Since the beginning of time and civilization human beings always question what the fundamental aspects of life are, enlightening one’s self with knowledge, finding out the true purpose behind living and existence. The true answer to what reality really is can vary from person to person. Acknowledging the true meaning of what hides within the definition of the self can be manifested and interpreted in many different ways shapes and forms. But the real question is ‘what is the proper purpose behind life?’ the answer to this specific question is debatable amongst many as the philosophy behind it cannot be considered right or wrong as every living being is entitled to define what the true meaning behind everything is, this without question needs a pathway of enlightenment. But how is one meant to achieve or seek out true enlightenment? In a world flourishing with different cultures and beliefs, from the far east to the far west, communities and society use religion as a way to define their nature, along with their ethical and moral beliefs. Due to this, many countries and regions in the world connect with the religion past down to them through hundreds of generations, since it also shapes and forms their ethnicity and culture. Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the most unique and divine religions known to man since they are in no way shape or form similar to any other religions. Both religions are formed by the unique philosophy behind the scripture, basing the main aspect to revolve around peace within the self. Knowing the power of nature, connecting with the earth and following the path to full enlightenment also known as nirvana. These religions are mainly based in countries such as India, Nepal and Mauritius and many other surrounding countries. Unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam which are strictly considered monotheistic, Hindus and Buddhists are polytheistic, characterized by a variety of wrathful gods.
Hinduism is not only a religion or belief it is a culture, mainly based in India. According to an article conducted by CNN !5.1% of the world population is Hindu, and 79.8% of India’s population is Hindu. Unlike other religions Hinduism does not have a specific founder, it was formed and developed by cultural and religious changes in India. Hinduism is interpreted as a “designated comprehensive philosophical doctrine”. One of the main and most widely recognized philosophical aspects is karma (what goes around, comes back around).
Karma affects the status of one’s life achievements with the actions they have performed in their previous lifetime. The ultimate goal to be reached is Mashka, the highest spiritual achievement and enlightenment a person can reach. In other words, reaching Spiritual Perfection releases one’s soul from the wheel of life (reincarnation), and allows the full power of Brahma to connect with the soul. Although there are many Deities, the main four are: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer, and Kali/Durga/Parvati the goddess of three incarnations; death and destruction, maiden and mother. According to an article written by Charlotte Jirousek a Student at Cornell she states, “Local deities were identified with cyclical forces of nature, as common in agricultural society—birth, death, planting; and with the fertility of land, herds and human beings”.
The process of a soul being reborn after death is called ‘reincarnation’. The philosophy behind this is allowing the soul to go through the cycle of life also known as karma. with every action one takes they will either be rewarded in their next life or they will suffer. The way in breaking this cycle to release the soul is through salvation or as its originally called ‘moksha’. The paths to salvation also known as yogas or margas can be achieved with the following; Karma Marga – Jnana Marga – Bhakti Marga – Raja or Dhyana Marga. To achieve salvation one must offer selfless service, study an intellectual understanding with the soul through brahman, devote thyself to a personal god, meditate to gain insight of the absolute soul. Once these are achieved one’s soul may be free from the cycle.
Siddhartha Gautama was born into a prosperous and wealthy family, with everything he dreamed of was there at his finger tips whenever he pleased. Due to palace rules he wasn’t allowed to leave his palace, but eventually he was exposed and witnessed sickness, aging and death. To his shock Gautama rejected his riches and devoted his life to live in asceticism (extreme self-discipline), 49 days of pure meditation and finding the true meaning of peace and tranquility; Gautama made his transition to Buddha thus makes the start of Buddhism.
Buddhism is all about having a strong individualistic component that is based on every person has the responsibility and power to enlighten themselves and take the right measures in order to reach the ultimate happiness. the four noble truths are an essential to reaching a state of consciousness in the soul, they are guiding principles; there is suffering in life; the cause of suffering is desire; ending desire will end suffering; following a moderate controlled lifestyle will end desire which will eventually end suffering.
Buddha created created the Noble eightfold path; right belief, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right occupation, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi—or meditation. Following the eightfold path is the way to become liberated from samsara, breaking the cycle of death and rebirth in order to enlighten the soul to reach the ultimate nirvana.
In conclusion Hinduism and Buddhism are soul based religions enlightening one’s soul in a pathway of peace and tranquility. To achieve your ultimate happiness and peace you must give up desire to open your eyes to view and feel your surrounding. In my opinion every individual must go through suffering in order to learn and improve, to find your soul and just release all things negative to become one with yourself and achieve everything one must achieve in order to life a proposes life. the two religions mentioned in this report are not only studies of doctrine they are a way of life and a way of people to be able to connect with the world and the earth and its surroundings in many ways to shape and form your destiny and desire.