The Full Wiki

Buddhism and Hinduism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of a series on


History · Deities

Beliefs and practices

Philosophy · Dharma
Artha · Kama · Moksha
Karma · Samsara
Yoga · Bhakti · Maya
Puja · Temple

Vedas · Upanishads
Ramayana · Mahabharata
Bhagavad Gita · Puranas
Dharmaśāstra · others

Related topics

Hinduism by country
Gurus and saints
Reforms · Criticism
Calendar · Hindu law
Ayurveda · Jyotisha
Festivals · Glossary Persecution

Part of a series on


Dharma Wheel
Portal of Buddhism
Outline of Buddhism

History of Buddhism

Timeline - Buddhist councils

Major figures

Gautama Buddha
Disciples · Later Buddhists

Dharma or concepts

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Three marks of existence
Dependent origination
Saṃsāra · Nirvāṇa
Skandha · Cosmology
Karma · Rebirth

Practices and attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
4 stages of enlightenment
Wisdom · Meditation
Smarana · Precepts · Pāramitās
Three Jewels · Monastics

Countries and regions


Theravāda · Mahāyāna


Chinese canon · Pali canon
Tibetan canon

Related topics

Comparative studies
Cultural elements

Buddhism and Hinduism are two closely related religions that are in some ways parallel and in other ways divergent in theory and practice.

The Vedic, Buddhist, and Jain religions share a common regional culture situated near and around north eastern India – modern day eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Nepal. Both the Buddha and Mahavira (the historical founder of Jainism), hailed from this region. Also the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, considered to be among the very earliest Upanishads,[1] was compiled in this region, under King Janaka of Mithila.

Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought, the Shramana religions and the Vedic religion, parallel traditions that have existed side by side for thousands of years.[2] Both Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of Shramana traditions, while modern Hinduism is a continuation of the Vedic tradition. These co-existing traditions have been mutually influential.

The Buddha rejected relying on Vedas for salvation, which included the earliest Upanishads. He redefined Indian cosmology, incorporating many existing terms in his doctrine, but redefining them for his purposes in explaining the Middle Path, also teaching that to achieve salvation one did not have to accept the authority of the scriptures or the existence of God.[3] As regards Vedanta, though at the time of the early Buddhists there was no independent Vedanta school with a developed and organized philosophical system, the various philosophical theories of the pre-Buddhist Upanishads were quite widely disseminated. These intellectual trends are mentioned in the Buddhist texts, and rejected as "pernicious views".[4] Later Indian religious thought was in turn influenced by the new interpretations and novel ideas of the Buddhist tradition.[5] Buddhism attained prominence on the Indian subcontinent, but was ultimately eclipsed (in the 11th century C.E.) at its point of origin by Hinduism and Islam. After this, Buddhism continued to flourish outside of India. Tibetan Buddhism predominates in the Himalayan region, as does Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism in East Asia.


Early history

Evidence from both Buddhist and Hindu scriptures show that the two traditions were in dialogue with one another from a very early date. The Buddha is mentioned in several of the Puranas that are believed to have been composed after his birth.[6][7] Certain Buddhist teachings appear to have been formulated in response to ideas presented in the early Upanishads – in some cases concurring with them, and in other cases criticizing or re-interpreting them.[1][8][9]

The Bhagavad Gita is a post-Buddhist text, and some scholars believe it was composed as part of the Hindu reaction to Buddhism.[10][11][12] Prominent Indian scholars see the Bhagavad Gita as rather the product of intellectual currents then prevalent in India that pre-dated the emergence of Buddhism.[13][14][15][16]

In later years, there is significant evidence that both Buddhism and Hinduism were supported by Indian rulers, regardless of the rulers own religious identity. Buddhist kings continued to revere Hindu deities and teachers, and many Buddhist temples were built under the patronage of Hindu rulers.[17]



Technical language

The Buddha adopted many of the terms already used in philosophical discussions of his era; however, many of these terms were then re-interpreted or redefined in the Buddhist tradition. For example, in the Samanna-phala Sutta, the Buddha is depicted presenting a notion of the 'three knowledges' (tevijja) – a term also used in the Vedic tradition to describe knowledge of the Vedas – as being not texts, but things that he had experienced.[18] The true 'three knowledges' are said to be constituted by the process of achieving enlightenment, which is what the Buddha is said to have achieved in the three watches of the night of his enlightenment.[19]


Ahimsa is a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. Ahimsa (अहिंसा ahiṁsā) is Sanskrit for avoidance of sacrificial himsa, or injury. The Buddha's dialogue in the Culakammavibhanga Sutta with the Brahmin Subha on killing is interesting considering the Vedic emphasis on sacrificial himsa. The focus on ahimsa, non-harm to all beings, in Buddhist ethics was a definitive move away from the killing inherent in the sacrifices of the Vedic ritual tradition. This move away from sacrificial himsa was also being made in other Sramana traditions. The Upanishadic literature, for example, is often critical of Vedic ritual and emphasises the internalization of the meaning and symbolism of sacrifice, rather than its literal enactment.[20] Long life-span was much sought after by the composers of the Vedas. The Buddha's explanation of karma in the Culakammavibhanga Sutta challenges the Vedic idea that a life of sacrifice accrues benefits and excellence for oneself and one's family. The Buddha expounds his view that intentionally killing living beings leads not to the good, but to something that was problematic for the brahmins of his day, that is, shortness of life.[21]


Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म from the root kṛ, "to do") is a word meaning action or activity and, often implies its subsequent results (also called karma-phala, "the fruits of action"). It is commonly understood as a term to denote the entire cycle of cause and effect as described in the philosophies of a number of cosmologies, including those of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Karma is a central part of Buddhist teachings. Buddhist teachings re-interpret certain aspects of the pre-Buddhist conception of karma, removing the idea of a perfect moral equilibrium present in some versions of those teachings.[22]

Meanwhile, certain aspects of Buddhist teachings on karma, such as the 'transfer of merit' (Sanskrit: Pariṇāmanā) or transfer of karma, seem to have been borrowed directly from earlier Hindu teachings, despite presenting apparent inconsistencies with the Buddhist doctrine of karma.[23]


Dharma (Sanskrit, Devanagari: धर्म or Pāli Dhamma, Devanagari: धम्म) means Natural Law or Reality, and with respect to its significance for spirituality and religion might be considered the Way of the Higher Truths. A Hindu appellation for Hinduism itself is Sanatana Dharma which translates to "the eternal dharma." Similarly, Buddhadharma in an appellation for Buddhism. The general concept of dharma forms a basis for philosophies, beliefs and practices originating in India. The four main ones are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism (Jaina Dharma), and Sikhism (Sikha Dharma), all of whom retain the centrality of dharma in their teachings. In these traditions, beings that live in harmony with dharma proceed more quickly toward, according to the tradition, Dharma Yukam, Moksha, or Nirvana (personal liberation). Dharma can refer generally to religious duty, and also mean social order, right conduct, or simply virtue.


In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion.

