Comparative Eastern Influences
By Fawna Wilson
October 9, 2008
Hinduism and Buddhism came from a long history of Indian philosophy. Hinduism contains both monism and dualism. Hinduism is best looked at as a spiritual attitude that gives rise to a wide range of religious and philosophical beliefs and practices, which range from worship of village and forest deities, to sophisticated metaphysical theories.
The Vedic scriptures are the authority of Hinduism, and are the basis for understanding the true hidden nature of things. The Vedas are the most ancient religious texts of Hinduism. The basis of Hinduism is the belief that reality is absolutely one, that there is only one ultimate reality-being-consciousness. The most important Vedic scripture is the last book, the Upanishads. The Upanishads are best known for the theories of Brahman, and atman and the identification of Brahman and atman. The Brahman is the ultimate cosmic principle or reality, and atman is the inner self (Moore-Bruder, 2005).
The metaphysical aspect of Hinduism is the issue of the human beings relation to the ultimate principle. Humans are caught up in a cycle of desire and suffering that is the direct result of ignorance and ego. With Hinduism there is also the belief that there is a cycle of being born, dying and being reborn, and that this is a transmigratory cycle of karma. Human life is the journey in which we try to control both the mind and the senses and become God oriented in the hope of experiencing total fulfillment in oneness with God.
The wisdom on Hinduism lies in its sages, including Gandhi. Gandhi used non-violence to help attain political freedom for India and for striving to instill a sense of self-respect in all human beings and trine to make traditional values of Hinduism available to all. Gandhi called the lowest caste the “untouchables”, the children of God.
Buddhism arose in the person of a prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later...