How does Hinduism differ from Buddhism? Why is there no God in Buddhism? by- Myoma Myint Kywe

How does Hinduism differ from Buddhism? Why is there no God in Buddhism?

Researched by- Myoma Myint Kywe
 ဦးျမင့္ၾကြယ္ ( ၿမိဳ ႔မ ျမင့္ၾကြယ္  
 “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.”

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”    

Reincarnation is a belief in the transmigration of the “soul” of a person after death -to another body.

Rebirth is the belief in the continuity of karmic tendencies from one life to another.
In a very brief description, it is possible to view:

The concept of reincarnation does NOT fit within the Buddhist Law of Impermanence, which teaches that one’s current self is transient, and that there is no fixed soul.

Buddhism does not accept the immortality of soul or the idea that the body is a vessel for the soul, and after death, the soul departs from the body, and moves to another body.

The concept of reincarnation matches the Hindu belief in the caste system, which teaches that one’s birth in a certain class of society is a repetition of a previous existence of the same social/spiritual class: “If taken literally, the reincarnation myth can lead to the legitimisation of rigid caste systems and gross social injustice”, an observation P.Ikeda agrees with. (Global Civilisation, p.120).

While there are some similarities between Buddhism and Hinduism, the major difference is the belief whether there is a permanent self. Hindus believe this to be affirmative while Buddhists do not. Buddhism also believes in total equality of all living beings. I don't know whether the caste system is/was a Hindu religious belief or a cultural institution. But the Buddha taught against the caste system in any event.

The word "Samsara" means literally "continuing on", "wandering on". It signifies the repetitive cycle of birth, aging, death and rebirth.

Now though Buddhism share the concept of rebirth, the Buddhist concept differs in details from the Hindu doctrine. Hindus provide several reasons why the jiva takes on various physical bodies. The doctrine of reincarnation as understood in Hinduism involves a permanent soul, a conscious entity which transmigrates from one body to another.

Jiva is a living being, or more specifically, the immortal essence or soul of a living organism (human, animal, fish or plant etc.) which survives physical death.

The soul inhabits a given body and at death, the soul casts that body off and goes on to assume another body. The famous Hindu classic, the Bhagavad Gita, compares this to a man who might take off one suit of clothing and put on another. The man remains the same but the suits of clothing are different. In the same way the soul remains the same but the psycho-physical organism it takes up differs from life to life.

The Buddhist term for rebirth means "again existence". Buddhism sees rebirth not as the transmigration of a conscious entity but as the repeated occurrence of the process of existence. There is a continuity, a transmission of influence, a causal connection between one life and another. But there is no soul, no permanent entity which transmigrates from one life to another.

Reincarnation in Hinduism is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, can begin a new life in a new body.
The early Buddhist texts make it clear that there is no permanent consciousness that moves from life to life. Gautama Buddha taught a distinct concept of rebirth constrained by the concepts of anatta, that there is no irreducible self (atman) or "self" tying these lives together (which serves as a contrast to Hinduism, where everything is connected, and in a sense, "everything is everything"),and anicca, that all compounded things are subject to dissolution, including all the components of the human person and personality.

In Buddhist doctrine the evolving consciousness  or stream of consciousness upon death (or "the dissolution of the aggregates", becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new aggregation. At the death of one personality, a new one comes into being, much as the flame of a dying candle can serve to light the flame of another.  The consciousness in the new person is neither identical to nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream. Transmigration is the effect of karma (kamma) or volitional action.

Hinduism worships many Gods,
Buddhism has no Gods. Both religions believe in the concept of karma. Both emphasize compassion and non- violence towards all living beings. Both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens or higher and lower worlds.

Following are some of the differences in the principles and practice of these two religions.

1) Hinduism does not have a founder. Hinduism is not founded by any particular person. Buddhism was founded by the Buddha.

2) Hinduism believes in the efficacy and supremacy of the Vedas. The Buddhist does not believe in the Vedas or for that matter any Hindu scripture. Buddhism believes in the teachings of Buddha only (words of the Buddha).

3) Buddhism does not believe in the existence of souls as well in the first cause, whom we generally call Creator God. Hinduism believes in the existence of self (Atman), that is the individual soul and Brahman, the Supreme Creator God.

4) Hinduism accepts the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, one of the Gods of Hindu trinity. The Buddhist does not accept any Hindu God either as equivalent or superior to the Buddha. Lord Buddha should be looked (upon) as not only just a supreme human being but also greatest teacher of the all human being and Gods, of whom everybody should be proud of. One of the descriptive titles given to the Buddha is that of sattha-deva-manussanam, the Teacher of Gods and human. It is found in the earliest texts of the Tipitaka and was accepted by the Buddha Himself. The Buddha's great gift to humankind was the truth and his compassion motivated him to give it to all who were willing to receive it. Buddha is like that immeasurable sky and universe with no end at all.
In other religions, the people worship their God by asking for blessing for favors to be granted to them. Buddhists do not worship the Buddha by asking for favors and blessing, but they respect and rely on Him for His supreme attainment of truth along with excellent teachings. They respect and rely on Him because of teachings of Buddha and gratitude of Buddha.