A mantra (मन्त्र) is a religious syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. Their use varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Other purposes have included religious ceremonies to accumulate wealth, avoid danger, or eliminate enemies. Mantras existed in the Vedic religion (and also in the closely allied religion of Zoroastrianism [24]) and were later adopted by Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, now popular in various modern forms of spiritual practice which are loosely based on practices of these Eastern religions.


Meditation was an aspect of the practice of the yogis in the centuries preceding the Buddha. The Buddha built upon the yogis' concern with introspection and developed their meditative techniques, but rejected their theories of liberation.[25] In Buddhism, sati and sampajanna (both translated into English as mindfulness) are to be developed at all times, in pre-Buddhist yogic practices there is no such injunction. A yogi in the Brahmanical tradition is not to practice while defecating, for example, while a Buddhist monastic should do so. This difference is due the different goals of the practice. The former practitioner is aiming for gnosis of an object outside of the world, while for the latter there is no such object; experience in the world is the object, which must be purified.[26] Another new teaching of the Buddha was that meditative absorption should be combined with the practice of mindfulness.[27]

Religious knowledge or 'vision' was indicated as a result of practice both within and outside of the Buddhist fold. According to the Samaññaphala Sutta this sort of vision arose for the Buddhist adept as a result of the perfection of 'meditation' (Sanskrit: dhyāna) coupled with the perfection of 'ethics' (Sanskrit: śīla). Some of the Buddha's meditative techniques were shared with other traditions of his day, but the idea that ethics are causally related to the attainment of 'religious insight' (Sanskrit: prajñā) was original.[20]

The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest describing meditation techniques.[28] They describe meditative practices and states which had existed before the Buddha as well as those which were first developed within Buddhism.[29] Two Upanishads written after the rise of Buddhism do contain full-fledged descriptions of yoga as a means to liberation.[30]

While there is no convincing evidence for meditation pre-Buddhist early Brahminic texts, Wynne argues that formless meditation originated in the Brahminic tradition, based on strong parallels between Upanishadic cosmological statements and the meditative goals of the two teachers of the Buddha as recorded in the early Buddhist texts.[31] He mentions less likely possibilities as well.[32] Having argued that the cosmological statements in the Upanishads also reflect a contemplative tradition, he argues that the Nasadiya Sukta contains evidence for a contemplative tradition, even as early as the late Rg Vedic period.[31]


In the Rig Veda, man is thought to be born and die only once.[33] The Rig Veda mentions life after death in heaven in the company of ancestors. The ritual system of the Vedas was central to Vedic life and thought and depended 'on the notion of constant sacrifice, the reintegration of multiple elements into a moment of unity before a new dispersal into being'.[34]

It is highly probable that in India the concept of reincarnation (along with karma, samsara, and moksha) was developed by non-Aryan people outside of the caste system whose spiritual ideas greatly influenced later Indian religious thought. Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of this tradition, and the early Upanishadic movement was influenced by it.[35][36][37][38][39] Reincarnation was likely adopted from this religious culture by Brahmin orthodoxy, and Brahmins composed the earliest known scriptures containing these ideas in the early Upanishads.[40] According to the Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, the Upanishadic treatments of samsara, karma, and reincarnation are "fundamental contributions of the Upanishads to Hindu—indeed, South Asian—eschatology."[41]

According to Hinduism, the soul (atman) is immortal, while the body is subject to birth, decay, old age and death. The meme of reincarnation is intricately linked with the notion of karma, another concept first recorded in the Upanishads. Karma (literally: action) is the sum of one's actions, and the force that determines one's next reincarnation. The cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as samsara.

The Shakyamuni Buddha rejected all theories according to which beings have an eternal, immutable self that transmigrated – the 'dweller within the body' or atman – he also criticized the statement "I have no self" (See below). Buddhism developed an understanding of a 'continuum or stream of skanda' through such disciplines as vipassanā and shamata, which has become reified in later Buddhist discourse as the Mindstream doctrine, a reification that Shakyamuni Buddha would have challenged.[citation needed] Hence, it is to be understood as an upaya doctrine, as are all doctrines of the Buddhadharma. The mindstream was further developed by the Cittamatra and Yogacara schools and it affected the development of the 'store consciousness' (ālāyavijñāna) and the buddha nature conceptions and tathagatagarbha literature. In English Buddhist discourse the nomenclature 'reincarnation' is unfavoured due the insidious bias of an 'entity' that 'incarnates'. Buddhism challenges all such 'entities'. Instead of an 'entity', what is reborn is an 'evolving consciousness' (M.1.256) or 'stream of consciousness' (D.3.105), whose quality has been conditioned by karma.[42]

Buddhist scriptures regularly discuss what is generally understood by the lay person as future and past lives, though these are more appropriately understood following Buddhavacana as the continuity of the mindstream of sentient beings. The phenomenon and institution of tulku within the Vajrayana tradition is an interesting qualification and analogue to the reification of the entity and the transmigration and reincarnation meme within many of the plethora of schools and sects of the Sanatana Dharma.


The practice of Yoga is intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of both Buddhism and Hinduism.[43] However there are distinct variations in the usage of yoga terminology in the two religions. In Hinduism, the term "Yoga" commonly refers to the eight limbs of yoga as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written some time after 100 BCE. Whereas in the Vajrayana Buddhism of Tibet, the term "Yoga" is used to refer to any type of spiritual practice; from the various types of tantra (like Kriyayoga or Charyayoga) to 'Deity yoga' and 'guru yoga'. In the early translation phase of the Sutrayana and Tantrayana from India, China and other regions to Tibet, along with the practice lineages of sadhana, codified in the Nyingmapa canon, the most subtle 'conveyance' (Sanskrit: yana) is Adi Yoga (Sanskrit). A contemporary scholar with a focus on Tibetan Buddhism, Robert Thurman writes that Patanjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered orthodox.[44]

There is a range of common terminology and common descriptions of the meditative states that are seen as the foundation of meditation practice in both Hindu Yoga and Buddhism. Many scholars have noted that the concepts of dhyana and samādhi - technical terms describing stages of meditative absorption - are common to meditative practices in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Most notable in this context is the relationship between the system of four Buddhist dhyana states (Pali: jhana) and the samprajnata samadhi states of Classical Yoga.[45] Also, many (Tibetan) Vajrayana practices of the generation stage and completion stage work with the chakras, inner energy channels (nadis) and kundalini, called tummo in Tibetan.

Rites and rituals

Both Buddhism and Hinduism share common rites, such as the purification rite of Homa (Havan, Yagna in Sanskrit), prayers for the ancestors and deceased (Ullambana in Sanskrit, Urabon in Japanese).


Several Hindu Gods and divinities are venerated in esoteric Mahayana Buddhism and hold an important place in the rites and rituals: Brahma, Indra, Saraswati, Surya, Vayu, Varuna, Prithvi, etc.

Mahayana Esoteric Buddhism

There are three main schools of traditional esoteric Mahayana Buddhism in Japan: Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en.

