Monday, January 4, 2016

Is Buddhism an OffShoot of Hinduism * 68

Effect of Hinduism on Buddhism

Buddhism is in real terms an offshoot from Hinduism, but many people do not recognize this

The Essence of Buddhism

Many people feel that Buddhism is a totally different religion from Hinduism. This needs to be studied further. Firstly the Buddha( Gautama ) was born a Hindu in North India, in state of Bihar. At no stage the Buddha denounced Hindu practices. In fact I remember reading that he specificly wanted the Brahmins to be respected. The Buddha is recognized in Hinduism as the 9th Avatar( incarnation) of the omnipotent Hindu god Vishnu.

Modern Buddhists gloss over this aspect, but this concept of Gautama Buddha as the 9th Avatar is as old as the Buddha himself. Even at the birth of the Buddha, Hindu philosophy accepted that the 9th Avatar would be Gautama. Did Gautama preach something radically different from Hindu thought? I am afraid this is not the case. The Buddha accepted the Hindu theory of rebirth and immortality of soul, which is the cornerstone of Hindu thought as amplified in the Bhagvad Gita. It should not be forgotton that Islam and Christiaity do not accept this concept of the soul.

Buddhism also heavily relies on the concept of Tantra, which again is a sacrosanct concept in Hinduism. It must be understood that Hinduism in reality is way of life and one can be a Buddhist and yet remain in the Hindu fold. Similar is the case of Sikhism which also borrows heavily from Hindu concepts of life and death. Many Sikhs do not want to be known as Hindus. The same go for the Buddhists who also would like to deny a connection with Hinduism.

The point that needs emphasis is that both Sikhism and Buddhism tried to bring reforms in Hindu thought and philosophy. Hinduism and Buddhism have a lot in common. Many of the Buddhist figures like the Goddess Hariti are derived from Hindu thought. Not that there are no differences. Like Sikhism does not recognize the Vedas, so does Buddhism. But at no stage the Sikh Guru Nanak or the Buddha denounced the Vedas. Hinduism recognizes the Vedas as a repositery of wisdom. In any case quite a few things stated in the Vedas are there in the Pali canons laid down by Buddha. The concept of the Sadhvi and the Buddhist nuns is also similar. Buddhism does not accept the 4 phases of life as laid down in Hinduism.

The Buddha who Hindus feel is a incarnate of Vishnu is India's greatest gift to the world. One fact that needs mention is that unlike a constant war between Islam and Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism never had a military confrontation with Hinduism . I feel Hinduism is a vast ocean and its depth unfathomable. The glory of Buddhism and Sikhism is the glory of Hinduism