Saturday, March 18, 2023

Buddhism Is Not a Simplification of Hinduism

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 18 March 2023 One doesn't agree with Peter Kreeft's condescending observation that Buddhism is a simplification of Hinduism (please refer to Comparing Christianity & Islam). Buddhism is an independent and separate faith and didn't branch out of Hinduism as the general tenor is. The whole argument that Buddhism originated from a preexisting belief system is erroneous. Following are the differences between the two religions or belief systems. This will dispel any doubt one may have about their distinction and relationship: Buddhism does not believe in an eternal Self. Hinduism does. Buddhism does not believe in an eternal God. Hinduism does. Buddhism does not acknowledge that god created worlds and beings. Hinduism does. Buddhism does not believe in eternal life through liberation. Hinduism does. Buddhism holds the Eightfold Path as the only path to liberation. Hinduism does not. Buddhism rejects the validity of the Vedas. Hinduism venerates them. Buddhism rejects the divine basis of the caste system. It is inbuilt in Hindu worldview. Buddhism rejects the justification for animal sacrifices. Hinduism does not. Buddhism does not believe in oneness with the Self. Hinduism does. Buddhism recognizes objective reality only. Hinduism recognizes subjective reality also. Buddhism does not acknowledge transcendental states. Hinduism does. Buddhism does not believe that gods are eternal or immortal. Hinduism does. Buddhism does not obligate sacrificial ceremonies to nourish gods. Hinduism does. Buddhist nirvana is the cessation of beingness. Hindu moksha is liberation into eternal freedom. Buddhism is a Nastik or atheistic belief system, whereas Hinduism is predominantly a theistic belief system. One may argue that Charvaka and Sankhya Darshan are atheistic but both the cults never identified themselves with the pristine Hinduism, Hindu belief system or Hindu consciousness. Lastly, Buddhism is a non-religious evolutionary process (Buddhatva) whereas Hinduism is a primarily religious evolutionary process. That Buddhism also became ritualistic and is not compliant with modern scientific temperament is an altogether different issue. In fact, Jainism is closer to Hinduism than Buddhism is to Hinduism. Jains still identify themselves with Hindus but Buddhists don't. Here one doesn't talk of Ambedkar's Navayana Buddhism or Neo-Buddhism. That's Political Buddhism and has a vestigial allegiance to Hinduism. Kreeft ends with a pontificating statement that 'Christians should hope and pray that their separated Islamic brothers and sisters be reunited with our common Father by finding Christ the Way. We cannot stop "proselytizing," for proselytizing means leading our brothers Home.' This is what we call evangelical spiritual snobbishness of a typical Christian who wants to Christianise the whole world and put his Jesus on the highest pedestal of divinity and also project him as the saviour of mankind just like an average Muslim thinks that mankind must accept Islam and its Allah. This missionary zeal must stop, for, the humans need humanity, not religiosity. We don't require hoary old Books but books that can help humans evolve and be better in all respects and aspects. Kahlil Gibran's ' The Prophet’, Walt Whitman's ' Leaves of grass, ' Rumi's sayings (non-religious ones) and Ralph Waldo Emerson's books can eclipse all the scriptures in profundity, nous, deep insights and the ultimate wisdom. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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