Zen Buddhism

Zen is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana school of Buddhism is noted for its proximity with Yoga.[46] In the west, Zen is often set alongside Yoga, the two schools of meditation display obvious family resemblances.[47] Zen Buddhism traces some of its roots to yogic practices.[48] Certain essential elements of Yoga are important both for Buddhism in general and for Zen in particular.[49]

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism is not a monolithic entity. What is known as Tibetan Buddhism, a particular tradition of Vajrayana, is a collection of practice lineages or traditions of sadhana transmission. These practice lineages are entwined and historically come from throughout the Asian region and include tantric elements from non-Buddhist schools. The modern nomenclature of western discourse that reifies a 'Buddhism' and a 'Hinduism' obscured the varigated and manifold entwined lineages of Tantra. It is important to remember that though Buddhism values scholarship, it is not a textual tradition (in the sense of the written word), but primarily one based on the practitioner's investigation and direct experience as demonstrated by the example of Shakyamuni, culminating in enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Aspects of vipashyana and shamatha are entwined within tantric techniques. It is commonly held that Buddhism was introduced to Tibet from India, and though this is true, Buddhism from other areas such as China, Kashmir, Japan entered the Himalaya and is integrated with the practice lineages of the Nyingma, Kagyupa, Sakyapa and Gelukpa schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which in turn dialogued with the indigenous Bonpo traditions of the Himalaya.

Sonam Gyatso, 3rd Dalai Lama. Tibetan Heart Yoga is a part of the Gelukpa tradition of the Dalai Lamas of Tibet.

Yoga is central to Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma tradition, certain practitioners progress to increasingly profound levels of yoga, starting with Mahā yoga, continuing to Anu yoga and ultimately undertaking the most subtle, Ati yoga. In qualification, the Nyingmapa do not equate a value judgment with the yana, one is not better than another, the yana most appropriate for a practitioner is determined by their karma, propensity and proclivity. The majority of practitioners stay within one yana for the duration of their lifetime. The Nyingmapa view all traditions, not just their own through the modal of the nine yana. The Bonpo have a comparable modal of nine. Elements of Adi Yoga for both the Bonpo and Nyingmapa are perceived in other traditions. Indeed, Nyingmapa and Bonpo are not the only source of Ati Yoga teachings as both traditions testify, as Adi Yoga is propagated in other worlds and dimensions. In the Sarma traditions, the Anuttara yoga class is equivalent to the three most subtle yana of the Nyingmapa. Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm timing in movement exercises is known as Trul khor or union of moon and sun (channel) prajna energies, and the body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang.

Tibetan Buddhist doctrines unite a seemingly diverse group of practices to offer a variety of ways to 'truth' (Sanskrit: satya; refer Two Truths) and 'enlightenment' (Sanskrit: bodhi) in accordance with the different qualities and capacities of sentient beings. These practices involve the use of tantra and yoga. Yoga used as a way to enhance concentration.[50]

Nagarjuna's Madhyamika view and Yogacara's Mind-only view are used in Tibetan Buddhism as bases for Yoga practices. Focused meditation clears the mind of unenlightened concepts.[50]

In the 13th and the 14th centuries, the Sarma traditions developed a fourfold classification system for Tantric texts based on the types of practices each contained, especially their relative emphasis on external ritual or internal yoga. The first two classes, the so-called lower tantras, are called the Kriya and the Chatya tantras; the two classes of higher tantras are the Yoga and the Anuttara Yoga (Highest Yoga).[51]


  • Mudra: This is a symbolic hand-gesture expressing an emotion. Depictions of the Buddha are almost always depicted performing a mudra.
  • Dharma Chakra: The Dharma Chakra, which appears on the national flag of India and the flag of the Thai royal family, is a Buddhist symbol that is used by members of both religions.
  • Rudraraksh: These are beads which devotees, usually monks use for praying.
  • Tilak: Many Hindu devotees mark their heads with a tilak, which is interpreted as a third eye. A similar mark is one of the characteristic physical characteristics of the Buddha.
  • Swastika and Sauvastika: both are sacred symbols. It can be either clockwise or counter-clockwise and both are seen in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Buddha is sometimes depicted with a swastika on his chest or the palms of his hands.[52]

Cosmology and worldview

Both Hinduism and Buddhism have the concept of Naraka and Svarga lokas, the mountain Sumeru, Jambudvipa, entities such as devas, asuras, nāga, preta, yaksha, gandharvas, kinnars, brahma, etc. Cosmological time is measured in kalpas.

Fire ritual

In Japan, the Shingon Fire Ritual (Homa /Yagna) and Urabon (Sanskrit: Ullambana) is derived from Hindu traditions.[53] Similar rituals are common in Tibetan Buddhism. Also see Shinnyo-en.


Despite the similarities there exist differences between the two religions. The major differences are mentioned below.


Gautama Buddha (as portrayed in the Pali scriptures, the agamas) set an important trend in nontheism in Buddhism in the sense of denying the notion of an omnipotent god.[54] Nevertheless, in many passages in the Tripitaka gods (devas in Sanskrit) are mentioned and specific examples are given of individuals who were reborn as a god, or gods who were reborn as humans. Buddhist cosmology recognizes various levels and types of gods, but none of these gods is considered the creator of the world or of the human race.[54]

Buddhist canonical views about God and the priests are mentioned below:

13. 'Well then, Vasettha, those ancient sages versed in ancient scriptures, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose, ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the priests of to-day chant over again or repeat; intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited-to wit, Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, and Bhagu [11] -- did even they speak thus, saying: " We know it, we have seen it", where the creator is whence the creator is, whither the creator is?

From the Buddhist perspective, man has created God out of the psychologically deep-rooted idea of self-protection. Walpola Rahula writes that man depends on this creation "for his own protection, safety, and security, just as a child depends on his parent." He describes this as a product of "ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire," and writes that this "deeply and fanatically held belief" for man's consolation is "false and empty" from the perspective of Buddhism. He writes that man does not wish to hear or understand teachings against this belief, and that the Buddha described his teachings as "against the current" for this reason.[55]


The Buddha is recorded in the Canki Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 95) as saying to a group of Brahmins:

O Vasettha, those priests who know the scriptures are just like a line of blind men tied together where the first sees nothing, the middle man nothing, and the last sees nothing.

In the same discourse, he says:

It is not proper for a wise man who maintains truth to come to the conclusion: This alone is Truth, and everything else is false.

He is also recorded as saying:

To be attached to one thing (to a certain view) and to look down upon other things (views) as inferior - this the wise men call a fetter.

