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Difference Between Hinduism and Buddhism

Hinduism vs Buddhism

Hinduism and Buddhism are two important religions of the world. They show differences between them when it comes to the understanding of their concepts and dogmas.

Hinduism has no founder whereas Buddhism was founded by the Buddha. Hinduism believes in the existence of souls. They primarily accept two kinds of soul, namely, the individual soul and the supreme soul. The supreme soul is called the Brahman. Buddhism on the contrary does not believe in the existence of souls.

It is interesting to note that Hinduism accepts the Buddha as one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Buddhism does not accept the validity of any God or Goddess in the Hindu religion as equal to the Buddha. The original religion taught by the Buddha is called the Hinayana Buddhism. Hinayana Buddhists do not worship the images of the Buddha. They do not believe in the existence of the Bodhisattvas too.

The Buddha is rated as the highest being according to the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The people of this sect worship the Buddha in the image forms as opposed to the people of the sect of Hinayana. The Buddha of Mahayana is akin to the Brahman of Hinduism.

Desire is the root cause of all evils according to Buddhism. Hence they consider the world a repository of sorrow and affliction. Removal of affliction is considered the primary aim of human life. According to Hinduism people should strive to achieve what are called four ends of human life during their stay in this mortal world. The four ends of human life are dharma (righteousness), artha (material wealth), kama (sensual pleasures) and moksha (liberation). Achievement of all the four ends of human life is absolutely necessary for the completeness of life.

Hinduism accepts the four ashramas or stages of life, whereas Buddhism does not believe in ashramas. It would simply say that a person can be drafted into the Order provided he is spiritually fit.


The difference between Hinduism and Buddhism can thus be formulated as follows:

  • Hinduism does not boast a founder whereas Buddhism has a founder in the Buddha.
  • Buddhism believes in the concept and the existence of Bodhisattvas whereas Hinduism believes in several Gods and Goddesses.
  • Removal of sorrow is the goal of a human being in the mortal world. Hinduism believes in the attainment of the four ends of human life during the stay of a man in this mortal world. The four ends are dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
  • Hinduism accepts Ashrams whereas Buddhism does not accept ashram but would say that a person can be inducted into the Order if he is spiritually prepared.


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  • Jb

    This article is incorrect in many respects. The original religion taught by the Buddha is NOT called Hinayana Buddhism. Hinayana is a derogatory term, and it is used in some traditions to refer to a certain phase in a person’s spiritual unfolding. It does NOT refer to Theravada, the Way of the Elders.

    The phrase “Hinayana Buddhists” makes no sense in a discussion comparing Buddhism with Hinduism.

    Theravada Buddhism does accept Bodhisattvas, and in fact the Pali canon discusses the Bodhisattva.

    People who identify as “Mahayana” do NOT worship the Buddha in image form (or at least Mahayana Buddhism does not teach that such worship should be done). Bowing and making offerings are not a form of worship, but a form of practice. These are not rites and rituals with an expectation of magical rewards; rather, they are ways of bringing to mind the qualities of the Buddha.

    It is a gross oversimplification to state the “removal of sorrow” is the goal in Buddhism. This article misrepresents Buddhism is many important ways.

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