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What are the Differences and Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism?

Updated on October 9, 2015

Similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism

One such similarity is the practices used for yoga, a meditative practice to focus the mind. Both religions share the idea of achieving different meditative or absorption states while practicing yoga, or yoga-like rituals. A second similarity between Hinduism and Buddhism is idea of Dharma, or “natural law.” Dharma can be applied to both religions as the governance of ceremonial or religious duties, everyday life, and personal conduct. While there may be differences in each religions interpretation of those natural laws, the similarity that a specific system of control exists remains. Yet a third similarity is that of the Samkhya. The Samkhya philosophical system, one of many for the Hindu religion, was most probably the influence for many of the same systems used in Buddhism. This can be attributed to the closeness during the birth of Indian religions between Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Quite literally, the Samsara represents the "circle of life."
Quite literally, the Samsara represents the "circle of life." | Source

Differences between Buddhism and Hinduism

There are many differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. The first, being the idea of reincarnation. Buddhism, unlike Hinduism, does not believe in an eternal soul, but rather a collective arrangement when peace is finally attained. While they share the idea of reincarnation, this difference is major between the religions. The second difference is that of deity worship. Buddhism is not “god-centered”, rather personally centered. Hinduism has many deities that are worshipped.

Another difference between Hinduism and Buddhism lies in its early beginnings; that of the role of women are subordinate. Hinduism held that women could not achieve a religiously devoted life, or hold major religious offices, and that salvation and piousness was to be achieved through their husbands. Buddha rejected this claim, as his teachings sought to remove thoughts of gender, and to embrace each being as a kindred spirit.

Buddhism is not steeped in ceremony, rituals, or building of large cathedrals. Buddhism instead teaches a simpler approach to faith. And while Christian beliefs support the belief of a single Supreme Being, or God, Hinduism believes in many. Each religion has its differences, but each religion believes one single thing that is often lost in translation; that living a pious life and treating others with dignity and fairness, are the key to eternal happiness.

An artist's portrayal of Siddhartha Gautama meditating.
An artist's portrayal of Siddhartha Gautama meditating. | Source

About Buddha

  • Full Name, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha
  • Lived from, 564 BCE to 483 BCE.
  • Meaning of "Buddha", Buddha is a title meaning "awakened one" or "enlightened one."

Facts on Buddhism and Hinduism

  • Hinduism is one of the world's oldest religions, and with over a billion followers, one of the largest.
  • The Rig Veda, Hinduism's holy book, was written before 6500 B.C.
  • Hindu, the word, was introduced by foreigners, and referred to people living near the Indus River region.
  • There are two major branches of Buddhism: Theravada and Mahayana.
  • Estimates put worldwide Buddhists at 350-500 million followers.
  • In the Buddhist teachings, blowing out the fires of greed, hate, and delusion is to have attained Nirvana.

Kapilavastu, Nepal:
Kapilvastu, Nepal

get directions

Alleged birthplace of Siddhārtha Gautama


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    • profile image


      3 years ago


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this interesting and fascinating hub. Lots I didn't know about. Great comparison. Passing this on.

    • thejeffriestube profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from United States

      Excellent Idea! Thank you!

    • WryLilt profile image

      Susannah Birch 

      5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

      Interesting hub. I'd love to see a table on the differences so I can easily see the major ones!


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