Walpola Rahula writes, "It is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing. The teaching of the Buddha is qualified as ehi-passika, inviting you to 'come and see,' but not to come and believe... It is always seeing through knowledge or wisdom, and not believing through faith."[56]

In the Samanna-phala Sutta, the Buddha is depicted presenting a notion of the 'three knowledges' (tevijja)- a term also used in the Vedic tradition to describe knowledge of the Vedas- as being not of texts, but things that he had experienced.[57] The true 'three knowledges' are said to be constituted by the process of achieving enlightenment, which is what the Buddha is said to have achieved in the three watches of the night of his enlightenment.[58] These three are: memory of previous lives, seeing the rebirth of others according to their karma, and the four noble truths and the destruction of spiritual faults which fester in the mind and keep it unenlightened - the third is a composite. The third knowledge, according to the early Buddhist texts, was completed at dawn, and brought the perfect enlightenment he had been seeking.[59] Gombrich notes that this definition of the true "three knowledges" occurs in multiple places in the Canon, and was likely intended to parallel and trump the "three knowledges" of the brahmins.[57]

In Hinduism, philosophies are classified either as Astika or Nastika, that is, philosophies which either affirm or reject the authorities of the Vedas. According to this tradition, Buddhism is a Nastika school since it rejects the authority of the Vedas.[60] Buddhists on the whole called those who did not believe in Buddhism the "outer path-farers" (tiirthika).[61]


Since the Hindu scriptures are essentially silent on the issue of religious conversion, the issue of whether Hindus evangelize is open to interpretations.[62] Those who view Hinduism as an ethnicity more than as a religion tend to believe that to be a Hindu, one must be born a Hindu. However, those who see Hinduism primarily as a philosophy, a set of beliefs, or a way of life generally believe that one can convert to Hinduism by incorporating Hindu beliefs into one's life and by considering oneself a Hindu.[62] The Supreme Court of India has taken the latter view, holding that the question of whether a person is a Hindu should be determined by the person's belief system, not by their ethnic or racial heritage.[63]

Buddhism spread throughout Asia via evangelism and conversion[citation needed]. Buddhist scriptures depict such conversions in the form of lay followers declaring their support for the Buddha and his teachings, or via ordination as a Buddhist monk. Buddhist identity has been broadly defined as one who "takes refuge" in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, echoing a formula seen in Buddhist texts. In some communities, formal conversion rituals are observed. No specific ethnicity has typically been associated with Buddhism, and as it spread beyond its origin in India immigrant monastics were replaced with newly ordained members of the local ethnic or tribal group.[citation needed]

Early Buddhism and early Vedanta

Early Buddhist scriptures do not mention schools of learning directly connected with the Upanishads. Though the earliest Upanishads had been completed by the Buddha's time, they are not cited in the early Buddhist texts as Upanishads or Vedanta. For the early Buddhists they were likely not thought of as having any outstanding significance in and of themselves, and as simply one section of the Vedas.[64]

The Buddhist texts do describe wandering, mendicant Brahmins who appear to have valued the early Upanishads' promotion of this lifestyle as opposed to living the life of the householder and accruing wealth from nobles in exchange for performing Vedic sacrifices.[65] Furthermore, the early Buddhist texts mention ideas similar to those expounded in the early Upanishads, before controverting them.[66]

Shankara and Buddhism

Pande (1994: p.255) identifies the entwined relationship of Buddhism and the view of Shankara:

The relationship of Śaṅkara to Buddhism has been the subject of considerable debate since ancient times. He has been hailed as the arch critic of Buddhism and the principal architect of its downfall in India. At the same time he has been described as a Buddhist in disguise. Both these opinions have been expressed by ancient as well as modern authors--scholars, philosophers, historians and sectaries.[67]


The old Upanishads largely consider Brahman (masculine gender, Brahmā in the nominative case, henceforth "Brahmā") to be a personal god, and Brahman (neuter gender, Brahma in the nominative case, henceforth "Brahman") to be the impersonal world principle.[68] They do not strictly distinguish between the two, however.[69] The old Upanishads ascribe these characteristics to Brahmā: first, he has light and luster as his marks; second, he is invisible; third, he is unknowable, and it is impossible to know his nature; fourth, he is omniscient. The old Upanishads ascribe these characteristics to Brahman as well.[68]

In the Buddhist texts, there are many Brahmās. There they form a class of superhuman beings, and rebirth into the realm of Brahmās is possible by pursuing Buddhist practices.[70] In the early texts, the Buddha gives arguments to refute the existence of a creator.[71]

In the Pāli scriptures, the neuter Brahman does not appear (though the word brahma is standardly used in compound words to mean "best", or "supreme"[72][73]), however ideas are mentioned as held by various Brahmins in connection with Brahmā that match exactly with the concept of Brahman in the Upanishads. Brahmins who appear in the Tevijja-suttanta of the Digha Nikaya regard "union with Brahmā" as liberation, and earnestly seek it. In that text, Brahmins of the time are reported to assert: "Truly every Brahmin versed in the three Vedas has said thus: 'We shall expound the path for the sake of union with that which we do not know and do not see. This is the correct path. This path is the truth, and leads to liberation. If one practices it, he shall be able to enter into association with Brahmā." The early Upanishads frequently expound "association with Brahmā", and "that which we do not know and do not see" matches exactly with the early Upanishadic Brahman.[74]

In the earliest Upanishad, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Absolute, which came to be referred to as Brahman, is referred to as "the imperishable".[75] The Pāli scriptures present a "pernicious view" that is set up as an absolute principle corresponding to Brahman: "O Bhikkhus! At that time Baka, the Brahmā, produced the following pernicious view: 'It is permanent. It is eternal. It is always existent. It is independent existence. It has the dharma of non-perishing. Truly it is not born, does not become old, does not die, does not disappear, and is not born again. Furthermore, no liberation superior to it exists elsewhere." The principle expounded here corresponds to the concept of Brahman laid out in the Upanishads. According to this text the Buddha criticized this notion: "Truly the Baka Brahmā is covered with unwisdom."[76]

The Buddha confined himself to what is empirically given.[77][78][79] This empiricism is based broadly on both ordinary sense experience and extrasensory perception enabled by high degrees of mental concentration.[80]


In Hinduism, the atman is considered the essential 'self' of a person.

The pre-Buddhist Upanishads link the Self to the feeling "I am."[81] The Chandogya Upanishad for example does, and it sees Self as underlying the whole world, being "below," "above," and in the four directions. In contrast, the Buddhist Arahant says: "Above, below, everywhere set free, not considering 'this I am.'"[81]

While the pre-Buddhist Upanishads link the Self to the attitude "I am," others like the post-Buddhist Maitri Upanishad hold that only the defiled individual self, rather than the universal self, thinks "this is I" or "this is mine". According to Peter Harvey,

This is very reminiscent of Buddhism, and may well have been influenced by it to divorce the universal Self from such egocentric associations.[81]

The Upanishadic "Self" shares certain characteristics with nibbana; both are permanent, beyond suffering, and unconditioned. However, the Buddha shunned any attempt to see the spiritual goal in terms of "Self" because in his framework, the craving for a permanent self is the very thing which keeps a person in the round of uncontrollable rebirth, preventing him or her from attaining nibbana.[81] Harvey continues:

Both in the Upanishads and in common usage, self/Self is linked to the sense of "I am" ... If the later Upanishads came to see ultimate reality as beyond the sense of "I am", Buddhism would then say: why call it 'Self', then?[81]

Buddhist mysticism is also of a different sort from that found in systems revolving around the concept of a "God" or "Self":

If one would characterize the forms of mysticism found in the Pali discourses, it is none of the nature-, God-, or soul-mysticism of F.C. Happold. Though nearest to the latter, it goes beyond any ideas of 'soul' in the sense of immortal 'self' and is better styled 'consciousness-mysticism.'[82]

Possibly the main philosophical difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is that the concept of atman was rejected by the Buddha. Terms like anatman (not-self) and shunyata (voidness) are at the core of all Buddhist traditions. The permanent transcendence of the belief in the separate existence of the self is integral to the enlightenment of an Arhat.

