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Hinduism ‘“ Buddhism Paper

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Buddhism and Hinduism Concept Comparison: Karma
Every religion and philosophy have its set of rules their followers must abide to be considered as part of them. Hence, every system of beliefs revolves around the notion that humans need a set of rules to suppress their instincts, making possible the coexistence of humans living in the same geographical space. Besides, given the fact that both beliefs were born in the same area and shared a substrate says much about the possible links between them. Nevertheless, although Buddhism was born in the Indian Subcontinent, it was not able to able to extend deep roots into its society as the Brahmanism had a powerful hold on the population. Moreover, the revival of Brahmanism and the political difficulties of Buddhist kingdoms to control large Hindu populations were factors that contributed to its decline (Jaini 183).
Conversely, despite its lack of acceptance in the subcontinent, Buddhism flourished widely in the rest of Asia. Therefore, given the importance of the Hinduism in the early Buddhism, along with the use of Vedic concepts that served as a philosophical substratum in the development of the teachings of Siddhartha Gotama, the concept of Karma surface. Thus, Karma as a concept reflects the nature of change, consequences and the underlying patterns of things (Harvey 26). Although Karma has permeated Western thought, turning into an often misinterpreted commonplace in contemporary New Age beliefs.

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Therefore, by analyzing and comparing the concept of Karma from a Hindu and Buddhist perspective, it could help in lightening such controversial concept.
In the Hinduism, Karma is associated with the belief of the eternal return. This knowledge comes from the Vedic teachings that involved the idea of a continuous cycle of death and rebirth. After death, the souls remained a limited amount of time in the world of their ancestors and their time was limited to the quantity of their ritual actions (Witzel 84). Hence, these actions aimed at increasing their stay in the ancestors’ world also had ritual effects of culling and neutralizing all the potential evil actions within the society as a form of social control. Therefore, Karma can be associated with an idea of causality related to the human actions and the derived consequences of the taken actions. In layman terms, Karma is the effects and the development of those actions during life. Hence, Karma regulates the cycle of rebirths on which all humans are immersed.
Like Hinduism, Buddhism sees Karma in a similar way. Therefore, drawing from the same knowledge, Buddhism seeks to explain the regularity in the reality they perceived using a set of rules that do not change and serve as a fixed point to explain the phenomena related to the cycle of death and rebirth (Harvey 26). Nevertheless, Buddhism introduces a new element to provide a sense of choice within this Karmic wheel. These essential elements are the will, as it identifies Karma with the actions we do, but not with the reckless actions but with those we do on purpose. Therefore, when the individuals experience states of moral integrity and wholeness, they can take a decision on their Karma and transform it. Hence, Buddhism favors self-awareness as a way to understand these phenomena and take part in the wheel not as a mere spectator but as a participant.
However, Buddhism presents a different vision of Karma as intends to transform the deterministic nature of the notion considering that escaping from the death and rebirth cycle is the only way to achieve wholeness. Besides, since it believes that nothing is eternal, rebirth and death, regardless the realm individuals experience are just another experience until embracing self-awareness as the method to get free from the deterministic wheel of Karma. Therefore, pain and displeasures are only meant to distract and encumber the path of the believers (Harvey 27). That way, through self-actualization and a profound knowledge of their deepest crevices and actions, Buddhist can improve their situation, but not as if Karma were a balance. Instead, it can be seen as a relation of the actions people have done.
Conversely, the idea of Karma in the Hinduism is one of complete determination. Karma is the determinant of the human destiny. These actions inexorably influence the outcome of the individual’s lives, determining them according to their choices and without a possibility of self-actualization to if not revert, transcend the previous actions (Olivelle 282). Consequently, the only way to change the Karmic wheel is through surrendering that are not of spiritual recognition. Hence, by giving up the body, one is capable of leaving behind all those rituals that seek to influence the outcome of the human actions. Ultimately, the only way to step away from the rule of Karma is through extreme penance and purification (Olivelle 283).
To sum up, while Buddhist Karma is more related to the mind, Hindu Karma is closer to the body. Consequently, while the first aims to free the mind to achieve a state of greater consciousness, the latter tries to purify the body to cut the cycle and become illuminated. Ultimately, Buddhism offers a higher degree of freedom against the deterministic nature of Hinduism and its rigid system of inalterable actions that could make or break their next life.
Works Cited
Witzel, M. “Chapter 3 Vedas and Upanisads.” The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Ed. Gavin D. Flood. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2003. Print.
Harvey, P. “Chapter 2: Dukkha , Non-Self, and the Teaching on the Four “Noble Truths”.”The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Ed. Gavin D. Flood. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2003. Print.
Olivelle, P. “Chapter 12 The Renouncer Tradition.” The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Ed. Gavin D. Flood. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2003. Print.
Jaini, P.S. “Chapter 7 The Disappearance of Buddhism and the Survival of Jainism: A Study in Contrast.” Collected Papers on Buddhist Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001. Print.

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