8 December 2011, 1322 ,words Finally Enlightened
All religions in the world each have their own view of the afterlife or what becomes of a person after death. Hinduism and Buddhism are both very interesting in their beliefs on this subject of the soul. For Hindus, the religion teaches us that each living body, including animals, is filled with an eternal soul. They believe that becoming pure is so hard that no soul can become pure in only one lifetime. The soul is forced to live life after life until it is pure enough. It will go through many forms of reincarnation before it reaches the ultimate goal of Nirvana. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, but there concept of the soul, is that there is not one. These two religions base their beliefs of where the soul goes in the afterlife. Buddhism and Hinduism are closely related in the process of religion and beliefs. The origin of the soul for both religions is the final resting place that allows the body to divide from the humanity after suffering to finally achieve enlightenment.
Discussion of the soul begins with the discussion of its nature. Buddhist beliefs teach that there is no soul because the concept of soul is not compatible with its teachings. In Buddhism the soul is permanent and everything is subject to death, yet the soul or Atman of traditional Hinduism is immortal. Buddhist beliefs “stands unique in history of human thought in denying the existence of a such soul, Self or Atman.” (Rahula 51) Buddhism does not allow the existence of an eternal, unchanging, universal soul to remain essentially the same throughout the course of many reincarnations. However, one’s karma is all that is reborn, and that the personality never stops changing according to Buddhism. The Buddhist doctrine of “No Soul” affirms the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation, but denies that there is any soul that migrates from one body to another. The goal of Nirvana is beyond soul and must be reached.
When a soul is finally cleansed enough to break free of samsara Hindus believe that after many lives of good Karma, the soul reaches the end of the journey called Moksha or yoga. Upon achieving Moksha, the “practitioner of yoga who is peaceful in mind whose passions are calm without evil, of one being with Brahma reaches the highest joy”(Patton77:26). Hindus say that the individual soul was a part of the creator spirit, Brahma. It is not possible though because by a soul's sins, and impurities from the world, they are no longer pure and holy to return. When a soul is finally pure, the soul returns to Brahma for an eternity of contentment and ecstasy because Brahma is absolutely pure. Every soul creates its own rewards and punishments through karma. Karma rules what each soul will be in its next life and it is formed from a soul's good and bad deeds in each life. Dharma is the ultimate meritorious balance of all things living. It belongs to everything, including the universe. Every soul is responsible for balancing its dharma. The areas to balance in dharma are religious, social, and within the family. If a soul loses this balance, then it will affect their karma.
Both religions believe that nonviolence is essential in order to reach Nirvana. Buddhists preach compassion, charity and nonviolence. Whereas, Hindus profess pacifism and ahimsa, which is the avoidance of harm to people and animals; they still believe war is justifiable in certain cases. The Bhagavad Gita states that “There is no greater good for a warrior than to fight in a righteous war.” (Patton 2:31) They see it as their duty to fight in a just war. Harming others is wrong but if the war will cause undo suffering to others, then violent acts are justifiable. Many Buddhist beliefs and goals are similar if not the same as Hindu beliefs and goals. The concept in life that you should not act violently towards one another is common a practice in the religions.
The concept of suffering and