The Buddha criticized conceiving theories even of a unitary soul or identity immanent in all things as unskillful.[83] In fact, according to the Buddha's statement in Khandha Samyutta 47, all thoughts about self are necessarily, whether the thinker is aware of it or not, thoughts about the five aggregates or one of them.[84]

At the time of the Buddha some philosophers and meditators posited a "root": an abstract principle out of which all things emanated and which was immanent in all things. When asked about this, instead of following this pattern of thinking, the Buddha attacks it at its very root: the notion of a principle in the abstract, superimposed on experience. In contrast, a person in training should look for a different kind of "root" — the root of dukkha experienced in the present. According to one Buddhist scholar, theories of this sort have most often originated among meditators who label a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, and identify with it in a subtle way.[85]

B. Alan Wallace writes that the transcendental notion of the self is an "idol" that cannot "withstand empirical investigation or rational analysis."[86]

Rahula writes,

Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety, and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul or Atman, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, fear, weakness, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically. The Buddha's teaching does not support this ignorance, fear, weakness, and desire, but aims at making man enlightened by removing them and destroying them, striking at their very root. According to Buddhism, our ideas of God and Soul are false and empty. Though highly developed as theories, they are all the same extremely subtle mental projections, garbed in an intricate metaphysical and philosophical phraseology. These ideas are so deep-rooted in man, and so near and dear to him, that he does not wish to hear, nor does he want to understand, any teaching against them. The Buddha knew this quite well. In fact, he said that his teaching was 'against the current,' against man's selfish desires.[87]

Upanishadic Self declared non-existent

The Buddha denies the existence of Self, as conceived in the Upanishadic tradition, in the Alagaddupama Sutta (M I 135-136). Possibly the most famous Upanishadic dictum is tat tvam asi, "thou art that." Transposed into first person, the Pali version is eso ‘ham asmi, "I am this." This is said in several suttas to be false. The full statement declared to be incorrect is "This is mine, I am this, this is my self/essence." This is often rejected as a wrong view.[88] The Alagaduppama Sutta rejects this and other obvious echoes of surviving Upanishadic statements as well (these are not mentioned as such in the commentaries, and seem not to have been noticed until modern times). Moreover, the passage denies that one’s self is the same as the world and that one will become the world self at death.[89] The Buddha tells the monks that people worry about something that is non-existent externally (bahiddhaa asati) and non-existent internally (ajjhattam asati); he is referring respectively to the soul/essence of the world and of the individual.[89] A similar rejection of "internal" Self and "external" Self occurs at AN II 212. Both are referring to the Upanishads.[89] The most basic presupposition of early Brahminic cosmology is the identification of man and the cosmos (instances of this occur at TU II.1 and Mbh XII.195), and liberation for the yogin was thought to only occur at death, with the adept's union with brahman (as at Mbh XII.192.22).[90] The Buddha's rejection of these theories is therefore one instance of the Buddha's attack on the whole enterprise of Upanishadic ontology.[91][92]


The Buddha repudiated the caste distinctions of the Brahmanical religion,[93] and was as a result described as a corrupter and opposed to true dharma in some of the Puranas.[94]

Buddhism implicitly denied the validity of caste distinctions by offering ordination to all regardless of caste.[95][96] The Buddhist writer Ashvaghosa directly opposed the caste system of Hinduism by drawing upon anomalous episodes in Hindu scriptures.[96] While the caste system constitutes an assumed background to the stories told in Buddhist scriptures, the sutras do not attempt to justify or explain the system, and the caste system was not generally propagated along with the Buddhist teachings.[97] The early texts state that caste is not determined by karma.[98]

The notion of ritual purity also provided a conceptual foundation for the caste system, by identifying occupations and duties associated with impure or taboo objects as being themselves impure. Regulations imposing such a system of purity and taboos are absent from the Buddhist monastic code, and not generally regarded as being part of Buddhist teachings.[99]


Upanishadic soteriology is focused on the static Self, while the Buddha's is focused on dynamic agency. In the former paradigm, change and movement are an illusion; to realize the Self as the only reality is to realize something that has always been the case. In the Buddha's system by contrast, one has to make things happen.[100]

The fire metaphor used in the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta (which is also used elsewhere) is a radical way of making the point that the liberated sage is beyond phenomenal experience. It also makes the additional point that this indefinable, transcendent state is the sage's state even during life. This idea goes against the early Brahminic notion of liberation at death.[101]

Liberation for the Brahminic yogin was thought to be the permanent realization at death of a nondual meditative state anticipated in life. In fact, old Brahminic metaphors for the liberation at death of the yogic adept ("becoming cool", "going out") were given a new meaning by the Buddha; their point of reference became the sage who is liberated in life.[102] The Buddha taught that these meditative states alone do not offer a decisive and permanent end to suffering either during life or after death.[103]

He stated that achieving a formless attainment with no further practice would only lead to temporary rebirth in a formless realm after death.[104] Moreover, he gave a pragmatic refutation of early Brahminical theories according to which the meditator, the meditative state, and the proposed uncaused, unborn, unanalyzable Self, are identical.[105] These theories are undergirded by the Upanishadic correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm, from which perspective it is not surprising that meditative states of consciousness were thought to be identical to the subtle strata of the cosmos.[106] The Buddha, in contrast, argued that states of consciousness come about caused and conditioned by the yogi's training and techniques, and therefore no state of consciousness could be this eternal Self.[105]


Both the Buddha's conception of the liberated person and the goal of early Brahminic yoga can be characterized as nondual, but in different ways. The nondual goal in early Brahminism was conceived in ontological terms; the goal was that into which one merges after death. According to Wynne, liberation for the Buddha "... is nondual in another, more radical, sense. This is made clear in the dialogue with Upasiva, where the liberated sage is defined as someone who has passed beyond conceptual dualities. Concepts that might have some meaning in ordinary discourse, such as consciousness or the lack of it, existence and non-existence, etc., do not apply to the sage. For the Buddha, propositions are not applicable to the liberated person, because language and concepts (Sn 1076: vaadapathaa, dhammaa), as well as any sort of intellectual reckoning (sankhaa) do not apply to the liberated sage."[102]


The word nirvana (Pali: Nibbana) was first used in its technical sense in Buddhism, and cannot be found in any of the pre-Buddhist Upanishads (It can be found in Jain texts). The use of the term in the Bhagavad Gita may be a sign of the strong Buddhist influence upon Hindu thought.[93] Although the word nirvana is absent from the Upanishads, the word itself existed prior to the Buddha.[107] It must be kept in mind that nirvana is one of many terms for salvation that occur in the orthodox Buddhist scriptures. Other terms that appear are 'Vimokha', or 'Vimutti', implying 'salvation' and 'deliverance' respectively.[108] Some more words synonymously used for nirvana in Buddhist scriptures are 'mokkha/moksha', meaning 'liberation' and 'kevala/kaivalya', meaning 'wholeness'; these words were given a new Buddhist meaning.[109]

