Hinduism vs Buddhism 6 Major Similarities and Differences

Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religions, and Buddhism, which is believed to have begun around 500 BCE, are both ideas that originated in India.

While Hinduism worships Brahman, a supreme life force from which atmans and many other deities originate, Buddhism worships incarnations of one god – Buddhas. Both religions believe in the ongoing cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth, but for Buddhists, the goal of enlightenment is called nirvana while it is called moksha in Hinduism.

Hinduism and Buddhism are similar in many ways. Let’s take a look at some of their similarities, as well as the major differences between them.

What are the main Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism?
What are the main Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism?

Hinduism and Buddhism both accepted the law of Karma, Dharma, and Moksha and believed in a cycle of rebirth. Hinduism and Buddhism both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens or higher and lower worlds. The founders of Hinduism and Buddhism are both, unlike most major religions.

The major Similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism are:

  1. There is idol worship in both Buddhism (Mahayana) and Hinduism.
  2. Both Buddhism and Hinduism give equal rights to men and women. There is no discrimination against women in either religion.
  3. Atheists can take part in religious activities, there will be no restrictions.
  4. Both religions originated from the Indian Subcontinent.

These are the main similarities and differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. The differences given in the above table can help the UPSC Civil Service Exam aspirants to answer any related questions easily in the exams.

These are some religious similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism in Tabular form

SimilaritiesDifferences
Both beliefs in Samsara and KarmaHinduism is not founded by a particular person, but Buddhism is founded by the Buddha
Both believe desire is the root cause of sufferingHinduism follows the Vedas (Hindu Scripture) while Buddhism does not
Both emphasize compassion and peace to all living beings (no violence to humans and animals)Buddhism does not believe Hindu gods are as powerful as Buddha (They do not look up to them as they do Buddha)
Both belief in several heavens and hells (layers of heavens and hells)Buddhists think the goal in life is overcoming sorrow. Hindus think there are four goals- Kama, Dharma, Artha, and moksha
Both beliefs in multiple gods and diets
Both belief in the spiritual practices of meditation, concentration, and cultivation of certain states of mind.
Both believe in detachment, (leaving the outside world) and rethinking past life to enter spiritual life.
Both religions started in India

The major differences between Buddhism and Hinduism are in Tabular form

As per Buddhism, one can reach Nirvana or enlightenment by following the Noble eightfold path. As per Hinduism, one can reach enlightenment by following the path of good deeds, the path of devotion, and the path of knowledge.

BuddhismHinduism
Followers of Buddhism are known as BuddhistsFollowers of Hinduism are known as Hindus
Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion. There are approximately 520 million people following Buddhism or approximately 7% of the global population.Hinduism is the World’s third-largest religion having approximately 16% of the global population or 1.25 billion people followers.
The places of worship of Buddhists are known as Buddhist monasteries, shrines, and temples.The places of worship of Hindus are known as Temples.
Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. Buddhists consider Buddha as the all-transcending sage and highest teacher.Among some sections of Hindus, they consider Buddha as the 9th avatar of Vishnu.
Tibetan Buddhism has a foremost Spiritual Leader. The title given to the foremost spiritual leader is the Dalai LamaDalai Lama is the title given by Tibetan people to the supreme spiritual leader of the Yellow Hat or Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Hinduism does not have a concept of having the foremost Spiritual Leader.
In Buddhism, Male Monks are known as Bhikkhus and Female Monks are known as Bhikkhunis. The Monastic Communities in Buddhism are known as Sangha.In Hinduism male monks are known as Yogis, Sages, Rishis, Gurus, Priests, and female monks are known as Sanyasini, sadhvi, swamini.
The 2 major branches of Buddhism are Hinayana (Theravada) and Mahayana.The 4 largest denominations of Hinduism are Shaktism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism.
The primary language used by the Theravada tradition was the Pali language. The primary language used by Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions is Sanskrit.Sanskrit is the primary sacred language of Hinduism. Most of the works of Hindu Philosophy were written in the Sanskrit language.
Some of the most important festivals of Buddhists are Vesak (Buddha’s birthday), Parinirvana Day (also known as Nirvana day), Buddha Purnima, Ullambana, Uposatha, Losar (celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists), etc.Holy Days in Hinduism are plenty. There are many important days for worshipping different Gods, some of the most important holy days are Ganesh Chaturthi, Mahashivaratri, Ram Navami, Krishna Janmashtami, Navaratri, Durga Puja, etc.
Some of the most important scriptures are Tripitaka and Gandhara Texts. Tripitaka is composed of 3 sections: Commentaries, Discipline, and Discourses.Some of the most important scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayan, Upanishads, and Puranas.
Some of the most important symbols in Buddhism are the Conch, and Dharmachakra – a wheel of dharma, fish, a lotus, a vase, a victory banner, a parasol, etc.Some of the most important symbols of Hinduism are Om, Swastika, etc.
Buddhism does impart advice on how to maintain a cordial and happy married life. However, Buddhism does not treat marriage as a religious duty. Buddhist monks and nuns follow celibacy all their lives.As per Hinduism, a man can marry once. However, in ancient India and in Mythologies there are cases of a man having multiple wives.
Buddhism does not have a concept of sin. In Hinduism, sins committed deliberately will have to be repaid through Karmic consequences. However, repentance for unintentional sins has been prescribed
Buddhism originates from Buddha. Buddha achieved enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, in the Gaya district located in Bihar, India. The first teachings of Buddha were delivered at a Deer Park in Sarnath. Origins can be traced to 563 B.C.E. Hinduism began in the Indian subcontinent, even before 3000 B.C.E.
Vedas were rejected by Buddha as per the dialogues given in Nikayas.In Hinduism, Vedas are considered very important.
The Goal of Buddhism is to bring lasting, unconditional happiness.The Goal of Hinduism is freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth, and ultimately attain moksha or liberation from birth and rebirth.
Followers of Buddhism can be found in many Asian countries like India, Nepal, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Bhutan, etc.Hinduism is mainly followed by people in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius, the Caribbean, North America, Bali in Indonesia, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions on Differences and Similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism

Q 1. What is the key similarity between Buddhism and Hinduism?

Ans. The main similarity between Buddhism (Mahayana) and Hinduism is that both belief in the ideology of idol worship. They also believe in the philosophy of karma and reincarnation.

Q 2. What are the places of worship of Hindus and Buddhists called?

Ans. The places of worship of Buddhists are known as Buddhist monasteries, shrines, and temples. While the place of worship of Hindus is known as Temples.

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