5) Buddhism believes in the concept of four noble truths and noble eightfold path. Hinduism does not concept in it.

Refuge in the Buddha, the Sangha and Dhamma in Buddhism are the three cardinal requirements on the noble eightfold path. Hinduism offers many choices to its followers on the path of self-realization.

7) Although both religions believe in karma and rebirth, but they differ in the manner and essence in which they operate and impact the existence of individual beings. There is a difference between the Karma/ Kamma concept in Hinduism and Buddhism.

8) Hinduism also has the castes, while Buddhism has NO castes system, no boundaries as to who can practice what. Buddhism does NOT have Caste System. Buddha rejects the Caste System and Brahmin Hegemony. The caste system was one of the social problems among others. Brahmins had full authority over the functioning of the ceremonies. 

There are 4 castes in Hinduism.
2. Kshtriya
3. Viashya
4. Shudra

Brahmin, Kshtriya, Vaishya are considered as Higher caste. They are considered as Twice Born.
Shudra belongs to Lower caste. The Brahmins occupy the highest position according to the stratification of the society.

Does Buddhist believe in God?

There is no God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgment day. Buddhists do not believe in a deity or judgment day. 

No judgment day in Buddhism.
No savior concept in Buddhism. 

Primitive man found himself in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes was constantly with him. Finding no security, he created the idea of gods in order to give him comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong.

To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha’s teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration.

The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.

The second reason the Buddha did NOT believe in God is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea.

Buddha is NOT worshipped as God, deva, NOR prophet or messenger of God but a greatest human guru (teacher) who had gained enlightenment.

A Buddha is not a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others.

Buddha had NEVER fought any war in his name. No holy war concept in Buddhism. Killing is forbidden moral precept in Buddhism. The Five Precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality. The first precept is to avoid killing or harming living beings. The second is to avoid stealing, the third is to avoid sexual misconduct, the fourth is to avoid lying and the fifth is to avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugs. One is strictly forbidden to kill another person in the name of religion, a religious leader or whatsoever religious pretext or worldly excuse.

Buddha has completely destroyed all greed, aversion and ignorance. The Buddha is one who has realized the four noble truths, Nirvana (nibbana) and has come to the end of all suffering. The word DEVA refers to both the Gods and Brahmas. And in that field he was incomparable. He was the supreme teacher and a vast number of gods, brahmas and human beings received his teachings, his advice, his guidance and they liberated themselves from this mass of suffering as a result of that. That is his teaching quality.

When he or she practice the Dharma and obey the teachings of Buddha, therefore he or she sees the Buddha.

Dharma is the path of righteousness and living one's life according to the codes of conduct as described by the Buddhist scriptures.

Practice of Buddhist ethics will help you to live in harmony with your neighbors, friends, your own family members, fellow-beings and other people. Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection and glory. Dharma is that which helps you to have direct communion with the Lord Buddha. Dharma is that which makes you divine.

The essence of Dharma (teachings of Buddha) lay in possessing a certain ability, power and spiritual strength. Dhamma is laying on the truthfulness. Dharma (Dharma) is always truthful because its basis is the best unique combination of spiritual power and physical power. In order to achieve good karma it is important to live life according to `Dharma'. These basic training rules are observed by all practicing lay Buddhists. This involves doing what is right for the individual, the family, the class or caste and also for the universe itself.

He is exalted beyond comparison. He is exalted because of his immeasurable merits, because of his ten perfections. No other being's perfections can be compared with that of a Sammasambuddha, As a result of the perfection of dana or gifting, millions of folks pay homage to him, make offerings, even after 2602 years. That is the result of his quality called bhagava.

We believe that Buddhism is the most peaceful religion in the world and universe. Almost Buddhists and monks are peaceful and compassionate, and seeking enlightenment. There has never been a war fought under the image of Buddhism. Buddhism is an excellent religion because of its good thoughtful ideas. I believe it is religion worthy of study by the world. Buddhism teaches people to be pacifists and not to fight wars. It is clear that all real Buddhists and monks are not at all warlike but they are very peaceful.

All the teachings concerning culture, thoughts, opinion, beliefs and practices are valuable in their own ways. The important factor is that the follower of the concerned religion must follow the teachings sincerely. Although I am a Theravada Buddhist, I obey the teachings of Lord Buddha, but I respect the teachings of other religions. I know their beliefs and culture are also noble and valuable in their own way accordingly.