Buddha in Hindu scriptures

Hinduism regards Buddha (bottom right) as one of the 10 avatars of Vishnu

In many Puranas, the Buddha is described as an incarnation of Vishnu who incarnated in order to delude either demons or mankind away from the Vedic dharma. The Bhavishya Purana posits:

At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded.[110]

It is believed by some scholars that the Buddha avatar, which occurs in different versions in various Puranas, may represent an attempt by Brahmin orthodoxy to slander the Buddhists by identifying them with the demons.[111] Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vishnuism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.[112]

Notable views

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan has claimed that the Buddha did not look upon himself as an innovator, but only a restorer of the way of the Upanishads,[113] despite the fact that the Buddha did not accept the Upanishads, viewing them as comprising a pretentious tradition, foreign to his paradigm.[114]

The Hindu philosopher, Vivekananda, wrote in glowing terms about Buddha, and visited Bodh Gaya several times.[115]

Ananda Coomaraswamy, a proponent of the Perennial Philosophy, claimed:

Hinduism is a religion both of Eternity and Time, while Gautama looks upon Eternity alone. it is not really fair to Gautama or to the Brahmans to contrast their Dharma; for they do not seek to cover the same ground. We must compare the Buddhist ethical ideal with the identical standard of Brahmanhood expected of the Brahman born; we must contrast the Buddhist monastic system with the Brahmanical orders; the doctrine of Anatta with the doctrine of Atman, and here we shall find identity. Buddhism stands for a restricted ideal, which contrasts with Brahmanism as a part contrasts with the whole.[116]

He also maintained:

The more superficially one studies Buddhism, the more it seems to differ from Brahmanism in which it originated; the more profound our study, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any, Buddhism is really unorthodox.[117]

Some Hindu scholars have also accepted Buddhism as a fulfillment of Sanatana Dharma philosophy:[118]

The relation between Hinduism (by Hinduism, I mean the religion of the Vedas) and what is called Buddhism at the present day, is nearly the same as between Judaism and Christianity. Jesus Christ was a Jew, and Shakya Muni was a Hindu. The Jews rejected Jesus Christ, nay, crucified him, and the Hindus have accepted Shakya Muni as God and worship him. But the real difference that we Hindus want to show between modern Buddhism and what we should understand as the teachings of Lord Buddha, lies principally in this: Shakya Muni came to preach nothing new. He also, like Jesus, came to fulfill and not to destroy.[119]

Steven Collins sees such Hindu claims regarding Buddhism as part of an effort - itself a reaction to Christian proselytizing efforts in India - to show that "all religions are one", and that Hinduism is uniquely valuable because it alone recognizes this fact.[120]

The 14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzing Gyatso, has stated that Hinduism and Buddhism are twins.[121][122][123][124]

Some scholars have written that Buddhism should be regarded as "reformed Brahmanism",[125] and many Hindus consider Buddhism a sect of Hinduism.[citation needed]

Alan Watts wrote the following:

Being a Hindu really involves living in India. Because of the differences of climate, or arts, crafts, and technology, you cannot be a Hindu in the full sense in Japan or in the United States. Buddhism is Hinduism stripped for export. The Buddha was a reformer in the highest sense: someone who wants to go to the original form, or to re-form it for the needs of a certain time... Buddha is the man who woke up, who discovered who he really was. The crucial issue wherein Buddhism differs from Hinduism is that it doesn't say who you are; it has no idea, no concept. I emphasize the words idea and concept. It has no idea and no concept of God because Buddhism is not interested in concepts, it is interested in direct experience only.[126]

Buddhist scholar Rahula Walpole has written that the Buddha fundamentally denied all speculative views, such as the doctrinal Upanishadic belief in Atman.[127]

B. R. Ambedkar, the founder of the Dalit Buddhist movement, believed that Buddhism offered an opportunity for low-caste and untouchable Hindus to achieve greater respect and dignity because of its non-caste doctrines. Among the 22 vows he prescribed to his followers is an injunction against having faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. He also regarded the belief that the Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu as "false propaganda".[128]

