Buddhism is the teachings of one man, the teachings of Buddhism were created in one lifetime. Buddhism is very old; the Buddha was born around 500 BCE. Hinduism is even older than Buddhism. Hinduism started with the Aryan people around 1500 BCE. But, since Hinduism combines the ideas of many people, over many centuries, the main teachings of Hinduism were not completed until around 400 CE. It took Hinduism took over 2000 years to create the many set rituals of Hinduism as it is practiced today.
Hinduism is built on the caste system, a lifestyle created by the Aryans, which says you must do the job you were born to do. There is a passage in one of Hinduism’s sacred writings, the Bhagavad-Gita, that says: “There is more joy is doing one’s own duty badly than in doing another man’s duty well.” Hindus believe that the only way you can change jobs is to be reincarnated into a new life. There were four major groups or castes in the ancient Aryan civilization – the Brahmins (priests), the soldiers and other people in authority, acceptable occupations (farmers, merchants), and servants. There was no moving between them. If your father was a woodcutter, so were you. That was your duty.
Buddhists do not believe in the caste system. They believe that all people are equal. Although Buddhists believe in reincarnation, that life is a repeating cycle of birth-death, they also believe that everyone should work hard to be the best they can be. If you strive to be the best you can be, and work hard to relieve suffering in the world, then you will have earned the right to be reborn into a better life. But how can you be the best you can be if you are limited to only one choice of job or occupation? Buddhists believe that you must be free to seek work that can best help to reduce suffering in the world. You must be free to work to your full potential, so you can become the best person in the world.
Hinduism has one supreme god, Brahman, along with a great many lesser gods, perhaps millions of gods. Everything is part of Brahman. The goal in life is to unite your soul with Brahman. But there are many gods that you can worship every day. People can choose the gods they would like to worship. Hindus believe that gods guide the faithful away from evil and have many ways of reminding people of their duties. There are two popular gods that most Hindu families include in their daily worship – Shiva and Vishnu.
Buddhism, on the other hand, does not care if you worship one god or many. If you choose to worship a god, that’s up to you. Buddhists believe that each person is responsible for their own actions. It’s up to the individual to follow the teachings of Buddhism. The gods cannot help you. You must do it yourself.
Although Hindus believe that all life is sacred, Hindus will fight to protect their people and their way of life.
Buddhists believe it is wrong to take a life or to lift a fist in anger. Buddhists are non-violent.
As different as these two major religions are, Buddhism and Hinduism share many beliefs, including a belief in Dharma and in Karma.
- (Dharma) Both believe in Dharma, which means sacred duty. They both believe that people should be guided by duty, rather than pleasure. Both believe people should act in an unselfish manner.
- (Karma) Both believe in Karma. Karma is the sum of all your actions, good and bad, that add up to determine your next life.
- They both believe you take your Karma with you, into the next life. If you have been bad, you cannot escape punishment. Your Karma goes with you.
Hindus and Buddhists are both strict vegetarians. Hindus believe that all life is sacred because gods can take many shapes. Certainly you would not want to eat a god. Hindus believe that Vishnu, for example, has appeared on earth several times – once as a fish, once as a turtle, and once as Prince Rama, about whom many stories have been written. Also, Hindus do not eat meat because they believe people can be reincarnated and come back as an animal. As well, Hindus have many sacred animals including cows and elephants. Buddhists also believe that people can be reincarnated as animals.
Hinduism and Buddhism both have a goal to reach. Their methods may be different, but their goal is the same. That goal is to escape from the perpetual cycle of reincarnation. Both of these major religions have millions of followers around the world who are seeking religiously to achieve that goal every day.
Hinduism and Buddhism
No Central figure
Founded over hundreds of years; based on teachings of many people
Began by Aryans (1500 BCE)
Believe in caste system
Pray to gods for guidance and help; millions of
Major World Religion
Believe in Reincarnation
Believe in Karma
Believe in Dharma
Believe you take Karma with you into the next life
Have a goal to reach
Central figure: the Buddha
Religion Text: Tripitiki
Founded over a few decades; based on teachings of
one man, the Buddha
Began after Aryans (500 BCE)
Do not believe in caste system; believe all people are equal
Belief in gods a personal decision, but gods cannot help you. Responsible for your own actions
Goal: To escape the cycle of reincarnation and rise above