Again, Buddha is the ultimate master, the supreme Guru of human and Gods and Brahmas. Each and every enlightened being has tried to bring the best expression of Truth (or) Dharma that can bless and profit each everyone in the world. Buddha’s experiment however remains unmatched, in fact it is the only experiment which succeeded and is still succeeding. Buddha was the first enlightened master who offered this universal alternative.

Today we know it as The Middle Path. He brought the complete path. Rebirth is another key doctrine in Buddhism and it goes hand in hand with karma (or) kamma. There is a subtle difference between rebirth and reincarnation as expounded in Hinduism. Buddhism rejects the theory of a transmigrating permanent soul, whether created by a god or emanating from a divine essence.

Buddhists do not believe in a soul. Gautama Buddha rejected the existence of a creator deity, refused to endorse many views on creation and stated that questions on the origin of the world are not ultimately useful for ending suffering. Generally Buddhism does not believe in a personal God or a divine being, it does not have worship, praying to, or praising of a divine being. It offers no form of redemption, no heavenly hope, or a final judgment to those practicing its system. Buddhism is a moral philosophy, an ethical way to live for the here and now of this world to gain the ultimate state.

What is Karma?

We believe that everybody will be good situation and bad situation for their own work-done karma (kamma) in the past –present -–future, and not for other people. Karma in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives - or, one's saṃsara. Karma (kamma) means action, work or deed; it also refers to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in Buddhism. A common theme to theories of karma is its principle of causality. The experience of the present is shaped both by actions in the present and by actions in the past. Actions in the present shape both the present and the future. The results of past and present actions continually interact. Thus there is always room for new input into the system, which gives scope for free will.

I would like to compare Karma and Newton's laws of motion. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

In the Buddha's day, most religions of India taught that karma operated in a simple straight line -- past actions influence the present; present actions influence the future. But karma in Buddhism is non-linear and complex. Karma, acts in multiple feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present.

Buddha is neither a supreme God nor the creator of universe.
But Buddha is the enlightened one, greatest teacher of men and Gods.

If you are enlightened, you are Buddha too. All sentient beings can be Buddha. There are numerous enlightened beings in millions and millions of worlds in millions and millions of years. Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was the enlightened being in the world of our time.

Although Buddha is the most Supreme Being known in all realms, he has no power to control everything. For instance, he is unable to change the principle of cause and effect. In other words, if you commit an evil deed, Buddha cannot save you the effect caused by your evil deed. Nevertheless, Buddha can advise you how to reduce the bad effect, if you really repent of your evil deed.

However Buddha has infinite authority, Buddha has never had punishment, no wars and no destroy to others lives. Buddha did not allow any crisis. Buddha does not allow everyone to be cursed.  According to traditional Buddhism, the foundation of Buddhist ethics for laypeople is “The Five Precepts”: no killing, no stealing, no lying, no sexual misconduct, and no intoxicants.

The Buddha (BC 623-BC 543) provided some basic guidelines for acceptable behavior that are part of the Eightfold path. The initial precept is non-injury or non-violence to all living creatures from the lowest insect to humans. This precept defines a non-violent attitude toward every living thing.

It involves acts of charity, especially support of the sangha, as well as observance of the five precepts that constitute the basic moral code of Buddhism. The precepts prohibit killing, stealing, harmful language, sexual misbehavior, and the use of intoxicants. By observing these precepts, the three roots of evil—lust, hatred, and delusion—may be overcome.

We have gone through this samsara (rounds of rebirth) for many aeons (a period of time too long to be measured), and we have done good things and bad things. Some of the kammas may have given results, but some may have not yet given results. Both good and bad kammas are, in a way, waiting for a chance to give results. Bad kammas give results when they favorable opportunities, favorable circumstances to give results.

If you do bad kamma here, then bad kamma from the past is more likely to give results by your doing new bad kamma. But if you do good kamma here and now, you can block, but not complete totally the bad kamma from the past. That is why people are asked to do meritorious deeds.

Buddha once put this in the form of a simile. If you put a spoonful of salt in a cup of water that water becomes very salty.

But if you put the same amount of salt in a lake, that water will not be very salty in this way, when you have a large amount of good kamma, you can counter-act or dilute or reduce the effects of bad kamma.

Only when you attain arahantship (Arahant - one who has attained the highest level of spiritual development, who is free and will not be reborn again) can you completely eradicate the effects of kamma altogether. But we can block the effects of bad kamma here by doing good deeds. By doing good deeds, we make circumstances unfavorable for the bad kamma from the past to give results.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.