See also


  1. ^ a b Helmuth von Glasenapp, from the 1950 Proceedings of the "Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur." Accessed at
  2. ^ Y. Masih (2000) In : A Comparative Study of Religions, Motilal Banarsidass Publ : Delhi, ISBN 8120808150 Page 18. "There is no evidence to show that Jainism and Buddhism ever subscribed to vedic sacrifices, vedic deities or caste. They are parallel or native religions of India and have contributed to much to the growth of even classical Hinduism of the present times."
  3. ^ Sir Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism,Vol. I (London 1954)
  4. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 139.
  5. ^ The Impact of Early Buddhism on Hindu Thought (with Special Reference to the Bhagavadgiitaa)
  6. ^ Vinay Lal (2007),
  7. ^ Bhag-P 1.3.24 "Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist."
  8. ^ (Gombrich 1997, p. 31)
  9. ^ "We may distinguish among Upanishads in terms of relative age. First are early, pre-Buddhist Upanishads (Chandogya, Brahadanyaka, Aitreya, Taittiriya, Kauitaki, and somewhat later Kena and Isa)." The Encyclopedia of Christianity: Volume 5: Si-Z, By FAHLBUSCH, Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley,Translated by Geoffrey William Bromiley, Contributor Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, David B. Barrett , pp 645, Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008, ISBN 080282417X, 9780802824172
  10. ^ "As with almost every major religious text in India no firm date can be assigned to the Gītā. It seems certain, however, that it was written later than the 'classical' Upanishads with the possible exception of the Maitrī and that it is post-Buddhistic. One would probably not be going far wrong if one dated it at some time between the fifth and the second centuries B.C." R. C. Zaehner, The Bhagavad-Gītā: with a commentary based on the original sources. Clarendon P., 1969, p. 7.
  11. ^ K.N. Upadhaya, The Impact of Early Buddhism on Hindu Thought. Philosophy East and West Vol.18(1968) pp.163–173, accessed at
  12. ^ David Webster, The Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Routledge Press, 2005, page 220. Available here.
  13. ^ "The Bhagavadgita is the result of development of the religious and philosophic speculation that prevailed before the rise of Buddhism." Bhandarkar, Collected Works, Vol. IV, p. 39; cf. Telang, op. cit., p. 27
  14. ^ "the elements of the Gita are not borrowed from the Buddhist religion." Tilak, op. cit., p. 585
  15. ^ Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 527
  16. ^ [[Max Müller |Mueller, F. Max]] (2001). The Bhagavadgita with the Sanatsujatiya and the Anugita (Sacred Books of the East). Routledge. p. 15. 
  17. ^ January 2008, VOL. 213, #1
  18. ^ (Gombrich 1997, p. 29–30)
  19. ^ "The brahmin by caste alone, the teacher of the Veda, is (jokingly) etymologized as the 'non-meditator' (ajhāyaka). Brahmins who have memorized the three Vedas (tevijja) really know nothing: it is the process of achieving Enlightenment – what the Buddha is said to have achieved in the three watches of that night – which constitutes the true 'three knowledges.'" R.F. Gombrich in Paul Williams, ed., "Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies." Taylor and Francis 2006, page 120.
  20. ^ a b Dharmacarini Manishini, Western Buddhist Review. Accessed at
  21. ^ ibid
  22. ^ (Gombrich 1997, p. 37)
  23. ^ (Gombrich 1997, p. 56-7)
  24. ^
  25. ^ Michael Carrithers, The Buddha. Taken from Founders of Faith, published by Oxford University Press, 1986, page 30.
  26. ^ Alexander Wynne, The origin of Buddhist meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 72.
  27. ^ Alexander Wynne, The origin of Buddhist meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 73.
  28. ^ Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 44.
  29. ^ Johannes Bronkhorst, The Two Traditions of Mediation in Ancient India. Franz Steiner Verlag Weisbaden GmbH, pages 1-17.
  30. ^ Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard University Press, 2000, page 199.
  31. ^ a b Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 51.
  32. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 56.
  33. ^ Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 41. "In the Rig Veda, man is thought to be born and die only once."
  34. ^ "At the same time , it is apparent in the early Samhitas that a personal replacement body is not without meaning. Whether asu, manas, prana, jiva or atman survives the body that is buried, cremated, exposed on a height, or "scattered" (in case of someone lost and never found), there is expectation of finding in heaven a new body (tanu), variously described as radiant, splendid , perfect. Rig Vedic funeral hymns 10.14.8 and 10.16.5 mention unison of the deceased body with new body...Indeed ritual system central to Vedic life and thought depends on the notion of constant sacrifice, the reintegration of multiple elements into a moment of unity before a new dispersal into being ... This enduring spirit, newly embodied, is not alone. The new locus is heaven (svarga), home of the ancestors, literally, "fathers", including recent forebears and progenitors of the human species as well. The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, Jerry L. Walls, Chapter 9 – Hindu Eschatology,The Early Vedas – Surviving the Death of the Body, David M. Knipe, pp 173–175, Oxford University Press US, 2007
  35. ^ Karel Werner, The Longhaired Sage in The Yogi and the Mystic. Karel Werner, ed., Curzon Press, 1989, page 34. "Rahurkar speaks of them as belonging to two distinct 'cultural strands' ... Wayman also found evidence for two distinct approaches to the spiritual dimension in ancient India and calls them the traditions of 'truth and silence.' He traces them particularly in the older Upanishads, in early Buddhism, and in some later literature."
  36. ^ Gavin D. Flood (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press : UK ISBN 0521438780 – “The origin and doctrine of Karma and Samsara are obscure. These concepts were certainly circulating amongst sramanas, and Jainism and Buddhism developed specific and sophisticated ideas about the process of transmigration. It is very possible that the karmas and reincarnation entered the mainstream brahaminical thought from the sramana or the renouncer traditions.” Page 86.
  37. ^ Padmanabh S. Jaini 2001 “Collected Paper on Buddhist Studies” Motilal Banarsidass Publ 576 pages ISBN 8120817761: "Yajnavalkya’s reluctance and manner in expounding the doctrine of karma in the assembly of Janaka (a reluctance not shown on any other occasion) can perhaps be explained by the assumption that it was, like that of the transmigration of soul, of non-brahmanical origin. In view of the fact that this doctrine is emblazoned on almost every page of sramana scriptures, it is highly probable that it was derived from them." Page 51.
  38. ^ Govind Chandra Pande, (1994) Life and Thought of Sankaracarya, Motilal Banarsidass ISBN 8120811046 : Early Upanishad thinkers like Yajnavalkya were acquainted with the sramanic thinking and tried to incorporate these ideals of Karma, Samsara and Moksa into the vedic thought implying a disparagement of the vedic ritualism and recognising the mendicancy as an ideal. Page 135.
  39. ^ "The sudden appearance of this theory [of karma] in a full-fledged form is likely to be due, as already pointed out, to an impact of the wandering muni-and-shramana-cult, coming down from the pre-Vedic non-Aryan time." Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998, page 76.
  40. ^ “This confirms that the doctrine of transmigration is non-aryan and was accepted by non-vedics like Ajivikism, Jainism and Buddhism. The Indo-aryans have borrowed the theory of re-birth after coming in contact with the aboriginal inhabitants of India. Certainly Jainism and non-vedics [..] accepted the doctrine of rebirth as supreme postulate or article of faith.” Masih, page 37.
  41. ^ Jerry L. Walls, David M. Knipe The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology. Oxford University Press US, 2007, page 177.
  42. ^ Bruce Matthews in Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, editor, Karma and Rebirth: Post Classical Developments. SUNY Press, 1986, page 125. [1].
  43. ^ The Yoga Tradition: its literature, philosophy and practice By Georg Feuerstein. ISBN 8120819233. pg 111
  44. ^ Robert Thurman, "The Central Philosophy of Tibet. Princeton University Press, 1984, page 34.
  45. ^ Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga By Stuart Ray Sarbacker. ISBN 0791465535. pg 77
  46. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 22)
  47. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (Page xviii)
  48. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13). Translated by James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter. Contributor John McRae. Published 2005 World Wisdom. 387 pages. ISBN 0941532895 [Exact quote: "This phenomenon merits special attention since yogic roots are to be found in the Zen Buddhist school of meditation."]
  49. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter (page 13). Translated by James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter. Contributor John McRae. Published 2005 World Wisdom. 387 pages. ISBN 0941532895
  50. ^ a b Simple Tibetan Buddhism: A Guide to Tantric Living By C. Alexander Simpkins, Annellen M. Simpkins. Published 2001. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0804831998
  51. ^ The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art By John C. Huntington, Dina Bangdel. Published 2003. Serindia Publications, Inc.ISBN 1932476016. pg 25
  52. ^ Buddha image
