The Similarities and Differences between Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism

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Upon reading about the historical and religious background of Ancient India, one can clearly assume that the country was strongly influenced by three main religious teachings: Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. These three sects in religious thinking have many similarities as all recognize the life-cycle and the need of liberation, they worship one central deity that used to be a human who gained enlightenment and they all recognize the existence of the eternal soul and after-death re-incarnation. However, they also share a lot of differences that mark the underlying principles of practicing them. I will identify the scope of differences and similarities in these ancient religions in an attempt to understand why each attracted followers, why…show more content…
Buddhism teaches people to live honorably and follow the Eightfold Path to reach release from the state of infinite re-incarnation and reach nirvana, which means the end of the life cycle by living a life full of dignity and refuse from all other attachments causing their desires and strifes McKay et al., 2008)

Jainism treats the issue of life and death in a very similar way. Followers believe that living a non-violent life and respecting the sacred life existing around people (according to the Jains, everything in the world, including the inanimate, has a soul) may release the human being from the vicious circle of re-incarnation. Jains also recognize the eternal nature of the human soul and believe it exists as enmeshed in the human’s or object’s body during a whole life. However, Jainism assumes that the soul parts from the body when it does to be re-incarnated into something (or somebody) else, which means Jains do not recognize the unity of soul and body. This is actually the principle of all three religions—they pose little value to the human life because all followers believe that the soul will still remain in the human world, but will only change its appearance once re-incarnated into some other being or object. (McKay et al., 2008)

Hinduism fully shares the idea of the life cycle and re-incarnation, as all were essentially derived from the Brahman tradition. People should spend their life in search of unity with Brahman, following the teaching of Vedas and
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