  53. ^ R.K. Payne: The Tantric Ritual of Japan. Feeding the Gods: the Shingon Fire Ritual., and Koenraad Elst: Who is a Hindu. 2001
  54. ^ a b Dr V. A. Gunasekara. "The Buddhist Attitude to God". Statement made to a Multi-religious Seminar. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  55. ^ Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, pages 51-52.
  56. ^ This whole section is largely verbatim quotes from Rahula's What the Buddha Taught, pages 9-10.
  57. ^ a b (Gombrich 1997, p. 29-30)
  58. ^ "The brahmin by caste alone, the teacher of the Veda, is (jokingly) etymologized as the 'non-meditator' (ajhāyaka). Brahmins who have memorized the three Vedas (tevijja) really know nothing: it is the process of achieving Enlightenment - what the Buddha is said to have achieved in the three watches of that night - which constitutes the true 'three knowledges.'" R.F. Gombrich in Paul Williams, ed., "Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies." Taylor and Francis 2006, page 120.
  59. ^ Peter Harvey, Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press, 1990, pages 21-22.
  60. ^ Broughton, Jeffrey L. (1999). The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21972-4.  p. 2.
  61. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 131.
  62. ^ a b "Does Hinduism Accept Newcomers?"
  63. ^ Brahmachari Siddheshwar Shai v. State of West Bengal (Supreme Court of India), available at [2]
  64. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, pages 133-134.
  65. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 134-135.
  66. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 135.
  67. ^ Govind Chandra Pande (1994). Life and thought of Śaṅkarācārya. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120811046, 9788120811041. Source: [3] (accessed: Friday March 19, 2010), p.255
  68. ^ a b Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 136.
  69. ^ David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, page 19.
  70. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, [4]. See note 2.
  71. ^ David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, pages 20-22.
  72. ^ Steven Collins, Aggañña sutta. Sahitya Akademi, 200, page 58.
  73. ^ Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press, 1995, page 234.
  74. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, page 137.
  75. ^ Karel Werner, The Yogi and the Mystic: Studies in Indian and Comparative Mysticism. Routledge, 1994, page 24.
  76. ^ Hajime Nakamura, A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy: Part One. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990, pages 137-138. "It has the dharma of non-perishing" is Nakamura's translation of "acavanadhammam".
  77. ^ David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, page 185.
  78. ^ Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard University Press, 2000, page 202. [5]
  79. ^ A.K. Warder, A Course in Indian Philosophy. Second edition published by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1998, page 81.
  80. ^ David J. Kalupahana, Buddhist philosophy: A Historical Analysis. Published by University of Hawaii Press, 1977, pages 23-24.
  81. ^ a b c d e Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press, 1995, page 34.
  82. ^ Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 100.
  83. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Not-Self Strategy. [6]. For the sutta see [7].
  84. ^ Nanavira Thera, Nibbana and Anatta. [8]. Early Writings -> Nibbana and Anatta -> Nibbana, Atta, and Anatta.
  85. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu's commentary to the Mula Pariyaya Sutta, [9].
  86. ^ B. Alan Wallace, Contemplative Science. Columbia University Press, 2007, page 152.
  87. ^ Rahula, pages 51-52.
  88. ^ Richard Francis Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 38.
  89. ^ a b c Richard Francis Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 39.
  90. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, pages 50, 96.
  91. ^ Richard Francis Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 40.
  92. ^ See also Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 116.
  93. ^ a b K.N. Upadhaya, The Impact of Early Buddhism on Hindu Thought. Philosophy East and West Vol.18(1968) pp.163-173, accessed at
  94. ^ cf. Shiva Purana 2.5.1-6, Skanda Purana Discussed in Wendy O'Flaherty, Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology. University of California Press, 1976, pages 186 and 193.
  95. ^ Mrozik, Susanne. "Upali" in McMillian Encyclopedia of Buddhism, pg. 870. "All account emphasize that caste has no bearing on a person's status in the monastic community."
  96. ^ a b Andrew Skilton, A Concise History of Buddhism. Windhorse Publications, 1997, page 144.
  97. ^ Cohen, Richard S. "India" in McMillian Encyclopedia of Buddhism, pg. 358. "Though Buddhist texts take the existence of "caste" for granted, they attempt neither to justify the social system, nor to disseminate it."
  98. ^ Bruce Matthews in Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, editor, Karma and Rebirth: Post Classical Developments. SUNY Press, 1986, page 126. [10].
  99. ^ (Robinson, Johnson & Thanissaro 2005, p. 51)
  100. ^ Richard Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 58.
  101. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 96.
  102. ^ a b Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 109.
  103. ^ Michael Carrithers, The Buddha, 1983, page 36. Found in Founders of Faith, Oxford University Press, 1986.
  104. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 21.
  105. ^ a b Michael Carrithers, The Buddha, 1983, pages 41-42. Found in Founders of Faith, Oxford University Press, 1986.
  106. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 42.
  107. ^ "Nirvana (or Nibbana in Pali language) means literally 'blowing out' or 'quenching'. However, since the term is probably pre-Buddhist, its etymology is not necessarily conclusive for determining its exact meaning as the highest goal of early Buddhism." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward Craig, 1. Origins and etymology of the word Nirvana ,pp 9, Published by Taylor & Francis, 1998, ISBN 0415073103, 9780415073103
  108. ^ Paul Williams, Buddhism: The early Buddhist schools and doctrinal history ; Theravāda doctrine. Taylor & Francis, 2005, page 147.
  109. ^ [11] " A common error in examining the concept such as nirvana is to focus too much on the exact denotation of the term at the expense of its wider associations and context, not taking into the account number of synonyms frequently used to describe it....A specific example might be that nirvana is 'amrta', or the deathlessness, but it is important that this refers to the nectar which confers immortality upon gods. In the Buddhist context it refers to a condition in which there is no death, although it is clearly intended to have the positive associations of Indian myth." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward Craig, 6. Synonyms for Nirvana ,pp 11, Published by Taylor & Francis, 1998, ISBN 0415073103, 9780415073103
  110. ^ Wendy O'Flaherty, Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology. University of California Press, 1976, page 203.
  111. ^ O'Flaherty, page 200.
  112. ^ von Glasenapp 1962 page 113, cited in O'Flaherty, page 206.
  113. ^ Radhakrishnan: Indian Philosophy, vol.2, p.469.
  114. ^ Carrithers, page 38.
  115. ^ Sister Nivedita: The Master as I Saw Him. Koenraad Elst 2001: Who is a Hindu
  116. ^ COOMARASWAMY, Ananda Kentish: Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism. Citadel Press, Secaucus NJ, 1988 (1916).
  117. ^ [12] Ellora Concept and Style by Carmel Berkson
  118. ^ Speech delivered in Colombo in 1927, quoted by Gurusevak Upadhyaya: Buddhism and Hinduism, p. iii., and Koenraad Elst: Who is a Hindu (2001)
  119. ^ [13] Buddhism: A fulfilment of Hinduism
  120. ^ Steven Collins, Selfless Persons. Cambridge University Press, 1990, page 9.
  121. ^
  122. ^
  123. ^
  124. ^
  125. ^ Christian Lindtner: "From Brahmanism to Buddhism", Asian Philosophy, 1999, John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon): Shakti and Shakta, Koenraad Elst: Who is a Hindu (2001).
  126. ^ Alan Watts edited Transcripts
  127. ^ Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, page 51.
  128. ^ Ambedkarite website,


  • Gombrich, Richard (1997), How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 8121508126 
  • Robinson, Richard; Johnson, Willard; Thanissaro, Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) (2005), Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction, Belmont, California: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, ISBN 0534558585 
  • Zaehner, R. C. (1969). The Bhagavad Gītā. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501666-1. 

Further reading

  • N.N Bhattacharyya: Buddhism in the History of Indian Ideas.
  • Chitrarekha V. Kher: Buddhism as Presented by the Brahmanical Systems.
  • Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish: Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism. Citadel Press, Secaucus NJ, 1988 (1916). -: (with Sister Nivedita): Hindus and Buddhists. Mystic Press, London 1987 (ca. 1911).
  • Elst, Koenraad: Who is a Hindu, 2001. Delhi: Voice of India. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • GOEL, Sita Ram: Samyak Sambuddha. Bhârata-Bhâratî, Delhi 1997 (1957).
  • Ram Swarup: Buddhism vis-à-vis Hinduism. Voice of India, Delhi 1983 (1958).
  • V. Subramaniam, ed.: Buddhist-Hindu Interactions.
  • Gurusevak Upadhyaya: Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • Shinjo Ito: "Shinjo:Reflections". Somerset Hall Press 2009.

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address